Monday, March 17, 2008

Another Blasphemy and a Few Heretics

I got lots of comments about my not using vitamin supplements, Both sides of the issue. I'm not budging on this one. I just don't think they do what eating vitamin rich foods do. The research is there to back that opinion up. I do hear the various scenarios like what if your diet is lacking in some way ? or the other that food these days isn't as nutritious. If your diet is lacking in some way that is a choice. The only exception is poverty. Any grocery store anywhere where people are likely to be reading this has lots of good healthy food. Most grocery stores near my home have a super abundance of really healthy food. I think I can eat as well and get more vitamins and minerals in my food as anyone anywhere at any time in history. And anyone in the likely demographic to be reading this has that same opportunity.

Of course I got asked the next likely question. What about all the sports nutrition, all those drinks and bars? I feel the same way about those . Food is better in every way -- except one. They're convenient. I've tried to carry bananas while running and watermelon while swimming and all sorts of other fruits and veggies while biking and with few exceptions it doesn't work well. Sometimes I resort to the modern sports nutrition for the convenience. But those glowing neon green drinks worry me!!

Now seems like a good time to introduce two of my mentors. The first is Dr. Ronald Citron a graduate of NYU and of the Basel Institute in Switzerland. Dr. Citron is an Oncologist who got tired of seeing so many people with cancer and heart disease and decided to get into prevention. His book, The Evolutionary Diet and Cookbook ,had a huge impact on my eating habits. His basic idea is that our bodies are designed, or have evolved, to require the hunter-gatherer diet of our cro-magnon ancestors. Seems the food we are eating now has changed faster than our bodies can keep up with. Genetic evolution is slow. Maybe in a hundred thousand years our bodies will thrive on McDonald's hamburgers but now they don't. Its a simple idea to keep in mind when grocery shopping, eating out or while starring into the fridge looking for a snack. If a typical cro-magnon of 30,000 years ago wouldn't have come upon it, don't eat it. Oh, yeah, Dr. Citron doesn't think much of vitamin pills either and suggests you focus on your diet.

I was saddened to hear recently that my other mentor has retired. Covert Baily had a 30 year career giving advice on health and fitness in speeches, on TV and in his many books. His book Fit or Fat got the point across better than any other that if you don't exercise you aren't - can't be- healthy. In this link he gives a few fitness tips.

And by now you probably won't be surprised that he doesn't think much of vitamin pills. I'll let him tell you.

Now that I'm getting in touch with my inner stubbornness, I'll just say that I'm going all the way around this island and I won't be taking any vitamin pills or any sports drinks or bars.


WildnJoyful said...

I agree with your reasoning about vitamins but you don't mention the need to buy organic. There are so many pesticides and hormones in all food today. Our bodies are not equipped to handle all of those synthetic toxins.

Anonymous said...

Hey Jeff, I figured I'd chime in on this topic, since I've taken supplements most of my life. I totally agree that one can eat correctly and cover all the vitamin requirements. And I've always thought that getting your vitamins in this manner, with all the fiber and hydration you get eating up everything is absorbed in a more efficient, natural way and the correct ratios that vitamins need to work together are best accessed directly thru mother nature.
that being said, I've always loved taking amino acid supplements and have found that they help in work out performance and most important to me, emotional boost without caffeine or any other stimulant. I've also found over the years that some athletes, you and Bill for example, have no such needs for improved work out performance or emotional motivation, and so supplements are not an issue.
Eat right, drink a lot of water and exercise is definitely the prescription for good health. But since I've always been very susceptible to "the placebo effect", I'll continue to enjoy the lift from amino acids, before and after work out.
(today's formula: Branch Chain w/ Glutamine)
see you at the beach
1 Golf