A few notable buzzwords used in our society today are “whole” food, “raw” food, “organic” food, “locally sourced” food and more. What frustrates me is that just a few decades ago, all of this was known as … FOOD.
Growing Up With Processed Food
It saddens me that we have to have all these new terms for what is simply natural to put in our bodies. I grew up in a generation where most of my meals were packaged, processed, canned or assembled. I did not see a lot of fresh vegetables aside from iceberg lettuce slathered with bottled Italian dressing and cauliflower that had the life boiled out of it. And I had no idea what garlic or avocados were until I moved to California.
Later in life, when I was living in Los Angeles and pursuing a career as an actress, my diet was even worse. There were some days when I lived off Mountain Dew and gas-station sandwiches and hot dogs. Ironically, a little more than a decade later, I now educate people about the appropriate things to eat and the appropriate things to avoid, like fast food, soda, artificial sweetener, meals purchased at gas stations — all of those things that sustained me through my life in LA. I managed to come out of these horrible diets unscathed, but most people don’t have the same luck.
Times Have Changed
Now I’m a little bit older and a heck of a lot wiser, and although I eat dramatically better, I also know that getting real “food” is not as easy as it was in my parents’ and grandparents’ time. I find it scary and very disheartening what has happened to our food supply and to our food culture. We’re living in a time when our soils are depleted and we’re surrounded by more toxins than ever. We’re living in a time when fast food is a staple, not a treat, and soda is a replacement for water, not something you have occasionally.
The Need for Supplements
I’ve been a fan of supplementation for a long time. When I advise people to take a high-quality, naturally sourced supplement, that means you don’t get a giant bottle of it for a buck-99 at your local big-box store. Sure, taking any vitamin is probably better than not taking any at all, but if you can get one sourced from the most natural, organic products, you’re going to be that much better off.
It’s nearly impossible for us to eat as much food as we need to stay healthy. It’s easy and affordable to take a simple multivitamin and mineral every day.
A Healthy Lifestyle You Can Live With
However, doing that doesn’t excuse poor food choices. I recommend we cut out the following foods: high-fructose corn syrup, artificial sweetener, MSG, soda and anything that’s been genetically modified (GMO). I know it seems like that doesn’t leave us much, but what it does leave us is whole, healthy, organic food. You know, real food. Not margarine and fake eggs, but real food, from real animals and plants, not from a factory and a colorful box. I hope we learn soon that nature does it best. I appreciate science and technology, but as long as our bodies process whole, natural foods, that’s what we should be consuming.
But I’m a realist; I subscribe to the 80/20 rule. Eighty percent of the time, truly do the best you can. Twenty percent of the time, when maybe you’re traveling and have no other choice or you want some special treat … do it. Do it without guilt, fear and shame. And then go back to your 80 percent lifestyle and embrace your love of real food and smart supplements.
Kathy Gruver, PhD, is an award-winning author, speaker, educator and expert. Her books “The Alternative Medicine Cabinet” and “Conquer your Stress with Mind/Body Techniques” are multiple award winners. Gruver has lectured around the country on health and wellness issues and has appeared on over 200 radio and TV shows. More information can be found at www.thealternativemedicinecabinet.com.