“Which supplements should I be taking?” is a question i get asked ALL the time, and as a holistic nutritionist, recommending ‘good quality’ supplements is part of my job.
There are always two parts to my answer:
Let’s dive into this a little deeper.
Although, some people need specific supplements to help with whatever issue they’re currently facing (which, if you were my client, it would take a personalized assessment for me to determine), there are certain supplements that I believe pretty much everyone should be taking.
“Can’t I just get my nutrients from my food?” is another great question I get asked.
Many, many years ago, the answer for that question would have been “yes, if you’re eating a variety of foods” (they would have all been grown off the land, of course and nothing processed or packaged in a box.)
But, it is very difficult in this day and age to create optimal health without some help. Let me explain.
I think we could all agree that our foods have changed. Right? They are being sprayed with pesticides, Roundup, insecticides and herbicides that we can’t see but we are ingesting.
Our food is highly processed and sugar is added to almost everything, which is creating cravings for even more sugar and refined foods. Most of us are walking around with a sugar addiction without even realizing it.
Food has been genetically modified and the soil is depleted in minerals.
We overuse antibiotics, hormones and drugs in our livestock, which we then ingest and wreak havoc on our bodies. Industrialized farming has increased.
In a nutshell, life is unfortunately more toxic, and it’s having unimaginable effects on our health. Our environment as a whole is a much different place than it was 50-100 years ago.
Disease and obesity rates have risen dramatically and younger and younger people are being diagnosed with diseases that used to be reserved for the elderly.
I don’t say all of this to send you into a panic. My goal is to make people aware and to provide solutions to the reality of what is.
Several of the supplements that I’m recommending below have helped me immensely in my journey towards better health. They’ve helped improve my gut health, boosted my energy and my immune system, and have helped improve my emotional health as well.
I used other supplements along my journey as well, but those were specific to what I needed at the time.
None of these helped ‘on their own’ but were used in addition to healthy changes that I made to my diet and lifestyle (and by the way, I’m continuing to make changes. It’s a work in progress for all of us! That’s a bit of a relief, right?)
These recommendations are in no way a substitute for a poor diet, but can help fill in the gaps between what we ARE eating and what we SHOULD be eating.
If you are taking any prescription medications, you should discuss adding in supplements with your pharmacist and/or medical doctor prior to taking any.
I chose as few supplements as possible to give you the best results. These are the fundamentals for you and your family to give you daily support.
Years ago, I used to look for the lowest price point, but after studying nutrition and supplements, I realized that I had been literally flushing 80-100% of the supplements I was taking down the toilet!
Just remember that you get what you pay for, so don’t skimp when it comes to any supplement you may ingest.
These are the good bacteria that live all along your digestive tract. They support digestion, help to ensure the bad bacteria don’t take over and they keep the immune system healthy (70% of your immune system is actually located in your gut).
Many health issues can be overcome simply by keeping a healthy balance between the good and bad bacteria in your gut.
Several things affect the bacteria balance in your gut:
The use of antibiotics wipes out your good bacteria, which is why you should ALWAYS take a good quality probiotic after a round of antibiotics.
Other lifestyle factors such as stress and poor diet lead to less than optimal levels of good bacteria. Most people are severely deficient in probiotics.
If you seem to get every illness that’s going around, you get digestive issues like gas, bloating or constipation, or you just don’t feel the level of vitality you would like to feel you likely need probiotics.
You can include foods like raw coconut kefir, raw kimchi, sauerkraut etc to your diet, but if you’re not doing this on a daily basis, I would supplement with a good quality probiotic.
Multi-Probiotic 4000 by Douglas Labs
HMF Intensive (vegan)
Probiotic 50B by Pure Encapsulations (dairy-free)
Vitamin D is crucial for so many different processes in the body, and the majority of us are severely deficient in it.
We get vitamin D from direct exposure to the sun (sans sunscreen).
Most people are either slathered in sunscreen, live in a more northern climate or don’t get regular sun exposure every day. It’s important to get at least 20 minutes of direct sunlight each and every day on your skin.
