What's Wrong With the American Diet?
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image by hitthatswitch

Do you know what product is really annoying me right now?

Juice Plus

I attend a business networking group were it seems every chapter has someone selling this product. If you’re not familiar with it, here is the product description from their own web site:

Juice Plus+® is whole food based nutrition, including juice powder concentrates from 17 different fruits, vegetables and grains. Each ingredient is specially selected to provide a broad range of nutritional benefits. Juice Plus+ is a complement to a healthy diet. Juice Plus+ is the simple, convenient, and inexpensive way to add more nutrition from fruits and vegetables to your diet, every day.

I don’t have a problem with supplements or multivitamins in general. But this type of product exemplifies what’s wrong with the American Diet (and perhaps the American Healthcare system):

  • The “inexpensive way”: Why are we always looking for the cheapest way to get our food or fitness? We have placed way too much importance on cheap food. I live on a budget just like everyone else. Our food budget is $365 a month. Our entertainment budget (which includes eating out as a couple) is $75 a month. We value food and the quality of life it brings us vs. spending money on going out to eat, movies and other things we don’t really need to be happy.
  • The “simple” way: What’s so complicated about eating an apple? Putting a bunch of extracts in a pill may seem simple but our food is actually a complex mechanism. How those nutrients work independent of the other components of real food is up in the air. If you can get them from the source you’re more likely to get nature’s intended benefits.
  • “Complement to a healthy diet”: This may be the lip service on the page but how I hear this product sold in real life is as a way to get your fruits and veggies when you don’t have time to eat them. You’re going to eat, which you need to do, why not eat the things that nourish your body instead of junk? If you’re taking your fruits and veggies in a pill, then what are you going to eat? All the other stuff that’s really the root of the problem: overly processed nutrient devoid foods or Diet Foods. For some reason we want an easy button to our health, a magic pill to make it all better so we don’t actually have to address the root cause of the issue or change how we live.

I feel a little bit like I am ranting, so I will stop.  Let me just say, because I know I am going to get some flack for this post, I don’t have anything against vitamins. I take a multi-vitamin as my insurance policy, to cover gaps. I just don’t believe that supplements are the cure to our many health care problems. To fix the problem, to get real, we have to do the real work, not pop a pill.

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