Category Archives: Nutrition

The Paths We Travel

By: Erica Dammon, NASM- CPT

The paths we go down in life are only worth what we learn along the way.  Good and bad they make up our life experience and the experience is fueled and directed by what we pick up along the way.  My journey has had its fair share of dark roads, but none as encompassing and influential as the battle I have had with my eating disorder.  The toll it takes on your body can be brutal but it is nothing compared to the scars it can leave on your self-worth.  Crawling out of that hole was ugly and hurtful to so many.  Coming through it though and finding out how strong of a person I truly can be has made it seem all the more worthwhile.

I can tell you first hand that this very rapidly growing problem can tear apart a life very easily.  Eating disorders carry the highest mortality rate of any psychiatric disorder.  Statistical briefs carried out between the years 1999 and 2000 compared to briefs done between the years 2008-2009 show a 24% rise in hospital diagnosis for eating disorders, 72% rise in the under 12 year olds, 30% rise for ages between 19-30, and a 88% rise in those ages 45-65.  According to the National Institute of Health, Anorexia Nervosa carries a higher mortality rate than any other cause of death among females ages 15-24.  This is a serious issue and the epidemic is growing. 

Psychiatrist’s separate eating disorders into two main diagnoses. My diagnosis was Anorexia Nervosa, Bulimia Nervosa is the other.   While both disorders revolve around an unhealthy obsession with food and unrealistic worries about body image and weight, they manifest in different ways.  Anorexia is characterized as someone who is 15% underweight; refuses to gain weight, instead seek to lose weight by starvation, excessive exercise, vomiting or laxative abuse. This can weaken the heart muscles and cause cardiac arrhythmias. Patients diagnosed as Bulimia Nervosa are not necessarily underweight and have bouts of binge eating followed by vomiting or abuse of laxatives.  These habits will lead to severe dehydration and severe digestive complications.  Both diagnoses are devastating to the physical body, but even more crippling to a person’s basic value in themselves.

My crossover into the disorder started off very simply, a typical teenage girl drama.  I fell for a boy and got involved in a scene that was quite different than the world I was from.  As the situation grew I found myself playing out dual roles, the one I maintained with my new friends, and the one I upheld for my happy caring family.  Conflict began to brew inside me.  Torn between the very real things happening to my teenage self and the need to not spill the beans and pretend to my family that things were okay.  Most eating disorder victims actually suffer from a feeling of lost control in varying degrees.  Loss of control due to a horrible situation or action taken upon themselves or just being overwhelmed by difficult moments in life, for me, I was just in way over my head and was unable to ask for help.

My mother had her suspicions.  A mother’s bond to her children is absolute, so when one part is hurting the other feels it too.  When I blacked out in the shower getting ready for high school one morning, it was pretty much out of the bag.   There was the usual start, doctors then counselors and I can’t say that I was cooperative in the least.  She must have been so scared, 18 years old 5’4’ weighing in at 90lbs.   Eventually hospitalization at an in-patient facility, where I met so many others struggling with this disorder and heard their stories.  Stories of abuse, neglect, horrific experiences that manifested into this need for control of something.  They all shared this intense self-hatred that this disorder breeds, and it is that self-hatred that is truly the hardest obstacle to overcome.  Over the course of my “Girl Interrupted” moment I began to see that places like these were never going to instill the power these girls needed to make them believe in themselves again the way they so desperately needed to. 

Those girls and their stories did have a profound effect on me, seeing what others struggle through made my issues seem more mountable.  By following the rules I ended my in-patient stay, and life moved on.  My struggle with Anorexia continued, more subdued and hidden, but ever present.  A couple more ups and downs led me to Mike, my future husband.  Falling in love always helps lift you up!  Suddenly I had a family on the way; coming from such a wonderful family like mine created the need to start facing this demon paramount.  Having a baby changes your life, you have to get stronger.  My mom and dad’s endless support and love, along with that from my husband and a desire to be a healthy mom were a huge hand up.  However finding true comfort in my own skin was the actual cure.  My accidental stumbling into the fitness industry was the final piece of the puzzle I was missing to truly kick this disorder in the butt.

