Nutrient and Mineral Deficient Food: Part 1

It’s been just over a month since the Newton shooting and all the world is STILL in an uproar over what happened. Some are calling for better care of mentally ill people. Others are calling for stricter gun control measures. Not many people understand the actual core of the problem facing our society with the increase of “mentally ill” patients. The purpose of this series of articles is to better explain the core issue that has increased the amount of “mentally ill” patients in our society and what can be done about it on a collective whole. Anything I share in these articles is NOT meant to replace the recommendations of your medical or mental health care provider, it is for informational purposes. I strongly encourage EVERYONE to become more informed and educated about ALL their options in any part of receiving medical care. As the patient, or parent/spouse of the patient, you are entitled a receive intuition as to what is the best course of action for yourself or your loved one. In my experience, I have received GREATER intuition as to what I should do for my health or the health of my loved ones as I have better educated and informed myself. With that disclaimer, I shall now proceed. 

It was spring of 2005 when I first learned that the produce we eat today is mineral deficient compared to the produce my grandparents ate. I grew up in a family where my parents planted a garden every year and we literally ate the food out of the garden ALL year long, so this information surprised me. We had been visiting my husband’s grandparents in San Diego for the weekend when I picked up one of his grandfather’s science magazines. It was the most recent issue of Discover Magazine (May 2005) and as I was reading through it, I came across an article by Susan Freinkel titled “Vitamin Cure”.

The article started off by retelling the story of the Stephan family in Alberta, Canada. Tony Stephan’s wife, Debbie, committed suicide in 1994, as her father had done 16 years previously. Two of their 10 children were heading down the same path. 22 year old daughter Autumn was in a mental institution for bi-polar depression and 15 year old son Joseph had also recently been diagnosed with bi-polar depression. Both children were on pharmaceutical drugs but not readily improving.

In November 1995, Tony Stephan met David Hardy, a Canadian hog-feed salesman, and soon began to confide in him his troubles. David admitted that he didn’t know much about mental illness but that Tony’s children’s behavior reminded him of ear-and-tail-biting syndrome. “All it takes to calm disturbed pigs down is a good dose of vitamins and minerals in their feed.” the article stated. The story goes on to recount how Hardy and Stephan worked together to develop a micro-nutrient human version of the micro-nutrient hog version.

Directly from the article:
On January 20, 1996, they gave Joseph the first bitter-tasting dose. Within a few days, Joseph felt better than he had in months. After 30 days, all the symptoms of his illness were gone.
Stephan next turned to Autumn, whose mental state had been steadily deteriorating for years. Now she was psychotic, convinced she had a gaping hole in her chest from which demons emerged. Just released from the hospital where she’d been on suicide watch, Autumn required 24-hour supervision to ensure she didn’t hurt either herself or her 3-year-old son.
Stephan forced her to take the nutritional formula. After just two days of treatment, her rapid swings between mania and depression stopped. After four days her hallucinations vanished. “I remember saying, ‘Oh my gosh, my hole is gone,’ ” she recalls. By week’s end, she felt well enough to quit all but one of her five medications.
Nine years later, both Autumn and Joseph remain symptom free, medication free, and devoted to taking what they call “the nutrients” each day. Autumn Stringam, her married name, is an articulate woman with bright eyes who revels in being a full-time mother to her son and the three daughters she’s had since getting well. “I don’t feel I’m cured,” she says. “I feel I’ve got something that allows me to manage and have a normal, functional life—maybe even better than functional.”

I was later intrigued to learn in the article that Hardy and Stephan were “Mormons” like I was. While their micro-nutrient hadn’t yet been tested on a large study scale, many people who used their EMPowerPlus had had similar results as Stephan’s two children.

Aside from this simple, yet miraculous cure - the part that surprised me about the food we eat today was this part:
A number of diseases caused by nutrient deficiency, such as scurvy, beriberi, pellagra, and pernicious anemia, display psychiatric symptoms like irritability and depression. But while severe deficiencies are rare in the developed world—when’s the last time you met someone with beriberi?—many of us fall short of getting all the nutrients we need. In 1997 a British study compared the mineral content of fruits and vegetables grown in the 1930s with the mineral content of produce grown in the 1980s. It found that several nutrients had dropped dramatically, including calcium (down nearly 30 percent), iron (down 32 percent), and magnesium (down 21 percent).

The article also shares accounts of studies done on patients with other vitamin, mineral and fatty acid supplements in both the US and Britain and the successes the researchers saw. All patients in many of the studies were still taking their pharmaceutical drugs, but when given certain supplements to take as well, they did BETTER than the control group that was just taking the drugs.

As I shared this information with other people in the coming weeks, one mother didn’t agree with me because, “I buy only organic produce for my family. My daughter who eats more fresh produce than my other children has depression and the other children don't.”

It occurred to me then, almost 8 years ago, that there are many people who assume that since they buy “organic produce”, they believe it is nutritionally superior to conventional produce. While organic produce eliminates exposure to pesticides, it does NOT ensure that an organic plant has MORE nutrients (naturally occurring vitamins and minerals found in plants) than a plant grown conventionally (with artificial pesticides and fertilizers). But since I was only a 23 year old with no children and essentially no life experience, this mother, whose oldest child was my age, was not going to listen to me even though this is what the research revealed: our produce is significantly nutrient and mineral deficient compared to the produce our grandparents and great-grandparents consumed.

It would be another 3 or 4 years when I became more involved in growing my own garden that I was to learn how one plant, organically grown in the right soils/conditions, can have a higher nutrient content than the produce you buy at the store. It was another year or two after that when I learned how I can ensure that the food I grow in my garden has ALL the nutrients in it that it should. I will cover my gardening experiences in my next post. 

Updated 2/5/2013:
Nutrient and Mineral Deficient Food: Part 2


Autumn said…
You are such a great writer. I think I need to read this a few times with a note book just to absorb everything you said!

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