Pills, powders, shakes, bars. Some are chalky while some are chocolaty. They come with claims of weight loss, weight gain, optimal health, improved concentration. You name it they claim it.
I may not have all the answers, but I do have a considerable amount f experience. Over the years, I’ve tried countless pills and potions hoping their claims to be true. Most did absolutely nothing but drain my bank account and turning my pee fluorescent. (I know that might be too much information, but we are all friends here so lets just be real about it)
After many trails, with no measurable results, I decided supplements were not for me. Instead, I focused my attention on cleaning up my diet. More fresh foods, less microwaved dinners. I thought I had it all figured out.
However, I still was not always at my best. Fatigued all the time but couldn’t sleep, achy muscles with poor recovery from my workouts, a combination of anxious and depressed, and digestion was a disaster.
I needed to figure this out. I felt I was doing everything right. So why was I feeling so crappy? I enrolled in Nutrition school. And this is what I learned that shifted my perspective.
- Our foods today are not the same as the foods in generations past.
With mass production and the demands higher and higher, our soils have paid the price. The nutrient density has become depleted up to 80% form even 50 years ago. Fruits and vegetables still grow but they are not the nutrient power houses they once were.
- Where foods ripen, determines their nutrition.
We are lucky enough to have all foods available to us at any time of the year. Walk into a grocery store and there is always an array of colorful produce. But have you ever stopped to think about where this came from? What was the process by which it was grown, harvested and delivered to my plate? Living in a northern climate with winters that go on forever, there is no fresh produce grown locally for most of the year. Our fruits and vegetables come from a country 1000’s of miles away. They are grown on plants until they are mature but picked before they are ripened. This produce is transported on trucks where the remainder of the ‘ripening’ takes place. What is often not understood is that one the fruit is picked from the vine; nutrient development comes to a halt. Having a mature fruit is not the same as a ripe fruit. Nutrients come from the soil (and we already talked about that part). If the fruit/veg does not have connection to the soil via the plant, it no longer receives nutrients. So, what happens on the truck is simply a color change, not ripening. If it does not ripen on a vine, which is only possible if you are consuming fresh, local produce.
- Herbicides and pesticides.
With mass production and high demands, farmers have had to become creative to receive their profit. This is not to fault the farmer, but to take a peek at how that affects the nutrient quality and availability of our foods. Herbicides and pesticides are used to kill of predators of plants. Bugs and viruses can wipe out entire crops leaving no supply for the hungry and no profit for the farmers. I get it. But what it also does is create stress on our bodies. These chemicals as mentioned are designed to kill. As a result of consumption they also kill off some of out good gut bacteria which is needed for immune function, digestion, absorption of nutrients and brain function. Disruption of our gut bacteria can seriously affect our health. Digesting fruits and vegetables coated in chemicals also requires a higher demand from the body. It takes more nutrient stores or tools as I like to refer to them as, to break down these foods and metabolize them out of your system. Eating conventionally grown produce that has been sprayed with chemicals depletes our nutrient stores as our bodies fight to metabolize and rid the body of these unknown chemicals. These additives also have the potential to disrupt out hormones. Specifically disturbing thyroid function. So, we’re taking in fresh produce with the intention of doing our body good, it likely was ripened on a truck where it no longer has the highest nutrient availability and coated in chemicals. Is it starting to become clear now?
- Convenience ‘Foods’
I’m not even going to go down the path of fast food. We should all know by now that anything that goes into a deep fryer or bought at a drive through is not a healthful choice. If not, CLICK HERE, we need to talk. I’m talking about foods that we believe are supporting our health but are depleting us. Things like boxed cereals, conventional dairy, frozen meals or canned soups with a special blue label to give a symbolic thumb up that it is a good choice for us. Well, I hate to be the bearer of bad news but most of these ‘foods’ are not as healthy as they claim. Factory produced with binders and fillers. Preservatives to extend the shelf life, colors added into appeal to the eye, the perfect combination to create the ideal texture for the consumer. These are the criteria for the producers. Notice nowhere in the description is nutrient density. I believe that for the most part, people are trying to make the right choices. Marketers capitalize on this. Unfortunately, these foods deplete more nutrients form us than they deliver. Again, it places higher demands on our bodies to metabolize these unfamiliar ingredients. So now we are not taking in the nutrients we think from multiple sources and instead continuously deplete our sores as an automatic survival mechanism.
- Stress and Sickness
We live in an age where feeling stressed is almost the norm. Getting sick is a regular occurrence. Pop a pill for a headache, an antihistamine for that itch, antibiotics for that reoccurring sinus infection. Both stress and sickness deplete our nutrient stores. Higher demands are required to regain stability. Add in the medications, and it’s a perfect storm for a weak system. Stress specifically depletes Vitamin c, the same vitamin necessary to support out immune health. It’s not a surprise why people often get sick while undergoing a stressful period. The medications, specifically antibiotics disrupt out gut flora. As mentioned, a healthy gut is necessary to absorb nutrients. Another limiting factor to prevent optimal nutrition.
All of this was news to me. The roles specific nutrients play in our bodies, the importance of good gut bacteria, and the true quality of the foods we are consuming. These realizations helped me understand the need for supplementation to support our health. Since then, I have incorporated a few key supplements into my routine and often prescribe them to my clients as part of a plan to support their systems, especially in the healing phases. I always refer to nutrients as tools. Giving your body the right tools to do its ultra-complex jobs, makes sense. You can’t fix a car with a toothbrush, it needs the right tools. It has proven to be helpful to my personal health as well as my clients.
I understand it is a personal decision to add supplements into your diet, but I encourage you to reflect on the points discussed in this post. If we are unable to get adequate nutrients from our foods, if our lifestyle is induced with stress and we battle sickness, quality supplementation may help fill in the gaps from what we eat to what we need. (Notice I say quality supplementation. Do not waste your money on a product if you have not taken the time to investigate the ingredients and manufacturing procedures. There are many products on the market for profit that will not give you the nutrient boost you are looking for. That is a whole other post that I will save for another time, but I suggest that you proceed with inquisitive eyes. In a nutshell, if you understand the need for supplementation, now is not the time to worry about a few extra dollars. This is your health we are talking about. Most are comparable in cost but can vary greatly in quality.) I also encourage you to avoid jumping on the supplement bandwagon. You may have heard from a co worker that a certain vitamin works for them. Or perhaps it was a TV ‘doctor’ who endorsed a particular product. Not all supplements are appropriate for your body. Take your time, do your research or connect with a health professional to understand what would be best for you. I know a good one. Wink, wink.
CLICK HERE to book a time to chat. The world of supplementation can be overwhelming and confusing. My goal is to make it simple for you by helping you understand what the most supportive supplements may be to add to your regime.