Isn’t good food good enough? Part 3
If you missed the first two posts in this series, you can find them here: Part 1 and Part 2.
Today I will give you a look into my cupboards and fridge to show you what my family actually uses. Although we actually take fairly few supplements, here is the low down on what we do use. I rooted through my kitchen yesterday to take pictures to show you a good sampling of what we have around here, and I've tried (without making this post exceedingly long) to explain what we use them for/ why we choose them, etc.
My three top supplements, for me personally (not necessarily my whole family).
Cod Liver Oil– to ensure that we are getting sufficient Omega 3 fatty acids, of which fish oils are possible the best source. CLO also contains high levels of Vitamins D and A, fat-soluble vitamins that are often deficient in our diets. Vitamin D is particularly important in the winter or if you live in a place with limited sunshine for much or part of the year.
There is more and more research being done that is showing that Vitamin D is an absolutely essential nutrient, and may be important in cancer prevention.
My children and I take CLO almost daily (except when I forget), and I am in the process of convincing my husband that it doesn't taste all that bad (the one I buy is emulsified with a mint flavor, so it's really quite easy to take, in my opinion). I will probably switch us over to a different kind of fish oil (like salmon) now that summer is coming soon, as I don't want to risk having our Vitamin D levels too high when we are playing out in the sun much more often.
Floradix Liquid Iron– This is one that only I take, and only in particular seasons when I need it. I used a couple bottles of it during my last pregnancy, and am going to get another bottle this week as my Naturopath recently tested my iron and found it to be on the low side, probably as a result of giving birth and nursing this past year. This is the best iron supplement I have ever taken and everyone I know who has tried it raves about it. It is a bit pricey, but worth every penny if you are truly low on iron. You will feel it's effects in a few days usually! Although it is possible to get iron through food sources, many women just do not eat enough iron-rich foods to keep their levels high enough during their child-bearing years, which is why supplementation is useful.
Liquid Calcium and Magnesium– Again, this is one that only I take, and simply because child-bearing and nursing takes so much calcium out of you that it is important to stay on top of it during these young years, rather than when I am older and it is already too late. I don't take this all the time, but like to buy it when I'm able to (however, raw milk, fish bones as in canned salmon, greens and bone broth are great ways to naturally boost calcium!).
Green supplements (sorry, I forgot to take a picture of this one!)– . Our family has taken many different kinds such as Chlorophyl, Spirulina, Barley Green, Wheat Grass, Greens Plus, etc. We don't do it all the time, but it's nice to get extra greens in when we can. Most of us don't eat as many greens as we should, and greens help our bodies to detoxify which is so important these days. However, there are also many great way to get actual greens in us (in addition to just salads, you can add them in casseroles, in smoothies, etc.) which is far better if we can do it that way– cheaper, too!
Here are a few of the supplements that we have used at particular times, for short seasons such as my recent Candida cleanse and for helping to heal my son's eczema.
From left to right, L-Glutamine (helps to heal up the gut, minimizing food sensitivities that are caused by things like Candida), a homeopathic remedy for my Caden's eczema, an anti-Candida supplement my husband used (it is very difficult to properly deal with Candida without the use of supplements, but that's an entirely other topic for another day), and the Ness flora balance is an enzyme/pro-biotic supplement for Caden as well, reducing the effects of the Candida he received through me.
Pro-Biotics– (Sorry, no pictures of this as there's none in my house right now) We have all, at some point or another, used a pro-biotic such as acidophilus or ultra-bifidus in order to promote healthy gut bacteria. This is really helpful when dealing with Candida yeast issues, and also crucial if you have taken any anti-biotics (which we avoid like the plague!). Yogurt, kefir and other fermented dairy products certainly help by providing us with good bacteria, but the quantity of bacteria in yogurt simply cannot compare to the amount in a pro-biotic supplement, which is so helpful when you are dealing with something like Candida, or boosting your system if you have had to take an anti-biotic.
As well, my husband also took untold amounts of supplements during his cancer treatments, in our attempts to boost his immune system, up his antioxidants, combat effects of the chemo drugs, and just to give him more energy and increase his bodies ability to fight in general. This was specifically helpful because the chemo affected his appetite and his taste buds, which severely affected his ability to eat good foods.
We also use supplements when we are ill or fighting a cold or flu bug, to speed up our recovery and to avoid having to use conventional medications. These would include Vitamin C, zinc, Oil of Oregano, Colloidal Silver, homeopathics, etc.
And just for fun, a picture of some cheapie, pretty-much-worthless supplements left hanging around in our cupboard, that need to just be thrown out. The Now brand minerals actually aren't too bad, but in general, multi formulas are just not well digested and assimilated, and I didn't feel any real difference when I used these to help boost my calcium/magnesium sometime last year. I'm sticking to my liquid!
This is a new purchase, just last week from my co-op, Azure. It is raw cow's milk colostrum. Just as human mother's milk is absolutely full of crucial healthy bacteria and immune boosting qualities in the early days, so is the milk that a mother cow gives to her calves. People have used it as an immune booster all over the world, and it is starting to grow in acceptance and popularity. We purchased some fresh from our local cow share this winter to help boost my husband's immunity from the chemotherapy.
