I have a confession to make: Somewhere around the early 1980s I owned, and proudly wore, a Full Cleveland Polyester Leisure Suit. It was a deep blue color that shimmered a little when the light hit it just right. The lapel was about 4 inches wide at the notch and the buttons were oblong ovals made of embroidered leather that always reminded me of little footballs, sliced in half. The pants were flat-front and snug down to just below the knee where they parabolically flared out to approximately double their diameter. To make it “Full Cleveland” I paired the suit with a white belt and a pair of shiny white lace-up bucks. Throw in a bolt pattern shirt with a wide solid print tie and I felt as bulletproof and stylish as John Travolta strutting to the BeeGees as I made my way to Sunday church. I loved that suit. It was, in my mind, the epitome of class and the very best a man could (and should) look. I’d like to tell you that I stopped wearing it because the trends changed and I was so hip that I was always on the front lines of fashion, but that’s not why it got retired. You see, growing up we didn’t have much money. Dad was a pastor of a small church plant who paid the bills by hanging wallpaper all week, and Mom was a full-time mother of four active kids, so most of what Dad made was immediately eaten by us kids. The suit was a hand-me-down from somebody in the church, and the shoes and belt were the vinyl knock-off versions that you get at the discount shoe store, on sale. So needless to say, that getup was my best chance of looking like the stylish and respectable young man that I wanted to be. So why then, you might ask, would I simply retire it with no replacement in sight? Simply put: It was the smell.
You see, polyester is a magical fabric that never gets dirty and never needs to be ironed. You can wear it in any situation, hang it up that night, and find it neat and crisp the next morning. Somehow dirt and spills just miraculously roll right off the surface and wrinkles never seem to appear. Technically speaking, it is a fabric made from the “esterification condensation of polyfunctional alcohols and acids.” Basically, it’s a synthetic resin that is woven into a fabric that is more durable and can retain color much better than natural woven fiber fabrics.
But here’s the downside: Polyester doesn’t breathe. Or stretch. No matter how long you wear it, it remains exactly the way it was sewn. And no matter the climate, it does not allow your body to acclimate to the environment around you. And where it succeeds in keeping moisture and dirt out, it is also very effective at keeping both of those things IN as well. And I grew up in Texas. The inevitable fallout of wearing polyester, in layers, in Texas, was that eventually, even though perspiration didn’t penetrate the fabric, the smell generated by sweat gathering instead of evaporating as it was designed to, created an odor that, despite multiple dry-cleaning efforts, would never leave the fibers of that leisure suit.
Sorry if this seems graphic and disturbing, but there’s a point to this story. Our bodies were designed to function best when adorned with natural fibers such as cotton and wool. Our skin thrives, our temperature regulates, and those fabrics adjust to our bodies over time and fit so well that we can’t imagine not wearing them anymore. Eventually, the benefits of wearing synthetic clothing couldn’t outweigh the comfort and health of natural fabrics and polyester fell out of popularity. Now, even the most frugal of shoppers will most often prioritize purchasing a quality natural fabric when choosing their clothing because, in the end, it’s simply the only way to live comfortably.
This principal doesn’t stop with our clothing. Did you know that the vast majority of the vitamin supplements on the market today are made entirely of synthetic materials? They do little for the health of the consumer and are, in fact, not much more beneficial than if you chose to take a bite out of that polyester suit. Simply put, synthetic vitamins are not nutrition the way your body wants and needs it.
Your body is natural and organic and was designed to get nutrition from sources that are similar in their nature. Plant-sourced, bio-accessible and pure is the only option for getting real nutrition out of the supplements that you are taking. There may have been a time when buying cheap vitamins was an acceptable lifestyle choice for you, kind of like wearing a polyester leisure suit was a fair option for me. But eventually we all have to move forward in life by tossing out the old, substandard relics and upgrading to high-quality, natural products. It’s time to take that step with your vitamins and move into a completely new realm of natural health.