Vitamins and minerals were taken for granted in my experience as I was growing up.
But our food supply was in much better shape in those days.
I remember seeing and visiting lots more roadside stands for fresh produce, and Mom and Dad often went to local farmers for chicken and beef.
We ate plenty of beef in our family. Most of it came from the grocery store.
Cattle were mostly grass fed - which is the normal diet for cows, resulting in more vitamins and minerals in the meat.
Our parents had chickens in the yard for fresh eggs and an occasional fresh chicken dinner.
They also had a garden where they grew a lot of the vegies our family ate. Home canning and freezing were among Mom's many chores.
We didn't take any food supplements, so I went through the first 30 years of my life relying on the foods I ate for vitamins and minerals.
I don't think I even gave a thought to the possibility of supplementing my diet - but we must have been eating a lot of excellent foods.
My sisters and I experienced very little sickness. We very rarely missed school.
We also very rarely visited a doctor.
There was no fast food in our childhood experience. I can count the number of times we ate at a restaurant or cafe on one hand.
As kids we enjoyed home cooked meals 3 times a day. Even when we were going to school, we had lunch pails and took our lunches to school.
School cafeteria lunches were only twenty cents, but very few students could afford them. Or, maybe they just preferred the home prepared lunches.
Dad took the family on a 2-4 week vacation nearly every summer. All the meals were fixed in the motels. Motels had kitchenettes back then. And we hads lots of picnics as we drove across the country.
It seemed like we stopped at every roadside stand. It was part of the pleasure of our vacations.
Freeways didn't exist. Most of the highways were two lanes - one in each direction - at least in the parts of the country we traveled.
While we lived in Colorado and Wyoming, our trips took us to California to see relatives.
While we lived in the San Diego area, the trips went north into Central California to see relatives.
Can you imagine California with no freeways?
We had some more distant relatives in Arkansas and Missouri - so a few trips took us across Arizona, into northern New Mexico (Dad had an uncle in Farmington), across southern Colorado, then through Oklahoma into Northwest Arkansas.
We didn't enjoy the heat and humidity, but the scenery was incredible, and the fresh fruit and vegetables were out of this world in flavor and nutrition.
I don't think we ever talked about vitamins and minerals.
The stops in Rocky Ford, Colorado for fresh canteloupe and watermellon were very memorable. Those Rocky Ford mellons are outrageously delicious.
We ate so well we didn't need food supplements. We got all the vitamins and minerals from our diets.
So much for my trip down memory lane.
These days it's a different story.
Especially in the cities, it seems to be normal for both parents to have to work in order to make ends meet.
Fast food becomes the life saving factor.
Ads on TV now show a family sitting around the dinner table eating fried chicken out of a red and white bucket, or pizza out of cardboard box.
They might be better off eating the box. Probably more vitamins and minerals in the box.
But it tastes great - so down the hatch - usually washed down with a Coke or other carbonated drink loaded with sugar or corn syrup.
Does that happen only on TV?
Seeing all the pizza deliveries being made around various neighborhoods, I don' think so. Then there are the long lines at the drive-throughs at McDonalds, the Burger Kings, and the Taco Bells.
I've been in line at the supermarket, and have noticed the grocery carts overflowing with boxes, cans and jars - especially boxes.
All that processed food and fast food is seriously deficient in vitamins and minerals.
It's seriously loaded with salt and various forms of sugar - including the worst form of all, high fructose corn syrup.
Here's an important quote from Clean by Dr. Alejandro Junger:
Chronic undernourishment contributes, ironically, to one of the other crises of our time, overeating and obesity. When the body is starving for a certain trace mineral it needs, it will disrupt the normal signals that tell you to stop eating so that you consume more food in the hopes of grabbing the missing nutrient. All the extra food consumed has to go somewhere--and is typically stored as fat. If the diet is deficient in zinc, for example, which is common today, the body won't give a "satisfied" signal until it's found what it needs, even if that means eating three pounds of food to get a microgram of zinc.
If you and I are eating mostly raw, organically grown vegetables and fruits we'll likely get all the vitamins and minerals we need.
One way to be sure you're getting enough is to make fresh juice from raw organic fruits and vegetables.
Eating lots of salads made with the right ingredients and avoiding the usual commercially bottled dressings would also be advantageous.
Joyce and I supplement daily with vitamins B, C, D, and sometimes E. I take zinc tablets, along with calcium and magnesium. We also use a trace minerals solution in our smoothies.
Recent information from our naturopathic chiropractor is that most people these days are seriously deficient in vitamin D. Apparently it's not possible to absorb calcium without plenty of vitamin D on board, and calcium can't be used by the body without enough magnesium.
It's still widely believed that milk and milk products are a good source of calcium.
There are plenty of reliable experts who say it ain't so.
Those experts have been around for decades, but we always had to look in libraries and book stores to find them.
Back in the '80s - the 1980s - a little paperback book was published titled Fit For Life by Harvey and Marilyn Diamond.
There might have been some valuable nutrition books in the 1880s as well, but I wasn't around to read them.
Look at the beautiful fruits and vegies on the cover, along with the authors' smiling faces.
And, a quote from Merv Griffin, no less.
Here's a quote from page 133:
Frequently, pregnant women are advised to drink plenty of pasteurized milk to insure that they get enough calcium for their babies' teeth and bones. The truth is most adults do not have the digestive enzymes lactase and renin that are necessary to get calcium from milk, for it is bound in the indigestible protein complement casein. In addition, pasteurization causes the calcium to be unusable due to heat derangement.
So we can't even use the calcium in milk.
Where should we get the calcium we need?
The Diamonds, along with lots of other experts say it's readily and abundantly available in fresh raw fruits, beans, cauliflower, cabbage, lettuce and the dark green leafy vegetables, almonds, sesame seeds, asparagus and figs.
As I mentioned above, we're well advised that we need adequate vitamin D in our bodies in order to be able to metabolize calcium. If most of your daily routine keeps you indoors, you probably need to supplement with vitamin D caps.
Here's a site where you can get a blood test kit to find out for sure where you stand with vitamins and minerals. http://www.balanceyournutrition.com/vitamin_bloodtest.htmReturn to Nutritious Foods from Vitamins and Minerals