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The truth about what the human body requires to be healthy and happy is more complex than we're often taught through conventional channels.

Sadly, too often the entire subject is reduced to what is and what isn't on a little nutrition label on the back of a box, and that's the end of it. Meanwhile, the true scope of bodily nutrition spans dozens of vitamins and minerals, and hundreds of other compounds, such as phyto-nutrients and amino acids.

Why these topics don't come into play when discussing nutrition likely can be attributed to the fact that some of it is simply arcane. We like handy lettered Vitamins like C and D, and easy to remember bad guys, like Cholesterol and Fat. Nutrition, though, defies these trite labels. In fact, such simplication may be one of the factors that has led to poor health in much of the industrialized world overall.
Proper Nutrition Salad

The Two Parts of Nutrition

Proper Nutrition begins and ends with a proper diet. Because it's such an important subject, we have an entire article on it that can be found here. The other major aspect of nutrition would be an understanding of what it is that animals truly need to function optimally.

We have come to regard ourselves as apart from nature in many ways. This perspective has led us to have gross misunderstandings of basic animal needs, such as what it takes to be healthy. Modern science, of course, has given us a wealth of progress to be thankful for, but it is clear that for all of our advances, there is much that we have forgotten or have chosen to ignore along the way.

Case in point, the modern diet many of us share is simply not suitable for us. If you believe diseases manifest out of thin air because you are just unlucky or have bad genes, you might want to sit down, because I have some news for you.

The truth is, the vast majority of all illnesses stem from poor nutrition. This isn't merely a lack of B vitamins or something a doctor could easily tell you without extensive bloodwork or scans, however. Thankfully, if one analyzes nature and sees the behavior of animals, much of this becomes common sense. In order for animals to thrive, they adhere to behavioral patterns that allow them to compete and find a niche within their environment through thousands and thousands of years of trial and error. These biological niches vary greatly, but the vast majority of them do their job: that is, they support the animals that live in them to the fullest extent.

It is actually not that difficult for most animals to get the proper nutrition. This puts them at odds with us since most people, even in developed countries, suffer from various forms of malnutrition. Such common symptoms as oily skin, acid reflux, split ends, rosacea, and insomnia are all evidence of poor nutrition.

Animals in the wild rarely, if ever, suffer from these ailments that we've grown accustomed to simply living with as if it were the norm. This is because we have accepted a very bizarre view of "nutrition" that is completely at odds with the way in which nature intended.

Important Nutrition Points

  • Proper nutrition is not just about getting a certain percentage of certain vitamins and minerals. Often, it is about proportion and source.
  • Every nutritious substance (vitamin, mineral, amino acid, etc.) is connected to other nutrients in its natural form, and often these other unclassified or rarely spoken of substances are necessary for the proper breakdown and assimilation of the main nutrients.
  • Many nutrients cannot be properly assimilated when taken via artificial means (such as in "Everyday Vitamins" and in artificially fortified cereals).
  • Both fat and cholesterol are necessary for our health. They are not bad, it is the over-consumption of them that is bad.
  • Calories are largely a meaningless number that play only a very marginal role in health and weight. As long as your metabolism is functioning properly, you can eat far more than the "recommended" amount.
  • Living food is always preferable to dead food. The entire point of consuming food is to provide your cells with life-giving substances. The more dead or cooked the food is, the less nutrients it has as a rule. Cooked meat has the least nutritional value ounce for ounce, of any food, outside of artificial and processed food, which has almost nothing our bodies can use.
  • As a rule, the harder our bodies have to work to digest a food, the less net value we get out of it in the long run. This is also a metric to discern whether or not we are meant to consume the substance or not. Processed foods take far longer to digest than fruits and vegetables, which should tell you all you need to know.

What Our Bodies Really Need

Nutrition is a complex interplay of chemicals that we derive from food, the purpose of which is to fuel our bodies. A lack of these substances, or improper ratios of these substances, may lead to illness and disease.

On the surface of our nutrient intake, we can divide what we eat into three major categories. That is, Carbohydrates, Protein, and Fat. All three are essential for our bodies, and depending on your needs, the general intake should fall into one of the following three categories.

High in Carbs
Ideal for Bodybuilding

Moderate Carbs
Ideal for Maintenance

Low in Carbs
Ideal for Weight Loss

What the "Nutrition Facts" Aren't Showing You

It's easy to read the back of a box and fall into the trap of believing something is either "healthy" or "unhealthy" based on arbitrary percentages such as fat and caloric content. The food industry is rife with buzzwords and misdirection. As if the complex totality of a living creature (plant's ) chemical makeup and its subsequent impact on our bodies could be summed up in a 2-inch sidebar.
What's important to remember when eating is that our biological needs developed as a symbiotic relationship with nature, as is the case with all other animals. There are a litany of intangible and hard to classify substances in fruits and vegetables that our bodies need in order to function at their best. Fat, sugar, calories, and Vitamin C are extremely isolated concepts that don't really have much of a relevance when looking at nutrition through a holistic lens.
Seek to incorporate as much plant material in your diet as possible, focusing on tropical fruits, berries, and leafy greens whenever possible. We need those "intangibles" - plant-based chemical chains and trace minerals tied to their corresponding plant compounds so as to facilitate digestion. This includes antioxidants and all of the well-known vitamins in the natural form, which is how we were designed to take them.
When you consume nutrients how they were meant for us to consume them, they are much easier for our bodies to use, and in turn, this saves our energy and lessens the digestive burden of the body. The less work our bodies have to do to get their nutrients, the better. It also needs to be stressed that sometimes vitamin and mineral supplements don't cut it, though there are awesome plant-based vitamin supplement alternatives. The point though, is that just because you put a certain percentage of a vitamin or mineral in a pill, does in no way guarantee that our bodies will assimilate the substances.
Our bodies developed over millions of years to absorb certain nutrients with the help of plant-based compounds that are connected to or found alongside the nutrients in question when consumed in a fruit or vegetable. When our bodies find these same nutrients "naked" without anything to aid in assimilation, our cells are left with the task of working overtime to get what they can from the supplement or fortified food, while having to sadly discard the rest. That is why, if you've ever noticed, your urine is likely to be extremely dark after taking most vitamins. This is because the majority of what you are taking in is just being expelled, because the body can't find a way to use it. What's worse than that, is minerals in vitamins that the body can neither expel nor use immediately, which simply have to sit in the body somewhere, such as the liver or gall-bladder, which leads to all kinds of complications.
Nutrition is about a lot more than just taking the advice of the "Daily Recommended Values." You have to give your body what it has come to expect after millions of years of evolution. We need those phyto-nutrients and antioxidents. Many of these substances are arguably far more important than the buzzword vitamins and minerals which we commonly hear about, such as Vitamin C, D, and calcium. If you eat even a mediocre diet, you will get more than enough of these vitamins, as well as more calcium than you'll know what to do with. It's when we start eating substances our bodies were never prepared to digest is when we run into problems.

Interested in Learning More About Natural Dieting?

This is admittedly a huge subject, and if this is the first time taking in all of this information, it can be somewhat overwhelming. To make everything more digestible (pun intended 100%) we've divided this information into different parts. If you're interested in learning more about what we're supposed to be doing and what steps you can take now to dramatically increase your health, click on the image to read on.
We also routinely add awesome recipes in our blog, so if you're curious as to where to start, you can't go wrong. Eating healthy is so important for a variety of reasons, but we understand it can be difficult to jump into the world of kale and chia. Don't worry, we all started the same way, wondering if a green smoothie the color of grass could ever taste good and give our bodies what we need to boot. The answer is a resounding YES!
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