I’ve been reading a lot of articles on the benefits of Vitamin D or Vitamin K or Magnesium. Very important stuff, but I’m not convinced that that reductionist view of health is creating more confusion than needed. It also means more work.

So you drink your milk to get calcium, and eat your carrots for beta carotene, but that can be a full time job managing getting all of the 100 or so nutrients your body needs daily.

When I was in school, one of my favorite books was over 600 pages of amazing information on how Calcium effects our body, and the signs of iodine deficiency, and the foods that contain each nutrient. I set out to provide people information on how to fill their nutrient buckets, the end result was confusion, frustration and lots of extra work.

I know there are some things that people don’t like – and though I know that our taste buds need adjustment so I encourage you to try it several times before you decide you hate it – or try different ways to prepare that food. Beets are a good example – an amazing powerhouse of nutrients – roasted, pickled, juiced, and other methods are yummy – and now beets are one of my favorite foods.

I think it’s important to have a few simple rules to incorporate– so here you go….

  1. Eat a wide variety of fresh organic vegetables daily – at least 6 servings. Buy local to maximize your nutrient content. This is live food – “life food”
  2. Eat seasonal food. By the brilliant design of God, each growing season, especially in states like Michigan where we have 4 seasons, provides us the nutrients we need to be healthy through that season. For example, the squashes and root vegetables common in fall and into winter contribute to bringing our body temperature up so we can handle the cold winters better.
  3. Eliminate processed foods – the fortification in processed foods is synthetic and not recognized or absorbed by your body – and in some cases may be harmful. Also, the additives in processed foods may take nutrients away in the digestion process. There is a reason this is called “dead food”.
  4. For the meat eaters – buy grass fed, organic, free range (really free range) animal products. Cows eating grass give you minerals, amino acids, and other nutrients you need. Cows eating corn and soy DON’T give you that, they give you sickness.
  5. Eat good fats – avocado, coconut oil, grass fed butter, olives, olive oil, nuts and seeds (hemp, pumpkin, squash, chia, quinoa, amaranth.
  6. Don’t forget herbs when you are looking for nutrient dense foods to add to your diet. Sea salt (celtic, pink, or real), pepper, cumin, cayenne pepper, oregano, thyme, basil, rosemary. These and many others have health benefits that you should not ignore. Many of the rules above apply to herbs too. They are easy to grow in healthy soil, season liberally using organic, locally grown, or wild harvested herbs!!

A quick note on supplements. I started my school believing I could get everything I need from food, and if I 1) had fewer years eating junk food, 2) were younger, 3) had many years to wait to feel better 3) were a better detoxifier (I have a gene polymorphism so I don’t detox well). If those factors didn’t exist, I could do that – and I know a few people who do. However the reality is that we live in a toxic world, our soil is very depleted so it doesn’t provide the nutrients we need, and we can’t afford to eat as many vegetables as needed to fill up our nutrient buckets. So I supplement. I take liquid vitamins, and a few capsules or small pills. There is NO one size fits all vitamin supplement, it’s important to customize your supplement regimin to your individual needs – a naturopath can help you do that.

Grow your own in organically prepared soil, head out to your farmers market once per week, find the vegetables in season and prepare those for your family. That’s a great place to start!

Blessings on your health journey