There are many ways to talk about nutrition. It has many entrances and pathways that can take you step by step into confusion and clarity. Well, that is how it has been for me. I started to learn about nutrition through my Mom in the 1970’s. She ordered Prevention Magazine and would share with me the properties of the vitamins: Vitamin C is for colds, Vitamin E is for the eyes etc. My parents at the time (mid 1970’s) made the announcement that we were changing our cereals from sugar to non-sugar. What this really translated to was that “Captain Crunch” and “The Silly Rabbit” were gone and Wheaties and Life Cereals were in. This was okay to me because having the name Michael in the 1970’s insured that you would have someone weekly exclaim, “He likes it, hey Mikey” from the Life commercial. So my parents made that legit. All white bread was replaced with brown bead and canned vegetables were replaced with frozen.  


I think my father read some article that made this impression, he was sitting at the head of the table when he made the announcement. My mother, the steward of my health, sat quietly next to him. She was probably thinking that she was the one that had the responsibility to make this change. At the time both my parents were smoking and the jogging fad had not started.  


So, I would ask my mother questions when the Prevention Magazine came in and got used to eating cereals that were not sweet and breads that tasted different. I was allowed to put heaps of sugar on my new cereal. Now that my family was in the “know” I was the healthiest kid I knew and for some reason I thought that was really cool.


By middle school I had a box in my pocket with vitamins for lunch. I had Vitamin E in a pearl, 1000mg of Vitamin C in a quarter sized pill and various other things that I cannot recall. I took Cod Liver Oil every morning reluctantly, but my Mother’s assurance to its ability to make my body strong and my eyes keen made me swallow that pill every morning. Later I would taste it again and the foul taste would make we wince.


Vitamins to me at that time were things that you took in order to be healthy. Astronauts needed them, science found them and I had an inside edge that my peers did not have just by taking them. This worked for me because I did not eat vegetables other than potatoes, green beans, and corn. At 13 I ate my first salad; at 14 I ate Chinese food for the first time (I would usually get a hamburger) and at 19 I had broccoli and cauliflower, that were breaded and deep fried and needed to be covered in ranch dressing in order for me to get them past my tongue and brain/gag reflex/texture meter.


Food was never thought of as a real source of nutrition but a means to satisfy hunger and to appease my palate. I never, once thought that the types of food I consumed had enough vitamins in them; and thank God, scientists figured it out for me the vitamins I needed. There was no reason for me to eat any more vegetables or fruit and a peanut butter sandwich with sliced bread was a meal without any worries. I could eat what I wanted, and fast food was not unhealthy; but an unneeded expense when a home cooked meal was always the most affordable option. I was completely covered to the extent a child being raised by parents in the 1970’s could consider. With this in mind I went through my life in complete bliss through high school, college, and chiropractic college.  


At the end of chiropractic school I discovered the diagnostic marvels of Applied Kinesoiology and with vim and vigor I took the 100 hour course at least 8 times. What I learned in this body of knowledge was that food is not food, a vitamin is not a vitamin and our health as a living organism is intimately linked to what we chew, swallow, absorb and excrete. It was like the old Zen/eastern/enlightened master saying about trees.


Bodies of information and discoveries by Weston A. Price DDS, Royal Lee DDS, and Dr. Pottinger came through. “Silent Spring”, “Empty Harvest” “Nourishing Traditions”, and “Going Back to Basics” became my new text books.  All of this combined then became my new education, in which I feel comfortable enough to share. Through these streams of information is what has shifted my concepts of nutrition and taught me a vitamin is not a vitamin. A vitamin is a complex with parts that support the whole.  


Vitamin C Diagram


The above diagram is the natural form of Vitamin C. Notice the Ascorbic Acid is the outer shell that protects the inner workings from oxidation. This is how our bodies look at Vitamin C. Without the other factors we need very high doses of Ascorbic Acid to absorb and our body will take the other factors that are missing and use up what is with in, in order to structure the whole. Over time we get an imbalance. Without Tyrosinase our body has to work harder to make Thyroid hormone and adrenalin (epinephrine). Without the P,K,J factors we get arteriosclerosis, arthritis, strokes, and asthma and heart disease. Everything you see needs the others to make our bodies thrive.


Royal Lee D.D.S. used the analogy of a watch. Nature makes watches and not chemicals.  Vitamins are complexes made of intricate parts that work together to make the watch work. If you take out any single part of the watch, it stops working. He posed a great question within this analogy, “Which part of the watch tells time?” The answer is that it is not the parts that is the only important piece but that the parts work together to make life process with ease. In sum, remove any one cog and the watch does not work.


I wrote some of the concepts about whole food nutrition in my last blog on heart disease. The concept that I want to focus on is the concept that nature through soil plants and up the food chain produces the best possible nutrition. Most medicines used today are all chemically arranged and manufactured from plants.


A good example of what I want to convey is aspirin. Aspirin is from willow bark and Meadowsweet. Lewis and Clark had packed willow bark with mercury as some of the medical agents they needed for exploration of the newly acquired US western territories in the early 1800’s. In 1899 Bayer patented aspirin which was extracted from Meadowsweet and an acetyl group was added and a glucose molecule removed. Now it was not a chemical anymore found in nature but a man made chemical that can be patented and sold. The basic criteria for a patent on a pharmaceutical is that a drug must not be found in its identical form in nature. When you have a patent you are protected as the sole seller of a product for a certain amount of time.  


This is the part of this blog that I am having difficulty with. Maybe if I can tell you what I am trying to do with this information it will help. You see the study of nutrition is vast with many directions, words and ways and means.  


You can take the approach of what our culture calls science that isolates variables and reproduces findings in controlled experiments that pushed the boundaries of the obvious and oblivious. Here we are drawn to see food turn into: nutrients then to complexes then to chemicals. Much like physics has done with the concepts of the atoms. This justifies the use of altered, unwholesome, and incomplete nutrition which makes up the American diet. In the early 1900’s great scholars and researchers predicted the rise of diabetes, heart disease, cancer and infertility based on their own experiments and research. They are mentioned above.


There is a saying in academia that the biologist is envious of the physicist and the chemist. This is because biology has been using the models of physics and chemistry to explain the phenomenon of life. In mine and others opinions these models cannot explain well enough the dynamics of life. Close but no cigar. In fact, with every distinct and emerging forms of scientific studies, life and nature have already mastered and implemented the principles of said sciences with grace, ease and mastery.


You can look at nutrition with the eyes of our ancestors that had generations of information on how, when and what to eat to allow humans to survive and thrive in nature. They let nature directly teach them and show them through their children and talked of generations how the food we eat makes us better suited for survival.


You can look at our anthropological record and see the rise of misaligned teeth and greater frequency of arthritis when we made the turn into farming and grain cultivation. Our bodies were changing in their development as we changed our food acquisition. Nutrition and Physical Degeneration. by Westin A Price can show this to you.


However, it is good to start the study of nutrition for any reason and to ponder the fact that what we know of nutrient is from mother earth. As she and her soil is healthy, so are the plants. All the vitamins and minerals our ancestors had was through the food they ate. They survived wars, famine, plagues, droughts, bitter cold and searing heat with only the high technology of their own bodies. We are not made to fall apart as we age or to have chronic problems. We have bodies that will make the necessary changes when the wholesome foods are in our diet. Your health is not in the written and marketed promise/possibility but through knowing the nature of your food.