A few weeks ago, I posted a (long) article called “Are You Getting the Nutrients You Need from Your Plant-Based Diet?“, written with my friend and book co-author, Matt Ruscigno, R.D.
It was a fun post to put together (especially the infographic, which I think is pretty handy), and I learned a lot in the process, as I always do when I work with Matt.
But a few of the comments in response to that post, along with T. Colin Campbell’s new book, Whole, left me with a nagging question:
Should we even bother worrying about individual nutrients, or is it enough to say “eat whole plant foods” and be done with it?
It’s a tough one — Campbell’s book makes a compelling argument that the only reason individual nutrients like iron, omega 3’s, all the letter vitamins, and even protein are in common parlance is the green stuff … and I mean money, not kale. “Eat whole foods” doesn’t sell magazines, pills, doctor visits, or surgeries; reductionist approaches to health do.
And yet on the other hand, those of us who eat plant-based are choosing a diet that’s very different from the norm in our society. Do we have a responsibility (to ourselves, our kids, the people to whom we recommend this diet) to know that we are, in fact, getting everything we’re “supposed” to?