In my previous post about the healthy lifestyle choices I try make on a daily basis, I mentioned using a barley grass juice supplement, as well as a good plant-based omega supplement.
So, what’s all the fuss about? Everyone’s talking about supplements these days – from multivitamins for children to all kinds of weird things for older people and an even more extensive list for those who are trying to maintain or gain lean muscle mass in the gym (That’s right, bodybuilders, I’m looking at you!)
Do we really need supplements? Do they do more harm than good? Are they of no use? We could answer yes to all three of these questions. Let me explain why.
- I am not a medical or nutritional professional
Do we really need supplements?
Some people, including myself, believe that food is not what it used to be. Even organic produce just doesn’t have the nutrient value that it did a hundred years ago. This is because we’ve abused the earth – to put it simply. In this sense, I believe that some supplements are useful for maintaining our health along with a healthy lifestyle. Don’t be fooled, though, by all those ads on TV and in the magazines! You do not need to take 500 different pills and powders every day to maintain optimal health!
Do supplements do more harm than good?
Of course they do! If you’re taking synthetic supplements, that is. They would also be quite bad if you were taking too many of them. Your body does not need 500 different pills and powders! Eat well, and all you will need is a basic programme to maintain your health.
Are supplements pointless?
Are you eating a healthy diet? No? Well, then you’re wasting your time with those supplements. Supplements are not magic wands, folks! They’re exactly what their name suggests: supplements. They are there to supplement a healthy lifestyle, to fill in the gaps that might exist and to ensure that we aren’t missing out on any important nutrients.
Having said all that, I do also believe that it is possible to maintain a healthy lifestyle without taking supplements. I’ve seen many individuals who are ridiculously healthy without using any kind of supplement. This plays into my theory that we are all able to live that way, but that some of us may need some help along the way, to restore our health and strengthen our systems before going 100% supplement-free. Many of us just don’t make that switch, though. I doubt I’d ever make the change, I’m comfortable doing what I’m doing and it keeps me healthy and feeling good – even when half the office is coughing and sneezing!
I do want to add in, at this stage, that I don’t know much about supplementing for body building, etc. I would like to say that you don’t need to take all sorts of supplements to gain mass, but I might be wrong. I’d like to write more about this in the future, once I’ve experimented on myself and done some more research on the matter.
Moving along… It would probably be useful for me to share what I’m doing at the moment, wouldn’t it? So, here goes!
AIM Herbal Fiberblend
I take 1 tablespoon of this fibre in a glass of water most mornings. I used to be very strict about taking it every morning, but I’ve realised that my digestive system is working so much better now that I’m settled on my vegan diet (yay for eating lots of fibre!). Fibre is great for correcting digestive problems, especially IBS and bloating! This blend of fibre also has some really great herbs in that are anti-inflammatory for the gut, soothing and help to balance candida and even encourage parasites to leave (although, if you suspect a parasitic infection you should look at taking something like the AIM ParaCleanse 90 with the AIM Flora Food probiotic for a month or 2)
AIM Fiberblend Nutritional Information:
I take a teaspoon of this in a glass of water twice daily. Sometimes I double up and have 2 teaspoons in the morning and evening – it’s really nothing I’m too strict about. If I feel I want or need more than 1 teaspoon, then that’s what I do.
BarleyLife is the powder of young barley grass plants (and is, as a result, gluten free). This powder is extremely nutrient-rich and also a great alkalizing agent for the body.
Tip: If you feel like you might be coming down with a cold, take an extra-strong dose of barley and get to bed nice and early! You should feel lots better by the morning!