Low vitamin D levels in North America and Canada are now being linked to an increased risk and rate of diseases such as:
• Cancer • Depression & behavioral issues such as ADD and ADHD • Multiple Sclerosis • Osteoporosis • Heart Disease • Infertility • Rheumatoid Arthritis & Osteoarthritis • Fibromyalgia • Alzheimer’s • Obesity • Insulin resistance and diabetes
Some common symptoms of low vitamin D are:
• Fatigue • Muscle pain, weakness & cramps • Chronic pain • Weight gain • Restless sleep and/or insomnia • Poor concentration and memory • Frequent illness • Headaches
*look for a liquid vitamin D3 supplement with no other added ingredients, and not a tablet or capsule.
Vitamin D3 Liquid by Pure Encapsulations
Vitamin D3 by NFH
These fats are called “essential” because your body cannot make them and they need to be consumed in the diet.
We need a certain ratio of omega 3 to omega 6 and most people over-consume omega 6.
The bad fats are found in vegetable oils and low quality vegetable oils are found in most packaged products. The bad fats in the body lead to inflammation, causing a whole host of health problems.
Supplementing with fatty acids high in omega 3 is crucial for most people to bring the ratio of omega 3 to omega 6 back into balance.
If supplementing with a fish oil, it is imperative to choose a high quality fish oil or Juice Plus+ Plant Based Omega Blend to avoid toxins like heavy metals.
Juice Plus+ Plant Based Omega Blend can also help to lower cholesterol, balance hormones, improve joint health and function, reduce inflammation, improve cognition and memory, improve eye health and give you clear and glowing skin.
Adding healthy fats to your diet every day, in addition to using Omega supplements, is important to your overall health. Our bodies need good fats!
Some healthy fat options are flax seeds, walnuts, hemp hearts, raw nuts & seeds and their butters, avocado, olives and coconut oil. These will provide you with a wide spectrum of the essential fatty acids your body needs for optimal health.
Juice Plus+ Omegas (without the fishy aftertaste because it's plant based)
Omega 800 by Genestra
Quell Fish Oil by Douglas Labs
Juice Plus+ Whole Food Nutrition
The average North American is getting 1.5 servings of nutrient dense vegetables per day which is falling short of the 13 daily servings recommended for basic health.
When I first heard about this Non-GMO WholeFood Nutrition, my immediate response was that I eat enough fruits and vegetables. But then I realized that most of the fruits and veggies I eat are being sprayed and that I’m ingesting that - eek.
I also realized that it’s tricky to get not only the servings, but the variety required each and every day.
I decided to take Juice Plus+ because so many of my nutrition friends were taking them and were already using them in their practice.
What helped to seal the deal for me was that it’s not actually considered a supplement. It is Whole Food backed by clinical evidence.
I look for gold standard research and Juice Plus+ is NSF, Non-GMO and Health Canada Approved.
If you find you’re not getting your recommended servings per day, and need to boost your micronutrients (decreases cravings when these deficiencies are corrected) click here for more information.
Juice Plus+ is non-GMO, whole-food based nutrition; including juice powder concentrates from over thirty different fruits, vegetables, and plants, to help enhance a healthy diet. Juice Plus+ helps bridge the nutrient gap between what you should eat and what you actually do eat every day.
I take pride in personally placing my clients’ orders, ensuring it arrives at their front door for them and their families to enjoy with ease and simplicity. You can contact me at mayanne@wellnesswithmayanne to place an order or order it from here.
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Until next time,
If you’ve ever been on an airplane, you’ll notice that the flight attendant always says that in the case of an emergency, to put on your own oxygen mask first before helping others put theirs on.
There’s a really good reason for that, and I would like to share my two cents worth on this one.
(Prefer not to read? Just click play on the video above.)
Self-care can be a really hard one for busy women, who are trying to work full-time and be a mom, be a wife and trying to get everything checked off the to-do list by the end of the day.
I'd like to share something with you from personal experience. The to-do list, will always be there. It will never not be there. And if you ever do manage to get everything else checked off, something else magically sneaks on the list before you even take your pen off the paper from checking off the last item.
Trust me, it’s just the way our busy lives are.
What I’m about to tell you comes from my own previous lack of wisdom - perhaps you've read my story before. I would constantly allow myself to get run down and exhausted because I believed that my to-do list was more important than stepping aside, letting go of the list for a few moments and taking the time to re-fill my own personal fuel tank.
This is what I’ve discovered - when you regularly fill your own personal fuel tank, you then have something to give to others.
