If you’ve followed the blog, you know my take on supplements. I’m not a fan. They’re dangerous, because they’re highly processed and poorly regulated. They’re expensive. These supplements also have a more pernicious effect. Taking supplements lulls you into a pattern of poor decisions and subsequently diminished health.
If I believe I can get my nutrition from a capsule or a package, what incentive do I have to learn how to eat for fuel and well-being? I’m in a mindset of eating less than optimal food because “my supplements have my back.”
In my early twenties, I had a protein shake after every workout. I never needed to learn about the different animals/fish I could eat. Even though these foods would have provided me with not only the building blocks for muscle, but omega-3 fatty acids as well, I relied on my powders. If I had known about the importance of fatty acids, I probably would have just bought a bottle of pills to wash down with my shake. I’d undoubtedly be missing something else.
Imagine a world in which supplements were non-existent. We would be forced to utilize the science of trial and error to optimize for health. When we were sick, we’d reach for foods in nature that made us feel better. When encountering nausea, for example, we’d discover ginger. From umm.edu.com:
Ginger — the “root,” or actually the rhizome, of the plant Zingiber officinale — has been a popular spice and herbal medicine for thousands of years. It has a long history of being used as medicine in Asian, Indian, and Arabic herbal traditions. In China, for example, ginger has been used to help digestion and treat stomach upset, diarrhea, and nausea for more than 2,000 years. Ginger has also been used to help treat arthritis, colic, diarrhea, and heart conditions.
If our default setting is to reach for a bottle of vitamin C when we’re zapped with a cold, we limit our ability to truly boost our immune system by expanding our tastes to include foods chock full of the nutrient. Bell peppers, dark leafy greens, kiwis, broccoli, berries, citrus fruits, tomatoes, peas and papayas each contain powerful doses of not only vitamin C, but plenty of other healthy nutrients. Many of us never feel the need to incorporate this level of diversity because we consider ourselves covered by the supplement aisle.
It’s critical that we not just see the surface layer of our choices. We’ve already agreed that consuming substances essentially crafted by man may not be right for our body. Now we can be also be aligned on the negative impact supplements have on our food choices.