Natural Vitality President Ken Whitman founded the supplement company that makes popular products such as Natural Calm Magnesium, Organic Life liquid multivitamins, OsetoCalm, Kids Calm—and recently launched new, very unique whole food B complex and C complex supplements.
For more on the whole food supplement trend, read our conversation with MegaFood CEO Robert Craven.
newhope360: What’s driving consumers’ increased interest in whole food supplements?
Ken Whitman: Our society is in the midst of a transition between reductionist industrial thinking and holistic thinking in which the whole system is taken into account. We’re just starting on this evolution, but it makes sense. If you don’t have a big stake in the industrialized economy, you can clearly see its negative effects on individual health and the environment. This is why individuals are catching on much faster than corporations and governments.
All during the 1900s we were pushing against nature and trying to dominate it. We’re seeing the results now, and a lot of smart people are thinking that perhaps we could heal ourselves and our planet by working with nature. Part of this is the understanding that the whole foods designed by nature are better for you than manmade, processed foods. Whole Foods Market with its name alone has done a great deal to help promote this idea.
The fact that whole food could be considered a new idea shows just how far out of touch we’ve become with our natural environment.
newhope360: How do you define a whole food supplement?
KW: The term "whole food" really doesn’t mean that much. GMO corn could be whole food. Celery or apples with pesticide residues could technically be called whole food.
Just because a vegetable is whole doesn’t mean it’s highly nutritious. That depends upon the nutrients in the soil in which it’s grown. You can take two tomatoes—one from the supermarket grown “conventionally” and the other farm-fresh and grown organically in nutrient-rich soil. One doesn’t smell or taste like anything; the other smells like a tomato and tastes sweet and alive. Taste comes from nutrient content. This is something the great chefs understand.
The general level of nutrients in our fruits and vegetables has been declining, with the nutritional content in foods now ranging from 15 to 75 percent less than what it was half a century ago.
Whole food supplements can get complicated. Some companies feed nutrients to yeast and call it whole food or raw. That’s not incorrect, but it’s not the same as harvesting an organically grown plant and freeze-drying it. No wonder consumers and even retailers feel confused.
newhope360: Natural Vitality recently debuted B complex and C complex supplements that you call "foodiceuticals." Can you explain how these are made?
KW: The idea of whole food is that you’re not isolating one part, like ascorbic acid, and calling it vitamin C. Vitamin C is really a complex with cofactors that enable it to do its full job. This is why we just came out with Vitality C Complex. It’s a vitamin C prepared only from organically grown plants and put into a capsule made from tapioca.
We call it “foodiceutical farm-to-capsule.” We did the same thing with Vitality B Complex, except we added the missing B12 in methylated form. There can still be a valid role for isolates, but we like to combine them with whole food to complete the picture.
newhope360: What other issues are you passionate about?
KW: As a supplement company, we believe that our core health issue lies in the soil and in farming methods widely employed today. This is why we feel it’s vital to get to the “root” of the problem.
More than five years ago we started our Natural Revitalization environmental action initiative. We have been the initial and core funder of Remineralize the Earth and the Bionutrient Food Association (BFA). The BFA is headed by a second-generation organic farmer and is devoted to training farmers and growers in the organic techniques of cultivating high-nutrient food. A more complete explanation can be found here.
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