Best wishes for a very happy, healthy New Year!  I hope you had a wonderful holiday season.  At the beginning of the year, we tend to focus on dieting to lose weight after the holidays.  However, I’d like to take a look at the nutrients we need, and how we can obtain them.

   Can You Get Ideal Amounts of All the Nutrients You Need from Food Alone?

The short answer is maybe, but not likely.  It may be possible, but it’s not all that likely that you actually will even with a healthy diet.

Why?  There are many factors that contribute to getting less than ideal nutrition from food alone.

  • I’m sure you’ve heard that the soil where crops are grown has been depleted over the years, making crops less nutrient dense than they were many years ago. 
  • Fruits and vegetables lose significant amounts of their nutrition when they are not eaten as soon as they are harvested or picked.
The sheer complexity of the number of nutrients we need and the amount of each makes it difficult if not impossible to assess whether what you’re eating fills all your nutritional needs – unless, in the unlikely event, this one activity is your full time job!
   What Are the Most Common Nutritional Deficiencies?

The most common deficiencies have been reported as:

  • Water (low level dehydration)
  • Vitamins and minerals
  • Protein
  • Essential fatty acids

One study reports the most common vitamin and mineral deficiencies are:

  • Zinc
  • Magnesium
  • Vitamin D
  • Omega 3 fatty acids
   What Can We Do to Improve Our Nutrition?
  • It makes good sense to eat a variety of healthy foods, with the emphasis on vegetables, legumes and fruit. 
  • With the Canadian climate, it’s a good idea to eat seasonal vegetables and fruit (no, they don’t grow in the winter, but vegetables like carrots, and fruits like apples can be stored all winter).  In winter, a good option is frozen fruits and vegetables – they’ve been harvested at their peak and frozen immediately, so their nutrient value is high.
  • We can eat organic foods that are free of pesticides, herbicides and other contaminants.
  • Avoid processed foods.  The nutrition has generally been stripped away, and there are additives you neither want nor need.
  • In particular, we can avoid GM (genetically modified) (also referred to as GE, genetically engineered) products.  I’m using this term to mean crops that are genetically modified to withstand the herbicide Roundup® which contains glyphosate.  This means that the crops can be sprayed with Roundup®, and that Roundup® is then present in the plant. The dangers of Roundup® are not yet totally clear, but a number have been identified, and it has been associated with most of the diseases and conditions associated with a Western diet. Crops that are mostly GM in Canada are corn, canola, soy and sugar beet. Note that these products are contained in many, many processed foods, and you can assume they are GM unless the product claims to be GM- (or GMO) free.
  • Avoid refined carbohydrates, e.g. added sugar (all forms) white flour, white rice; do eat brown rice and whole wheat flour, which is even healthier if you add back the wheat germ separately (one tablespoon of fresh wheat germ per cup of flour).
  • Avoid trans fats completely.  The latest research indicates that even saturated fat is not bad for us in moderation, as we’ve been taught for many years now.  But no level of trans fat (hydrogenated vegetable oil) is safe.
  • Eat plenty of fibre
  • Drink plenty of water.  We’ve discussed this before, but the general rule is 8, 8-ounce glasses per day.  More specifically, divide your weight in pounds by 2, and that is the number of ounces of water you should drink per day, e.g. a person weighing 140 pounds should drink 70 ounces of water per day (a little more than the 64 ounces the standard advice gives you).
  • Cooking temperatures can affect the nutrients in foods.  Avoid over-cooking.  Generally, low heat is better than high heat.  Use small amounts of water (if applicable).  Raw foods are ideal.
  • Some nutrient-dense foods include:
    • Avocados
    • Chard, collard greens, kale, mustard greens, spinach
    • Bell peppers
    • Brussels sprouts
    • Mushrooms (crimini and shiitake)
    • Potatoes (white or sweet)
    • Cantaloupe, papaya, raspberries, strawberries
    • Yogurt
    • Eggs
    • Seeds (flax, pumpkin, sesame, sunflower)
    • Beans (garbanzo, kidney, navy pinto)
    • Lentils, peas
    • Almonds, cashews, peanuts
    • Barley, oats, quinoa, brown rice
    • Salmon, halibut, cod, scallops, shrimp, tuna
    • Lean, grass-fed beef, lamb
    • Chicken, turkey
   But Doesn’t it Cost a lot More to “Eat Healthy”?

According to a recent meta-analysis of 26 studies in 10 wealthy and middle income countries, it does cost more to eat healthy, but only about $1.50 per day, comparing the healthiest dietary quartile (25%) of participants to the least healthy dietary quartile.  While $1.50 per day per person (almost $550 per year) can add up in a multi-person household, the difference is smaller than many people believe it is.

