Katie Frank , MS, LAT, ATC Growing up, I never really thought about food besides when I needed it, how it tasted, and how I felt during/after eating it. Mom went to the store, got what was needed, and brought it home. Years later, awareness kicked in and learning how to read nutrition labels became interesting. This amount of that is in one serving, and c’est tout. Even the nutrition facts of food without a label could be easily found via internet. Side note, avocados aren’t advertised with their calorie content for a reason. They’re delicious but pack a ton. I don’t care, I’m still eating them! Due to nutritional interests, multivitamins (and supplements in general) have been a part of my diet for quite some time. While eating lunch with a friend recently, my vitamin pack was on the table as it’s a habit to take them with lunch. The waitress came by, pointed at the vitamins, and asked, “what’s that do?” Maybe I was on edge, but I automatically assumed she was questioning the behavior rather than simply being curious. I responded rather monotone and unpleasantly, “it makes up for the vitamins and minerals that have been steadily stripped from earth’s soil, which ends in less quality produce, and leaves me needing to add to it.” Almost as if it were my lines in a play, and I just got cued. I hope she didn’t pick up on the attitude; it was simple interest on her part, and not malicious questioning at all. This warranted more thought. I’ve always assumed what I said to the waitress was true (because it makes sense) but never really investigated it. Turns out soil depletion is a real, unfortunate thing. And the result is a need to eat more of something to get what you need. Exhaustive agricultural methods do indeed strip soil: a lack of proper crop rotation, pesticide use, chemical fertilizers, and climate changes can 6
all share the guilt. Having crops grow from an exhausted ground makes for a much less nutrient-dense product. The Organic Consumers Association cites a study claiming that we would have to eat eight oranges today to get the same mg of Vitamin A as our grandparents would have gotten from one. It may not be solely soil’s fault, but the quantity being produced. We eat (and waste) a ridiculous amount of food. By mass-producing more and more product, the core nutrients are thinned-out. Consider painting a house but only having a certain amount of paint. Some contractors go to lengths in this department when building homes. A budget can limit resources but there’s always a quick fix that usually doesn’t hold-up in the end. There was a soil crisis in the 19th century that obliterated major natural resources, called for extreme forms of labor, and started wars over bird feces. Yes, the last one is true, and I sure hope history does not repeat itself. In general, the earth needs to be nurtured and respected. You would be surprised how much soil “goes down the drain” due to agricultural efforts and even rain. Having an awareness of how we cohabit our planet is important. I’m rallying for a natural boost in today’s nutrition labels. And a nice home for avocados to grow-up from. It’s only right.
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