If your tank is empty and you’re running on fumes, you’re basically giving your family and the world and the world around you, what’s left of you. When you fill your own personal fuel tank, they’re getting the best of you. Does that make sense?
It’s not selfish because it helps the whole family. It’s just a shift in thinking. There are many of us who automatically get stuck when it comes to initiating and maintaining self-care. It really doesn’t come easy for most of us. It takes work and re-training of our mind for it to begin to come naturally.
It will take reminders, and possibly even scheduling ‘moms refueling time’ right into the to-do list. Trust me, it’s just as important as everything else on that list.
I totally get how hard this is for women who are used to taking care of everyone and everything else first. They’re amazing at taking care of all the details and getting things done.
I learned this lesson the hard way through my journey as a single mom.
I had this twisted thought that taking care of myself was selfish and believed that my sole purpose was to take care of things and get everything done. Living this way had me feeling like a bit of a wreck, and I knew I had to make a shift.
Living this way had been robbing me of not only my health, but my joy and being able to really enjoy my time with my son.
It takes making a commitment to start making your needs a priority. Working on your mindset and getting rid of the faulty thoughts and beliefs that have kept you stuck and preventing you from making positive, healthy changes and sticking with them is the first step.
For myself, my diet and exercise played a big role and helped me to see how good I could feel when I took the time to honour my body and give it what it needed.
Since making these changes, I feel better than I did in my 20’s and 30’s and I believe that if you’ve been stuck in a pattern of putting your to-do list first and yourself second, that you will discover how much better you are capable of feeling as well.
Until next time.
May Anne xo
P.S. Does stress have you reaching for sugar and caffeine to feel better? Want to stop the cravings, so you can have more energy, not be so moody, think more clearly and lose weight more easily? Try my FREE 5-DAY SUGAR-FREE CHALLENGE, so you can easily say no to cravings, without relying on willpower or giving up all sugar!
Do You Know What Insulin Resistance and Summer Have in Common?
Plenty, it turns out, and it has everything to do with what you’re eating this summer. Even though summer brings with it an abundance of fresh fruits and vegetables, making it easier to eat healthy, it also brings added risks.
What could taste better during the lazy, hazy days of summer than fruity cocktails and rich ice cream?
Unfortunately, these are the foods that can spell danger for your blood sugar level. The few minutes of pleasure that you derive from those cold, sugary treats can pave the way for decades of chronic illness, as well as weight gain.
I'm going to get a bit science-y here for a minute and talk about Blood Sugar Basics.
When you eat sugary treats, your blood sugar levels rise. Your blood sugar level is a measure of how much sugar or glucose is circulating in your bloodstream. Too much glucose in your blood is dangerous, so your body works hard to lower the levels. It does this by releasing insulin, a hormone which enables your cells to absorb the excess glucose.
The danger comes when you continue eating too much sugar, because your body responds by producing more and more insulin. Too much insulin trains your cells to become resistant to insulin, and this is called insulin resistance.
The net effect is that it then takes more and more insulin to make your cells remove the glucose from your blood. When this happens, your blood sugar levels stay elevated, your insulin levels stay elevated and you develop pre-diabetes.
Along with the risk of diabetes comes weight gain, cravings for more sugar and carbs, as well as mood imbalances.
Still want that ice cream? I know, me, too. ;-)
Moderation is the Key.
Don’t panic. This doesn’t mean that you can never indulge in a sugary treat again. What it means is that you need to be smart about the amount you eat and how you eat it.
Have you ever heard of the glycemic index? It is simply a way of categorizing foods according to their effects on the level of glucose in your blood. A food with a high glycemic index will cause more glucose to build up than will a food with a low glycemic index.
In order to control your blood sugar levels, it is helpful to eat lots of foods with a low glycemic index.
And if you eat foods with a high glycemic index, be sure to pair them with low glycemic foods in order to slow the effect on your blood sugar.
High glycemic foods include white flour, white sugar, white rice, and even big, white potatoes. Low glycemic foods are foods that have lots of fiber and protein. These would include beans, whole grains, lean proteins and nuts.
Simply being aware of the glycemic index will help you eat in a way that reduces the stress on your body. If you are going to have an ice cream treat, make sure you eat it at the end of a meal that contains low glycemic foods.
