Over the years I have discovered it is best not to say, “I’ll never do xyz…”, because once you say you will never do something you almost always end up doing that very thing. So when I told my mom I was never going to take a pile of vitamins the way she did, or shook my head at all the supplements while working in a Functional Medicine office I was really sealing the deal for myself to become that vitamin popping person I was always destined to be. And really, thank goodness for that! I don’t want to take anything to extremes here, but there is a lot you can do to support your health by adding a few strategic supplements into your regular routine.
What works for me is not necessarily the same thing that will work for you. Some of the things I am currently taking were actually prescribed to me by a doctor, my old boss at Heart to Heart Medical Center in Santa Rosa. Shiroko has built an integrative practice blending the best of Eastern and Western medicine for almost 30 years. I had never had acupuncture before going to work for Shiroko, but after spending a few years having regular treatments I saw how beneficial the ancient wisdom of Chinese medicine can be. And while herbs and supplements are a lot more subtle in their effects on the body they can be very effective. I don’t think I realized just how great of an impact working for Shiroko had had on me until my health crisis a few months ago.
Supporting my health through diet, exercise, and carefully chosen supplements is where I want to spend most of my time and energy. It is why I have spent these past weeks on the Whole 30, and developing healthy recipes to feed my family and pass on to you has felt like awakening to find my purpose. But that does not mean I am not going to take my thyroid medication first thing every morning or that after my surgery I didn’t follow my doctors advice to the letter. Supplements and essential oils may be where my heart lies, but Western medicine saved my life last November. I am grateful to be lucky enough to blend the two in strengthening my body and regaining my health.
Most days this blog will be focused solely on food, walking the line between healthy meals and special occasion indulgences. But since I am posting every single day this month I have a little time to veer off track here and share my favorite natural health products with you all.
It should be no surprise that it starts with coffee, I pretty much go to bed at night looking forward to my morning cup of coffee. I put a scoop of Bulletproof Collagen powder in my coffee every morning along with my nut pods creamer. (The nut pods is a Whole 30 thing, I used to use half and half. But I am really wondering where I will land when this is over. Nut pods is delicious and has half the calories of half and half, so I’m considering sticking with it for the long term.) I know there are a lot of collagen powders on the market these days, but what I love about Bulletproof is that is dissolves instantly into your coffee. All you taste is your coffee, but you get to start your day with a little protein and some extra love for your skin, hair, and nails! True die hards follow a much more elaborate coffee recipe than just adding the collagen powder. If you’re interested you can learn all about Bulletproof Coffee here.
Before breakfast I also take ION Gut Health, which is designed to repair and replenish the lining of your digestive tract, something I really need right now. With breakfast Jason and I take our daily vitamins, we each have a multi from Garden of Life along with D3, Omega-3, and Ester-C. We also both do a mid-morning glass of fiber, he takes Metamucil and I take Garden of Life Dr. Formulated Organic Fiber. The fiber is doctors orders for me! My surgeon said the best thing I could do for myself was lots of fiber and lots of water, so I am eating plenty of fruits and vegetables in addition to my daily fiber supplement and drink plenty of water as well.
I am also taking a probiotic that Shiroko recommended for me. Right after my time in the hospital that was S. boulardi, which is designed specifically to help your body recover from using antibiotics. I had about a million rounds of IV antibiotics in November so I was really glad to have something that could help build back up my normal gut flora. She then switched me to Megaspore. These are both not necessarily something that is good for everyone, from my limited understanding probiotics should be personal, if you can’t ask an expert like I could I would read a lot of labels before choosing one.
The rest of my menagerie includes turmeric curcumin and MSM, both for reducing inflammation. I have had an ongoing issue with my neck and was in the process of trying to get back in shape when mayhem struck a few months ago. While it’s not advisable to take a Pilates class right after abdominal surgery I could at least try to keep my inflammation down with some supplements. I’ll get back to strengthening my core one day, hopefully not too far down the road. Until then I’ll keep plugging with my PT stretches and as many walks as I can fit in each week. I usually take these anti-inflammatory ones with my lunch since I have so many others with breakfast. And though I have included it in the photo with the supplements to support my digestive health, I like my apple cider vinegar gummies after lunch for dessert. Delicious and good for your digestion!
I chose the Essential Elements brand for my ACV gummies because they had the most ACV content and they also contain iodine. I have an under active thyroid and iodine is a good supplement to support your thyroid. I also use a roller blend my friend Reynette made for me that has a blend of essential oils for thyroid support.
Reynette was my office manager when I worked for Shiroko and she introduced me to essential oils. It took a while before I really tried them, but once I did there was no going back! I love my oils! I made myself a roller blend of Frankincense, Myrrh, and Rose and I have been applying Helichrysum diluted with a little sweet almond oil to my scar every day. I also use my diffuser all the time, especially at bedtime. I have a hard time falling asleep and using a diffuser at night was what truly made me fall in love with essential oils. My favorite oil right now for sleep is valor, it is the perfect blend for a good night’s sleep!
I also have a few favorite brands of melatonin, both are blended with a few other supplements like L-theanine and 5-HTP. I think they both have come up with a pretty good recipe for dreamland!
I’m really happy to have all these natural sources to support my health. I think we should all do our best to manage our health with diet, exercise and a good night’s sleep. I’m going to keep taking my vitamins and using my essential oils as well. But this morning I was able to do one other thing to keep myself healthy, I got my first round of the Covid-19 vaccine. I am especially pleased with the timing because next Monday I will be back in the office and I have felt incredibly vulnerable since my surgery. Getting that first round of vaccine before heading back to work in person helps me feel a little more secure about seeing patients again. I really appreciate that my employer worked so hard to make sure that everyone in our office who wanted a vaccine had access, when I got the email last Friday I signed up but didn’t mention it to anyone but my husband and son. We have had such major vaccine shortages that I was half expecting when I arrived at the hospital this morning they would be out of doses and turn me away. Lucky me that was not the case. And unlike all the other things I have just written about my vaccine doesn’t just protect me, it helps keep everyone else healthy, too.
*I have included links to many of the supplements that I use, especially brands that I love that can be harder to find. But I buy most of my vitamins from Vitacost, an amazing resource with great prices. You get 20% off your first order when you create an account so be sure to stock up on that first purchase!
*I am a distributor for Young Living essential oils and would love to talk to you more if you have questions about how oils can support your health. They have a great starter bundle that comes with a diffuser and 11 essential oils, including valor!