Where do you get your nutrients? From eating plants
The simple answer: Nutrient deficiencies are not caused by a lack of nutrients in the foods we eat, but rather because the body doesn’t understand the nutrients within the foods eaten.
Meaning we can eat all the nutrients required by the body, but if the body doesn’t understand them, they wont be used.
Micronutrients (vitamins & minerals)
Macronutrients (carbohydrates, fats, proteins)
Wholefoods (natural occurring form of food in nature)
Despite all our so-called advancements in food related science and industry, we are still diseased, nutrient deficient and unhealthy. No other species on earth eats as varied and ‘nutrient’ dense diet as humans, yet we still possess the poorest health and the most nutrient deficiencies. The rest of wild nature has health, with no deficiencies despite not having a varied diet, vitamins and supplementation.
Food is no longer food, instead food has become a vehicle for nutrients – we no longer eat food, we eat nutrients. This unfortunate reality of how removed we have become from something as simple as eating is partly due to the influence and manipulation of our understanding of food and health by the pharmaceutical and food industry and also by the misunderstood scientific mechanised view of food.
The sole purpose of science is discovery and understanding, it is not to create products or enforce opinions; it is the rational unbiased approach of understanding the multiverse and everything in between. In order to understand things, science has taken the notion of breaking up everything into smaller parts, as the smaller parts are assumed to provide the foundation for an understanding.
Science provided an understanding that the solid food we eat, is broken up into smaller packages of nutrients that are further comprised of atoms. This mechanized view is what allows us to understand that an apple contains carbohydrates, fructose, fibre, Vitamin C, Potassium etc. Science was there to explain that an apple is so much more than just an apple, not to tell us why we should eat an apple or how many apples we should eat. As a result of this profound understanding through science, the food & pharmaceutical industries were able to capitalize on the information of food and manipulate our understandings into creating needs, requirements and demands.
I argue that science was the one universally viable language we had to equally understand the world and uncover the awe and wonder within everything that pertains to humans, nature and everything else – that was until science chose to sit in the back pocket of industry, along with governance. (When referring to science, governance and industry, I really mean collectives of ego driven humans focused on personal gain over universal gain)
Originally, besides the varying colours and shapes of wholefoods, we didn’t really know much else about food. Science was able to get hold of a microscope and show us the differences within different foods – their nutrition profiles, which provided an even bigger contrast in variety – industry capitalized on the microscopic view of wholefood. Why? Well because a bigger array for variety, equates to more marketability for products. An apple is an apple and there are only so many ways to sell it as a wholefood, but the nutrient profile within an apple can be broken down and sold into hundreds of different products with different focuses. Apple fibre can be sold separately, Vitamin C can be sold, Fructose can be sold separately, Potassium can be sold separately, and individual nutrient parts of an apple can be mixed with other nutrient parts from other foods to form new foods (processed foods).
Industry is in a position to ‘make’ food (processed & refined foods i.e. anything altered from its nature-occurring form, including cooking). Not only did industry process new foods, industry manipulated the consumer’s view of food and ultimately created a perpetual cycle to service the needs of industry and not human health. Through ‘making’ foods, industry also influenced science to focus on the role of the processed foods in our diets.
This is how we can have multiple case studies on the role of m&m candied chocolates in the diet and on health, yet very little scientific information behind the nature of fasting or raw vegan plant based diets. Through sheer power of influence, industry has been able to make more people eat m&m’s than attempt a fast, pulling science into the equation to validate what industry puts forward. The Western world eats more processed foods than wholefoods and we are the most diseased ridden species on planet earth (and to have potentially ever existed) – yet still most of us ignorantly choose to see no correlation to what we ingest and how it affects overall health.
Its 2014, the drugs and information from 2013 are outdated, 2012 is outdated and soon 2014 will be outdated – yet despite the outdated years of information all claiming to have the knowledge to acquire health, we are still in the same predicament and are actually deteriorating – why because we have become our own worst enemies. We have created an industry influenced system that has side tracked us from a nature-intended system and are ultimately chasing what industry pushes, not what is required for health.
