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There is something missing from "health food" stores:


OK I'll concede that many "health food" stores do in fact carry some actual grocery items like bread, juice, nuts, seeds and at times frozen foods, but this is only a recent inception for most of them, and the selection is limited to high priced specialty food items. Try to find apples in a health food store though and you'll come up empty. There is something not quite right about a store who's employees seem to be anti "conventional medicine", with one of their sales pitches being that conventional medicine doesn't care about you, they just want to prescribe pills for you to buy. The alternative? The health food stores miracle elixir made from goat genitals and pine needles - in an easy to swallow pill. Interesting that "health food" stores are wall-to-wall pill and powder shops where the majority of retail floor space is filled with pills and jars of powdered supplements.

I also find it interesting that a style of retail store that seems to embody an anti-pharmaceutical protest centre, sells products made in labs that claim to have "pharmaceutical grade" supplements. Hello? You want health food? Go to your local grocery store and buy bananas and blueberries. And yes chicken and fish are healthy eating too.

I remember going into a health food store to buy a PowerBar for a training ride. I happened to get into a "discussion" with the person behind the till who informed me that I shouldn't expect to get my nutrition from fruits and vegetables, because our crops are grown in soil with no nutrients due to over-farming. I asked that if the soil has no nutrients, how is it that the crops grow? That got me the classic deer-in-headlights response. I then asked that if all of North America is consuming food that has no nutritive value, why is it that there is no scurvy epidemic, or a massive health emergency caused by malnutrition?

I was now looking at a cross-eyed deer in the headlights. If the sales person had spun their head I'm sure I would have heard the sound of a pea rolling around in there, or perhaps a pill. Cheap-shots aside, it appears that to sell all these pills the health food stores have to propagate urban myths and push antiestablishment concepts to justify the goods they sell.

How about this delightful nugget; fruits and vegetables have phytochemicals (phyto= plant). It is thought that phytochemicals play an integral role in how vitamins are absorbed from the foods we eat. Supplement companies now sell vitamins with phytochemicals added with the ironic claim that the pill is absorbed just like food. Uh-hu. So food must be pretty special if supplement companies are trying to reproduce its properties. Is that like having your glasses on your forehead and asking, "where are my glasses"? I can see the satire now: Lab techs in white coats are pulling their hair out holding an apple and desperately deliberating, "We must discover how this works (the apple), we must unlock the chemical secrets inside!" Just then the mail room guy walks by, grabs the apple and takes a bite. The lab geeks are dumbfounded.

Want real health food? Check out this review of Happy Planet Juice. They make juice with, wait for it... nothing but real food. Who would think of doing such a thing?

Think about how backwards we have become: Most people think of pills when they think of vitamins and minerals. Test your self; What is the first image or thought that comes into your mind when the topic of vitamins is brought up? Do you think of the original source - food: Fruits, vegetables, grains? Or do you think of bottles of pills? Ironic. People will go to a "health food" store to buy vitamin pills and not even think about the local grocery stores produce section as a viable source of vitamins.

The fact is your local grocery store is the best vitamin store you can find. There is isle after isle of nutrient dense foods that humans have been living healthily on for millennia. - Just skip the junk food isle.

Myth Busting:

  • Myth: Soil has no or little nutrients; therefore the plants grown in this soil will have no nutrients.
    Fact: Plants will either not grow (no nutrients in soil) or grow less making for smaller crop yields, but with no change in plant nutrients.
  • Myth: Vitamin pills are needed to meet daily nutritive needs.
    Fact: Eating a balanced diet will supply nutrients well above the minimum RNA (recommended nutrient allowance).
  • Myth: Special pill supplements give an energy boost.
    Fact: Almost no supplement in pill form contains any caloric value; therefore they cannot provide "energy". They may however, contain caffeine or a caffeine derivative therefore increasing heart rate and making a person "feel" energized.
    Many of these stimulants have been pulled from the market because they cause heart function abnormalities.

Want vitamins from a reliable source? Visit your local grocery store. Vitamins come in multicolored packages that look suspiciously like fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.

Go here for a related article on supplements that increase cancer risk

2003-2004 Cris LaBossiere Rhino Fitness

Copyright 2004 Rhino Fitness. All rights reserved.
For more information contact: clabossiere@rhinofitness.ca