Let me start by saying that while supplements are not necessary, they can definitely elevate your health from average to optimal. This of course is extremely beneficial if you are looking to optimize your brain, immune system and body as a whole.
If someone, including your doctor tells you that vitamins and supplements are a joke and you can get all of your nutrients from food, this is a naive statement that does not consider many factors.
Reasons why food alone can not provide the vitamins and minerals necessary for optimal health...
1) Foods you eat are not locally grown:
When you buy foods that are shipped from other countries or distant destinations, these foods have been picked pre-maturely to preserve ripeness before they land in the superstore. When a food is picked pre-maturely, is it void of the full nutrients it would contain if it was picked upon full maturity. I can almost guarantee that the majority of you are not living on a farm eating freshly picked foods daily.
2) You are not eating fully organic food (effects of conventional farming practices):
Conventional farming practices such as the use of harmful chemicals and pesticides kills the natural ecology of the soil. This disrupts the natural relationships between plants, animals, people, and their environment. Depleted soil yields depleted foods and decreases yield.
Secondly, the constant practice of mono-cropping used in conventional farming (using the same soil each year to grow the same crop), greatly depletes the soil of specific minerals and the soil integrity is diminished. This is a major contributing factor to the amount of people who are deficient in magnesium today. Magnesium deficiency contributes to anxiety, headaches, insomnia, blood sugar imbalances and hormonal imbalances to name a few.
Crop rotation, on the other hand is the practice of changing what is planted in a particular location on a farm from year to year, which improves soil health, quality, and generally increases yields. Crop rotation is practiced in organic farming.
3) You eat factory raised animals who are grain-fed and not grass-fed.
Factory raised animals fed diets of grain and soy have been shows to contain MUCH LESS beneficial omega-3 fats than grass fed animals. Omega 3 fats are essential for optimal health because our body can not produce them on their own and must be obtained from the diet. When we are constantly eating factory raised animals, the amount of omega 3’s in our diet will not be at their optimal potential. Additionally, many of us are not eating at least 3 servings of fatty fish per week that would be necessary to get the recommended amount of omega 3’s. This is where omega 3 supplements become extremely important.
My morning supplements of choice:
I believe it is extremely important to take a well-rounded multivitamin for all of the reasons stated above. I am not fortunate enough to live on a farm, eating fresh, locally grown, organic foods all year round. A multivitamin fills any nutritional gaps we may have in our diet and ensures optimal digestive balance, hormonal balance, skin health, immune function, I could go on.
2) Adaptogenic herbs: Ashwagandha
Ashwagandha is a powerful adaptogenic herb that helps to mediate stress and improves stamina without stimulating our nervous system, unlike caffeine. Ashwagandha is also extremely nourishing to our adrenal glands (adrenals mediate our stress hormones) and can become burned out due to the constant stressors placed on us in modern living (environmental, food, work, exercise, poor relationships, can all be seen as stressors on the body). Some other great adaptogenic herbs include holy basil, rhodiola and maca root.
3) Vega All-In-One Nutritional Shake:
I love choosing an all-in-one nutritional shake as a supplement to a meal when I am on the go, at work, or unable to sit down for a full meal. It is a great way to provide your body with tons of nutrients while being easy on the digestive system and providing enough calories, fat, and fibre to sustain appetite and energy levels.
The main reason I started taking a b-complex was because I was transitioning off of the birth control pill and knew how badly the BC Pill depletes our body of B vitamins. This not only affects the way we metabolize our fats, carbs and proteins, but B vitamins, specifically B6 are crucial for regulating our mood. The pill made me a moody person and I knew I needed some extra help. The second reason I felt like a B-complex was important was because my digestive system was damaged and not able to properly absorb nutrients after years of suffering inflammatory reactions from a gluten sensitivity. Today, I continue to take B vitamins for the amazing effect it has on energy levels.
Greens powders are highly concentrated in superfoods! Many of these superfoods such as milk thistle, wheat grass, dandelion leaf, broccoli powder, and alfalfa greatly support the health of our liver and detoxification systems. They also create a more alkaline environment in the body with is optimal to fight disease such as cancer, and these greens drinks are often high in spirulina and chlorella which are algae that are high in iodine, a mineral essential for optimal thyroid function! The Thyroid is our master gland regulating our metabolism, which supports a healthy body composition and improves fat loss.
If you are wondering what supplements YOU should take or are looking for a customized approach to meal planning and supplementing your diet, I recommend you check out my nutritional packages under the 'shop' tab on my website. These plans consider your individual circumstances such as your diet, medications, activity level and stress to determine what food and supplements would be best to elevate your health!