If you choose to play the ‘dog chasing its tail’ game of learning the roles of specific nutrients within the body, it becomes a never-ending pursuit of understanding the information being forced by industry and affiliated scientific studies, used to manipulate the consumer to buy. Every month there is a new product, with a new health benefit that has all the evidence and endorsements to acquire health and as each new product comes out, the consumer is refreshed with new manipulated information that they believe and buy. Consumers have become the pawns, pedaling what industry sells, through speaking in terms of nutrients, minerals, vitamins and supplements instead of focusing on the quality of wholefoods.
This is what led to the common questions – where do you get your protein? Where do you get your calcium? Where do you get your iron? What about B12? (Questions and thinking influenced by industry)
In reality we should not care about the nutrient composition of the food. We should be asking where was our food sourced? Was it processed? Is it whole or cooked?
Lets use common sense to understand that nutrients are prevalent in all wholefoods.
Wild animals have health, so health is not a far off concept. The biggest killer within nature (besides human influence and involvement) is predation. Age wears the creature down just slightly enough, to not be able to keep up with their herd and become vulnerable to predation, or they are out-maneuvered by prey and fall weaker, becoming prey to other carnivores/scavengers/decomposers.
They weaken from old age due to the affects of slight wear and tear on the physical body. Wild animals are not dropping dead from cancers, heart attacks, autoimmune and immune diseases etc. The only animals (besides humans) that are dying from the exact same diseases (as humans) are our pets. The commonalities we share with our pets are diets and environment. This is such an obvious fact, so evident yet the idea of human superiority is what blocks us from learning from the natural world – we tend to think that just because we removed ourselves from it, means we can no longer learn from it.
How is it possible that some herbivorous creatures, that consume mainly grass are able to not suffer from deficiencies, when their staple food source is one type of food? Yes, their bodies have adapted to digesting and assimilating grass, but the point is that the herbivores body is able to reconstitute and synthesize various other nutrients that do not exist within the relatively low variety of physical nutrients in the diet. A cow doesn’t have to eat beta-carotene directly to ‘improve eye function’, neither does a lion, neither does a tortoise or an ape, but the mechanistic views of humans prescribes us to eat the physical nutrient and it will then fill up our stock tank for that nutrient and perform a specific function.
A diet consisting of processed foods is what causes deficiencies, not because the nutrients aren’t present, it is because the nutrients are packaged in a form that the body doesn’t understand.
There are only two aspects that need to be remembered and known about nutrients and that is bioavailability and bioaccessibility. Bioavailability relates to the ‘packaging’ of the nutrient and how much of the actual nutrient reaches its targeted area of the body. Bioaccessibility relates to the bodies understanding of the absorbed nutrient and being able to use the nutrient.
If we just ate single isolated nutrients, like vitamins pills, mineral capsules or supplement powders, we would still have deficiencies because even though the tangible nutrient is in the pill/capsule/powder, the body doesn’t understand the packaged form of the nutrient. The nutrient is largely rejected, passing through the digestive system without being assimilated or used. It is for this reason that no clinical studies have ever been able to keep any animal alive on just a diet of vitamin/supplement/mineral ‘available’ micronutrients & macronutrients – the nutrients have to be understood by the body in order to be assimilated and used.
So imagine nutrients going through two phases – the one is that the nutrient has to be ‘available’ for the body, meaning it must be present within what is being eaten and reach its destination; secondly the nutrient has to be ‘accessible’ for the body, meaning the body has to be able to understand the nutrient and use it for required functions within the body.
In order for calcium to be assimilated via the small intestine it needs to be paired up with Vitamin D. Vitamin D is like the taxi, helping the passenger, Calcium pass through the intestinal wall. In order for calcium to be absorbed and used in bone, it requires partnering with Magnesium, as Magnesium becomes a taxi for Calcium to pass into bone – obviously this is a hugely simplified explanation of the process, but its an example to show that calcium doesn’t do the job all on its own and its not as straight forward as just eating calcium and then it is absorbed and used. Most processed foods, vitamins and supplements we consume lack proper bioaccessibility and therefore are not even used.