Working out and learning the science that goes with it, not only made me feel strong and confident but gave me a sense of control in a healthful way that I had never had before.  Learning what I was capable of doing changed the way I saw myself.  Watching the change in others self-belief inspired me more.  Positive thinking can be so contagious. Being part of such a rewarding experience can do wonders.  I believe that is what fitness is truly for, to make this mind body connection and to strengthen and care for both.  True fitness incorporates physical ability and mental wellness and builds them up.  Anorexia, like many disorders and addictions, is something I have to be vigilant about.  Old habits can return, and stress will always trigger them, but now I have weapons to fight Anorexia off.  Coming through the other side I feel stronger for going that way, which allows me to help others find their inner strength.  Sometimes in life we can walk down pathways that lead to a dark hole, my belief is that it matters less why you walked down the path and more how you climbed out of the hole.         

 ericaAbout the Author – Erica Dammon, NASM Certified Personal Trainer

I was born overseas but hail the great city of New Orleans as my home town. My husband Mike and I have been married for 12 years and we have three amazing boys, Nicholas, Cody, and Benjamin. They have been the biggest adventure yet!

Training is a huge passion for me and I embrace core fitness values in both my training programs and my lifestyle choices.  I believe that food should be chosen for what it can do for you, not just for the flavor you crave at the moment. I believe in pushing yourself in all aspects of life because how else will you know what you are capable of accomplishing?  Pushups should never be done on your knees and core is where it all begins!

I am a huge football fan and a big part of the Who Dat Nation!!  I look forward to meeting and helping you achieve any and all fitness goals you bring in to Ascension Fitness!

 

Sources:  Statistical Briefs based on Data collected by HCUP 1999, 2000, 2008 & 2009

            ANAD from their website www.anad.org

To Diet or Not To Diet? That Is The Question.

By: Larry Gruber, CSCS, MES

It’s now April.  A time when rain showers bring way to flowers.  A season that strikes fear in all Americans when we realize just how much we owe the government on April 15.  It’s the month of French Quarter Fest, Patriot’s Day, and the much-celebrated Boston Marathon.  And, it’s the month that we put our winter clothes in the back of the closet and bring those summer clothes front and center.  That simple act of pulling our bathing suits out of winter storage can be scarier than writing those checks to the state and federal governments.

This is the month when many of us begin scouring the web in search of that perfect diet to get us in shape for the summer.  However, does dieting really work?  I’ve had many clients who have told me about this year’s great, revolutionary diet or about a diet in Europe that is all the rage and how people are losing a lot of weight on these plans.  Let’s analyze for a moment why any diet actually causes people to lose weight.  Basically, a diet restricts caloric intake because diets, by their nature, limit the items we eat.  When there is a caloric deficit (less calories taken in versus calories expended in normal activity plus exercise), we lose weight.  Even the man who ate nothing but McDonald’s for two months lost weight because the foods he was permitted to eat was limited, so he ate less.  A plan like the Atkins Diet takes an entire macronutrient (carbohydrates) out of the picture.  So, your food choices become less and less.  When this happens, people will eat less and lose weight.

Now, let me ask you a question.  How many times have you been on a diet and then gained all the weight back?  The purpose of this question isn’t about bringing up past failures, but to show you that dieting itself doesn’t get us the end result for which we are searching.  When you lose weight on a diet, you lose both body fat and muscle.  Then, when you have achieved your goal, you go back on a regular eating plan and most of us end up gaining that weight back.  Realize, when this happens, we gain back fat, not muscle, which skews our body fat percentage even more so that we are, in reality, fatter than when we actually began the diet.  To prevent this from happening, we need to learn how to eat healthy on a day-to-day basis, and dieting doesn’t teach us this.  When we re-introduce the entire Whole Foods or Rouse’s grocery store back into our life, panic ensues because now our food options are unlimited again and most of us go back to our pre-diet habits.  Don’t diet.  Break those bad habits.

I know I’ve painted a fairly bleak picture.  However, allow me to clear away those cloudy skies for a sunnier view.  Think about what your ideal weight should be–the weight that, through proper diet and exercise, you can maintain without extreme measures for years to come.  Unfortunately, this means the size we were when we were 18 is probably not a realistic weight for us in middle-age (did I just call myself middle-aged?).  The next thing I always have my clients do is keep a food diary so that together, we can analyze what they are eating, how much they are eating, and when they are eating it.  Then, I like to introduce one or two changes at a time so that my clients may acclimate to those.  By slowly integrating change into their day-to-day diet, they gradually become healthier and slowly lose body fat.  A one to two pound weekly loss is what is recommended for healthy weight loss, and to keep that weight off.  Also, exercising, especially resistance training, will help maintain the integrity of your skin and muscle mass as you lose weight.

