If you take one or vitamin pills almost every day, then this story’s for you!
Have you ever noticed that there’s a “Vitamin Pill Aisle” at ever grocery store, pharmacy and even the giant wharehouse super-stores … what’s going on here?!
Sure, your body needs vitamins and minerals — and a variety of them depending on your health, age, physical condition, diet, habits, and even the climate you live in. And, you can tell by the financial numbers that ‘we’ know it — we’re gobbling them up to the tune of billions of dollars a year!
But, there’s more happening here than meets the eye, because, while we do “need vitamins” what ‘we’ fail to hear is a sentance that almost always follows: that we need to get them from a variety of whole foods … why?
It’s just one majic word: absorption. And, yes, natural makes a huge difference — it’s critical that we ingest the vitamins from plants (and yes, some meats) in order to obtain the enzymes and supporting nutrients that enable us to absorb the vitamins property.
Now, I’m not saying that “vitamin pills are bad.” To the contrary — I believe that vitamin supplementation by itself helps your body in many ways. However, so much of the vitamin pills that we consume simply end up … you know … because compressed dry pills and capsuls just don’t carry the enzymes needed for your body to fully absorb the vitamins, minerals, beneficial oils and micronutrients. Nature’s vitamin maxrix is simply the best, and when you add it to the vitamin pills you’re already taking, it’s like putting high-octane fuel in your engine — you are going to feel the difference!
“The discovery of vitamins is one of mankind’s greatest achievements. Yet it has also led to widespread hucksterism.”
— Charles Marshall, PhD.
Why is this? Quite simply, our bodies have adapted over thousands of years to ingest vitamins and minerals from natural food sources. These powder and pill based ‘pure’ vitamin extracts didn’t hit our digestive tracts until about the 1950s. So, it seems G-d grew and naturally presented each plant to us, each having its unique array of interdependent, interlocking, enzymes, vitamin and mineral rich substrates and nutrient webs. It’s a beautiful thing, isn’t it?
Few people really need the pharmaceutical-style “vitamins in isolation,” but it sure does make them easy to buy! Let’s face it: whenever we start pharmaceutically and synthetically manipulating and recreating these things, we often see very low absorption rates, or worse — in some cases an array of side effects.
So while I’m enthusiastic about you getting fully expressed nutrients in their dense and most absorbable forms, I want you to also understand why raw fruits and vegetables, and juicing them whole, will give you more of a nutrient boost than your ordinary supplement routine.
Nutrient Boosting vs Supplementing
Here’s the thing, we’ve been sold some serious hype when it comes to being saved by bottles vitamin pills. Vitamin pills are still pills. Michael Pollan, author of the Omnivore’s Dilemma, In Defense of Food and Cooked, talks about how we use “Nutritionism” in a dangerous way. We think about food in parts. We talk about macronutrients, and carbs, and protein. We say: man, I need some protein versus saying, “wow, I could really go for a bean burrito” or “some roast chicken right now.” We talk about omegas, we talk about Vitamin K and D. All these molecules are good and needed, but we have stopped thinking in terms of foods. And, that’s where (I believe) a little bit of the unfortunate disconnect comes from — because taking vitamins in isolation prevents them from being fully (or even significantly) absorbed!
A lot of the appeal towards nutritionism began in the 1940’s and became wildly popular into the 1970’s and 80’s with the fad-diets and health trends of those decades. One story-line that drove the nutritional thinking was that ‘over-farming’ depleted soils of nutrients, and so what we used to have available to us in abundance in our foods had been depleted to the point that supplemention with vitamin pills was (is) a necessity.
And, heck, if you’ve ever tried to ‘eat your way to nutrition’ based on the USRDA recommendations, you’ve probably been an over-full mess. … don’t even get me started on the food pyramid! Anyway, this ‘abstract vitamin’ thinking has been pushed ever since. And of course this has led to unintended consequences as many of us have used these guidelines to effectively self-medicate and self-diagnose our nutritional deficiencies. Allow me to quote one noted source:
“Dietary supplements (vitamin pills) would seem to be the obvious way to plug gaps in your diet. But taking too much can actually harm you. For example, you can get too much of a particular nutrient without realizing it. “Extra vitamin A supplements can lead to dangerous, toxic levels if taken too frequently,” notes Dr. Clifford Lo, an associate professor of nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health.
Dr. Lo notes that one case from the 1970’s. It seems an adolescent read how Vitamin A is important for your skin and reduces acne. So, he began taking very high doses of vitamin pills in the form of “retinol A.” By the time he was 18, he was completely falling apart: weak, losing hair, having heart and muscle issues. One day, he was rushed to the emergency room where a blood test revealed that he had literally poisoned himself (called acute retinol poisoning). He spent 30 days in the hospital getting back to ‘normal.’ But, it would take years before he recovered what he could of the bone-mineral losses . . . all because he thought taking a vitamin would be good for him!
Side thought: there seems to be a common, persistent belief that “if a little is good, then more must be better.” But, I digress …
Eating more of the right foods produces better health.
And, in general, food contains the safest doses of many of what some might classify the non-essential chemicals, which can be very harmful if present in larger amounts. So, when we juice, we are creating a natural, whole food nutrient boost that really takes us into a new realm of absorption and easy to access nutrition, even for those of us with digestively impairments (I have Chrons Disease).
If you take vitamin pills, do you know how much of your synthetic vitamin even gets into your blood stream?? Or more importantly, what it’s made from?
OK, sure, you can overdo “good” foods too. You can eat too much spirulina or drink carrot juice until you’re face is literally orange (yes, really!). Too much beta-carotene can do that to you… it’s almost like a cheap tan … but I don’t sugget trying it (maybe that’s why Senators like John Kerry look so much like Ompa-Loompas).
If you think you’ve “tried everything” but you haven’t tried juiced fruits and vegetables to create living, bio-cellular available nutrient boosts, then, my friend, you haven’t “tried everything” – and everyone knows we’re supposed to get our fruits and vegetables –– heck, it’s what our ancestors relied on daily for, oh, thousands of years! Don’t fall for the unconscious-ease of the convient foods (and vitamin pills) society has surrounded us with — especially the chips or soda or sweet chocolate, or alcohol. Instead, produce some life in you(!) Remember: produce PRODUCES better health!
So, instead of vitamins (or, if you must, in addition to them), let me challenge you to try raw juicing twice a day for six weeks. You’ll see a difference … I know because I did, and it changed my life. Let’s see how it impacts yours!