Thinking Positive about Supplements
Consuming a variety of natural health products (NHPs) is like exercise... a wise and intelligent thing to do. They reinforce the body with essential nutrients, clean non-contaminated macronutrients, antioxidants and can provide enormous adaptogenic value. NHPs include individual vitamins & minerals, multiple vitamin & mineral complexes, fitness packs, individual amino acids, protein powders, energy stimulants, antioxidant blends, meal replacements, sports bars, electrolyte aids, ergogenic aids, botanical extracts, herbal tinctures, probiotics, homeopathic remedies, organic seed oils and enzymes.
Dietary supplements protect the body from environmental chemicals, pollution and poison. They enhance immune function and are an excellent addition to a healthy diet. Don't think of them as nutritional fillers to compensate for a poor, highly processed diet or unhealthy lifestyle. Although true, this premise has a negative connotation. Think of supplements as a high tech approach to making the best diet in the world even better. Think of supplements as an opportunity to strengthen your immune system, to make something strong even stronger.
Think of a diet without supplements like traveling in coach. Think of a diet reinforced with supplements like traveling in first class. If given the opportunity to fly from Vancouver to Hong Kong and the ticket was complimentary, how would you prefer to fly? First Class (Business Class) with caviar, steak & asparagus, vintage wine, choice of several movies on a personal DVD monitor and plenty of leg room, or in the back cramped like a sardine on a diet of pretzels?
Think of supplements as a logical, rational means to a specific worthwhile end (but also think of the journey). Both William James and Norman Vincent Peale said "If we think in positive terms we will get positive results". So think positive about supplements. Think of using supplements in conjunction with an excellent whole food diet. Instead of "filling gaps" lay down more concrete to make the foundation of your health as strong as possible, because like it or not... the storm is coming!
Don't Leave Nutrition to Chance
Your vitamin program should be tailor-made according to your present health, bodytype, performance demands, genetics and dietary intake. These days you have to work hard at eating healthfully. Like training, good nutrition requires planning, scheduling, discipline and self-control. That's what the acronym D.I.E.T literally means - Discipline in Energy Transfer! You cannot leave nutrition to chance, because high quality food is absolutely vital for optimum performance and the prevention of disease, sarcopenia and chronic degeneration. A diet left to "chance" leaves you wide open as a mark - like a deer in an open meadow or a sitting duck. For every health food store and grocery outlet that provides whole, organic decent food, there are ten thousand alternatives which provide the opposite.
Profit Not Health
Remember, the motive behind the production of most "food" (if you want to call it that) in the Western world today is profit, not consumer health and public welfare. The science of nutrition is completely ignored and virtually no consideration is given to what happens to an individual after consuming a meal loaded with trans-fats, high-glycemic empty carbs and denatured protein.
Eating smart means paying attention to everything you consume, when you consume it, and why. Many of us fall prey to eating disorders caused by stress (prolonged cortisol release) and the build-up of negative emotions including loneliness, insecurity, anger, fear and guilt. If you know you have an eating disorder that is out-of-control, please tell someone you trust. Someone who won't judge, condemn or ridicule you. In the end you will have to face your fears and do what's best with health and wellness in mind.
Food addiction (so-called) is just as serious and potentially destructive as alcoholism or addiction to tobacco. This behavior is usually associated with much deeper emotional problems, although micronutrient deficiencies and poor quality macronutrients can alter brain biochemistry which affects rational judgment. Food should heal, not destroy. Nature intended all of us to eat to live. But fast food allows us to medicate ourselves in ways not possible with natural food.
We All Fall Short
When our diets are collectively analyzed and quantified objectively, it's easy to see that everyone falls short of achieving optimum amounts of minerals, vitamins, fiber, enzymes, etc... It's simply a matter of degree and the shortage varies in quantity from person to person. This is due to a number of variables, including the manner in which we eat, what and why we eat, environmental stress, digestive limitations, the fertility of soil our food is grown in, pressure to conform to social convention, widespread ignorance, the way we prepare our foods, and so on. We are all biochemically unique, born with unique micronutrient requirements passed on from our parents... and our children inherit ours. This is why it's so important to take dietary supplements regardless of how we feel or whether we perceive our diet as being excellent... each of us has special biochemical needs for micronutrients that cannot be met by food alone.
Many people are afraid to take vitamins. Some parents think of sport supplements, especially creatine or amino acids, as steroids. Vitamin bashers warn the masses about overdosing with vitamin A for example, while hundreds of thousands die each year from prescription medication and iatrogenic disease. No wonder there are so many health problems in our culture! Even if you consumed organic fresh food every 2 - 3 hours, with the ideal amount of carbohydrates, protein and fats based on your energy requirements, body composition and training objectives, it would still be impossible to obtain the ideal amount of micronutrients from food alone. This is why we all need to understand and utilize a variety of screening and diagnostic tools to objectively monitor our body's state.
Never base your health exclusively on how you feel. "Feelings" alone are too subjective. For example, the famed actor Michael Landon felt great just before he was first diagnosed with cancer... I heard him say this on national television. But sadly, he passed away just three months after his diagnosis. A good friend and I spoke on the phone several years ago. He said all was well. Two months later he felt sick and went to his doctor to find out what was the matter. After several tests he was diagnosed with leukemia. Six months later he died at age 48, leaving behind his beloved wife and two children, all who suffered terribly from the loss.
Many toxicants like DDT, Dioxin and PCB do their damage slowly and silently. Cancer is insidious and takes decades to eventually manifest as a disease with a label. But it is working inside every living body and kept in check with a strong, vibrant and healthy immune system. Don't think for one minute that what you eat doesn't influence the outcome of your life! It does, and it will, and if you start living for health for the sake of health, then optimum health is what you will find. Take the highest quality supplements you can buy everyday for the rest of your life.