Do you sometimes use supplements as a short-cut to good nutrition? Kat Farrants considers the role of rest, soil quality and connectivity in nutrition
A journey of discovery
I’m on a journey of discovery. Sometimes it’s easy to forget that we only grow and develop when we’re on a lifelong journey of learning. And the fun thing is, I’m taking you guys all along with me for the ride. Whenever I find something interesting out, I see if I can get a conversation in our podcast. In the latest episode of our Champions of Change series, I speak to Henrietta Norton, Founder of Wild Nutrition. Blimey, we’re already on number 7! And I find out more about better nutrition through better supplements, plants and rest.
What I heard really made me completely re-think nutrition. I suppose that I had looked at what I eat from a simple perspective. A bit reductive. Something like, lettuce contains vitamins whatever and minerals whatever. I need those. I feel better when I eat lettuce, so I’ll continue. But – if I don’t get my lettuce because I’m travelling or too busy, that’s fine, I can get a supplement which will contain the same vitamins and minerals
Well, not so!!
Healthy Eating: Better Supplements
First of all, Henrietta has a formidable background in bio-chemistry and working in conventional supplements industry. But she suffered from endometriosis and didn’t find solutions. She started out of a need to help her own condition. She’s now dedicated her work to finding ways of improving our health through nutrition. Henrietta told me that synthetic vitamins have a high dose level of vitamins and minerals. (These are the ones sold in most health food shops. This is because the body simply doesn’t respond to synthetic vitamins in the same way it would by eating the plant. Makes sense now we think of it. Although I’d heard of bio-availability, that’s only a small part of it. The other part are the things within the plants which enable the nutrients to travel around the body better and be absorbed by the cells when they need it.
Connection is everything
Of course that’s the whole journey of yoga. It’s learning that connection is the key, that none of us are here isolated or can operate on our own. You can’t separate us out and get the benefit – the point it that our bodies, minds and spirits are one, and so is it with nutrition. You can’t just separate the good bits. As Henrietta says, foods as the sum of their parts. There are things in plants and foods that haven’t been discovered by science, we cannot disregard the so called non-active parts of the properties of plants. Just as with yoga, the nutrition we get from plants is all about everything working together as a community. Separation just does not work.
Finding Better Ways to Live through Connection
It’s funny how, when you dive deeply into a topic we realise that all topics and everything is so related. That when I find out that my breath affects my state of mind, which affects my health and body functions, and my approach to the world. I find out exactly the same from the foods we eat. To eat a plant is to eat the vitamins and minerals, but also to eat the things that enable those vitamins and minerals to be transported, retained and used. And of course eating means so much more to us all too. From Mimi’s book, which I’m currently reading on our bookclub, Xiu Yang, I’m finding that it’s the time of day and seasons, of our lives as well as seasons of the year that so affect what we could be optimally eating.
Us humans have been so reductive in trying to separate out a body from a mind, in the process of dissection, in the finding of a skeleton, which we think is unrelated to our state of mind. But now we know that our posture, our skeleton, deeply impacts our mind. And our bones are living cells which respond to our environment, our state of mind, the things we eat. There is indeed nothing separate in the world.
As I journey into the realm of taking yoga off the mat, I’m more and more drawn to the fact of finding yoga, the finding of unity, is found within every tiny thing that exists in the world. Because connection truly is what life is about.
Better agriculture, better nutrition, better supplements
It has to be said, I’ve never been a real fan of supplementation. After all, I do eat very well and healthily. Well, unfortunately, even the most healthy eaters may not be receiving all the right nutrition. These days the soil is of such bad quality that we’re not able to get everything that we would have got from our foods back before industrialisation. Again, it’s all connected. The way that we farm connected to the quality of the foods we’re producing. I’m delving more and more into the subject of our disgraceful agriculture practices, do check out Vidya’s podcast in which we discuss her mission to improve the soils and reduce desertification in southern Spain.
Sleep, nutrition and health
My other big finding from Henrietta was a reminder on the importance of sleep. It was fascinating to hear the study that when we are on our devices which emit the ‘blue light’, we get 80% less melatonin!! And that means that we can’t absorb our nutrients either. Gosh, isn’t it all fascinating that, eating as well as we possibly can, if we don’t get the sleep that we need, we simply can’t benefit from the health-giving properties of the food.
What I loved so much about the conversation was a new perspective on what it is to eat healthily. It gives us a sound reason why we need nutrition to come from plants.
So the upshot is – we are all connected. We really do need our sleep and to put away the laptop before bed (no sneaky social media updates at night!!). We need to cook our own food and eat more plants. And to boost up with better supplements.
Find out more about Henrietta at wildnutrition.com.
About Kat Farrants
Movement for Modern Life’s fabulous founder Kat Farrants lives her yoga and her own yoga practice informs how she develops MFML. This post was written by Kat and is inspired by her exploration into how she can take the small steps to move into a happier, healthier and more sustainable life. Please do join her on this journey and explore with us your happiest, healthiest, most sustainable life.