This week I had a vitamin crisis.
I somehow managed to c**k up my order of Bio En’R-G’y C, meaning there is currently NO vitamin C in the house, not one liposomal sachet.
Same goes for the organic wheatgrass shots. Due to an overwhelming demand, Evolution Organics has temporarily run out of stock (the price you pay for sharing health tips?) … which gave me pause for thought.
Was it time to take stock of my own OCD attitude to nutrition?
I was disturbed to find that running out of my favourite potions left me feeling edgy and vulnerable. When a man sitting next to me in the library started coughing, I wanted to move desks; when I got on the bus, I painstakingly avoided the handrail.
I usually feel bullet-proof, but without my full artillery of transdermal minerals, fermented fat-soluble supplements and vitamin sprays I felt like a sitting duck.
Spending most of my waking hours wading through alternative cancer research means I’m all too aware of the importance of supplements:
‘Vitamin D might prevent sixteen different types of cancer’ reads one study, ‘Magnesium can protect the brain from toxins, reduce high blood pressure and lower the risk of cancer,’ says another.
Even the vitamin skeptics were left looking at their feet last month, thanks to a large-scale study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
The researchers followed nearly 15,000 older male doctors for more than a decade found that those taking a daily multivitamin experienced 8 percent fewer cancers than the subjects taking dummy pills.
Some say a good diet is enough, but the majority of experts I’ve spoken to disagree:
‘There will always be resistance, even hostility from the nutritional ‘flat-Earthers’ – those who believe that ‘if you eat a balanced diet then you cannot be deficient in essential nutrients’ despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary,’ Professor Ian Brighthope said recently.
‘But I believe the system will eventually change in line with the accumulating evidence and research in the field of nutritional medicine is growing at a phenomenal rate.’
Dramatic changes to the way we live have, inevitably, affected our food supply. Over the seventy-eight year period between 1914 and 1992, one medium sized raw apple with the skin intact showed a significant decline in mineral content.
According to data presented in 2001 to the American College for the Advancement in Medicine, the modern apple showed a:
* 48 percent decrease in calcium
* 96 percent decrease in iron
* 83 percent decrease in magnesium ( The 9 Steps to Keep the Doctor Away by Dr. Rashid A. Buttar, pg 71)
These long lost nutrients have been replaced by toxins.
Over 80,000 chemicals have been released into the environment since 1900. Thanks to the march of modern industry, modern medicine and industrialized farming we are being systematically poisoned, every minute of every day – leaving our immune systems overwhelmed.
That’s where nutritional medicine comes in. Adding things like supergreens and high dose C to our daily diet can help usher these harmful substances out of the body.
So, let me be clear: I don’t doubt, for a second, the value of supplements.
BUT it’s worth remembering they are not the whole story; not by a long shot.
Dr Nicholas Gonzalez, a New York based physician, believes emotional health is just as important as the enzyme therapy, individualized diet and coffee enemas he prescribes patients:
‘Nutrition is wonderful, but there is no vitamin mineral or trace element that can override somebody’s psychology,’ says Gonzalez. ‘Under stress the body tissues break down, to provide energy to deal with the stress – and that’s the antithesis of healing.’
Paul Pitchford, expert in Chinese medicine and author of Healing with Whole Foods: Asian Traditions and Modern Nutrition talks about ‘foundational healing.’
In a lecture for the Institute for Integrative Nutrition he explains the term: ‘I mean healing on the fundamental levels, for example awareness, activity and exercise and nutrition.’
For Paul Pitchford, the integration of mind, body and spirit is paramount:
‘If they [his clients] get overly involved in the nutrition and start focusing too much in every little detail, I ask them to stop and try meditation, try some kind of awareness practice, exercise more, don’t even think about nutrition for a while, or just put it on the backburner for a while… yes we’re about nutrition, but we’re also about the final result, people need to be healed.’
I decided to take a leaf out of Pitchford’s book and take the time to slow down and look inward.
Recently, I have been giving my Buddha a guilty, backward glance as I rush off the library. It was time to prioritize meditation over my rigid schedule. I also brought some new piano music – (Meatloaf’s ‘I’d do anything for love’ and this Summer’s anthem ‘ We Found Love’ … since you asked) and allowed myself to play a few songs rather than plough through emails until my boyfriend arrived home.
Mum has been trying to get me to understand the importance of emotional/spiritual wellbeing, for the last eighteen months: ‘People always ask me about the tangible things – the ozone therapy, the vitamin C,’ she said the other day, ‘ but ultimately it’s so not the tangibles that matter.’
Bottom line? The less concrete things like a good night’s sleep, meaningful relationships, a connection to spirit, fresh air, forgiveness, gratitude, the earth beneath our feet… are so important in the healing process; just as important as any nutrient.
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