Even macronutrients like fats, proteins, carbohydrates are broken down into smaller parts (through digestion) in order to be assimilated into the body. Once the macronutrients have been assimilated they still have to go through various other processes in order to be used and fulfill a function. It’s the reason how we can eat fat but not get fat. Fat isn’t just broken down into smaller parts of fat then rebuilt to make bigger parts of fat in the body. Fat has a majority of functions and is reconstituted and synthesized many times over for the body to be used for various functions. No single vitamin, mineral or nutrient fulfills one specific job; they all interact and work together to fulfill various functions. The body is also capable of recycling existing minerals and vitamins within the body and making new vitamins through reconstituting and synthesizing other vitamins and nutrients.
All dietary nutrients required for the body are present within wholefoods, just because humans have the ability to manipulate and isolate nutrients from foods doesn’t mean that the body will use them. What is key to remember is that nutrition is still misunderstood and that seeking ‘healthy’ alternatives through eating processed foods, vitamins and supplements are ineffective ‘quick fixes’. If we put more time into understanding the source of wholefood over its nutrient profile, we would achieve better health results.
An organic apple and a commercial apple have differences within their nutrient profile, just as an apple grown in the Congo jungle would have a difference in nutrient profile to an apple grown in an American city. This illustrates that nutrients are not a constant form to evaluate food and why the nutrient profiles at the back of food labels is essentially defunct.
If we cared about the ‘method’ and ‘environmental factors’ of where the food was grown (permaculture, organic, soil quality, air quality, sunlight, herbicides, pesticides); what ‘processes’ were used until the food was consumed (stored, preserved, whole, isolated nutrients, juiced, blended, mixed with other foods, cooked) we would have nutritionally far superior foods without even knowing the nutritional information of the food.
Adequate health and nutrition can only be reached through consuming raw, unprocessed whole foods and eliminating any form of toxins or waste that can obstruct effective function within the body. This is purely based on the logic that this approach for health works for nature.
I personally, haven’t taken any supplements or vitamins since I changed to a plant-based diet 6 years ago. I had to have a medical check up several weeks ago (regarding information for an insurance policy) my results were great, no health issues or deficiencies. How can one have no deficiencies if they are not eating the total array of physical nutrients within the body? Plants do have a wide array of nutrients, but my diet consists of relatively few seasonal fruits and vegetables, so I do not physical consume all the nutrients that my body requires; yet still I am able to have them physically in my body. My (naïve) theory is based on the view that food is essentially varying forms of invisible vortices/fields of energy. Meaning the nutrients ingested, and understood by the body, can be reconstituted into different nutrients; the body can synthesize its own nutrients without having to eat all of them directly. Irrespective of the basic theory, I have the result, just as nature does. Why? because I follow nature intended-principles, learning from what has the results I seek.
The key points to remember:
1) Viewing food from a nutritional perspective is due to the influence of industry and industry-related science. Proper nutrition should be viewed from the source and quality of the wholefood, rather than the nutrient profile of the food.
2) The body does not have these empty tanks that need to be filled up by eating the tangible nutrient. The body is able to synthesize, recycle and reconstitute existing and eaten nutrients to form other nutrients.
3) Nutrition is not about eating the right nutrients; it’s about eating the right wholefoods.
4) Nutrient deficiencies don’t kill; they allow a breakdown of the body and when the body breaks down disease results.
5) Deficiencies and supplemental requirements are indicators that the diet is lacking raw, unprocessed wholefoods. You cannot be healthy if your nutrient demands are dependent on processed foods, supplements & vitamins.
The inadequate nutrient view from consuming plants is not because the plants don’t possess adequate nutrients or that the body cant absorb and use them, rather it’s a misinformed tactic used to discredit natural occurring food sources and replace them with an industry created food alternative.
Worry about the quality, source and methods pertaining to you’re your wholefoods rather than the nutrients within whatever foods you choose to eat.
Written By : Davey Du Plessis