BarleyLife Nutritional Information:
Fats have become such a controversial topic over the past year or so. Everyone has their own opinion: low fat no matter what, high fat, moderate amounts of good fats only, etc. My opinion? They don’t call ‘em essential fatty acids for nothing! Omega oils are fantastic at relieving arthritic pain, balancing those crazy hormones and even getting those mood swings under control. I really could go on forever about the benefits of omega oils… Maybe I’ll dedicate a post to omega oils one day soon 🙂
Be careful when choosing an omega supplement – I know that everyone is making a huge fuss about fish oils, but please don’t buy into their theories about how fish oil is superior! Fish oil is so bad for so many reasons, here are 2 – first, it goes rancid really quickly (before the processing begins) and second, fish oil contains quite a lot of mercury (well, either that or it’s been processed and heated so many times to remove it that it makes the oil dangerous in so many other ways). Furthermore, I took fish oils for a long time before switching to plant-based and I never knew what a huge difference omega oils could actually make! The fish oils did absolutely nothing for me, but the plant-based omegas are really something wonderful.
I could probably find a different plant-based omega supplement, but AIMega is fantastic for me – it’s 4200mg per serving (3 capsules) and it’s certified non-GMO. I’m happy with that!
Here’s the nutritional breakdown of the AIMega capsules
B12 / B-complex
I take this one because I suspect that my previous lifestyle robbed me of my B12 stores. B12 deficiency is not a vegan problem, it’s a human problem! We are all affected by it, no matter what our diet. At the height of my egg-eating days (up to 6 a day), I was still deficient in B12, and it showed as anaemia. I’m now eating lovely plant-based foods and taking a tiny B12 capsule every morning and finally my ‘anaemia’ is fading away. Power to plants 😉
Optional: Pea Protein
This one really is optional. I mentioned in a previous post that we get all the protein we need from our plant-based lifestyles, and don’t need any extra. I still stand by that statement, fully! I am, however, a bit of an addict. I have 2 pea protein powders in my kitchen cupboards at the moment: Vanilla Chai and Chocolate (made with cocoa, no dairy involved!). The chai is delicious, because…duh… it’s CHAI! And the chocolate one is for days when I’m really craving a rich tasting smoothie. We all have our guilty pleasures, and this one is mine.
And, folks, that’s it! I’ll admit, I’m currently experimenting with tissue salts to see if it’s really as amazing as people say it is. I can do all the research in the world, but until I’ve tried it myself I won’t know just how true those words are. I’ll be sure to update you all once I’ve reached a conclusion about how useful they really are in maintaining optimal health.
I’m a sucker for superfoods. I think I’m mostly attracted to the name – “superfoods”. It sounds so important and wonderful! But, on a more serious note, they don’t call these “super” for nothing! While these aren’t really supplements and are definitely not essential, I do like to try them out whenever I have some extra money to spend. I’m currently adding 1 teaspoon of moringa powder to my smoothies. I will, sometime soon, write more about moringa! I promise 🙂 For now, the reason I take it is because it’s a great source of calcium – and my bone density isn’t great, due to the way I abused my body before taking my health into my own hands!
I hope this post helped clear some things up for you! You don’t have to feel intimidated by all the information that’s being thrown at you by companies wanting to make money, and you definitely do not need to feel intimidated by all the products on the shelves screaming out at you that you need them to stay alive!
Sometimes we need a few different supplements, such as the ParaCleanse 90 that I mentioned above. If you have a problem with parasites then you definitely want to sort that out! Remember, when you’re coming from a bad lifestyle and your body has a lot of work to do healing itself, it may be useful to give it some help along the way. For example, people who are currently suffering from IBS or leaky gut syndrome will find it extremely useful to take an aloe supplement to soothe and help heal their insides.
As you may have noticed, I’m a huge fan of the AIM products, simply because they worked when nothing else did. To be fair, though, I never tried any green supplement before trying AIM’s BarleyLife. I had tried a fibre supplement, but it really made no difference whereas AIM’s fibre works amazingly. If you’d like to know more about their products, let me know and I’ll send you some info.
If you’re wanting to try out any of the above-mentioned supplements, but don’t want to commit to using any specific company’s stuff, then I’d suggest looking at “The Real Thing” products – I’ve never tried them but I believe they’re also really amazing!
For now, though, let’s simplify and enjoy our lives! Make good choices and your body will thank you – maybe not overnight, but it definitely will!