When analyzing a client’s food diary, I look for a myriad things.  To begin with, are you having a sensible breakfast to begin your day?  Are you eating periodically throughout the day–approximately every three to four hours?  Both of these will actually help to speed up your metabolism and help you burn more calories.  Are you limiting your intake of sodas, fried foods, cheeses, mayo, and fatty spreads and sauces?  Do you substitute cakes, cookies, and ice cream with yummy alternatives such as fresh fruit, yogurt, and crunchy vegetables?  Are you drinking plenty of water throughout the day?  And, are you giving yourself the pleasure of one “free day” per week?

Dieting (the verb), doesn’t work.  A healthy diet does.  I urge you to think of exercise and a proper diet as a welcomed life-style change.  Just as we have to brush our teeth every day to prevent cavities, we have to be consistent with working out and eating well in order to lose body fat and to keep it off.  So bring on those warm, sunny, humid southern days.  Unpack those bathing suits and book that Destin hotel room.  This Chicago boy is excited about summer.  And, if you need a little assistance in getting excited, just call me and let’s work together to get you looking great, feeling awesome, and moving like you’ve never moved before.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR – LARRY GRUBER – CSCS, MES, ACE-CPT

larrygruber-headshot2Physical fitness used to be just a pastime for me, until more and more friends began asking for my opinion concerning their fitness regimen.  In 1999, after a successful restaurant management career in some of Chicago’s finest restaurants, I became a certified personal trainer through the American Council on Exercise and the National Academy of Sports Medicine. I’m also a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist through the National Strength and Conditioning Association.

As a personal trainer, I strongly feel that exercise should be an enjoyable and rewarding experience.  I structure the workouts so they are fun, combining traditional weight training with functional training, cardio-respiratory training and flexibility training, all aimed at helping you look, feel and move better.  In order for the sessions to be successful, the personal trainer/client relationship must be a very interactive one, requiring constant feedback from both parties.  I want and need your opinions and suggestions.

After training for 13 years in Chicago, I made the move south in search of warmer weather.  I’m so excited to be part of such a vibrant city, and I can’t wait to try its world famous restaurants.  Thanks so much for welcoming me to New Orleans!!

Stay Trim this Holiday Season

By: Jamie McIntyre, B.S. Exercise Science, ACE-CPT

Once again the holidays are fast approaching. Every year it seems like time flies and we’re back to the holiday season! We all know that this is usually not the season to get your bikini body, it is the season to eat, drink, and be merry. Even I have a tendency to over-indulge a little bit during the holidays (just like everyone else, I too think my mom’s apple pie is the best!). Every year, knowing that I may over-indulge, I devise a plan to staying trim during the holidays. I put together a list of my best tips and try to stick to them the best that I can. Instead of being selfish and keeping these tips to myself I thought I would share them so that we can fight the holiday bulge together! Here are my five tips to staying trim:

slim santa

  1. Promise yourself 15 minutes. When we’re busy with family, friends, and holiday parties our workouts can sometimes be pushed to the bottom of our priority list. To get my workouts in I promise myself that I will work out for 15 minutes. It is a small time commitment that will burn some extra calories before a big meal. Plus, most of the time I will start to feel good during the workout and push past that 15 minute mark.
  2. Catch up with friends and family. When you are at a party make conversation with people. It is much more difficult to overindulge in food if you are talking to people the entire time.
  3. Keep a food journal and be honest with it. Keeping a food journal is a great tool for staying trim all of the time but could be even more important during the holiday season. The trick is to be honest with yourself about what and how much you are eating. It is easy to underestimate how much you had at a party so I try to overestimate what I take in.
  4. Don’t beat yourself up. One of the worst things we can do is beat ourselves up about something we ate. Most of us (including myself) are guilty of this: “well I ruined my diet with (insert bad food here) so I might as well keep it going.” This does not make any sense, you know it, and I know it, so let’s all agree to stop thinking it. If you eat something bad that’s ok just try to make healthy choices the rest of the day. Remember to follow the 90/10 rule. Eat healthy 90 percent of the time and indulge the other 10%.
  5. Maintain, don’t gain. My goal during the holiday season is to maintain my weight. I know that I will probably not lose much body fat during this time so I set a realistic goal of maintaining my current weight.  This way I don’t get disappointed when I don’t reach a goal I knew I probably wouldn’t reach in the first place.

But most importantly, enjoy the time you spend with friends and family because that’s really what the holiday season is about. Happy Holidays!

You are what you eat…Why Food Journaling can make a difference in your health!