   Reasons You May (Still) Need Vitamin and Mineral Supplements
  1. Stress.  Chemical, physical and emotional stresses can increase the body’s requirements for vitamins B2, B5, B6 and C.  Air pollution increases the requirements for vitamin E.
  2. Lack of sunlight.  Anyone living in Canada in the winter, plus invalids, shift workers, and any other people whose exposure to sunlight may be minimal can suffer from insufficient amounts of vitamin D, which is required for calcium metabolism, without which rickets and osteoporosis can occur.
  3. Crop nutrient losses.  Some agricultural soils are deficient in trace elements.  Decades of intensive agriculture can overwork and deplete soils, unless all the soil nutrients including trace elements are regularly replaced.
  4. Convenience foods.  A diet overly dependent on highly refined carbohydrates, such as sugar, white flour and white rice, places greater demand on additional sources of B-vitamins to process these carbohydrates.
  5. Overcooking.  Lengthy cooking or reheating of meat and vegetables can oxidize and destroy heat-susceptible vitamins such as the B vitamins, C and E.
  6. Vegetarian diets.  Vegetarian diets need to guard against vitamin B12 deficiency which leads to anemia, as well as impaired cognitive functioning.
  7. Food allergies.  The omission of whole food groups, e.g. due to gluten or lactose intolerance, can mean the loss of significant dietary sources of nutrients, such as thiamine, riboflavin or calcium.
  8. Smoking.  Smoking increases metabolic requirements of vitamin C, which is important for the immune system to function properly.
  9. Alcohol.  Alcohol affects availability, absorption and metabolism of nutrients, particularly B vitamins.
  10. Antibiotics.  Antibiotics tend to kill off friendly bacteria in the digestive system in addition to the infections they are supposed to clear up.  The friendly bacteria normally produce B-vitamins to be absorbed through the intestinal walls.
  11. Surgery.  Surgery increases the body’s need for zinc, vitamin E and other nutrients involved in the cellular repair mechanism.
  12. Teenagers.   Rapid growth spurts place high demands on nutritional resources to underwrite the accelerated physical, biochemical and emotional development in this age group.
  13. Pregnant women.  Pregnancy creates higher demands for nutrients to ensure healthy growth of the baby and ideal health of the mother.  Nutrients which typically need to be increased include the B vitamins (especially folic acid), A, D, E, and the minerals calcium, iron, magnesium, zinc and phosphorous.
  14. The elderly.  Older people have been shown to have a low intake of vitamins, particularly iron, calcium and zinc.
  15. Light eaters.  Some people eat very sparingly, even without weight reduction goals.  This tends to lead to low levels of thiamine, calcium and iron.
  16. Athletes.  Athletes consume large amounts of food and experience considerable stress.  These factors affect their need for B vitamins, vitamin C and iron in particular.
   Nature’s Sunshine Products

Of course, I’m going to recommend Nature’s Sunshine vitamins and minerals to help you make up for any dietary deficiencies you may have. I’d like to elaborate on why I consider Nature’s Sunshine products to be so desirable. The quality is truly superior to most other companies.  For example, we use no fillers. The quality of the ingredients we use is extremely carefully monitored, and any that are less than excellent are returned to the source (who, no doubt, sells them to other companies who are less demanding). We have been recently recognized by Forbes 500 and by Doctor Oz for the superior quality of our products.

Our appearance on Dr. Mehmet Oz makes #7 on our most popular blogs posts of the year. Consumer Lab (not associated with Nature's Sunshine) tested various multivitamins and ours passed with flying colors. This image shows our Prenatal vitamin on the table. Go here to see the entire post with links to the episode:  

Can we brag about being trustworthy? One of the highlights For Nature's Sunshine this year was being named to Forbes' list of America's 100 Most Trustworthy Companies.

Super Vitamins and Minerals /store/#!/~/product/category=1546925&id=6402719

Bifidophilus Flora Force /store/#!/~/product/category=1546925&id=6402609  For good digestive functioning and especially useful if taking antibiotics.

Super Omega 3 /store/#!/~/product/category=1546925&id=23616372

Zambroza /store/#!/~/product/category=5963011&id=7802979  Zambroza is replete with xanthones, bioflavonoids and powerful antioxidants.

Stress Formula /store/#!/~/product/category=5963008&id=6402647  A vitamin B-complex formula in a base of calming herbs to nutritionally support the nervous system when under stress.

Psyllium Hulls Combination for fibre. /store/#!/~/product/category=5826005&id=8221411

Women’s Formula – an herbal source of iron, magnesium, manganese, selenium, silicon, sodium, B vitamins niacin and riboflavin and vitamins A and C.  /store/#!/~/product/category=1546927&id=6402731

Calcium-Magnesium Plus D  /store/#!/~/product/category=1546924&id=6402699

Liquid B12 /store/#!/~/product/category=1546918&id=6402631

For other vitamins and minerals, such as Vitamin A&D, B Complex, B6, B12, C, D, E with Selenium, Magnesium Complex, and Zinc, please contact our office directly.

For additional information, please email; or call Ramilas Healing Arts Clinic at 613.829.0427 for an appointment.  Please continue letting friends and family know about this newsletter.  Also on our website, please see back issues of this newsletter, additional information about products, order products, and see information about our Clinic.

  1. Berardi J. How to fix a broken diet: 3 ways to get your eating on track.   Accessed January 14, 2014.
  2. Samsel A, Seneff S. Glyphosate’s suppression of cytochrome P450 enzymes and amino acid biosynthesis by the gut microbiome: pathways to modern diseases. Entropy 2013;15:1416-1463.
  3. GE crops and foods (on the market).   Accessed January 13, 2014.
  4. Mullholland A. Processed foods: why Canadians may not be getting the nutrition they expect. Canada AM: The top worst processed foods. ttp://   Accessed January 13, 2014.
  5. Are you getting essential nutrients from your diet? Harvard Health Publications. September 7, 2010  Accessed January 13, 2014.
  6. Rao M. Afshin A, Singh G, Mozaffarian D. Do healthier foods and diet patterns cost more than less healthy options? A systematic review and meta-analysis. BMJ Open 2013;3:e004277. doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2013-004277.
The suggestions and recommendations in this newsletter are not intended to be prescriptive or diagnostic. The information is accurate and up to date to our knowledge, but we are not responsible for any errors in our sources of information.

These newsletters will help you make better choices for better health. The choices that you make today can either have a positive or negative impact on your overall health. Begin by choosing better. It is a step toward longevity.


Ramila Padiachy
Ramila's Healing Arts Clinic