Growing up, we are taught, or more accurately told many things. When we are told or hear something often enough we tend to believe it. If the individual(s) are in a position of authority or seen as an expert it tends to lead credence to whatever it is we are told. In reality, we often need to look beyond the position or title, beyond the suit, beyond the “science” and “studies” that are thrown your way. It is vital to investigate and research those things you are not familiar with. Let’s take a look at a few “Truths” and discover the Reality.
Myth & Legends #1: The Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) for nutrition is the guideline to follow to determine what you need everyday.
Reality: The RDA is defined as “the average daily dietary intake level that is sufficient to meet the nutrient requirements of nearly all (approximately 98 percent) healthy individuals.” What is meant by “healthy”? In this situation “healthy” is a person of average build, height and weight (for males this is 5’ 8” about 150 lbs. – females are about 5’ 3” and 115 lbs.) with no bad habits (smoking or drinking), who exercise moderately, has no stress and lives in a healthy environment. If you are paying attention you should see a few problems:
I honestly don’t even know many people that fall within the average build, height and weight qualification so the RDA is going to be off, and in most cases insufficient as most of the population fall above these parameters.
Second on the list is “no bad habits.” A large portion of the population does smoke or have smoked which has caused damage and will require increased levels of nutrients to support the healing process. I don’t actually know many people that do not drink alcohol with some degree of consistency so here again is damage to the body requiring additional nutrition to combat the harm.
This is good, “exercise moderately.” It turns out that, “moderate” exercise is sustained 10-30 minutes a day of walking at a leisurely pace. I would hate to see what “low” intensity it. What is scary is that for a rather large percentage of the population, 10 to 30 minutes of sustained walking is a lot. From a cardiovascular perspective, a lot of people are severely de-conditioned. On the other hand there are many people addicted to exercise and challenging themselves on almost a daily basis. In these instances, the RDA is severely insufficient. It takes a lot of nutrients to allow the body to heal or recover from strenuous and / or frequent bouts of exercise.
Now it gets really fun, “no stress” and “lives in a healthy environment.” Both are impossible as we live in a modern society where we are bombarded on all sides and all directions with stress. Remember that stress is physical, emotional, mental, spiritual, nutritional, chemical and environmental in origin. Here are some common stressors:
- We are actively being irradiated by Fukushima and the past 1200+ nuclear detonations.
- Geoengineering (geoengineeringwatch.org) or the spraying of toxic metals and chemical aerosols to modify the weather is altering our environment and hindering our health.
- According to the EPA, in 2002 over 7.1 billion pounds of 650 different industrial chemicals were released into the air and water. 266 of them are linked to birth defects. Worldwide, the estimate approaches 80 billion pounds.
- Consider the Body Burden II study published by the Environmental Working Group (www.ewg.org) that looked at the the umbilical cords of 10 newborn babies and detected 287 chemicals. All of them are linked to cancer, developmental problems and or changes to the nervous system.
- In March 2005 Discover magazine ran an article that showed pollutants from China travelled across the Pacific Ocean and the West Coast. I am really glad that China has proven so successful in minimizing pollution, look at Beijing (insert sarcasm).
- Should I even mention Mercury amalgams, vaccine ingredients and Fluoridated water that shown to decrease IQ?
- How many people hate their job, are in bad relationships, live paycheck to paycheck, swamped with debt, stuck in traffic, have no purpose, etc.
How do you hide or defend against the stressors I mentioned? I have only touched upon a few stressors, the list is endless.
The problem with stress is that it increases the demand for nutrients and depletes your existing reserves. Chronic stress produces a nutrient depleted state which undermines your stress defenses, your body’s ability to adapt to and resolve stress. In other words your health suffers and signs and symptoms of dis-ease appear. Considering this, it should be obvious that the RDA is practically worthless for everyone if you live in anything other than a fantasy world.
Myth and Legend #2: You can get all your nutrition from your diet.
Reality: Maybe 100 years ago, but definitely not today. The foods today don’t even resemble the foods from the 1950’s in their nutritional profile.
A study in 1993 compared organically grown food versus commercial supermarket foods for basic nutrient levels. The conclusion was “….the average elemental concentration in organic foods on a fresh weight basis was found to be twice that of commercial foods.” For example, organically grown sweet corn had 1,000 percent more calcium, 2,200 percent more iodine and 300 percent more magnesium. Organically grown wheat had 360 percent more potassium, 160 percent more copper, and 80 percent more zinc.
The 10 to 20+ % more you pay for organic food translates to usually more than a 50 percent gain in nutritional value. So, per unit nutrient, you pay less for organically raised food! Not only that, you don’t have to contend with pesticides and herbicides that may “soak up” some of the nutrition or be outright poisonous in themselves.
In 1936 the U.S. Senate published Document 264, which stated that American soils had become exhausted and were deficient in many minerals. The document states: “Laboratory tests prove that the fruits, the vegetables, the grain, the eggs, and even the milk and meat of today (1936) are not what they were a few generations ago”
The World Health Organization reported that in 2000, American soils were 95 percent deficient compared with soils of 100 years ago.
While the studies appear to show a bleak outlook. You can still get a large portion of your nutrient needs from food as long as you consume real whole foods that occur naturally in nature and are grown or raised the way nature intended, in living soil. In other words, get to know your farmer(s) and ask questions about how they grow and raise their food. The use of supplements should be to “supplement” your diet, not make up for poor choices as the poor choices will create a greater need for more nutrition as the body struggles to process the poor food choices.
Myth & Legends #3: The Vegan Diet is the perfect diet – You can swap in any number of popular diets including the Paleo or Mediterranean.
Reality: The fact that there are numerous “perfect” diets should be your first clue that no diet can be the perfect diet for everyone. There is one primary reason for this, Biochemical Individuality. Biochemical Individuality is a term Dr. Roger J. Williams created (and a published book I encourage you to read). Essentially it means that the nutritional and chemical make-up of each person is unique and that dietary needs therefore vary from person to person. When you throw in additional variables of lifestyle and sources of chronic stressors associated with your lifestyle and the environment you live, it should be obvious that every individual has unique and specific nutritional needs.
Further proof of this Biochemical Individuality was discovered before the work of Dr. Williams. Dr. Weston A. Price (Nutrition and Physical Degeneration) was a dentist who traveled the globe in the 1930’s to look at primitive cultures (primitive referring to populations that had not yet been exposed to processed modern foods). He found incredibly healthy populations that showed little if any dental problems, much less any of the diseases prevalent for the times. The significance of the chart below is that it showed that optimal health can be created on a variety of diets. The food variety was based upon geographical locations and availability. The only common traits were that all the foods were whole foods and if processed they were processed minimally by hand.
In essence, while no diet is perfect for everyone, everyone has a perfect diet. Your perfect diet is one that supplies your body its specific nutritional requirements that nourish your cells and allow your tissue, glands, organs and systems to function optimally, repairing damage, building tissue and becoming healthy, and most important remaining healthy through the remainder of your life.
If you are looking for optimal health you need to eat right for your Biochemical Individuality. You need to find an approach that supplies your body what it requires and adapts to your changing needs as your body heals over time. There is only method I know that fits this criteria, Metabolic Typing®. Bill Wolcott, author of The Metabolic Typing Diet has been practicing and fine-tuning Metabolic Typing® for over 30 years. I personally practice it myself and with clients. I can guarantee that when applied properly you will realize significant improvements in overall health and function and most important it can be maintained over a lifetime.
Keep your eyes and ears open for future installments of Myths and Legends