When I saw this in the catalog at Azure, I just had to try it! It is watered down, more to the consistency of milk and can be drank just like milk. My only complaint is that because it's frozen, it's just not the same as it would be fresh, texture-wise. It's great in smoothies, though and just a nice way to give us all a little boost once in a while! I love this because it's really just a whole food, that happens to have some great health-boosting properties!
I think I also mentioned that we occasionally use homeopathics. This really blurry picture (sorry!) is an example of that. These are natural, dissolving teething tablets that really work to take the edge off of baby's teething, without resorting to pain-relieving drugs. I try to use these as much as possible in place of Motrin, etc.
We have also used homeopathic tablets (more like small pellets, that dissolve under your tongue) for a recent fever that Caden had (he wouldn't nurse for nearly a day, so we really needed to break the fever), and they also worked like a charm for taking the edge off of my nausea during my last pregnancy! These are not things that we would use daily, but you can see how they are a useful addition and can help us maintain our health and even our sanity comfort without having to resort to conventional medication.
You might be looking at all of these pictures thinking, "She spends a fortune on supplements!"
The fact is, this past year has brought a lot of health challenges for us.
First, my husband's cancer and chemotherapy (which completely depleted his nutrient stores and immune function), and for me, giving birth, nursing, and dealing with Candida issues, and then the effects of the Candida on my nursing baby and his subsequent food sensitivities and eczema issues. As well, the stress has resulted in just a general level of fatigue and lower immunity for my husband and I, so we have needed to be more free in our willingness to purchase what we needed to get back better health.
In general, we would not normally even have so many supplements around nor would we spend so much on them. We might have some superfoods (ie. green foods, colostrum) and fish oil, and maybe the odd other thing, plus some natural products that we use for medicinal purposes (homeopathics, oil of oregano), and that would be it.
For me the bottom line is that I try to keep it as minimal as possible, but I am also no longer opposed to the use of supplements now that I see their purposefulness.I truly believe that you can primarily improve your health through diet (the removal of negative foods, and the addition of positive, healthful foods).I also believe that supplements can be a useful tool to add to the efficacy of what we are already doing.
I am not in favor of a heavy reliance on them, and I do believe that many supplement companies are unfortunately promoting their products as a bit of a panacea, in an effort to sell us more that we don't truly need. It can be difficult to see through the hype and tell the difference, but I highly recommend that you do as much of your own research as possible and don't allow these companies to tell you what they think you absolutely must have.
I'd love to hear your views on supplements and which ones you or your family uses!
GREAT Post! We use Garlic in tablets and echinacia when we feel colds coming on. Almost always works for us. And I have kept taking my prenatals and I took an Iron supplement while pregnant as my iron was low low low. I would love to know me in detail about what you used for your sons ezema. My son has it was well, I believe it’s weather related. And after my son’s 3 days of fever related teething…and much tylenol, yikes, where do I find that other stuff you were talking about. If you could email me, that would be great.
Thanks for all the amazing info once again!!
One doctor recommended that I rotate probiotics, so every time I run out, I order a different brand. I have used Metagenics’ UltraFlora IB (can only get it through a healthcare provider), Culturelle (www.vrp.com), Jarrow, and Primal Defense (cheaper at http://www.vitacost.com). Because of mineral deficiencies, I take a lot of magnesium glycinate every day (more absorable than other forms) and a liquid, ionic potassium supplement by Angstrom Minerals (I wasn’t absorbing any other form of potassium). I also take digestive enzymes by Metagenics, and, when I feel my throat getting a little sore, I use powdered vitamin C (ascorbate) and lots of garlic. It helps tremendously! Finally, my EPA-DHA oil is a must. It’s expensive, so I don’t like buying it. But every time we muscle test, my body wants a lot of it. Fortunately, my chiropractor gives me a discount on it. It’s made by, don’t laugh, Dr. Sears of The Zone Diet. My chiro swears it’s the best one. I always take Vitamin E with it to minimize oxidation (from a whole food source, of course).
I’m completely with you on using superfoods. I make kefir with raw goats’ milk, cultured vegetables, and fermented young green coconut water at home to help boost the good gut flora. Unfortunately, I was on a lot of antibiotics when I was younger, so I’m trying to help out my body now. Plus, we want to start trying for a baby in a few months, and I want to have lots of good bacteria to pass on.
I was wondering what brand of pro-biotics that you use?? I have been using a chewable milk free one I think it’s called American Health. I’m really not sure if it helps or not. I give my daughter pro-biotics, flax seed oil and evening primrose oil to help her excema. She begs me for them every day, I know it’s better than having to force them down her but she asks me for them all the time. I try to take cod liver oil, I take the capsule kind because I haven’t been brave enough to buy the liquid formula. I have to take it at night though or I burp it up, yuck!
