What Are You NOT Eating?

Good morning! I hope your day is off to a nice start.

Every morning I get up and take a handful of pills. Two are for blood pressure, one is for allergies, and one is for acid reflux. I blame my kids for that one. The rest are vitamins and supplements that keep me healthy. Yes, they’re a little pricey. But I still spend less on vitamins in six months than it would cost me to miss a single day of work.

My doctor isn’t a fan of supplements. On the other hand, she does rely on repeat business from people who aren’t completely healthy, so her opinion may be a bit clouded. “All you need is a good, healthy diet.” Okay, she’s seen my belly. I think we can agree that ship already sailed. I don’t eat healthy food, but I do eat healthy portions. In the sense that “healthy” means hefty.

Yes, I know. A little self-control goes a long way. And there are foods our body needs a whole lot more than the foods we take in. Okay, for most of us. I know a few people who actually try. They eat lots of green vegetables, avoid red meat, and snack on carrots. They even do it with a straight face, as if they actually like it. But deep down, I know they’re craving a Twinkie.

The problem is even worse when you realize there’s nothing you can buy in your local grocery store that will give you all the vitamins and nutrients your body needs. Nothing. Unless you throw that whole “healthy portions” thing out the window and use a dinner plate the size of a garbage can lid. Do that and you’ll be healthy as a horse, only slightly larger.

The problem is that, over the years, soil depletion from poor farming practices have left us with a selection of fresh produce that’s seriously deficient in nutrients. In fact, studies by USDA and several agricultural colleges suggest that, over the past fifty years, levels of certain nutrients in our produce have decreased by as much as 70%. How much do you need to eat now?

Granted, if you buy true organic produce, grown on certified farms, you get a little more for your money. But saying food is organic is like saying I’m educated. There are varying levels of each. And, to a large extent, you’re taking somebody you’ve never met at their word. Somebody who has every reason to convince you their product is better. Just ask them.

According to the USDA website, “Produce can be called organic if it’s certified to have grown on soil that had no prohibited substances applied for three years prior to harvest. Prohibited substances include most synthetic fertilizers and pesticides.” That’s it. No artificial fertilizers or pesticides for three years. It could be withered and bug-infested, but it’s still organic. Yum!

On the other end of the spectrum, you have farms that follow true organic practices. They rotate crops, replenish the soil with minerals and nutrients, and use natural means of pest prevention, like planting trees alongside the fields that attract pests more than the plants themselves. And they’ve done it for decades, not just three years.

Two extremes, and both carry the same exact label – “Organic.” Yet, by comparison, one is nearly devoid of some nutrients due to soil depletion from years of poor farming practices. Which is which? Your guess is as good as anybody’s.

It gets worse. Have you ever wondered how you’re able to enjoy “fresh” fruits and vegetables that are completely out of season? Picture a ship coming from another continent, with huge bins of weeks-old produce under a blanket of pressurized gas to keep it from rotting before it reaches your dinner table. Organic or not, that’s what you’re eating.

If it sounds like I’m trying to wreck your appetite, I’m not. And I’m not trying to tell you to avoid fresh produce. It’s still a good source of the vitamins and nutrients your body needs to stay healthy. It’s just not enough. Depending on your individual needs, there may still be areas where you need to supplement. Just don’t expect your doctor to be of much help.

Doctors treat symptoms and prescribe medicine. That’s their specialty. If you have a condition that’s easily traceable to a vitamin deficiency, they’ll tell you. Otherwise, you’re on your own. Most doctors believe store-bought vitamins are just a good way to make expensive urine. Yet, in the same breath, they’ll tell you to eat your veggies for the vitamins. Go figure.

My father-in-law used to say, “I eat to live – I don’t live to eat.” We all know the foods we need and which ones to avoid. Beyond that, we need to know what we’re missing and figure out how to replace it. Good food is a start. But, just as the right seasoning makes a stew taste better, the right vitamins can make good food healthier. I figure I’m worth it. How about you?

That’s all for now. Have an awesome day!

© 2021 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

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