Monday, September 19, 2011


I was examining a type of green leafy vegetable in the grocery store I’d never seen before.  A beautiful young woman was also considering it and neither of us knew anything about it.  She told  me she was into juicing and she was looking for new things for an energy boost.  She was basically living on juices. She had purchased a powerful juicer and was following a plan for healthy living using  recipes for all kinds of powerful nutritional drinks from alfalfa sprouts, carrots, spinach, chard and fruits with a bit of yoghurt.
I told her I didn’t think it was healthy and she looked at me as if I was from a different planet. “Why not?”  she asked. I asked her if she knew how many carrots it took to make a glass of carrot juice?  She said, “Yes, about 15.” I asked her if she thought she could eat fifteen carrots and if that would be a good way to start her day? “Well, no, that’s why I juice.”  “So, what’s wrong with eating a couple of carrots, enjoy chewing them and get the nutrients plus the fiber? Chewing the carrots  naturally hardens your teeth and doesn’t overdo any one nutrient like carotene, for instance?”  Besides, I’m offended by the amount of ground up vegetable matter the juice bars toss in the garbage, I told her.
We older folks are so dumb. Jim and I talked about nutrition and energy boosters. I remember Geritol from the 1940′s; my father took Geritol granules.  I never knew why he took it, or  what the stuff was?  We both wondered what Geritol actually is and whether it is still around?
Isn’t the internet marvelous?  Wow!  Geritol, it seems, is good for everything, surprise, surprise. There is Geritol Pregnancy, Geritol Tonic, Geritol Iron Strength…basically vitamins and minerals in any form you can think of covering all ailments and conditions known to man or woman.
I typed in Natural Energy Boosters and up pops an overwhelming list of vitamin products  all claiming to be miraculous.  But, among the overwhelming was this bit of sanity:
Exercise, sunlight, clean and organize, wear orange and red clothing, eat dried or canned beans, use low salt, eat whole grains, think positive thoughts, scrub your skin when you wash, invigorate your skin, eat seasonally, shop farmers markets, disdain chemicals, avoid perfumed laundry products and air fresheners, visit gardens, plant something, revise the order in which you do tasks, spend thirty minutes outside every day, commune with nature, do something fun everyday, laugh at a joke, drink coffee, tea or chocolate for a pick me up, do yoga or tai chai.
Under Herbs Natural Energy was this list:
Cayenne pepper, cinnamon, ginger, ginseng. Then three teas considered “safe”, yerba mate, shisandra berry, ashwazandha root, and licorice root with a caution about elevating blood pressure.
Poking around a bit more revealed  this good advice for an energy boost:
Eat protein at every meal, do not eat sugar, instead eat a starchy vegetable or piece of fruit . Always choose a healthy fat with your protein for an all day energy boost.
Most of the pages were for supplements like ginkgo, echinacea, many common respectable herbs, with many I’ve never heard of, all claiming no proof for their supposed health benefits, and (by law) letting you know they have not been approved by the FDA.
Why is it people look  for the quick pill or fix instead of the simple nutritional benefits of eating healthfully from our vast choice of offerings, the tried and true: Whole grains, limit salt and sugar, avoid animal fats, eat white meat, fish, nuts, legumes, leafy greens, fruits, and vegetables, limited non fat dairy products and limited refined foods.  And, with the obesity epidemic, smaller portions.
A vitamin a day works for most people. None of my six siblings, nor I, ever took vitamins when we were growing up, nor did I give them to my kids with any regularity.  And, we weren’t stupid enough to try to live on juice.

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