HFE Magazine

September 20, 2017

Is Healthy Eating Enough? Why We Use Supplements

Filed under: Family,Health Food Emporium — Tags: , , — Gail @ 9:16 am

By Maryea Flaherty

Do you ever feel like there’s so much contradictory information out there, that your head spins anytime you try to make a decision for your family? You just want to do the right thing, what’s best for you and your family, but you don’t know what that is because Expert #1 says one thing, while Expert #2 says the exact opposite.

I tend to read everything I can get my hands on when it comes to health and nutrition and it can definitely be confusing when there’s no consensus on so many topics.

One of those topics is whether or not supplements are necessary. One camp says healthy eating is enough; you should get all the vitamins and minerals you need from the food you eat. The other camp suggests that even the healthiest eaters can have nutritional gaps for a variety of reasons.

I’m seated firmly in the second camp and here’s why.

WHY WE USE SUPPLEMENTS

In an ideal world, I’d love to say I get all of my essential nutrients from the wide variety of whole foods I eat. I am a healthy eater. My family eats well.

Yet, I know we aren’t eating a big enough variety of plant foods and the part of animals that contain the most nutrients each and every day. Beef liver, for example, contains 17 times more B12 than ground beef. But how often do we eat liver in this family? Never.

Have you ever actually counted the amount of nutrients you’ve consumed in a day? I have. It’s a lot more time consuming than just counting calories, but I was curious. (I think this lands me in the “health nut” category, but I’m okay with that.) Even though I had a day full of vegetables, fruits, beans, nuts, seeds, whole grains, and meat, I still fell short in more than one category. It’s not like I was eating processed or nutrient-void food all day! This was eye opening.

Even if I made a super strong effort to ensure we were eating enough of all the foods to get us all the recommended nutrients every day, could I really be sure the foods we eat have the nutrients they are supposed to have?

Soil quality is a real issue. Studies have shown that much of the food grown has experienced a steady decline in nutrients since 1950.

These are the two main reasons I choose to take supplements and give them to my kids. I know that we likely aren’t getting the recommended amounts of nutrients on a daily basis, so I choose to fill in any gaps with supplements. I want to help us operate at our healthiest, so we use supplements to fill in the gaps.

HOW TO CHOOSE A QUALITY SUPPLEMENT

Unfortunately, after you make a decision that taking supplements is right for you, the hard work doesn’t stop. All supplements are not created equally. Choosing a quality supplement is important or you’re just wasting your money.

HERE ARE QUESTIONS TO ASK WHEN CHOOSING A SUPPLEMENT:

• Are the vitamins and minerals used in the supplement natural or synthetic?
Most synthetic vitamins and minerals are not as bioavailable as natural vitamins and minerals that are derived from whole food sources. There is also a benefit from using whole foods instead of isolated vitamins or minerals. When a supplement delivers its vitamin C with a whole orange, for example, it is also getting all the other phytochemicals from the orange. Your body recognizes food in the product this makes it gentler on the stomach.

• Where is the supplement company sourcing its food from?
If you can’t find this out, I wouldn’t trust the company. Quality farms are important for high-quality foods to make high-quality supplements.

• What process is used to make the supplements?
A low heat process is imperative to keep nutrients intact.

• What testing procedures are in place?
The company should test ingredients for quality as well as traces of pesticides and herbicides.
• What other ingredients are used in the supplements?

Be aware that many supplement companies use undesirable ingredients as fillers, binders, or ingredients to help the taste or color of the supplements. Always read the label and see what “other” ingredients you find.

WHICH SUPPLEMENT BRAND DO I RECOMMEND?

There are very few supplement companies that I can stand behind and say I recommend without hesitation. I have definitely tried and researched many brands. MegaFood is the supplement brand my family currently uses and I recommend 100%.

I first discovered MegaFood when I was breastfeeding my son Luke, who had MSPI and other protein intolerances, and needed a supplement that was certified free of soy, dairy, and wheat. I found MegaFood and am so grateful to have found such a high-quality supplement line. (It was the Baby and Me Multivitamin I took during that time.)

I don’t take partnering with brands lightly, and only choose brands that I use, love, and can feel confident recommending to you, my reader. As a MegaFood ambassador, I recently was able to take a trip to New Hampshire and see their manufacturing process first hand. I was confident in MegaFood before this trip, but that confidence and admiration greatly deepened after what I saw.

I was blown away by this company.
From the transparency they have in every part of their manufacturing process to the integrity and commitment to “doing it right”, this is a company I have deep respect for.

MegaFood supplements deliver their vitamins and minerals with whole foods that are sourced from trusted, high quality farms. All of the farmers they use are dedicated to growing the most nutritious foods possible. You can read about their farm partners here.

Every food ingredient that comes through the door at MegaFood is rigorously tested. It’s tested for quality: does it have the nutrients it’s supposed to have? Are there traces of anything it isn’t supposed to have, like gluten? It is tested for 149 different pesticides and herbicides. If it doesn’t pass any of these tests, it’s rejected.

Once the food is tested, it’s ready to go through the 236 hour (!!) process of becoming a supplement. They start by grinding the food into pulp. When I was at MegaFood, it was turmeric in the grinder. It was so cool to see the way these supplements start with a whole food!

After the pulp is sent through these tanks, it’s ready to be dried.

The food is gently dehydrated to preserve all nutrients.

It’s then turned into a powder and pressed into a tablet. MegaFood is very careful to only use machines with controlled heat so that the nutrients are still intact.

Having all of this carefully explained to me while getting a tour of the plant was incredible. I wish you all could have been there with me to see it. Even if you can’t make it to New Hampshire, MegaFood is so intent on being transparent with their customers, they have live cameras set up so anyone can watch their manufacturing process. How awesome is that?! Click Here to Check it Out Live!

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Opinions expressed on this blog are those of the writer and have not been reviewed by the FDA, CDC or other 'medical authorities'. Therefore, any products discussed are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease, but rather are dietary supplements intended solely for nutritional use.

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