The first week of walk the talk has gotten off to rough start. Sunday evening I made some amazing foods, took some delicious photos and attempted to post everything before 8am on a Monday morning. My eager beaver attitude (consummately Canadian) was met with an ill fated “error = 19” on my precious little Mac Book Pro. Normally this would throw me into a bit of a tailspin. Although backed up, my computer is my lifeline and the most important tool with which I execute my to do list. A week ago my approach and capacity to roll with the punches would have been different. I was tired, dragging my feet and psychologically disinterested in managing the tiny little road bumps of daily living. In short, “error = 19” would have paralyzed my day. The difference (I think ) between last week and the this particular Monday morning was the new mix of strategically placed nutrients that graced my post-breakfast routine.

Part of my walk the talk plan was also to get myself back on a regular regime of, what I call, strategic supplementation. Despite my commitment to home cooked meals and regular green smoothies, it is my strong belief that we simply can’t get it all from food. Nutrient depleted soil, imported produce and mass production techniques have all resulted in food that has less nutrient density than we would otherwise require. Add stress, immune challenges and daily detoxification requirements and suddenly the nutrients we acquire from even the most conscientiously prepared meals can sometimes fall short. If the only thing I had to do in my day was plan out my meals, it may be possible to avoid some supplementation, but I am not sure I have ever met someone with that level of schedule flexibility.

The things that I have started on represent a classic back to school/work/life supplement plan.

Here is what I have thrown into the mix:

A multi-vitamin with iron – classic formula for busy women. Iron supplementation is not needed for post-menopausal women or men, so make sure you are selecting your vitamin accordingly. In terms of choosing multi-vitamin, there is truth to the old adage, “you get what you pay for.” While you don’t need the most expensive multi available on the market, the cheaper the product generally means the cheaper the ingredients. The cheaper the ingredients, the less you absorb. The less you absorb, the more money you just wasted on a supplement. Do you see how we have just come full circle? I will post soon on the elements you need to look for in selecting a quality multi-vitamin.

Probiotic – a broad spectrum probiotic will not only promote regularity, but will additionally serve to modulate my immune system as we move into cold and flu season. There is great variability in terms of the types of probiotics available. Stick to a broad spectrum formula with more than one strain. For general health promotion, acidophilus should be one of the ingredients. (As a side note, yes you can get probiotics from yogurt, just not in a therapeutic dose and definitely not if you are sensitive to dairy… Which, when I am honest, I am.)

Fish oil – supplementing with an omega-3 fatty acids is one of the most important aspects of a strategically designed supplement protocol. Many of my patients ask whether they can skip the fish oil and simply eat more fish. The sad reality is that in order to acquire sufficient amounts of omega-3 fatty acids from fish you would need to consume enough fish that mercury toxicity will become a concern. For my vegetarian a colleagues, there are great alternatives to flax seed that will supplement omega-3s. Most of these new supplements are derived from algae… Again, amazing advances within the neutraceutical industry.

Vitamin D3 – Vitamin D is all the rage and for very good reason. Touted for its role in cancer prevention, bone health, immune support, mood support and all just about any other support you may require, D3 is a chronically deficient vitamin for many of us living in the northern hemisphere. Vitamin D3 should be supplement from the time the leaves start to fall from the trees until the buds come out in the spring. An adequate daily dose will be 1000i.u with either a liquid or gel cap product. Vitamin D is a fat soluble nutrient and is not easily absorbed in a tablet form. Although considerably cheaper, the tablets are just not where you want to be investing you hard earned supplement budget. (see note above on supplement investments).

There are days when I throw in a B-complex and often there are mornings when I kick off my day with some powdered greens…. But both of these elements are included when I feel I may need an extra boost or anticipate a period of additional stress.

The overwhelming theme is that these supplements are meant to fill in the gaps created as a result of the North American food chain – they are in no way meant to replace the need for food, sleep or exercise. If you have questions about possible supplementation, drop me a line. With enough b-complex, adrenal support and a hint of Ginko Biloba, I am bound remember to get back to you.