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August 28th, 2013

The Prescription for What Ails Ya

Posted on 2013.08.28 at 12:45
Like many people, I have my morning routines. It begins when my husbear risks his life by waking my snarly self from my deep-slumber with fresh hot cup of coffee. I get up, make myself breakfast, read the paper, and eventually slog myself in to work. And then shortly after arriving at work, I continue my morning ritual by taking a small handful of pills. I take multivitamins because men my age should. I take Omega 3’s and glucosamine because they are good for my joints and particularly my bad and damaged knees. I take fiber because it is good for me. Etc., etc., etc.

Is this really the best way to go?

I tell myself that obviously my ancestors did not do things like this. I can’t imagine that cavemen made a point of taking pills. Certainly Roman Gladiators didn’t take omegas for their joints. Ah, but then again, dying of old age was not exactly a common concern for Gladiators, now was it?

I sometimes wonder if the need to take various supplements is a product of living longer? Or if it is really needed because the modern (over)processing of foods has removed some essential components? Or if it is all just a bit of clever marketing created to generate money for vitamin-producing corporations?

Or maybe – probably – a little bit of each.

Take Omega fatty acids, for instance. We know they benefit the joints by providing a natural lubricant. One CAN get lots of omegas by eating certain foods. Beef for instance – but it needs to be organic beef. Why? Because cows that are grass-fed (you know, like nature intended!) provide a better quality meat. But naturally, that is uber-expensive compared to the ground beef you can just pick up at the local grocery store. I supposed I could always stock up on fish. Oh wait, that’s right – I kinda HATE fish. So there we go.

In the modern age, when an ailment hits, one typically goes to the doctor who writes a prescription. I can’t say there is really anything wrong with that. The doctor is doing his job! Let’s say you exhibit a particular symptom and that symptom reveals you are low on a particular vitamin. Your doctor will instruct you to take that supplement. OK. Makes sense. But in the bigger picture, let’s think about it. Something in the bigger picture is wrong. If your body is supposed to get that vitamin just like other people, and for some reason you aren’t getting it – the question is WHY? Are you skipping out on a particular food group that you really should be eating?

I think we tend to forget sometimes that food is more than just fuel. Food is also chemistry. Food can be medicine. Food can be poison. Food can be good for you. Food can be bad for you. Food can impact your mood. Food can make or break you.

I often think to myself if part of our elementary education should be nutrition. Like most people, I can’t really say I’m educated on the chemistry of food. Sure, I can crack a book. But I haven’t thus-far been educated on which foods are rich in iron and what that really means for me. Beta-carotene? Seratonin? Glucose? Heck, I remember health class in the 70’s where “FAT” was a BAD word. Who knew, based on the campaigns of the 70’s that fat is actually a necessary component of good nutrition?

Like many people, I feel like I am very much removed from what to really eat to have a more natural and better overall quality-of-life. Sure, the pills help to balance what I’m missing.

But is there a better way?

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