The Vibrant Health Association is a national, non-profit organization of volunteers dedicated to promoting whole health. Our mission is to oppose disability and life threatening disease, by educating the public in what it takes to get healthy and maintain good health naturally. VHA promotes vibrant longevity not just a lengthy existence. We encourage regular exercise, sufficient rest and relaxation, natural foods, clean water and fresh air, wholesome attitudes, relationships and a natural esteem for the spirit-self.
The Vibrant Health Association, in partnership with other health associations, achieves its mission through education, referral services and informational services. These efforts are supported by volunteers and staff and funds raised in communities across the US.
VHA is improving the quality of life by elevating the public awareness regarding contaminants in our food supply, air and water, and more importantly identifying what the healthy alternatives are and where to get them. Similar to the way MADD elevated the public awareness on drunk driving and the Dairy Association improved the image of milk, VHA is working to change the public perception of health from a symptom based approach to a ‘back-to-basics’ approach of wholeness and disease prevention.
Thanks to the generosity of our donors and the work of our volunteers and staff, the Vibrant Health Association is leading the way in actively deterring disability and life threatening disease. The Association has partnered with various doctors, health organizations, and other agencies to bring about an overall balanced, healthy approach to life addressing the mental, physical, spiritual and emotional aspects of ourselves. We actively pursue prevention as the key to vibrant longevity.
The Vibrant Health Association hosts seminars, webinars, cooking demos, health challenges, walk/run events to make healthy living fun!
Eat Your Micros
By: John Apel
Eat Your Micros: The Importance of Nutritive Foods
John Apel @_johnapel_
This is the first article in “The Importance of Holistic Health” series, where each week we explore a different aspect of a balanced, healthy lifestyle.
What makes up a healthy diet? Why should I care about a healthy diet for myself? What does it mean to “Eat Your Micros”? Read on to find the answer to these questions and more.
What Constitutes a Healthy Diet?
Merriam-Webster defines health as “soundness of body or mind; freedom from disease or ailment.” Other words for health include vigor and vitality. These are all things we as human beings need to live our best life, both physically and emotionally. A healthy diet is one that allows us to remain vibrant of mind and free of avoidable maladies while providing energy and strength to do what we love.
One element of a healthy diet is a proper energy balance, that is, an amount of calories to eat given our activity level. We establish our personal caloric intake by determining our macronutrient (protein, carbs, and fat) needs depending on whether our goal is to gain, maintain, or lose weight. Maintaining a proper energy balance is a critical component of holistic health, but this article focuses on a different aspect of a balanced diet: micronutrient intake.
Micronutrients, more commonly referred to as vitamins and minerals, are critical for preventing disease, healthy childhood and adult development, and general wellbeing. Six essential micronutrients include:
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin D
Why Should I Care About a Healthy Diet for Myself?
One way to find the answer to the question of “why should I care about ____” is to find out what happens if we don’t. What happens if we ignore the advice of nutritionists and other health professionals and do not prioritize a healthy diet? The answer to this question is twofold.
Most diet and nutrition advice in today’s society revolves around finding a proper energy balance, which comes from our macronutrient intake. If our energy intake is out of balance, we will either gain or lose weight, both of which can be unhealthy depending on the circumstances. However, even if our energy balance is properly managed and we maintain a healthy weight, if our food is not sourced from a balanced diet, we run the risk of developing micronutrient deficiencies.
What happens if we have micronutrient deficiencies? Here are some examples of common deficiencies and their effects:
|Micronutrient||Symptoms of Deficiency|
|Tiredness, weakness, impaired brain function|
|Calcium||Soft bones (children), osteoporosis (adults)
|Weakness, bone loss, increase risk of bone fracture|
|Vitamin A||Eye damage or (worst case) blindness, suppressed immune function|
We don’t want to experience any of these negative effects from micronutrient deficiencies. So, what to do? Eat Your Micros!
What Does It Mean to “Eat Your Micros”?
To “Eat Your Micros” is to eat a diet full of adequate micronutrients to enable optimal health and wellbeing.
Micronutrients generally come from one of two sources: food intake or supplementation. Not all foods contain adequate amounts of micronutrients for optimal health, however. Many popular foods with very little nutritive value include non-diet soda, sweets, fruit juices, white rice and white bread, and other highly processed grains.
This is not to say that these nutrient-poor foods must be avoided entirely; that is far from realistic. However, it is important to not rely solely on foods in these categories to fulfill our caloric needs or we greatly increase the risk of developing a micronutrient deficiency.
So, is the solution as simple as “eat your fruits and vegetables?” Yes and no. The general solution to preventing micronutrient deficiencies is to adopt a broad, healthy diet prioritizing, yes, fruits and vegetables, but also whole grains, beans and legumes, low-fat protein, and dairy products.
To see a list of micronutrients and food sources that contain them, click here.
It is often more challenging to meet our diet and nutrition goals in practice than in theory, as any of us who have ever tried to lose weight can verify. Fortunately for us, with micronutrients, there is a simple product that can support a lacking diet: a daily multivitamin. There are generally different products for men or women because men and women have different micronutrient needs (particularly for pregnant women), and they can be found in any grocery store or pharmacy. So, if you find your diet to be lacking some of the vitamins and minerals listed in the link above, consider external supplementation with a multivitamin.
Have some protein. Have some berries. Have some beans. If that doesn’t sound good, have a multivitamin. The important part? Don’t stress about it. Stress can be as damaging to our health as a poor diet, which we’ll learn about in “Take a Moment to Breathe: The Importance of Mindfulness,” coming soon. Next, however, we will learn about the most exciting aspect of holistic health in “Move Your Body: The Importance of Exercise.” Stay tuned…
“7 Nutrient Deficiencies That Are Incredibly Common.” Healthline, 21 May 2019, https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/7-common-nutrient-deficiencies.
Black, M. (2003, November 01). Micronutrient deficiencies and cognitive functioning. Retrieved May 11, 2021, from https://academic.oup.com/jn/article/133/11/3927S/4818043
Brunst, K., Wright, R., DiGioia, K., Enlow, M., Fernandez, H., Wright, R., & Kannan, S. (2013, December 13). Racial/ethnic and sociodemographic factors associated With Micronutrient intakes and Inadequacies among pregnant women in an urban US Population: Public HEALTH NUTRITION. Retrieved May 11, 2021, from https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/public-health-nutrition/article/racialethnic-and-sociodemographic-factors-associated-with-micronutrient-intakes-and-inadequacies-among-pregnant-women-in-an-urban-us-population/EE5F359B85CD746DDB3FE45AC927718C
Micronutrient facts. (2020, December 03). Retrieved May 11, 2021, from https://www.cdc.gov/nutrition/micronutrient-malnutrition/micronutrients/index.html
Micronutrients. (2021, April 30). Retrieved May 11, 2021, from https://www.cdc.gov/nutrition/micronutrient-malnutrition/index.html
“The Best Foods for Vitamins and Minerals – Harvard Health.” Harvard Health, 19 Sept. 2016,