In real food circles you will hear all sorts of varying opinions about supplementation. Some claim that if your diet is healthy enough you will never need to supplement. Others (like myself) feel that supplements can close some nutritional gaps and fix deficiencies and are therefore beneficial. I think the key thing to remember is that supplementing with various vitamins and minerals does not excuse us from trying to eat as healthy and as nourishing as possible. It merely gives us an edge in a world where soil is nutritionally depleted, farming practices are shady, and foods are less nutritious than they used to be. I choose to tackle the issue of nutritional deficiencies from both sides…healthy, nutrient dense foods that are grown as responsibly as possible AND nutritional supplementation.
With the above mentioned challenges it is easier than you might think to be missing some key nutrients from your diet, even if you think you eat pretty healthy. If you are eating the SAD (Standard American Diet) than the news is even worse. Here are 5 common nutrients that many of us miss and steps we can take to fix these deficiencies.
Calcium – We don’t just need calcium when our bones are growing. We need it throughout our lives to keep our bones strong. A huge part of this is exercise and strength training, which many people make less time for as they get older. We can get some calcium from dairy products as all the magazine ads for milk would have us believe but we do not need low fat dairy and we probably consume too much milk/dairy. Try getting most of your calcium from leafy greens (spinach, collards) vegetables (broccoili), nuts, and seeds.
Magnesium – Calcium and magnesium actually go together like peas and carrots so if you are deficient in one than you are likely deficient in the other because they work as a team to build strong bones and flexible muscles. A magnesium deficiency can actually cause all sorts of problems. In fact, it regulates more than 325 enzymes in the body and the most vital of those are ones that help to produce, transport, store, and utilize energy. You can get it from leafy greens and veggies, nuts, and seeds (just like calcium). Because absorption can be problematic a supplement is never a bad idea and a topical oil is also very handy.
Vitamin B12 – Many of us are B12 deficient…some studies have shown about 40% of us have below optimal levels. It is tied directly to the health of our nervous system as well as red blood cell production. Those at greatest risk are plant based diet supporters because B12 can ONLY be found in animal products. This is probably why anemia is so common among vegans. The best sources are clams, fish, and liver meats. Because a leaky gut can make it hard for even meat eaters to get enough B12, a supplement may be in order.
Vitamin D – This all important vitamin helps with bone health, immunity, and it lowers our risk of cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes. Very few foods in nature contain Vitamin D though. The best sources would be fatty fish like salmon, tuna and mackerel. Small amounts are in beef liver and eggs yolks. Other than that your best bets are lots of regular sunshine, a 600 IU a day pill, and/or cod liver oil.
Vitamin E – This one is a powerful antioxidant that fights free radicals and reduces risk of certain cancers but because of the fat phobia that exists many are missing out. Good sources include nuts and seeds, nut butters, leafy greens, broccoili, red bell peppers, and seafood.
It’s a good idea to think about nutritional deficiencies when doing your meal plans so you can try and tackle them to the best of your ability and make sure certain foods appear each week. I would also not be afraid to close some gaps with supplements if you feel inclined. It is easier than ever to access supplements in your local health food stores or you can buy vitamins online from Golden Glow or other reputable sources. Most of us agree that our health is our wealth so making sure we have all our nutritional Ts crossed with a good diet first, then with a little outside help, just makes good sense.
Many people struggle with meal plans. They sound great in theory but forming one, shopping, and sticking to it…well that can be a whole different thing. If you do struggle with this you might enjoy a little meal planing advice. This week ONLY you can get the ebook for Plan It, Don’t Panic: Everything You Need to Successfully Create and Use a Meal Plan for only .99 cents!!
- Find the method of meal planning that will best suit your family and situation best
- Tweak and perfect your meal planning style with unique tips and strategies
- Make it easier to work around special diets
- Become a more savvy grocery shopper and never go to the store without a genius plan in place
- Learn how leftovers and batch cooking can become your best friends in the kitchen
- Learn how to store your recipes, easily find your favorites, plan for hectic times, and even what to do when you mess up…
The bundle of the week is a subject near and dear to me…paleo foods! Paleo forever changed the way I eat and view a healthy diet because paleo fixed so many nagging health issues for me, many of which I didn’t even realize were a problem until they were gone. For instance, bloating. I never realized how much bloat I was carrying around while on a diet that incorporated grains and I never realized how amazingly energetic I wasn’t feeling. Paleo and primal foods have been a game changer for me and I love sharing that with others.
Before paleo I thought I was incredibly fit and energetic going to my daily cardio classes followed by either a run on the treadmill or some weight machines. I ended up with adrenal fatigue though because my diet wasn’t supporting my activity level. Today I went to my local CrossFit box and worked out for a solid hour…jumping rope, running, and lifting heavy weights. Officially we did “1-800 Grace” which is one rope climb, an 800 meter run, and 30 Clean & Jerks with a 95 lb bar. Today was actually a pretty easy day all things considered. Pre-paleo I never would have been able to do any of that. I wouldn’t have had the strength or the endurance. Pick up almost 100 pounds from the floor and throw it over my head??? 30 times??? After a half mile sprint??? No way.
But that was pre-paleo. Post paleo I simply call it Monday.
