Over the years I have had many patients ask me if they can maintain health solely by selecting the right foods or the “diet” that is perfect for them to maintain their health and to prevent disease. This is a great question that deserves a good answer! What we eat, we are!….But the question remains, is the so-called real food that real anymore? The quality of our food supply has been steadily diminishing over the last century. Dr. Royal Lee, a dentist researcher noted in the 1930’s that food even then was stripped of it’s vital nutrients. When whole food researchers have looked into the nutrient content of modern day foods that we assume are full of the building blocks for maintaining our health, they have found that those foods that we thought were “healthy” are no longer packed full of the nutrients that they were 100 years ago. For instance, an orange in today’s world has (according to one study) only about 5% of the vitamin C that oranges had in the early 1900’s!….So in other words, 95% less now vs. then! So then, what qualifies as good food? A helpful guide that has been formulated comes from the Weston A Price Foundation. This list contains rules (for good food) that must be obeyed for long-term health. Here they are:
1.The diets of healthy, non-industrialized peoples contain no refined or denatured foods or ingredients, such as refined sugar or high fructose corn syrup; white flour; canned foods; pasteurized, homogenized, skim or low-fat milk; refined or hydrogenated vegetable oil; protein powders; artificial vitamins; or toxic additives and colorings.
2. These diets contain at least four times the minerals and water soluble vitamins, and 10 times the fat soluble vitamins found in animal fats as the average American diet.
3. All traditional cultures cooked some of their food but consumed a portion of their animal foods raw.
4. A diet that has a high content of food enzymes and beneficial bacteria from lacto-fermented vegetables, fruits, beverages, dairy products, meats and condiments.
5. Seeds, grains and nuts are soaked, sprouted, fermented or naturally leavened to neutralize naturally occurring anti-nutrients such as enzyme inhibitors, tannins and phytic acid.
6. Total fat content varies from 30% to 80% of calories but only about 4% of calories come from polyunsaturated oils naturally occurring in grains, legumes, nuts fish, animal fats and vegetables. The balance of fat calories is in the form of saturated and mono-unsaturated fatty acids.
7. Equal amounts of omega-6 and omega-3 essential fatty acids.
8. A diet that makes use of animal bones, especially in the form of gelatin-rich bone broths.
So, now the question comes back full-circle….can we do all the above without supplementation? It is extremely hard to do in today’s busy world and on top of that, it has become increasingly hard to get the nutrient-dense foods that are required for the above 8 guidelines. (because of soils that have been depleted of organic nutrients that form the plants from which we and animals eat). But all the above being said, diet should be core, but in my experience cannot totally provide all that we need without supplementation. The supplementation should be just that, a supplement that you have been tested for that your specific physiology asks for….and we do that on a daily basis in our clinic with nutritional testing techniques!