Supplements

Is Supplementation Needed If You Are Eating Healthily?

SupplementsSo if you follow all my tips on eating healthily in my ‘Healthy Eating For Rubbish Cooks‘ Series, does that mean you don’t need to take supplements, minerals or vitamins?

The answer is: use your common sense (which isn’t the same as ignoring it or over-worrying about it).  You don’t need every supplement, and health food shops are full to the brim of ideas for you to spend your money on.

If you follow my tips on healthy eating, weight loss and exercise and you are feeling in tip top condition, then no, I doubt you need a supplement.

But if you are exhausted and have tried all my tips to get more energy, are sleep deprived and generally feel rubbish, then yes, maybe it would be a good plan.  The sorts of things that can be helped are PMT, joint pains, digestive issues, skin problems, depression, I even saw them help Alopecia on ‘The Food Hospital’ on Channel 4.

My top tip on supplementation is to ASK someone who knows more than you and knows more than the internet.  Sometimes the people who work in health food shops can be really helpful.  Sometimes you might actually want to talk to a nutritionist, homeopath or medical herbalist.  You might even have a great doctor who is willing to do a test for you to check how you are doing, as general exhaustion can also be a sign of deeper problems.  If they won’t do a check on your body’s nutrients, then you will find that there are private professionals who will; but make sure that you use someone with loads of experience who has come well recommended to you.

I think that the biggest question is whether to take a multi-vitamin or not.  Some people claim that you can get all the vitamins that you need from a healthy balanced diet.  Some claim that unless you eat totally organic, the quality of our vegetables and meat is not good enough any more and you will need vitamins.  My answer is; does your body feel healthy and vital?  If not, what’s wrong with it?  Maybe consider a supplement or vitamin.

I do use supplements, so I’m going to list what I use here or have used.  For all of them there is a really obvious reason, I’m not just supplementing for no reason.  Plus I have asked professionals about the combination of them.

Bear in mind that I haven’t slept through the night in 6 yrs, I have 2 young children (6yo and 2yo), I co-sleep and am an extended breast-feeder, as well as working from home when you look at my list!

1) Floradix: A liquid mineral and iron supplement: This is magic in a bottle for me when I’m breast feeding, and it doesn’t constipate you like iron can.  Without it I was getting HUGE bruises, but within a couple of weeks of going back on it I had tonnes more energy and the bruises were gone.

2) Vitamins: I take the ones for breast-feeding women as those little tikes do tend to suck all the good bits out of our bodies.

3) Omega 3, 6 and 9: My brain works better with these, REALLY noticeably!

4) Vitamin C: My body really likes me taking vitamin C, despite the fact that I pretty much always hit my 5 a day.  Maybe it’s habit, but I don’t feel as good starting the day without it.

5) Probiotic: A proper ‘pill’ one, rather than a yogurt with sugar.  Mine come from Optibac who kindly sent me a couple of packs to try for free.  I’d been having stomach cramps and this totally fixed it.  I’m going to write a proper post all about what probiotics are in the next couple of weeks for you.

I was talking to a friend today about the fact that she reckoned that supplements had helped her depression.  I know of loads of people who swear by whatever it is that they take.  There is a possibility that it is a case of the vitamins being a placebo.  But then there is research to show that even operations can be placebos because of the power of the mind.  I don’t really care, what is most important is that the proof is in the pudding.  There will be times in your life when you need a little extra help.  If the help is there and available, then I think it’s well worth it.

BUT, I’ll say again; it’s wise to get advise because herbs, vitamins, minerals and supplements are actually a lot more powerful than you might think.  You can take the wrong things that might make the symptoms worse or disagree with something else you are taking.

One final word: If you are pregnant, then it’s crucial that you take a multi-vitamin that is tailored for your needs and includes folic acid.  If you are pregnant with twins, get professional advice about whether you need more.

What are your favourite supplements?

Or do you think that it should be possible to survive without them?

 

Hints and Tips Pregnancy

These hints and tips are just things that worked for me, so I thought I would share them just incase they work for someone else, please share them with anyone you know who is pregnant.  Now obviously it is always wise to check with your health professional about any of the supplements and vitamins that I talk about below, as I am not a specialist, just a Mum.

Because I had turned 40 while I was pregnant I was a great deal more focussed on my health.  I was much more vigilant on taking Pregnacare (vitamins specially formulated for pregnant or nursing mothers) extra, which includes Omega3 tablets as well.  I also took a liquid Iron supplement called Spatone for a while (liquid iron doesn’t tend to constipate you like the pills do).  Then when I got more tired I replaced Spatone with Floradix, which is a liquid iron and mineral supplement; much more effective, but also more expensive.  Ironically, I had to be much more healthy this time because unlike the chocolate & crisps I existed on in my first pregnancy (the only thing I fancied when feeling sick every day for 9 months), I only felt well when eating very small portions of healthy food.  The outcome was that within 2 weeks of ‘little pink’ being born, I had lost all my pregnancy weight; but don’t start getting jealous, because I do have the weight from pregnancy no1 still ;o)  ‘Little pink’ also came out nearly 3lbs heavier than ‘monster/angel boy’ and appeared a great deal stronger.  Of course, these outcomes could be nothing to do with my strategies, but hey, it’s possible and I do think that it’s worth remembering that diets are a no-no when pregnant, but you aren’t actually eating for two full sized people when pregnant either!

