Everyone and anyone has an opinion on what you should eat, when to eat it, how to supplement, what to supplement. It’s so overwhelming, and there is a TON of information out there – so be wary, and ask lots of questions if you are researching supplements.
The human body is incredible…we are not helpless with our health
If we lived in a perfect world, where all of us eat healthy, weren’t surrounded by toxins in our environment, and by chemicals in our food, water and household personal products, the answer would be quite simple. If all of us:
– Ate locally grown, organic (no pesticides, chemicals or genetically modified foods) produce and meat;
– Exercised adequately daily
– Didn’t have stressful careers or home lives
– Slept 7-9 hours per night (depending on how much you need)
– Got adequate outdoor activity in fresh air with a safe amount of sunlight
– Ate a variety of wholesome foods from many sources (plants and animals, perhaps).
Then we would likely not require supplementation or vitamins. However, I can safely say that most people can not say they do all of those things, at least not all the time. Our world is full of stressors on our bodies – from polluted air in a busy traffic-filled city, to drinking water that is not perfect and contains chemicals to make it safe from viruses and parasites, to stressful jobs that cause our hormones to be regularly unbalanced, to food that we eat that is devoid of nutrients.
The human body is incredible. It can withstand a TON of “damage”. It has free-radical fighting abilities, and detoxifies itself on a regular basis. However when we continually over-burden the systems that protect us, they become bogged-down by the work, and our bodies then start to feel the wear of the damage over time. If allowed to continue long enough, diseases begin to emerge such as cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes, to name a few.
That being said – YOU can prevent this! You are absolutely not helpless with the health and vitality of your body. The first step in improving your health, increasing your vitality and feeling and looking better is with the food you eat. I am a FIRM believer that you shouldn’t need to waste money on supplements and vitamins. I also believe that giving my body the best chance at being the healthiest it can be is a challenging balance! I drink protein shakes when I am out of groceries, didn’t prepare a meal and want to avoid a fast food meal devoid of nutrition and loaded with processed chemicals. I take certain supplements because in Calgary I only see sunlight for 6 months out of the year (I exaggerate only slightly…), and my busy, highly active lifestyle means my body needs a little extra vitamins & minerals. I also don’t eat ALL organic so I do take measures to counter the effects. For those reasons, I choose to supplement certain things (after doing my own extensive research).
So for many cases – yes you may need to supplement your diet with vitamins. Here are some things to think about when deciding on supplementation:
1. Do you often feel tired or worn down, especially during the day on a regular basis (you may need to see your doctor about your adrenal hormones). If so, do you get enough sleep, and exercise regularly?
2. Do my moods and energy levels feel differently in the summer vs. winter?
3. Do I eat at least 2-3 cups of a variety of vegetables (cooked and raw) daily?
4. Do I consume a variety of whole foods daily, including protein from a variety of sources (plant, eggs, fish, animal)?
5. Do I avoid trans-fatty foods, and highly processed foods, or does my diet mainly consist of these?
6. Do I eat enough “healthy” fats that contain Omega 3’s & 6’s, and polyunsaturated fats?
These are a few questions you can ask to get started in deciding. The best thing you can do is to incorporate some healthier foods into your diet more often. That can seem overwhelming (I know!), so make one small change to start. If you don’t eat enough vegetables or some days are harder than others in that regard, then one of my favourite products is a powdered-form Greens+ supplement, which provides nutrients and minerals from vegetables and other plant super-foods. You can drink it in water, or mix it into your smoothie.
If you nourish your body with the vitamins and minerals it needs mainly through whole foods (real, natural, from-the-ground-food, not processed or overly packaged), then you shouldn’t need to spend an arm and a leg on supplements. That being said, a professional Naturopath or Holistic Nutritionist can assist if you are not feeling right most of the time. With enough of the proper nutrients, rest and exercise, the body can protect and heal itself from the toxins and stresses of our environments. You have the power to heal yourself – now go out and do it!
For more information on Multi-Vitamins, here is an excellent article from a great source: Builtlean