But I digress, this long winded explanation of why I love paleo was just supposed to be an intro to this week’s bundle of the week. I think you can guess the theme…
You get all 5 of these books for only $7.40! They are:
The Paleo Miracle – It features people who have healed from a serious health problem all with paleo…things like diabetes, ADHD, heart disease, Crohn’s, etc.
The Paleo Snack Recipe Book – 75 paleo snack recipes.
Eating Out and Traveling on the Paleo Diet – Traveling while on any special diet is hard but this book provides some great ideas and tips.
Toadally Primal Smoothies – Paleo and primal smoothies..over 150 of them! I liek the wide variety. Coconut egg nog and vanilla almond cappuccino? Here I come!
Paleo Ice Cream – 31 ice cream like flavors that are paleo friendly.
I love this graphic about the benefits of juicing. If you are facing a health crisis it is one of the fastest ways, in my opinion, to get the healing started. It also addresses the difference between the cheaper centrifugal juicers and cold press juicers (preferred) and why we would do better to juice at home instead of buying the pasteurized stuff in stores. Enjoy!
by BELLA NutriPro
As I have mentioned before my “healthy diet” ideals are varied and spread out among numerous ideologies and theories. I cherry pick the things that appeal to me and work for me and I drop the things that don’t work so well. For instance I started out liking the WAPF way of eating but kind of moved away from it as I narrowed in on a grain free, dairy free diet. Yet I still love the bone broth, probiotics, and organ meats they promote so heavily. I like the variety of veggies and plant based foods that vegans and vegetarians eat but I am not so much a fan of all the grains they typically eat. Living off pasta, bread, and rice is not healthy in my opinion. I ended up deciding that for me the best diet is a nourishing paleo diet with lots of raw foods and greens. I adore green smoothies with things like spinach, collard greens, turnip or beet greens, parsley, mustard greens, wheatgrass, or wild greens like dandelion. Greens have tons of nutrients and you are also ingesting ALKALINE foods.
I used to think that to eat mostly alkaline you had to eschew meats and dairy. In fact that is what my Doctor told me after my cancer diagnosis….that cancer loves acidic body conditions and that I need to cut those things out of my diet. This is likely why I had that whole vegetarian stint that lasted a couple years. Now I know better and that what I should have removed was grains, sugar, and dairy. Meat is completely healthy and makes for a great balanced diet when you also load up on fresh fruits, veggies, and greens. The caveman diet is great. You just have to gnaw on some wild greens along with those babyback ribs.
The typical person on a SAD (Standard American Diet) is not striking a balance between acidic and alkaline foods. When our body is too acidic it is like giving your cells an acid bath and you are providing a hospitable place for things like Candida (yeast) and cancer.
I have pH testing strips at home that I use to test my pH a couple times a week to see how I am doing. I also use a water alkalizer. LOVE it! Alkaline water benefits can not be highlighted enough. When I get too acidic I start getting hives. I used to get hives pretty bad about once a month. Now I can go 8-9 months or longer without having an outbreak. That is an immediate benefit that I can see and measure. I get hives when I stop drinking my smoothies (with alkaline water and greens) and let my diet get out of whack. I have never been able to explain way they come on but I know from online searches that other hives sufferers also think it has to do with pH. I also see a big difference in my skin when I am not drinking alkaline water. If the outside cells of my skin react so favorably to an alkaline environment I can only assume the inside cells are swimming around in joy.
Below is a quick guide for keeping that alkaline balance. You don’t have to despair and avoid all foods that tend toward the acidic. I am not giving up meat any time soon! The fact is though that conventionally people eat the acidic foods in mass quantities and they do it the majority of the time. They are consuming alcohol, and coffee, and refined sugars, and lots of grains, and healthy portions of meat, and quite a bit of cheese and milk/cream. It is an acid overload and unless we want be to giving our cells a daily acid bath we need to be more aware of our choices. Hope it helps!
How To Alkalize your body by drinking ionized water and eating an alkaline diet.
1. Stick to a diet which minimizes intake of acid-forming foods.
2. Eat more greens.
3. Drink at least 1.5 liters of alkaline ionized water every day.
4. Aerobic activities and exercises will allow your body to release excess acid in sweat.
9.0 PH: Lemons, Watermelon
8.5 PH: Bell Pepper, Kelps, Mangoes, Melons, Parsley, Papaya, Seaweeds
8.0 PH: Apples, Apricots, Grapes, Fruit Juice, Avocados, Bananas, Vegetable Juice, Peas
7.5 PH: Mushrooms, Onions, Almonds, Egg yolks, Tofu, Soy milk, Vinegar, Tomato, Cucumber, Coconut, Brown Rice
7.0 PH: The Neutral PH value.
6.5 PH: Distilled Water
6.0 PH: Purified water, Fruit juice with sugar, Cigarette tobacco, Wine
5.5 PH: White Rice, Beef, White flour, Sugar, Sweetened Yogurt
5.0 PH: Artificial Sweeteners, Refined Cereals, Pasta, Animal Products, Cheese, Meats, Beef, Pork, Chicken
4.0 PH: R.O. water, Coffee, White bread
3.0 PH: Cola / Sodas, Beer, Hard Spirits
Image Credit: Bawell Ionizers