This book is my new Bible. I got it for my birthday from a certain special someone who is quite familiar with my rants about the inadequacies of modern living, and who knows intimately of my recent obsession with health. Not that I'm one of those dippy health freaks, but since I started going to the gym last year so that I wouldn't have to take Lipitor for high cholesterol and get carpal tunnel syndrome, I've become more aware of how much of a difference that a certain amount of health consciousness can make.
I started taking a few vitamins (a multi-vitamin, some extra C and B and some fish oil) not too long after I began losing weight, because we all know that it is really difficult to get all of your nutrients from food anymore. Especially in today's junk food culture, but what I'm learning is that even if you are a very healthy eater, there are very few vitamins and nutrients left in your fruits and veggies by the time they get to your table. I mean, I think we've all heard that. I'd heard it before, but it kind of goes under your alarm-o-meter what with all of the other things to be terrified about these days. But after reading this book I've decided to pay more attention.
In a nutshell, Dr. Shari Lieberman's case is as follows: Vegetables begin to lose their nutritional potency the minute they are born; The soil ain't what it used to be. Food gets its vitamins and minerals from the ground as it grows. And due in part to modern farming practices, our soil is depleted of selenium in most parts of the county and often has only marginal levels of zinc, magnesium, calcium, and other minerals. Without mineral-rich soils, it is impossible for fruits and vegetables to contain a rich supply of nutrients. Then, once they're picked, they really begin to lose steam. Most of them have been picked, then stored, then shipped, then stored again, possibly for weeks or months. After we buy them, we may store them again for a bit. Then you might cook them, or at least cut or slice them. Each of these steps causes further nutrient loss. And don't even get me started on processed food. You might as well be eating bacon flavored paper for all the vitamins you'll get out of them.
Waitaminnit... am I a dippy health freak? How'd that happen? Well, just because you're paranoid.... yeah you get it.
She has a lot more detail in the book. She's quite a respected nutritionist, and her statements are based on studies and measurements of soil and veggie samples. Plus, you know, the real evidence for her case is all around us every day. America is overweight and unhealthy. Cancer is rampant and so are a host of other mysterious illnesses. Vitamin therapy has been shown to fight many forms of illness. I won't get into it, but if you want to find out more read the damn book for yourself.
So the upshot is this: The Recommended Daily Intake (RDI) or Daily Values (DV) amounts of vitamins that you see on food nutrition labels is a bunch of bunkum. Those numbers, in reality, indicate the amount of vitamins to take only to prevent the most obvious deficiency diseases, such as gangrene. RDI is the minimum wage of the health pay scale, in other words. By taking significantly higher doses of all of the basic vitamins and minerals, as well as certain others depending on your personal health profile, you can in fact prevent a whole host of illnesses and larger health problems. The important thing is to take high doses of all of them, not just one or two, as another important point she makes is that vitamins all work together and support each other. Deficiency in one can cause inadequacy in another. Dr. Lieberman calls it the Optimum Daily Intake (ODI). It's very hard to overdose on vitamins, impossible on some of them, but best do a little research yourself before determining what your own personal ODI is.
I've started taking three batches of vitamins a day, one with each meal. That's 3 full multi-vitamins a day plus extra supplements each of A, C, E, a balanced mix of B-complex vitamins, chromium, calcium, magnesium, fish oil, (for the omega fatty acids) and echinacea just for fun.
There. Now if that doesn't make me a total health freakazoid, I don't know what will. Ohh, maybe regular enemas! ... Nah, I drink Metamucil every day too so, I don't need to go that far. What am I, a Californian?