I believe in taking vitamins to supplement an inconsistent or questionable diet. What I mean by that is if you are working non-stop or traveling or don’t have a well rounded diet that is composed of organic, ‘appropriately cooked’ (i.e. not heated in plastic, or grilled, or microwaved or cooked in a non –stick pan, or cooked to death… etc.) then you should supplement with vitamins and/or nutraceuticals. If you are certain of your food sources, don’t eat out frequently and take time to plan meals and oversee the cookware, cooking and the shelf life of what you eat I don’t believe you need vitamins.
Let’s face it, we can no longer be confident about our food sources. We eat fruits, vegetables, meats, fish and grains that come from all over the world. We don’t know the food production laws for our own country let alone others. And in the name of commercial interest – every country’s laws should be suspect. It’s a competitive world out there. Our foods are riddled with toxins, fertilizers and antibiotics. We don’t know how food was handled when it was shipped. We don’t know the shelf life of food – it is often so buoyed by additives that it lives longer than nature meant it to. Ever wonder why an apple you bite into in Africa will rot overnight but will last days longer in America?
The minerals and vitamins our grandparents would have gotten from their food are not necessarily in our food today. Therefore, I occasionally supplement with vitamins and nutraceuticals (‘super food’ additives usually in powder formats). But, before going any further, note the following alarming facts and questions.
- 90% or more vitamins are made in China – given their food scandals and questionable healthcare system for their own citizens do you really think they care about us?
- 95% of all vitamins are synthetic and therefore have a higher chemical composition
- The vitamin industry is largely unregulated – how can you be certain that the labels are correct?
- The shelf life of vitamins is questionable – how long do they last once exposed to air? Are expiration dates valid?
- Vitamins are made with binders and additives for digestion. What are these and can they harm us?
- Does mixing vitamins counter-act their effectiveness?
- How many vitamins do we need to take for them to be effective?
Kind of makes you want to find a bit of land far from factories and start your own organic farm in Vermont or Sri Lanka doesn’t it? You need to decide if you are a vitamin taker. I am but – I buy only non-synthetic vitamins and I take them when my diet is inconsistent or when I am traveling. If I am eating well and I am confident about where my food is coming from I don’t always take vitamins. (Beware: the vitamin obsession can be a costly one!)
Rules for taking vitamins and nutraceuticals
- Take only with food.
- Take low levels of vitamins if you take them consistently. Know where to get those. vitamins from food and balance vitamin intake with food sources.
- Take only during the day.
- Do not take with coffee, tea, chocolate or any other caffeine as it will inhibit absorption.
- Take with plenty of water.
- Don’t overdose on vitamins. It can be dangerous and a waste of money. If your body does not absorb vitamins they will get washed out.
- Make sure your vitamins do not interfere with your medication and vice versa. Clear with a doctor.
- Take them every other day so it’s less annoying! Take half with lunch and half with dinner. (When I can be bothered but I focus on getting my vitamins and nutrients from food. However, on the days when I am alone with the baby and have no time to juice… Hello vitamins!)
- Make sure vitamins do not interfere with any special health conditions you may suffer from (heart, epilepsy, diabetes, herpes, pregnancy etc). Clear with doctors.
- Conduct your own research before investing in vitamins.
- Remember, you can live a vitamin FREE life if you eat WELL and are confident about your food sources. So, if you are not into vitamins note the foods you can get vitamins from naturally. Don’t forget – the more you HEAT your food the more you kill the vitamins and life within. So go raw or lightly steam or sauté food in water. Always add the oil later (so as not to destroy the value of the oil or make it carcinogenic).
Where I buy my vitamins and nutraceuticals
- http://www.organic pharmacy.org
- Organic food stores
- Jarrow Formulas
- PB8 Brands
What vitamins you take should be based upon your age and lifestyle. Do you travel constantly for work and find you eat poorly on the road? Take vitamins with you. Do you not have time to cook and shop for food? Take vitamins to supplement! However, if you can, the best way to get vitamins is to eat a complete organic diet.
I used to take 40 vitamins a day. Friends and boyfriends were shocked to see me whip out my envelope at lunch and dinner and pop vitamin after vitamin in my mouth between bites. I was in and out of vitamin comas (sensations of nausea that paralyze you because you have taken too many vitamins and not enough food…And often stupefied during company meetings.). But, I was a party girl so I supplemented to compensate for my naughty nights… I am not a big fan of multi-vitamins as the levels of each vitamin appear too small to be effective. Popping a prenatal vitamin on a regular basis is my only real “multi”.
Taking vitamins is annoying and requires effort. Because I have a baby and live in pricey Geneva, it is critical that I organize my meals in advance. I plan my vitamins based upon what I am eating. If I am getting vitamins from clean food then there will be certain vitamins I don’t need to take. For the vitamins I do take – I take half of the vitamins at lunch and the other half during dinner. Don’t take vitamins every day in order to give your body a break from processing. Once you know your body and understand what the vitamins can do for you – you can customize your intake according to circumstances or need. Maybe you just did a cleanse and Milk Thistle is not necessary for a week… There is a massive debate out there about what vitamins you should take but only you know your lifestyle well enough to organize this.
But I believe that vitamins are necessary sometimes and can help prevent aging and sickness. Just be careful where you buy them and make them a last resort to a good diet.
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