The Kind Life is a community around Alicia Silverstone and The Kind Diet where friends, doctors, experts in green living, and members share vegan tips.

Green Life

Nutrition & The Environment

Ideally, I want to make absolute certain that I can get as many nutrients as I possibly can from food- nutrition from its purest source. But as I explore in this post, no matter how squeaky-clean and well-rounded your diet is, there are several reasons why modern agricultural practices, toxins in the environment, and even the air we breathe have resulted in the need for a supplementation safety net. Also, even when we try our best to eat local, organic foods free of harmful pesticides and GMOs, there are simply some vitamins and minerals that are trickier to get than others. I’m looking at you, D and B12—and don’t worry, it’s not just a vegan thing! Here a few reasons why I think it’s important to include quality, whole food supplements as part of a healthy lifestyle:

• Our soil isn’t what it used to be

Dirt—and all the vitamins, minerals, and friendly bacteria that live there—plays a critical role in nourishing the plants and grains we grow. They suck up all that goodness, and we benefit by absorbing it through the food we eat. Unfortunately, because of things like erosion, pesticides, and big-agriculture farming practices, many of those beneficial nutrients that call soil home have been depleted. For this reason it’s incredibly important to buy organic! Organic farmers let the soil rebuild itself prior to planting so the soil can replenish itself. They also refrain from using toxic chemicals so the soil can carry out its own natural chemical composition. Organic crops contain 17 percent more antioxidants and have 69 percent higher flavonoids than conventional grown crops. Even if you do purchase the majority of your food organic, consider taking a multivitamin to help ensure you are getting enough of these important nutrients.

• Our air isn’t what it used to be

Thanks to all our fossil fuel consumption, carbon dioxide has increased significantly in the atmosphere. That includes everything from the cars we drive to the energy we use in our homes to the huge amounts used in industrial farming, especially raising livestock—producing just one hamburger uses enough fossil fuel to drive a small car 20 miles! You’ve probably heard about this in the context of climate change—which is plenty serious on its own thanks to things like stronger storms and a rising sea level—but it’s also affecting our food. A researcher at the Harvard School of Public Health found that with increased carbon dioxide surrounding plants (particularly wheat, rice, peas, and soybeans) they produced 9.3% less zinc, 5.1% less iron, and up to almost 8% less protein. This is huge! If carbon dioxide increases, as it is projected to until we get things under control with our energy use, malnutrition will also rise. According to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, 2 billion people around the world are already deficient in zinc and iron, and 2.5 billion people live in countries where at least 60% of the dietary zinc and iron comes from the affected grains and legumes.

While I definitely believe we need to be focusing on our “real medicine”—tons of veggies, whole grains, legumes, and all the other staples of superhero living—I think quality supplements offers us an extra layer of protection. Just be certain the vitamins and supplements you choose are Certified USDA Organic, non-GMO verified, , and free of synthetic binders and fillers (check out Kind Organics!). We need to do all we can to bring the world back into balance by fighting to keep the soil nutritious and the planet from warming. Eat organic and support local farmers who are taking the best care of their soil (practicing things like permaculture and regenerative farming, using compost teas, etc. ). Or better yet, grow your own garden! Help raise awareness about these issues, educate others in your family or community, and speak up to your local elected officials about the significance behind soil depletion and climate change!

Photo Credit: The Project Rheum


  • Lisa

    I eat clean as well as make sure my children and husband do. But lately I have been feeling very tired. I eat so many iron packed foods does anyone else have this issue? And what is a way to help with that? Thank You I Love The Kinder Community.

    • Cidalia Martins

      Firstly, if it’s a difficulty with iron absorption, combine vitamin-C-rich foods with iron-rich foods, as vitamin C aids in the absorption of iron. Avoid intake of calcium or calcium-rich beverages or food with iron-rich ones, as calcium hinders the absorption of iron. Secondly, B12 deficiency can also cause fatigue. Have your levels tested and definitely supplement.

  • Cheryl Lister

    Thank you, Alicia, so many of your posts are right on track and so important to share. I’m writing from “off the grid,” on our rainforest farm in the Dominican Republic, remember me? wink! Saying we’d keep in touch — I’m ready to begin designing and/or hosting eco-conscious retreats at the solar powered, organic farm in the rainforest:) I’d like to extend an invitation to YOU: I would be honored and thrilled if you’d be interested in coming to help host an informative, restorative, transformative retreat at the farm….would you consider this invitation to support our dreams of bringing more eco-tourism, education, support to this rainforest community? … Send an email if you want to chat further, at [email protected] Hoping to be in touch…!
    big hug

  • Carlos D. Aguirre

    It’s very informative article.

  • oliver james

    Alicia – you don’t need to worry about nutrients from other organic entities. Our body makes all of it’s own nutrients – just like those plants and animals we eat. We just have to seek out fuel – water, fatty acids, sugar (yes sugar), sunlight and oxygen. Your body will do the rest.

  • brian

    Our body can produce most of what we need, however, it cannot produce essential fatty acids and must be obtained from food. The omega’s 3 and 6. Western diets are overloaded with omega 6’s, leading to heart disease and a slew of health problems. To ensure maximum health, a balanced ratio(3:1) of 6 to 3 is needed.
    Nowhere on the planet can you find a more perfectly balanced ratio of omegas, than from hemp.
    Alicia talks about deficiencies in our diets and carbon dioxide and reduced nutritional values. She hit it on the head. And it’s getting worse, I agree.
    Hemp doesn’t require much water, can grow on marginal land in various weather conditions,, and doesn’t need pesticides/herbicides. It’s naturally organic.
    Hemp is THE MOST perfectly balanced, digestible and complete source of protein, essential amino acids, and essential fatty acids on the planet. It is also the only source of the globulin protein Edestin. Edestin protein’s DNA aligns perfectly with the DNA found in human blood, ensuring complete, undisturbed digestion and absorption of nutrients.
    Check out these numbers:
    1 serving of hemp hearts (daily allowances)
    20%- iron
    11% fiber
    10 grams of 100% digestible protein
    Hemp is a zero carb source/all the carbs are fiber.
    As far as co2 is concerned, hemp creates a closed carbon cycle, meaning whatever co2 is emitted from end-use products is captured by the subsequent growth.
    Hemp’s been confined by societies simplistic, misunderstanding of it’s use. Its not simply twine or marijuana. In fact the only out of body experience achieved from smoking hemp to get high would be death. You’d die by asphyxiation before any euphoria kicked in, giving literal meaning to the term ‘buzz kill’.
    Great article, Alicia, Love how you bring attention to these important issues.

  • Dr. J

    I used to feel as you do, but with all the information coming out about dangers of too much vitamins and especially antioxidants I’m feeling less is more here.