Friday, 16 August 2013

Pill popper's checklist

Rosie Huntingdon Whiteley enjoying her green juice

Can you relate to feeling totally confused by nutritional supplements? I used to have a selection of 12 or so vitamins which I took each day due to various health info I'd read over the years (I challenge you not to burp after taking that many capsules in one go).

There was the classic multivit, zinc to protect against colds, chromium for managing metabolism, vit C just because you can never have enough and so on. 

Fast forward a few years and there was some very negative press on vitamins claiming that they caused deaths. Ben Goldacres's Bad Science left me completely flummoxed on who to believe on the subject of nutrition. 

Since then we all seem to have forgotten the negative media stories while supplementation has got sexier and more sophisticated than ever before. However the choices seem more complex as a result. There are the arguments against getting the 'cheap' bottles of vitamins from places such as Holland & Barrett or Boots and for choosing something a bit more wholesome like Solgar. I find that a good radar for whether the pill in question is posh enough is the reassuring rabbit poo scent and appearance. But then it gets more complicated - we are told to have 'food state' supplements, ideally in our juices and smoothies as they're easier to absorb. If you find yourself visiting an alternative therapist and turn up, as advised, with your current pill popping regimen du jour, their advice can often be further confusing. Nutritionists have told me they want me to 'clear the system' and not take anything at all - except the products they're prescribing. 

With all this confusion I'd half heartedly taken probiotics every now and then and otherwise tried to lean on eating well, which to be fair, all experts agree is the number one priority, with supplements fitting in as an insurance policy or an extra booster, depending on how you like to see it. 

I'm delighted to have found this piece in the Sunday Times as it sums up which pills to pop to cover all bases. I've done a rough estimate on what my vitamin regime will cost me while following the recommendations in this piece in addition to my current choices and it's about 85 quid a month. I'm sure it's a dip in the ocean compared to Gwyneth Paltrow's routine supplementation but it's still a considerable expense. However, as far as I'm concerned, even if the cynics are right and it's all expensive pee, the placebo effect can be a powerful catalyst and we tend to find that good habits link into other good habits. For example, if I eat my greens, pop my pills and floss, I'm also more likely to see myself as someone who invests in my health and continue those good patterns continue throughout the day. I might be more likely to opt for a green tea over a latte or a Pilates class over Doc Martin (shit, my secret's out). 

My personal favourites are Udo's Choice: Beyond Greens and Granovita's Organic Omega Oil Blend. I throw a few spoons of Beyond Greens in to a smoothie as a mid morning snack - usually with some soya milk, frozen berries and a banana. I'll often add other bits and bobs such as wheatgrass and spirulina powders. Great for digestion and a flat(ter) belly. I pour Granovita's omega oil blend over my supper as per my Kinesologist's instructions. It tastes nourishing and nurturing on brown rice and vegetable curry but it's harder to enjoy with fine dining, I'll admit. Apparently it's better to have it in the evening than at lunch over a salad. I can't remember why, so I'll have to ask the Kinesiologist on my next visit. 

I'd love to know which supplements you rely on, or if you've shunned them altogether in favour of more greens on your plate? 

1 comment:

  1. Vitamins good for the heart, the more you eat the more you fart...oh no that's baked beans ;)


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