These days, many people presume that supplementing their diets with ample amounts of nutritional supplements is one of the easiest methods to pursue a healthy, and hopefully, disease free life. This is an erroneous way of thinking, but is accepted as common practice by the masses. In the past, vitamins were used with diets that were lacking in calories, as a quick fix way to get the basic vitamins and minerals which a body needs. However, vitamins are much more sophisticated today. It would appear that in today's economy of scale and our highly advanced scientific era, you can pretty much get any vitamin on its own and in its purest form. Its mind-boggling really. If you have a deficiency in vitamin B12, no worries, just pickup a bottle of B12 at the local super market, drug store or nutrition house… or, if you are REALLY needing a fix, go for a B12 booster shot from your general practitioner. Voila! Instant physical gratification.
But wait a minute, let's take a step back and ask ourselves what does all this really mean?
Much of the foods we eat today lack the nutrient density and nourishment which our bodies crave. Think about it, our parents (at least those born pre-TV dinners) used to sit down and eat prepared meals from scratch. They grew up in an era when Mom would make dinner with raw, unprocessed, non-enriched ingredients – good “whole” foods. To get an idea of what I mean by over-processed, overly enriched foods, pickup anything in a box or carton at the food market and read the label. Trust me, a good rule of thumb is if any of the first three ingredients is a something you couldn't spell or pronounce, don't eat it. Foods today are stripped of everything that's good for us, then rebuilt, re-enriched, re-packaged for sale back to us. And then we willingly accept the extra cost in price because it's now “enriched” with something it didn't have before… Huh?!
Not to discourage anyone in any way, but based on the lack of nourishment in much of the foods we eat, today we're left with little choice but to seek out supplementing our diet with additional vitamins and minerals. In some cases, people with various food restrictions or sensitivities are left with absolutely no other option but to supplement their diet with a variety of pills, tablets, tinctures and such. A good friend of mine claimed that as a vegan he was ridding his body of all the toxins and “enriched-processed” chemicals that he'd been eating his whole life. After a long 3 months, this same friend along with getting very sick also lost about 20 pounds of muscle. Was it because his diet was poor? No I don't think so. He appeared to be eating all the right stuff, he educated himself on how to eat as a vegan, but clearly there was some disconnect with what he ate and what his body was absorbing relative to what his body was “craving” as essential.
Any how, I believe my friend would have been more successful on his Vegan diet had he supplemented with a high-quality multi-vitamin and mineral supplement so he could have a the very least got the minimum recommended levels essential to proper body function. An interesting aside, immediately giving in to the fact that the vegan way of eating wasn't working for him, he adopted the Zone Diet by Dr. Barry Sears and quickly gained back the muscle, complexion and energy levels (and yes, he did end up supplementing his diet with a good multi which I suggested he try).
I could go on and on about this topic and there are a ton of people out there that believe that supplementing the diet with vitamins and such is wrong. Well, so is the Canadian Food Guide, and people are challenging that status quo as well. I'm just one person with an opinion and can attest to the fact that I feel FANTASTIC and I supplement my Paleo diet with numerous nutritional supplements. (If you are interested, I can expand on this in a future post)
To ensure that your body remains at it's best, you should make sure that you get the right amount of vitamins with your diet. You can find vitamin supplements locally at your neighborhood health food store or online, and not to worry, there's 100's of brands to choose from. Just make sure to stick with a brand that's been around for a LONG time and is deemed reputable. If it looks like it comes out of someone's garage then don't buy it. Quite simply, I know if you supplement your diet with the right stuff along with a balanced whole food diet (long live Paleo!), you'll find that your health, vitality, performance and overall well-being will be fully optimized now and for years to come.