How to avoid becoming a supplement junkie
How taking vitamins have become an extra job, and how to avoid it.
Last week I was walking through one of my favorite health food stores in to buy another tub of protein. I had been working out extra hard and my schedule was blocking me from getting full meals in, so I was hitting the almond butter protein smoothie with some extra vigilence.
Now don’t let the title of the article fool you. I am not in any way shape or form anti-supplement. I think they are fantastic and they serve people well, especially when used appropriately. However, I ran into this woman in the checkout line in front of me that stimulated the content for today’s post.
The bottom of her cart was covered with no less than 30 boxes of different herbs, vitamins, and supplements of all kinds. B-complexes, Glucosamine, Licorice, Vitamin E, Vitamin C, Ginko, Garlic, and St. John’s Wort just to name a few. I must not have been doing a good job hiding the look of awe on my face because she spoke up and said:
“It’s great isn’t it? I take all of these to stay as healthy as I can be”
This floored me as I had never associated health as something that could come out of a pill or bottle (in this case, several bottles), but as something that is experienced from the inside-out. After a short follow up conversation, I actually found out that she spends quite a bit of her Sunday getting the supplements organized in pill boxes, so that she could take them at the right time.
She devotes 52 days a year to organizing her supplements on top of organizing her entire weekly schedule around her consumption times. Instead of the pills supplementing her lifestyle, her life was being RUN by these supplements.
While this is certainly an extreme example, it’s not as rare as you might think. Especially in the field of natural health, many people take and rely on several supplements per day as part of their disease treatment or health maintenance program. Various doctors such as naturopaths, holistic minded MD’s, accupuncturists, and even chiropractors may commonly put people on these types of regiments, and certainly some of these people may very well need these to function properly.
This blog isn’t meant for those people, but I do want to ensure that you can avoid needing the intensity of that treatment. In my world, I like to talk about liberation and freedom from having to rely on doctors or pills to express health, whether those pills/doctors are natural or not. After all, who wants to use their free time organizing their life around their pill boxes?
Our bodies are equipped with an incredible ability to go towards health when it’s supplied with the right building materials. If your cells are like houses, the quality of the cell is dependent on the building materials which are found in our food.
While our DNA provides a great blue print for a healthy cell, things can go wrong when there is too little of a necessary building material (deficiency) or too much material of a bad material (toxicity). Our goal is to have the right amount of materials so the Intelligently applied forces of the body can build strong healthy cells all the time.
We have the power to determine how healthy our cells are by the choices we make with our bodies.
1. Go Local or Organic – I’m not here to tackle the pros and cons of organic or local food. However, if you are going to eat more fruits and vegetables then organic is just the best way to go. Organic foods lean towards nutrient retention and are also free of chemical pesticides. While some pesticide may not create symptomatic effects in most people, because of their fat soluable nature, they can build up and get stored in fat cells of the body. There have been several documented cases of people undergoing toxic reactions during weight loss from pesticide residues.
Though some will say that it’s impossible to get all your nutrient needs even from organic foods, I have yet to see a study confirming this, nor have I ever seen someone look deficient in nutrients if they’re eating organic.
2. Get Moving – Weight loss aside, exercise is important for brain and nerve function. When you don’t exercise, the part of your nervous system that controls all of your organs (autonomic nerves) can become deficient. Movement of the body feeds the brain a valuable nutrient. If you have your nervous system working properly, then the tissues of your body will just work better.
3. Fill in the gaps – Look, we are all super busy. Sometimes it gets hard to meet all of your nutritional and movement needs in our day to day lives. Work gets in the way, kids get in the way, sleep gets in the way. I get it. That’s where supplements should fill in the gaps. Research shows that a majority of Americans have deficiencies in the following nutrients:
Omega 3 Fatty Acids, Vitamin D, and Pro Biotics.
Why are we deficient in these? Most of us just simply don’t eat enough salmon, get enough sun light, or have been germ-a-phobic our entire lives. That’s why if you were going to rely on any kinds of supplements, and you’re a generally healthy person, these are usually going to be a great fit for 98% of you.
As always make sure you consult with a qualified health professional to help you manage the use of these extras. Only they have access to your health history and can let you know for sure. Especially with Vitamin D since there is a chance (although low) that you can get too much of it.