A question often asked of me by clients is, “Do I really need to take supplements if I just eat a healthy diet?” My gut reaction to this question is “of course” however I have come to understand that what is considered a “healthy diet” has changed drastically over the passage of time. My premise is that few of us, this doctor included, actually consume the required amount of wholesome foods in the states or forms which create vibrant health. Many good people with excellent intentions report that they have a healthy diet when in fact it is far from healthy. This is especially true of those following the latest diet with its hormone replacement/metabolism boosting supplement trends promising that previously unattainable weight loss. My guess is if we as healthcare professionals where any good at creating health and proper weight through dietary recommendations there would be little need for the discussion and a multi-billion dollar industry would just collapse.
Video on the Real Reasons People Need Supplementation and Which Approach to Take
Let us have a look at what tradition diets of non-industrialized people actually contained and you can make the conclusion as to whether or not your diet stacks up. Please note that all of these cultures show no evidence of heart disease or obesity even with dietary trends that fly in the face of convention to today’s “expert” recommendations, especially when it comes to the consumption of saturated fat!
Characteristics of Traditional Diets According to Dr. Weston Price
1. The diets of healthy, non-industrialized peoples contain NO refined or denatured foods such as refined sugar or corn syrup; white flour; canned foods; pasteurized, homogenized, skim or low fat milk; refined or hydrogenated vegetable oils; protein powders; artificial vitamins; or toxic additives and colorings.
It what we are doing to food, especially diet food, having a drastic impact on our health and waistlines? Try to understand how the food got to your table and find ways to get good home cooking. Many of my younger clients who have lost their health remark that the last time they actually felt good was when they were living at home and eating mom’s cooking!!!!
2. All traditional cultures consume some sort of animal food, such as fish and other seafood; water and land fowl; land and sea mammals; eggs; milk and milk products; reptiles; and insects. The whole animal is consumed—muscles, organs, bone and fat.
Take that vegans – sorry, we still love you!
3. The diets of healthy, non-industrialized peoples contain at least FOUR times the calcium and other minerals and TEN times the fat-soluble vitamins found in animal fats (vitamin A, vitamin D, and Activator X) as the American diet.
This is better calcium, vitamins, and minerals than the 20 gallon drums people by from Costco for $5 a piece!!!
4. In all traditional cultures, some animal products are eaten RAW.
And they didn’t die of food poisoning.
5. Primitive and traditional diets have a high food enzyme content from raw dairy products, raw meat and fish; raw honey; tropical fruits; cold-pressed oils; wine and unpasteurized beer; and naturally preserved, lacto-fermented vegetables, fruits, beverages, dairy products, meats and condiments.
Gross, right? Wrong. Overcooking destroys tons of nutrients in foods we eat, especially enzymes and friendly bacteria.
6. Seeds, grains and nuts are soaked, sprouted, fermented or naturally leavened to neutralize anti-nutrients such as enzyme inhibitors, tannins and phytic acid.
We are what we eat — No, we are what we absorb.
7. Total fat content of traditional diets varies from 30% to 80% of calories but only about 4% of calories come from polyunsaturated oils naturally occurring in grains, legumes, nuts, fish, animal fats and vegetables. The balance of fat calories is in the form of saturated and monounsaturated fatty acids.
American Heart Association – ‘The way to a healthy heart it to eat less saturated fat and consume polyunsaturated vegetable oils’ – How has that worked out over the past 50 years?
8. Traditional diets contain nearly equal amounts of omega-6 and omega 3 essential fatty acids. These traditional fats have nourished healthy peoples for thousands of years: butter; tallow and suet from beef and lamb; lard from pigs; chicken, goose, and duck fat; coconut, palm and sesame oils; cold-pressed olive oil; cold-pressed flax oil; marine oils.
You can eat rich foods if you do not consume all the processed carbs and synthetic fats, okay! You will actually begin to feel full and become less likely to overeat.
9. All traditional diets contain some salt.
And their hearts did not explode from high blood pressure. People become salt sensitive when their bodies stop working properly – perhaps it is better to find out why rather than just give up salt.
10. All traditional cultures made use of animal bones, usually in the form of gelatin-rich meat broths.
That is a really inexpensive way to get your calcium and other minerals as well as key blood/immune building b-vitamins (in their whole form) and joint building compounds.
11. Traditional cultures make provisions for the health of future generations by providing special nutrient-rich foods for parents-to-be, pregnant women and growing children; by proper spacing of children; and by teaching the principles of right diet to the young.
The whole point of what I do – My type of doctoring is actually a replacement for the wise people who used to take care of the sick, pregnant, or young in the villages. Please also note that teaching is involved to help someone become self sufficient with knowledge of living principles.
So, if you diet does not stack up to this model you will likely need supplementation, and not just any form you might pick up from the market or drug store. This stuff is junk and likely not doing you any good. These forms of supplement are the ones that studies poke all types of holes in.
Organic wholefood concentrates are not in the same class as fractionated and super concentrated vitamin supplements so please do not be concerned if you are on Standard Process or something like it. Most of the questionable supplement are sourced from fossilized plants – these plants that made the vitamin have no need for it and likely made the vitamin in a form our bodies cannot use or has to work hard to convert in order to make it usable. Wholefood concentrates do not bear the same burden as these are already formulated to fill in the gaps with cofactors you lack from your diet.
Animals that eat plants have specialized biochemistry which converts plant bound vitamins and minerals into nutrients their bodies store in their organs for future use. These forms of nutrients are very usable by us and we used to eat organ meats in traditional foods. So do all remaining non-industrialized cultures. Don’t want to eat liver or other organ meat, no problem. We have formulated products to give you these building blocks so you can eat like our ancestors.
And a word on stress and disease. We live with far more unrelenting negative stress in our lives which strips away our nutrient stores and deplete our organs. We cannot offset or replace this loss without first dealing with the stress in a positive manner. By no means can most people who live this type of life change their problems just with diet alone. Do people who live in negative stress really eat well?
Please take heed and do not be discouraged by the latest new reports attacking the supplement industry. There is value in supplementation as you have gathered from your new understanding of traditional diets vs. current trends. Just fill in the weak areas with the proper type of supplements and await the rapid return of your health.
Dr. Thomas Gregson is a chiropractor who is based in Madawaska Maine. He has helped many patients with general wellness, weight loss, natural pain relief, pregnancy issues, issues with children, and concussions. He is a pioneer of spinal decompression therapy in Maine.