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We have all heard of the term; “you are what you eat” right? I’m sure we have, well it’s definitely true. There is absolute certainty that what we put into our bodies is exactly what we get. So how about you? Are you getting the right amount of nutrition you need every day to sustain the healthy state your body is meant to be in? Just take a second to think about it…
So let’s move on. Our food comes from the plants we eat and that forms the very roots of the human food chain. They provide us with the very important macro-nutrients we need to function; carbohydrates, sugars, proteins, fats and oils. However, there is a much bigger aspect of nutrition that we have just begun to grasp. Plants also provide us with the micro-nutrients such as vitamins, anti-oxidants, and minerals which are essential for maintaining healthy cellular function.
Now, vitamins and minerals are essential components in enzymes and co-enzymes which speed up chemical reactions necessary for cellular function. These chemical reactions take place in every cell in the body every second, so simply put; without vitamins and minerals, life simply won’t exist. So let’s take a step back… Plants do not make vitamins or minerals, they actually absorb them from the soil and without both those micro-nutrients, plants do not work. So if important minerals are depleted from our soils, they will also be depleted in our bodies. Through chronic mineral deficiency, we develop degenerative diseases such as cancer, high blood pressure, diabetes, etc. It is no surprise that degradation in mineral and nutrient content have lead to nutritionally related diseases in both animal and human populations.
“The alarming fact is that foods – fruits, vegetables and grains – now being raised on millions of acres of land that no longer contain enough of certain needed nutrients, are starving us – no matter how much we eat of them.”
~ Us Senate Document 264 (1936)
From the above statement, we can see already that there have been large amounts of evidence behind the degradation of land, and the funny thing is this document is almost eight decades old.
To break it down, we are now lacking nutrients in all of our food due to modern mass agriculture techniques, erosion, pesticides, food processing and chemical fertilizers. I’ll help you understand it just a little further. As our population continues to grow, unfortunately, our land does not, hence as the population of humans expand, the need for food increases which forces farmers to mass farm their lands and use various stimulant chemicals to force crops into accelerated growth. Through the use of such methods – Earth’s topsoil gets depleted at a rate which is unsustainable causing more and more health problems. From the 1992 RIO Earth Summit, the statistics released are shocking as shown below.
With that being released 25 years ago its no wonder that the amount of multiple micronutrient deficient sufferers have increased. The overweight are just as malnourished as the starving. In essence, it is not the quantity of food that is the issue – it is the quality (Thomas D. 2002). Unlike our ancient ancestors, we cannot simply pick up our tents and move land to where there are more soil nutrients. We as a modern day society is stuck with what we have and we must respect nature. This impoverished soil leads to significant declines in vitamin and mineral content in the food we eat, especially in collard greens (cabbage and broccoli) as shown in a report conducted by the Life Extension Foundation in 2000.
Now I’m not trying to scare you with the facts, but if you take a step back and look at what you’re eating, it is quite horrific. By putting 1+1 together you can see exactly what we have been putting into our mouths all along.
From this sort of data and looking at the government’s standards for fruit and vegetables which are only limited to size, shape, and colour- they do not even consider nutritional value (Marler, JB. et al. 2006). It is no wonder, we are suffering even when we think we are eating a balanced diet. With those standards, it’s not surprising that we must eat eight oranges in order to intake the same amount of vitamin A as our grandparents got from one single orange.
So with these kinds of food standards, do you really think you’re getting the right amount of nutrition you need to sustain a healthy lifestyle? So the question now is, how can you fill up the nutrient gaps caused by mass modern agriculture? How can you ensure that you are getting the optimal amount of nutrition every day?
Marler JB, Wallin JR. Human Health, the nutritional Quality of Harvested Food and Sustainable Farming Systems. Nutrition Security Institute 2006.
Thomas D. The mineral depletion of foods available to us as a nation (1940-2002) – a review of the 6th Edition of McCance and Widdowson. Nutr Health 2007; 19:21-55.
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