You Are What You Eat
Stop and think for a moment about your body, made of water and living cells, a complex organism that converts nutrition—your food—into energy and living tissues. Your body uses the food you eat, the water you drink, and the air you breathe to keep you alive. Your body doesn’t just use the food you put in it, it’s made of that food.
If you think I’m stating the obvious, consider for a moment the average American diet: food that comes in a cardboard box or plastic bag, food kept in a freezer or on a shelf for months, prepared in industrial amounts, stabilized and flavor-enhanced with fillers and chemicals, then shipped to your supermarket (or your local restaurant) from hundreds – maybe even thousands – of miles away. Food ground into powders and pastes, boiled down into liquids and extracts bearing little resemblance to their original forms. Food made – if you study your food labels – of four ingredients used over and over again: corn, sugar, salt and wheat. Compare that pasty vision – brown cereal, white sugar, tan bread – to the multitude of colors and textures you might find in a vegetable garden and ask yourself: If you are what you eat, which would you rather be?
Our Food Supply Has Changed
Even our raw food supply – meat, produce, and dairy products – are routinely treated with chemicals, antibiotics and pesticides, resulting in food that is less nutrient dense than it was 50 years ago. Mostly this is due to the economics of big agribusiness—the industrialization and mechanization of farming. Vegetables are not only treated with pesticides, they are grown in over-fertilized and depleted soils. Animals are raised in feedlots and fed a diet they were never meant to eat, requiring antibiotics to regulate their growth and prevent disease in abnormal conditions. The regular use and overuse of antibiotics has led to new and resistant strains of bacteria showing up in humans. Think E. coli. Increased incidence of “staph” infections. The way we eat is making us sick.
In Michael Pollan’s lovely book, In Defense of Food, he says, “Eat food, mostly plants, not too much.” To that I would add, “Eat organic; eat locally and colorfully. And avoid sugar in all its forms.” Avoid toxic pesticides by eating organically. Fresh food has the most nutritional value for your body, so try to eat locally. The less it travels to reach your table, the fresher it’s likely to be. Grow your own food if you can. A tomato grown to withstand travel over hundreds of miles in the back of a truck is a very different tomato than one grown in your back yard.
Supplementing Your Diet
Because the nutrient value of our food supply has generally declined, and because many of us have become accustomed to the perceived convenience of a highly processed diet, nutritional supplements are often necessary to return the body to optimal function. Nutritional supplements are a billion-dollar industry. The profit motive has spurred the entry of many low-quality manufacturers into the market, so it has truly become an industry where “you get what you pay for”. I firmly believe supplements should be purchased from reputable companies with certified manufacturing practices. I recommend pharmaceutical grade supplements for my patients.
Sometimes, a person may be so sick, or have compromised gastrointestinal function, making it difficult to get adequate absorption of needed nutrients. For those patients we offer intravenous vitamins, antioxidants, and minerals as a means to quickly restore nutrients to optimal levels—a kind of jumpstart to get you feeling better faster and restore you to a level where you can better withstand the onslaughts (infections, toxins, etc.) of our everyday life.