It was around 2004 when I had one of those dramatic life changing nutrition lessons. Until then, I thought “eat well, exercise, rest, have positive thoughts, and be healthy” That’s all there was to it and I was already doing it. I didn’t think I could really do any better.
But suddenly that was all about to change. You see, one day, I found myself reading an article in one of the chiropractic journals. The article was about “phytonutrition” which was something I already knew a lot about. But as I read, I became bothered because I could tell that the author knew more about phytonutrition than I did. So I called the author up and discussed the details of the article.
The more I spoke to him the more I realized that I didn’t know as much as I thought I did. At the time, I was supplementing my diet with a powdered plant based formula. But I perceived that he knew of something better. So I asked him: “what are you using to get your phytonutrients”. Of course we both ate fruits and vegetables. But when you know how deficient the food really is and how many nutrients you should actually be consuming, it’s a given that you are supplementing with some concentrated source of plant nutrients.
He answered, “Actually, I am the inventor of” and then he named a product that he formulated. He went on: “Now I am working on a new product. You can’t buy it yet, but I can send you some samples.”
A few days later I was using his new greens product that couldn’t yet be purchased. Something strange began to happen. I noticed that I had more energy than ever before. After about a week, my wife approached me and said to me “I was talking to my mom and she said I needed to talk to you; We both noticed a change in you. Are you taking antidepressants?”
I was a little taken back and asked “What do you mean?” “Well, all the sudden you’re coming home from work all happy and playing with the kids. Usually you just sit on the couch and say ‘I need some space’“.
I explained: “First of all, I was not depressed; I was wiped out.”
For me, being wiped out was expected since as a business owner, I put in long hours at work. I thought it was normal to come home from work and have no more energy left to share with my family. But the reality was that I was just nutrient deficient… and didn’t know it.
I continued to explain: “I’m not taking drugs… I’m taking a new supplement”. “Why didn’t you tell me”, she asked. “Actually, I feel so good that I’m concerned”, I said. I need to research this stuff to find out a little more about it to know that it is safe!” She asked: “Can I have some?!”
This little humorous conversation really did happen. I felt so good that I was indeed concerned. As I began to research one plant food after another, I began to realize that I was merely missing many important nutrients that should have been included in my diet.
I was probably eating 5 to 7 servings of fruits and vegetables every day. But for a guy my size, 5 to 7 servings of fruits and vegetables probably isn’t enough. Not only that, but we can be confident that the plant foods do not have the same nutrition levels that they had just a handful of years ago.
Many Nationally recognized organizations have recommendations regarding how many servings of fruits and vegetables per day we should eat.
- The USDA recommends that Americans should eat 7 to 13 daily servings of fruits and vegetables of all the colors. They describe it like this: “4 ½ cups (nine servings) of fruits and vegetables are recommended daily for the reference 2000 cal level with higher or lower amounts depending on the caloric level.”
- The National Cancer Institute recommended 5 to 9 servings of fruits and vegetables a day.
- The division of nutrition research coordination also recommended 5 to 9 servings per day
- The American Heart Association said to eat five or more servings each day of fruits and vegetables.
- Five a day.gov, which was replaced by 9aday.cancer.gov, and has since been retired, said men shoot for nine – Nine servings of fruits and vegetables a day – for better odds on good health today and tomorrow. They went on to say “eating more fruits and vegetables may be one of the easiest things you can do for your health”
I appreciate that these organizations are setting some kind of standards. But my personal standards are now set higher than theirs. Fruits and vegetables are not as nutrient dense as they used to be and we have less varieties available to us for consumption. Getting all of the nutrients that we need from fruits and vegetables is more difficult now than ever before… That is, if we don’t supplement.
We’ll be talking more about this in future articles. For now, know that you should probably be getting at least 10 to 13 servings of fresh fruits and vegetables every day representing all of the colors. The various colors tell us something about the spectrum of nutrients that we are getting from the food. Using a full spectrum phyto-nutrient formula that contains fruits, vegetables, and other plant foods representing all of the colors is an easy way to get these important nutrients every day.
In our home, we keep a few flavors on hand. We have our favorite. We have been using mostly the same brand since 2005. Keeping other flavors in the home gives us the opportunity to enjoy variety. Also, since each blend seems to have a different variety of plant foods, we can be sure we are occasionally getting a slightly different spectrum of nutrients.