One thing I didn’t get to do as much of as in pregnancy No1 was exercise, because there just isn’t the time for it.  I was worried, but afterwards realised that just being a Mum of a 4yr old was enough, even with the onset of SPD (hip and pelvis pain due to the body releasing too much relaxin) which meant I wasn’t very active.  But that didn’t seem to cause problems with the birth.

I was really focussed on tieing up lose strings with my two businesses when I was pregnant, so I didn’t do a great deal of preparation.  Then I suddenly realised that if I had wanted to do ‘Hypnobirthing’ that I hadn’t left myself with enough time to do it.  When I looked into it more deeply, I realised it probably wasn’t for me anyway, as due to my training I have heard too many hypno/meditation audios with ping pong music and sickly sweet voices (no disrespect to them, just not my cup of tea).  But I did need something, and having found a scottish guy called ** Andrew Johnson who creates hypnotherapy iphone apps and downloadable audios.  One of my mummy blogger mates introduced me to him on Twitter and I was lucky enough to get to beta test his pregnancy app.  I can therefore definitely recommend his Relax, Sleep and Pregnancy Apps/Audios as I slept brilliantly in the last 2 months of pregnancy (normally very difficult) and was very relaxed in the build up towards the birth.  Of course he has an unfair advantage with the scottish accent, which is naturally relaxing, and I can’t really give an in depth analysis of his hypnosis techniques as I’m pretty much asleep nowadays on his first couple of words.  This is pretty amazing, as I’ve never been the best sleeper, had loads of pain from SPD in my pregancy, and used to find it really difficult to sleep when I’d been woken frequently by a baby.

I was also really lucky to find a Doula a couple of months before the end of my pregnancy, which was cutting it a bit fine if baby had come early!  She also had a pool, which was great as I found them difficult to find.  I thoroughly recommend a Doula if you can afford one, or look for a Doula in training if you are short on cash.  This would be a great use of the cash that you (currently) get from the government near the end of your pregnancy.  If you live near me, then check out Herts Doulas.

Apart from that I didn’t do much preparation, not just because it was my second, but also because you can order pretty much anything online nowadays.  Some big shops have slow delivery times, but ebay and amazon are really quick.  You don’t even have to panic about buying nursery furniture to be honest, because you might end up with kids like mine who never use it (p.s. Ikea nursery furniture tends to be the most reasonably priced, everything else seems to be at a premium).  It really doesn’t need to cost loads to have a baby, you don’t even need to buy an expensive pram as slings are often preferred by little ones.

Here is my Hospital Bag list, which was also for use after the birth if at home:

  • Birthplan, Antibacterial wipes, Energy drink and snack, iphone speakers
  • For baby: 2 vests, 2 allinones, cardigan, hat, gloves, blanket, newborn nappies, cotton wool & wipes
  • For me: Face cleaner wipes, moisturiser, tinted moisturiser, shampoo, shower gel, toothbrush & paste, maternity pads & throw away knickers, 2 nightshirts, 1 long sleeve shirt, 1 pair of trousers, 1 pair flat shoes, 1 bra and knickers, cardigan.

Here is the list of what I was told I needed in addition for a home birth:

  • Waterproof covers (from DIY store), torch, small table, kitchen roll, pampers changing mat (put under seat in loo to deliver placenta into), lots of old towels, bucket.  My Doula provided the pool and homeopathy kit.

This was my list of what to do when things kicked off and I either had regular contractions or my waters broke (I didn’t have to find babysitters for Monster/Angel boy as I was going to have a Doula with me and hubby was looking after the dogs and my son:

  1. Phone Husband if he is at work, plus Mums available to pick up Max from nursery (not necessary thankfully!)
  2. Phone Doula
  3. Start Filling Pool and put on immersion heater just in case.
  4. Phone Delivery Suite
  5. Cancel cleaner
  6. Make sure room warm and baby towel & clothes are on radiator to warm up.
  7. Put on music/tv

The biggest tip I can give you is to take care of yourself.  I know that you will feel guilty if there are things that you are not able to do, but it’s only a while, and it’s worth knowing that you did everything possible to keep yourself and your baby healthy.  Here is a link to my other blog on the birth, incase you fancy knowing how it turned out in comparison to birth no1, which was incredibly different.  Hope these tips are useful, good luck with everything!

** I have just become an affiliate for Andrew Johnson, mainly because I’m likely to recommend him lots and it seems daft not to!  However, I don’t expect it to be massively lucrative, as most of you will be buying iphone apps, rather than downloading the audios, and I’m pretty sure there is no way of tracking those ;o)