Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Bridging the Nutrient Gap

May 17, 2011, Daytona Beach, FL

“You are what you eat!” These words are more important then ever in our nutrient dead world. If there
is one thing that we need to control in our life, which plays a vital role in our overall health, it is our diet. It seems inevitable that the words "heart disease" and "cancer" will be around for decades to come, so eating healthy and choosing smart food is now more important than ever. Why is this so? What have we done to ourselves? Let's start by going back about one hundred years. Here was a world that was many times less
threatening to our health. There wasn’t a need for organic grown foods because all the foods we ate
were just that - organic. Foods back then were grown without pesticides and chemicals because there
was no such thing. Crops were grown in soil that was many times more fertile and nutrient dense than
today's nutrient depleted farmlands. There was no such thing as Genetically Modified Organism foods (GMO's), high fructose corn syrup, or hydrogenated oils (Trans Fats). Our children were not nearly as obese, and fast food restaurants were nothing but a fantasy. Back then, we had plenty of healthy foods to go around but lacked the nutritional knowledge that we now have. Today, we have the knowledge to stay healthy but our environment is littered with obstacles; free radicals, pollution, pesticides, chemicals, ozone,
etc., that hinder this goal.

Today’s environment is in agony compared to the "good ole days." With global population continuing to soar, and to keep up with the growing demand, we are faced with mass produced foods that are processed more than ever. Top this with a never ending barrage of pesticide laden crops, unhealthy meats, dairy products filled with antibiotics and hormones, poultry products that may be causing young girls to reach puberty as young as six years old, and you have a formula for metabolic disaster. No, this is not just rhetoric babbling going on here. These are hard cold facts about our society and the future health of our children. It all started with the ending of WW II when the war chemical companies decided that our crops needed only three things to grow; nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium. Therefore, a fertilizer was created for farmers called NPK. Little did they know that this would mark the beginning of natural disaster. These fertilizers quietly depleted the soil of vital minerals that the plants thrived on. As a result, the plants suffered and could no longer produce their own internal pesticide compounds. Crops suffered from pest infiltration and the farm industry needed help. This led to the invention of pesticides - the rest is history! Our nation spills over three billion pounds of pesticides every year on crops. The levels of pesticide build up in the average person is many times higher than those levels of fifty years ago. Enough said!

Next up, the invention of the TV dinner fad back in the 1970's. What could be better? A ready made
dinner you say, complete with crispy chicken, healthy mashed potatoes, and cherry cobbler pie? These TV
dinners paved the way to an obese nation. Filled with preservatives, fat, and cholesterol, these little
poison boxes filled our freezers. Lions and tigers and Hungryman chicken dinners, oh my! From there we started to see the widespread use of artificial flavors and colors in our foods. Just to let everyone know, many artificial colors, such as red #40, are derived from "coal tar." Yes, COAL TAR! Do you really feel comfortable feeding your children food that powers a train? Then it was high fructose corn syrup and trans fats, both which result in the storage of fat in our body. Then all of a sudden, “Bang!, our candy bars doubled in size and contained four peanut butter cups instead of the once plenty satisfying two cups. Way to go guys, help keep our kids fat. Our nation, now hooked on sugar and fat, has grown out of control. More than half of our children are overweight and many of those are obese, being thirty or more pounds overweight.

Fear not though, there are a few very easy things you can do right now to protect your family and encourage good health for each one of them. For starters, it is best to limit red meat consumption to once a week. Once a month is more like it and cutting it off completely is even a wiser decision. Purchase organic red meat. This will assure that the meat is not filled with antibiotics and hormones, and that the animals were allowed to roam and graze while being raised. Free range animals yield leaner, healthier cuts of meat. Opt for organic poultry and choose fish, such as wild caught salmon and tilapia for your protein needs. If you want to take it one step further, add a tablespoon of chlorella and spirulina powder to your diet every day. Chlorella, a super food plant algae, is 60% protein and almost as complete as any animal protein, not to mention dozens of other healthy nutrients in every tablespoon. Use this same practice on your dairy products also. Non organic milk is one of the unhealthiest foods one can have. Choose organic milk for you and your family. Once again this will assure that the milk is free of antibiotics, hormones, and other harmful chemicals. Also remember that it is smart to drink milk alone and without anything else. Milk hinders the absorption of any other nutrient inside the body. The milk curdle surrounds other foods and prevents gastric acids from breaking down the food particles and therefore should be consumed by itself.

Next is a multivitamin. Take one per day, every day. Get a high quality potency vitamin (Centrum is a
good brand), and take one every day with one of your meals. Even better, opt for a natural whole food
vitamin. This will give your body a reserve of much needed essential nutrients just in case your diet
is lacking a bit. Because some vitamins such as A,D,E, and K are fat soluble, you must take your
vitamin with some food. These fat soluble vitamins must mix with a drop of fat to be successfully
absorbed by the body. Without any fat, the small intestine will be unable to process these vitamins.
Even with this said, the bioavailability of vitamin supplements is very small and only a fraction of the vitamin's ingredients will be absorbed. Supplement companies are only required to put the chemical equivalent to the ingredient on the label. Therefore, if the vitamin label says "Vitamin B12 - 100 mcg," don't think that your body will be enjoying 100 mcg of B12. The average absorption rate of B12 is only around 3%. Absorption rates vary per substance and do depend on other factors, such as supplement quality, bioavailability, etc. Bottom line is that you must choose healthy foods and a healthy lifestyle to keep the synergy of a healthy
body in check.

