Are powders and pills replacing whole food?

Lately I have been reading and hearing a lot of information about different supplements/products that fitness professionals are using themselves and selling to their clients to help them reach their goals. The results seem to be impressive. People are losing weight, they say they are feeling better and for some it has also become another source of revenue.

So, here is the first place where I am a bit stuck. Fundamentally, I think that these supplements/products are a band aid solution to people not making their health a priority. They are choosing not to cook healthy food. There are lots of reasons that they will give you, I am too busy, the food we buy in stores today doesn’t have the same nutritional value, etc. And at the end of the day, if you value eating healthy you will make the time and you will find quality foods.

Here is the second place that I am stuck. If the people using these products are not willing to take care of their health through whole food then are the products they are taking better than nothing?If they are becoming healthier should it matter how they get there?

When I think about this whole scenario I wonder if nutritional products/supplements are the next evolution in how we nourish our bodies. Think back a few generations, people grew their own food. Then society changed and people stopped growing their own food, and started buying it from others. Then society changed again and they cooked their own food less, they ate out, bought pre-cooked meals. So, are pills and powders the next evolution? Will they slowly start to replace whole food all together?

As a life coach, when a client is not taking care of something important in their life we often start to dig a bit deeper to see where else they are selling themselves short. Where we struggle in our life is often a symptom of something else that is going on. If a client continually chooses not to make their nutrition a priority, why is that? What else are they shoving off to the side? Until the client figures out what the underlying issue is they will continue to struggle. It may appear that they are conquering things in their life but really they are just trading one struggle for another.

So, if you or your clients are choosing to use pills and powders instead of whole foods I encourage you to sit for a moment and really ask yourself why you have chosen this path instead of real food. No judgement, just curiosity. When we are clear around why we are making decisions we are much more likely to make the right decision and to stick with it.

14 thoughts on “Are powders and pills replacing whole food?

  • Hi Brenda, I enjoyed this article and I agree that powders are becoming more and more consumed that ever before. I also agree that if people would take the time they can purchase good whole foods. I do believe that people” just starting out ” in the fitness world are making an attempt to start eating healthier by choosing the protien powders, then this is a baby step towards getting more healthier because as time goes on they can slowly learn and incorporate wholesome real foods.

    • Good point Christine. It sounds a bit like why we often start beginners on machines. The machines are the baby steps to learning how to move their body against resistance.

      Thanks for that perspective!

  • I think that we are conditioned by advertizing to think that simple foods cannot possibly give us the nutrition we need. We think that nutrition comes from a store not the earth and it is only through experience that we learn that simple foods are the most satisfying.

    • So true Flossie. I guess the next question is how do we get people to experience how satisfying simple foods are? To trust that the simplest answer is usually the correct one.

  • Many of us hold beliefs that if it is good it is expensive and difficult. We find it a huge stretch to believe that a prosperous healthy life is within reach for ALL of us.

  • Brenda, I saw in the news yesterday that they are now saying that vitamins don’t actually help at all, and that they might actually harm people in some cases. I know that several of the vitamins that were emphasized over the years have been shown to cause problems. I personally could never force myself to take vitamins regularly, so I’m relieved to know that I didn’t harm myself!

    • It’s a really interesting topic – with so many people on both sides of the debate, each armed with stacks of research studies. Who do you believe? For me, it all comes back to trusting your intuition, listening to what your body is physically telling you and not using supplements as a replacement for real food.

  • Supplements mean precisely that- they are there to supplement a healthy, whole food diet. I am a big believer in supplements for unhealthy, imbalanced people. Most healthy people are doing an all ready good job in eating healthy, but we can’t always buy organic and it is true that even the best foods today don’t have the nutritional value they did even 50 years ago- so a good WHOLE FOOD multivitamin is a good bet. Having said that, I have also seen people with coronary artery disease have that condition reversed with an excellent protocol of whole food vitamins and herbs and I have witnessed many other health conditions be reversed and improved. The supplements I prescribe must be prescribed by a licensed health care professional- not a fitness coach or a massage therapist, etc. I have had to spend hours and hours, years and years in classes, studying, apprenticing, and mentoring with others to be able to do what I do and yet it flabbergasts me to see people in the vitamin aisle of the grocery store or the vitamin shop buying all kinds of vitamins, minerals and herbs of less than adequate quality. They can cause more ill health than they think they are helping by taking fractionated, synthetic vitamins or even taking whole food vitamins that their body doesn’t need. Please get with a qualified healthcare professional, a naturopath, a holistic practitioner, a nutritionist- someone to help assess and guide you appropriately in your natural health choices.

    • Great advice! You are right that people don’t seem to take their choice of supplements very seriously. Working with a qualified professional is so important to make sure you’re not only taking the right supplement but to also make sure it’s a quality brand.

  • And I wonder how much comes back to people no longer knowing how to COOK! When I got my own home, I had to learn how to cook. I found I couldn’t live forever on fish sticks and a salad.

    What surprised me was that it didn’t take that much longer to make a balanced, healthy meal than it did to pre-heat the oven and pop in the fish sticks!

    I will say this, I do take a vitamin daily. When I get off of it for too long I can feel the difference. But I don’t think that one little daily vitamin makes up for ANYTHING!

    • I agree Kimberly. There are so many adults that I know that have no idea how to cook. And like anything in life, if you don’t know how to do it chances are you’re thinking it’s harder than it actually is.

      And for you, the vitamin you take is a SUPPLEMENT to your healthy eating, not a replacement. That’s a huge distinction.

  • What a timely article indeed. I have a few thoughts on this topic. I think everyone should get all their nutrition from appropriate foods. That said, given the culture and fast paced world we live in and the era of ‘convenience, convenience, convenience’, I see where vitamins make sense to help stabilize us for what we don’t eat! I also think that with the advent of SO so so many weight loss pills on the market, it’s too easy for people to put a pill in their mouth, keep their lifestyle the same and hope they become healthy!

    The other big problem I see is when people go to a health food store and just pick some random things off the shelf because they heard about this or that and don’t understand the difference in quality products and run of the mill quality products. Taking OTC pills without consulting their physician or medical professional sets them up for potential side effects with current or future medications. There are so many interactions these days and people don’t really pay attention to that nor think it’s important to share with their doctors.

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