Hi! Thanks for the wonderful info. Where do you buy the iron supplement? Do you just get it at your local health food store? I have been borderline low this pregnancy (as with my others) but cannot tolerate the ferrous sulfate pills – rough on the tummy….
My kids get a whole foods supplement, multi vitamins, cal/mag, cod liver oil and a probiotic. Side note – I’ve done some research and mega probiotics can also help with eczema. My son seems to have improved since I started giving them daily. I’m about to change to one called iFlora that you can only get thru naturopaths because a friend treated her daughter’s eczema with it (after trying several others) and it helped tremendously.
Hubby takes a multi (he won’t take anything but the horse pill kind….) and cod liver oil.
I take prenatals, a thyroid replacement (it’s an Rx), probiotic, cod liver oil, flax seek oil and aspirin and injectable anti-coagulants – Rx also (blood clot disorder during pregnancy) – ICK.
I also second Alisons recommendation of http://www.vitacost.com, they have AMAZING prices and just about everything you could ever need in stock!
We have an autistic son who has texture and sensory issues with food as well as many food allergies. So he gets A LOT of his nutrition through supplements. Most of his supplements are from Kirkman Labs, Huston Nutracuiticals, and Mannatech. He also takes a greens supplement, CLO, and probiotics. Before supplements and the GF/CF diet my son was a mess. Now he is happy, thriving, learning, and very verbal!
The rest of us use glyco-nutrients in our kefir smoothies regularly. Kyolic Garlic, Vit C, & Echinacia are taken when we are sick. I purchase these from iherb.com or vitacost.com.
Rebekah, I know that we’ve used Bio K+, as well as Metagenics, and I just can’t remember any of the other brands right now. The most important thing is that they have a very high bacteria counts (in the billions), and they should need to be kept cold (are though there are some good ones that can last unrefridgerated, most of the good quality ones must be kept in the fridge to keep the bacteria active). I would go to a reputable health store and ask their opinion on good brands.
Also, the cheaper cod liver oils will make you burp, but the liquids won’t and they tend to be better quality (again, that’s not true with all brands). You could also ask at the store if they have a brand that won’t make you burp. I forget what the term for it is, but there’s something particular about the capsules that will prevent that nasty side effect.
Michele and Tara, the fever reducing homeopathic we used is made by Boiron Laboratories. We bought it at a health food store near us (sorry Michele, no Azure!). The particular one we used is called “ferrum phosphoricum 20”. There were a couple different options for fever, depending on the other symptoms present.
Tara, yes, garlic helps us with colds too! And for my son’s eczema, we put me on a strict elimination diet for 8 weeks, plus pro-biotics, anti-yeast supps, and a few other things. Castor oil on the skin directly was helpful (it soothed the rough skin). With my daughter (who also had eczema) we noticed that the chlorine in the water irritated her skin, so we brought her down to 2 baths a week, and her skin doesn’t break out at all anymore.
Laura, I buy the iron from just a local health/supplement store. Most of them carry this, as it’s a popular one. You can also buy it online, from vitacost.com, etc. Azure carries it too, if you order from them.
Shirley, I love hearing stories like yours! I used to work with kids with autism, and those who’s parents were serious about their diets, nutrition and supplements were rewarded with kids who responded really well to the work that we were doing with them, so I am so thrilled to hear that the same is true for your son! Good for you, to learn about it and put in the effort to give him the best chance possible. He is blessed to have a mother like you!
Can you point me in the right direction of which homeopathic fever-reducer you used for Caden? My little one just woke up with a fever the other day, and I was shocked at the ingredients in infant tylenol! I am familiar with the homeopathic teething tablets- is the fever reducer the same brand? (Can I get it from Azure?) 🙂 Thanks!
PERFECT timing! I just posted asking for reader feedback on this very subject today. Thank you so much for the pictures and brand recommendations. SO helpful.
Can you recommend what reading I could do on the topic? Thanks, Stephanie. You are awesome!
Great post. I take cod liver oil for my joint (I have premature wear and tear because of lots of operation when I was a baby) And I take it with freshly squeezed orange juice and it takes away about 90% of the taste. Thought you might like to get your husband to try it like that.
I am struggling with Candida myself. I’ve been using Yeast Defense, but I think I need to try something different. It doesn’t seem to be effective this time. I wonder if Candida Clear is safe when nursing a toddler. I also need to find a good Pro-biotic, too.
Just found your site through WFMW…wanted to say “hello” from another candida sufferer. I’ve been battling the beast for 2 years now–not sure when I’ll be back to normal, if ever. I’ve been on about every supplement imaginable! But the candida got our family on track to eating a far more healthy diet. Good for the long term, for sure. Not fun in the meantime. 🙂
Thanks for this post. I have been seriously wanting to start my family on cod liver oil, but have been putting it off because I didn’t know a reputable name brand to purchase. (I am very picky and weary of vitamin brands). I’ve taken omega-3 pills from Shaklee, but want the benefit of Vitamin D. I think I will try the Twinlab.