I hear it all the time from my clients:
“Lisa, we’re eating just like you told us to–lots of ancient grains, beans, fruits, and vegetables, nothing fatty or sugary. Now you’re recommending supplements, too? Taking so many pills just doesn’t seem natural. If Mother Nature felt I needed extra nutrients, wouldn’t she have put them in my food?”
It’s a perfectly valid question, and one which you may have wondered about at one time or another. I’ll tell you exactly what I tell my clients: If you want to fight disease and achieve maximum life span, you can’t do it with diet alone. You need the extra nutritional boost that only supplements can provide.
Lots of folks take supplements nowadays. For as many as 40 percent of American adults for example–about 100 million of them and this figure is similar in Europe–these pills have become nutritional staples. They’re also the backbone of a thriving, $10-billion-per-year industry.
In many ways, supplements are to humans what fertilizer is to plants. Give a plant adequate amounts of sunlight and water, and it will survive. Add some nutrient-rich fertilizer (organic, of course), and the plant will thrive.
For us humans, the same principle applies. A healthy, balanced diet supplies the body with sufficient nutrients to carry out routine tasks. (that’s when we eat a healthy diet)
Supplements such as vitamins, minerals, essential fatty acids, phytochemicals, and more enrich the body’s internal environment to fortify cellular protection, repair, and regeneration and support the Renewal process.
Disclaimer: I derive some of my income from selling supplements but I get enough questionson this topic, that I felt it was time to explain exactly why I choose to take and advocate for certain supplements.
Mother Nature’s Ulterior Motive
Of course, supplements, at least as we know them, haven’t been around all that long. How did our ancestors survive without them? To be painfully blunt, they didn’t.
You see, Mother Nature has never cared about optimum health. Nor has she concerned herself with longevity. Her main objective is survival and propagation of the species. So she programmed us humans to survive on even the crummiest diet, nutrition-wise, into our twenties, when we’re old enough to reproduce. Beyond that, we’re on our own.
This genetic twist is a throwback to primitive times, when supermarkets and refrigerators didn’t exist and food was not always plentiful. Those who could stay alive on very slim pickins had a tremendous survival advantage.
It is just not enough…
and why not want the best?
Over thousands of years, one generation has passed its “survival genes” on to the next. So thanks to our ancestors, we are equipped to subsist on minuscule amounts of the essential nutrients, just in case a famine comes along. But as I said before, this insurance policy remains effective only into our twenties–just long enough for us to reproduce. It includes no provision for aging.
By the time we reach our twenties, we have established lifelong eating habits. And because our survival genes have protected us from the adverse effects of our dietary transgressions, we have no reason to believe that what we’re eating (or not eating) is doing us any harm. So we continue feeding ourselves nutritionally vacant junk foods, unaware that they’re quietly eroding our health. Often we don’t see the effects for several decades.
The point here is this: Even with a lousy diet, we can remain fairly healthy through our first 20 to 30 years of life. But if we want to achieve optimum health and maximum life span, the nutritional bare bones just won’t cut it. We need to eat nutritious foods and we need to take supplements.
Even if we do eat a really fabulous diet – raw, vegan, paleo, you need to ask yourself, what about the logistics of these foods to market? The quality of the soil?
The nutritional content of spinach now is not the same as spinach 50 years ago… we just need more and who wants to eat 10 portions a day, really?
David Thomas – a geologist turned chiropractor – analysed data from McCance and Widdowson’s epic work, The Composition of Foods (a reference manual republished and updated by Government biochemists every few years).
During that 51-year period, potatoes appeared to have lost 47 per cent of their copper, 45 per cent of their iron and 35 per cent of their calcium while carrots showed even bigger declines. Broccoli – a ‘superfood’ rich in micronutrients and cancer-busting antioxidants – suffered an 80 per cent drop in copper while calcium content was a quarter of what it had been in 1940, a pattern repeated in tomatoes.
As Thomas pointed out: ‘You would need to have eaten 10 tomatoes in 1991 to have obtained the same copper intake as from one tomato in 1940.’
His theory is that modern horticulture methods such as hydroponics (growing fruits and vegetables in irrigated matting rather than soil) and chemical fertilisers, together with new varieties of crop, longer storage times and long-distance transport, may have caused changes in the nutritional value of the foods we eat.
And I don’t want ‘healthy enough’ I was the healthiest. The most healthy. I want optimal not minimal… don’t you?
After years of research, many books read, my own experience, advice from doctors, naturopaths, kinesiologists, sports nutritionists and herbalists plus time and money spent on numerous solutions, I have come up with my definitive list of supplements I believe in to want to promote and advocate them to you, based on goals and needs I have experienced and those of my 100s of clients.
Now, the first question I encounter when someone sees this list is the added expense to the weekly family budget but I want you to weigh this against the following:
– What is your health worth to you?
– What is it worth to you achieve your weight loss or body goals, or to feel more energetic and sleep better?
– How often do you throw away fresh fruit and vegetables? What is the cost of trying to load up on them to get the nutrients you need?
– How much do you spend on those items that are not good for your health: smoking, alcohol, take aways, junk food, soft drinks, coffee?
I don’t say this to shame or guilt you but rather to put it into perspective.
My recommendations are simply offered as suggestions and are by no means a ‘prescription’ to cure all ailments and all changes of diet and lifestyles need to be passed by your doctor.
Potential Problems with Choosing Supplements
You know what you are getting when your pharmacist fills your prescription. The government makes sure of it. Over-the-counter supplements are not controlled in this same way. Manufacturers often cut corners and this can become problematic for the average consumer.
The issues you might experience with over-the-counter supplements that you buy at your local drugstore or warehouse store include:
- The form of the nutrient may be cheap and poorly absorbed or used by the body.
- The dosage on the label may not match the dose in the pill.
- It may be filled with additives, colors, fillers, and allergens.
- The raw materials (especially herbs) may not be tested for toxins, such as mercury or lead, or may not be consistent from batch to batch.
- The factory in which it is produced may not follow good manufacturing standards, leading to inconsistent quality.
I use supplements in my own diet as a cornerstone of healing and repair, so I have investigated supplement makers and studied independent analyses of their finished products. I have learned there are a few companies I can rely on, many of which you can find in my online store.
Whether you follow my product recommendations or not, be sure to pick quality supplements and ones that contain nutrients and compounds that research.
Think of them as part of your diet. You want the best-quality food and the best-quality supplements you can buy.
Guidance from a trained dietitian, nutritionist, or nutritionally oriented physician or health care practitioner can be helpful in selecting the products that are right for you.
I have created a few resources on this subject. A FREE 1 page download you can access below or my fully Comprehensive Guide available to all my VIP Members in our Wheel of the Year programme.
For my own personal recommendations on what supplements to take, visit my online shop here.