So this summer, have an occasional treat, but be sure it is occasional...seriously. ;-) Your body will thank you!
A great trick that I've been using this summer is brewing a pot of citrus-flavoured herbal tea and then chilling it in the fridge in place of regular iced tea! If you prefer some sweetness, just add some honey while it's still hot.
Want tips for eating healthy while on the go? Download "THE BUSY WOMAN'S GUIDE TO HEALTHY EATING ON THE GO." It's FREE!
Grab your FREE GUIDE HERE.
Until next time,
May Anne xo
Let's talk about diet food, and why it’s keeping people overweight, tired and moody. Now before I get started I want to tell you that I used to fall for the diet food trap as well. I used to look for products that said “diet, lite, zero percent fat or low-fat.”
(Don't feel like reading? Watch the video above - it contains the same information)
In the past, you would never catch me buying full-fat anything! All my salad dressing were lite, my cheese slices, my yogourt was zero percent fat. When I had a salad I would have all veggies and no protein or fat because in my mind, that would make me fat.
I had believed that this would help me to maintain my weight or help me to lose a few pounds when I had gained a bit.
What I couldn’t figure out at the time was why I was so tired all the time I was moody, irritable and anxious and by the time the evening rolled around I was cravings carbs and junk food. I wanted chips, candy, pizza, cookies, you name it, I craved it.
I was constantly relying on willpower to resist eating more, and ultimately the willpower would fail and I would feel like I was just not strong enough. Every afternoon around 2 o'clock, I felt like crawling my desk and taking a nap.
By the time I left work and picked my son up from daycare and made dinner, I was usually too tired to do anything else. And then I would feel guilty because I hadn’t spent any time having fun with my son. And when I did force myself anyway, I really had to drag my butt to do it.
Years later, after studying nutrition, I realized why everything I was doing was not working for me, and that eating these ‘diet’ foods, was setting me up to fail and creating a blood sugar imbalance.
Diet foods are usually highly processed and mostly simple carbohydrate based and almost always sugar is added to compensate for the fat being taken away, because it would taste horrible otherwise!
High carbs and low fat are a bad combination when it to weight loss and your health. It’s impossible to feel good, have energy and a balanced mood when you’re relying on diet foods.
It’s no wonder my willpower could not win against this. I was fighting against blood sugar issues caused by eating mostly simple carbohydrates, and not enough healthy fats and protein.
When you team willpower against a blood sugar imbalance, willpower will lose every single time.
I realized that my lack of willpower was not all my fault.
And if you’re stuck in a cycle of craving carbs and feeling like it’s just too hard to make the food choices you want to make and that you’re not strong enough, it’s not your fault either.
There’s a good chance that you’re fighting against blood sugar issues as well, caused by eating too many simple carbohydrates.
I really had thought I was making good choices when I would have just lettuce and veggies with a light salad dressing for my lunch, however, I wasn’t getting the proper balance of nutrients my body needed and always felt hungry shortly afterwards.
And then of course the energy crash a few hours later, the resulting cravings for more carbs, and ultimately giving in to grabbing a muffin or a bagel or something sweet to pick me up.
Getting off the blood sugar roller coaster and making sure that that every meal and snack that I eat has a balance of protein, fats and carbs was a game-changer for me, and when I don’t, my body will let me know with either cravings, tiredness or feeling irritable.
So I encourage you to ditch the diet foods, and instead reach for foods that are real, whole foods as close to nature as possible.
Include healthy fats and proteins with every meal, so you can easily say no to the foods that are keeping you stuck in yo-yo dieting, have more energy, and a more balanced mood.
One of the biggest challenges for most of, is trying to eat healthy when you’re on the go. When you’re playing chauffeur for your kids many activities, after you’ve been working all day.
To help you out, I’ve created a guide to make it easier to still eat healthy when you’re the go, so you don’t have to rely on fast food that will keep you keep you from your goals.
Download your FREE HEALTHY EATING ON THE GO GUIDE HERE.
Until next time,
May Anne xo
May Anne Jordens-LaFlamme is a Registered Holistic Nutritionist and the owner of "Wellness with May Anne." She is passionate about helping women look and feel their best, so they can live a more fulfilling life - without dieting, deprivation, relying on willpower or cooking separate meals for the family.