"Is it chicken?"
For most physicians, nutrition makes up a small percentage of what we study in medical school. This is one area that I've always felt could have used more focus -- with such a small amount of time spent learning about nutrition, as a whole, we are not able to adequately instruct our patients on what proper nutrition means, what to eat or how to make the right decisions to support our individual needs.
In addition, you may agree that the majority of people do not pay enough attention to nutrition -- in part because of the relative abundance in our country. When you think about it, our abundant choices can make us less discerning when choosing food!
I feel that good nutrition is better than any medication
for preventing and healing illness.
When a person joins one of our health programs at Elite Wellness, we start from a baseline with our customized curriculum -- each client relearns what good nutrition is. Most of our new clients are not aware of the information...and they are surprised but what they learn. Our clients quickly learn that food is medicine and they also learn how to choose wisely, even when faced with an abundance of options.
Separately from relearning their nutrition habits, we find that so many of our clients are focused on taking supplements, and this is a strange “addiction” to break. Recently, several of my clients inquired about a regularly advertised product, that proudly claims to have all of the nutrients of over seventy diﬀerent fruits and vegetables in two or three little capsules. Think about it...is it that easy?
In our rapidly-moving society and with our on-the-go culture, it is certainly easier to swallow capsules than to prepare and chew actual fruit and veggies. So many of the people I speak with believe that, with these capsules, they have all of the nutrition they require. My usual response is to explain all of the other beneﬁts of whole foods (which I will not get in to here!)...but the bottom line is that you simply can't replace the real thing that easily. Let's talk about why.
Well...let me ask you - Do you know what fiber actually is?
Did you know that most people cannot name the major food groups? Not only that, but most people don't truly understand what fiber is or where it comes from.
In my practice, one of the most recurring nutrition-related conversations is around fiber, specifically.
I am frequently asked questions like:
Is chicken ﬁber?
Is there ﬁber in french fries...in apple juice...in spaghetti?!
Aren't all fruits and vegetables equal in fiber?
So...What is fiber?
Plant-based foods are composed of parts that are digested and absorbed, but the ﬁber is the part of the plant that our bodies cannot digest. The undigestible part of the plant gets down to our intestines, and are acted upon by the good bacteria in our systems, our microbiome (which we frequently try supplement with probiotics).
Therefore, simply put, high ﬁber foods are plants, anything that grows in the soil...and these plant-based foods, in addition to ﬁber, carry all sorts of vitamins, minerals and other nutrients.
As opposed to taking a capsule or supplement, the nutrients in whole foods such as various plants, are synergistic. This means that the nutrients obtained from fresh whole foods work together, like an orchestra, to make us healthy, keep our intestines working properly, help promote even more good bacteria, and increase our resistance to disease!
The message is clear...
If you are following a proper nutrition plan (unless you have a speciﬁc digestive or medical issue -- for example, you cannot process B vitamins properly), supplements are not necessary!
Here's one more thought for your consideration... I hear from a lot of my patients and wellness clients that they don't "splurge" on organic food...that good, organic whole foods are too expensive. Yet...they have an inventory of supplements at home.
Think about that.
Here's their reality... Purchasing organic foods will cost, on average, $16 more per month than lower quality foods. Supplements, including the veggie capsules, will cost up to $100 per month.
So...what's the moral of the story?
Get healthy: enjoy the appearance, the smell, and the taste, of a wide variety of real food...and toss the capsules! Speak to your physician about whether you really need supplements and, like medications, take supplements only if you truly need them.
Remember, good food is the best medication you can ever take!
...and if you are looking for new recipes that incorporate organic food and proper nutrition, make sure to stop by our Facebook page for some of my family's favorite recipes.