There was an article in the NY Times describing how vitamin sales are up with the economic downturn. With unemployment creeping up and health costs following, people are taking their health into their own hands. So why not herbs and vitamins even though people in general have no idea what they are taking and why they are taking them? One consumer “has pared back on fresh fruits and vegetables and stocked up instead on fish oil capsules and antioxidant supplements.” Now that makes a lot of sense.
What this says to me is that people don’t understand nutrition and it is not their fault. It also tells me that we are a pill-popping, self-medicating society grasping at straws. And the recession is a good excuse. That could be their fault. Why do we think that if we take a supplement every day, we will be saved from having to see the big bad doctor? And when does it become a replacement for food?
Some say organic foods and fresh foods are expensive and at times, this is true. But at times, it is actually not. Pills are not cheap – and that is why the supplement industry rakes in over 20 billion a year and there is a GNC store on every corner in America. Popping back your Centrum every day and washing it down with coca cola adds up too, and not just in the cost of your groceries but your health. Now that the economics are out of the way, my best educated guess is that a multimineral/vitamin and Echinacea will not save you from obesity, cancer, heart disease and the common flu. At least the miracle cure for these debilitating circumstances has not been found as of yet. And getting rid of fresh foods, will not save you either.
If you have to make a choice, I would choose the fresh food. And this is why. A fresh stalk of spinach, although rich in Vitamin C, has lots of other nutritive components, particularly when cooked in healthy oils. We don’t know the vast amount of benefits consuming spinach in its whole form provides, but we do know that isolating the vitamin C into a tablet form, has not proven to be a life saver either, at least not beyond the Recommended Dietary Allowance (Unless you a pirate or sailor stuck on a boat without much in the way of fresh foods, and are experiencing scurvy). I don’t think most of us have to worry about that. My question for you is: How has the human race evolved and survived these thousands of years? Much of it is hinged on food, not pills.
So if you want to stay healthy during the ‘recession’, there are some rules of nutrition and health that I don’t think anyone can argue with.
- Exercise every day. That means rigorously.
- Eat fruits and vegetables that are green, orange and yellow in color in the whole form every day.
- Don’t drink soda.
- Drink water.
- Avoid sugar, candy bars, gummi bears, candy corn, and other strangely dyed, colorful mushy sickly sweet treats. Just don’t eat them.
- To add on to number 5, eat food as close to its natural source as possible. Meaning, eat a steak instead of SPAM, eat whole grain bread instead of WONDER bread, eat an orange instead of gulping down an ORANGE JULIUS, drink black coffee or an espresso instead of a FRAPPUCCINO, eat a dark green leafy salad instead of GREEN BEAN CASSEROLE.
- Consume some sort of protein every day. Beans and nuts are a good choice.
- Enjoy your food. Think slow food. Take time to eat without checking your blackberry or glued to a TV. Everyone can take time out to just enjoy a meal. You aren’t that important and American Idol is lame.
- Wash your hands regularly. And wash your food well.
- Take care of your skin, teeth, and eyes. And that is easier when you are eating fresh foods…