Next is yogurt, yes yogurt, get to know it, get to love it. Sorry to be so frank here but just one cup of natural yogurt per day will supply your body with a billion or more of healthy good bacteria, otherwise known as probiotics. These healthy bacteria keeps your digestive system in sync and makes absorption of nutrients more efficient. Not all yogurt will provide these benefits though. Choose only natural yogurt that lists "LAC" on the label -Live Active Cultures. Avoid any yogurt that has artificial flavors or colors. Check the ingredients and you will see which ones are good for you.

Next are fruits and veggies. Do your best to have 5-7 servings per day. We know this sounds like a lot, and to be honest, it is a lot, but just give it a shot. Choose frozen vegetables over canned ones for the highest nutrition yield and lowest preservatives/additives per serving. Wash fruits and veggies thoroughly before eating them. It would be wise to use a vegetable scrub to wash your fruits and veggies before eating. This will help wash away any wax and pesticides that have accumulated on them. Some companies actually spray their produce with a layer of wax to keep them shiny and protect the outer layer. It is best to avoid thin skinned fruits such as grapes, apples, strawberries, blueberries, unless they are organic. Pesticides sprayed on these thin skins absorb easily into the fruit. The best veggies to eat are the dark green ones such as broccoli, brussel sprouts, spinach, collard greens, green beans, and peas. These contain plenty of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants for a healthy immune system. Cosmetically perfect fruits and veggies should be avoided. These likely have had the most pesticides applied to them. Remember, bugs have feelings too. They will choose a pesticide free apple to reside compared to the unhealthier option. A bug in your food
will not kill you; but a pound of pesticide filled grapes eaten daily can though! Other than this, please,
keep your kids and loved ones away from any foods that list high fructose corn syrup or hydrogenated
oil on the ingredient label. We could write hundreds of pages alone on the dangers of these two
ingredients. Bottom line, they are bad for you, and even worse for your children. They were invented by
major food chains to lower costs and increase food production. Stay away from them! The label may be
sneaky and list PARTIALLY hydrogenated oil, but this is just as bad. Any ingredient listed as
"hydrogenated" is otherwise known as a trans fat. High fructose corn syrup is another cost saving
technique for the major food companies to cut costs at the expense of our health. High fructose corn
syrup promotes the storage of fat and is an ingredient to avoid. Drink plenty of healthy pure water too. If your tap water is healthy, then choose tap over bottled water. It not only is better for you, but also will help conserve our planet's natural resources. Are you starting to see the "greener" side of things? It is recommended that a person drink one half their weight in water, in ounces of course. For example, if you weigh 100 pounds, then you should ideally drink approximately 50 ounces of quality water per day. Add a reverse osmosis system to your house. It will pay for itself in the long run and assure healthy water for you and your family. Be smart when it comes to snacks and desserts. Swap some homemade trail mix for those cookies and chips. Choose almonds and sunflower seeds over that candy bar. If you do get the urge to eat some bad food, make sure you do it in moderation. Never eat or snack while watching TV or reading a book. Choose natural eco-friendly foods whenever possible and help keep our planet safe for our children and their children. The previous tips will help you and your family completes the nutrition gap to what it once
was - organic and safe.

If you want to top off your new revived health plan, then opt for a health shake a few times per week or every day for optimum nutrient support. All of us here at Florida Herb House try to have a daily health drink that consists of:

4 oz - Aloe Juice
2 oz - Purified Water
1 tsp. - Wheatgrass Powder
1 tsp. - Spinach Powder
1 tsp. - Chlorella Powder
1 tsp. - Spirulina Powder
2 Tsp. - Flax Seeds
Handful of Frozen Fruits
Ice Cubes

Blend on High for 30 seconds.
(On weekends add a scoop of natural ice cream! )

Choose your herbs as you wish but keep in mind that any of the green super foods (wheatgrass, barley
grass, chlorella, spirulina, spinach, etc.) contain the most nutrient dense goodness per serving. This
drink supplies the ultimate compliment of vitamins, minerals, protein, fiber, chlorophyll, EFA's, and
over 20 phytonutrients to help support a healthy body and immune system. Ask your local food store to
stock more organic food items and do your part to help create a greener, safer environment for our children and their children. And, remember to incorporate exercise into your health regimen. Thirty minutes per day is all it takes to keep your body's cells rejuvenated. For more information about eating right in the millennium, please e-mail Lee Sharp at Info@FloridaHerbHouse.com or visit http://www.floridaherbhouse.com/.

Lee Sharp
Florida Herb House
S. Daytona Beach, FL 32119

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