By: Ann Corwin Marix, ACE-CPT, LMT

The reaction clients have to keeping a food journal is comparative to someone forcing a person to watch every episode of “Barney and Friends” with 20 preschoolers hopped up on pixie sticks and sodas…not a fun experience (don’t ask me how I know!)

Food journaling is a major player in the quest for health and fitness.  We can’t out exercise good nutrition so we need to partner them for success.  If you need some good reasons to start writing, here they are:

LOSE MORE WEIGHT

Keeping a daily journal will increase your chances of losing more weight.  When you journal, you become very much aware of what you are putting into your mouth.  Most people do not realize what or how much they are eating until they see it written in black and white.  You become more mindful of what you are eating instead of thinking a few bites here and a few bites there won’t add too much.

DEVELOP A BETTER KNOWLEDGE OF FOOD

Writing down your daily intake will help you understand calories, proteins, carbohydrate intake and more.  You will also learn how your body reacts to the intake of certain foods and food combinations.

HOLD YOURSELF ACCOUNTABLE

Knowing you have to write down your foods can make you start rethinking your choices.  Seeing more healthy choices in print boosts your determination to continue and encourages you to keep on the right track. If journaling can make you even 25% less likely to eat processed or fast foods, then it’s definitely worth the pen and paper!

NOTICE AND TWEAK PATTERNS

As you journal, you may begin to notice you are taking in too few or too many calories. Perhaps not getting enough proteins or overdoing the wrong carbs can easily show up when laid out before you.  From there you can determine the best placement of food and food combinations to provide more energy during workouts, or keep you from hitting the 2pm wall of woozie.   What you think is a good eating plan could very well become a great one just by making some simple adjustments.

So the next time a trainer asks you to journal, don’t think of it as your High School Social Studies teacher demanding a 500 word essay on the Cold War…consider it as an essential tool in improving your ability to reach the health and wellness goals you are working toward!

MY Weight Loss Journey

By: Brittany Claverie, TRX Certified Instructor

My weight loss journey started in 2002.  Weighing over 160 pounds and wearing a size 16, I was unhappy; my self confidence was at an all-time low; I felt tired and sluggish most of the time; and I developed a dependency on food to make me feel good.

On one of my low self-esteem days I realized I had to do something to change this and made the commitment to do something.  That something started with working out two or three days a week just walking or going to an aerobic class.  This simple change soon began to pay dividends and I was seeing changes with my body. It took about a year for me to lose 40 pounds and fit into a size 4 for the first time in my adult life. I even wore a two piece bathing suit to the beach, and I remember thinking how proud I was of myself for accomplishing so much!

A few years went by and I managed to keep the majority of the weight off, but after Hurricane Katrina in 2005, just like many others I ate and drank alcohol to occupy time. After a few months of over indulging myself, I managed to gain 10 pounds which was frustrating because I had worked so hard to keep the weight off. Once again, I made up my mind to change my way of living and focus on making me a priority in my life. I started attending aerobic classes almost every day, and I began to feel a passion for working out. After a short while, I noticed some weight coming off and muscle definition which increased my self-confidence.  This commitment to change resulted not only in weight loss but in a real life change as I went on to become a certified aerobics instructor which I continue today as a certified TRX instructor.

I learned that my weight loss journey is continuous journey and no one said it was going to be easy, but every day I remind myself to make the best out of each day. I wake up every morning and head out the door for a run, allowing for some “me time” where I have nothing on my mind but my determination to finish the miles I set for myself.  Here are a few tips on making your journey a success:

Commit. There is no “quick fix” or magic pill to help anyone lose weight; you have to be ready and willing to commit to exercise and eating healthy. Once you accomplish your goals, you should still continue the lifestyle you have set for yourself, and not revert back to your old habits.

Find your why. When I am done with a workout, I am so proud of myself for achieving my goal and not allowing myself to give up. Sometimes when I feel like quitting, I remember why I started this journey. We all have our own reasons for setting the goal we set. Make sure that the goal you set is for yourself and no one else.  When I’m running, I often picture myself running away from the insecure, unhealthy me and I visualize myself running towards a more confident and healthier me. Losing weight and keeping it off is a marathon, not a sprint.

It all starts with small changes, which make a big difference, and everyone has to start somewhere. For me, exercising makes me happy, and I don’t think I’ll l ever stop!

Reduce Your Meal Portions with these Easy Techniques

By Jamie McIntyre

Portion control has been a challenge for Americans because we seem to have become a nation of “Bigger is better!” Restaurant meals have become increasingly larger over the years to match the growing demands of their consumers (or as many argue drive the demand for bigger is better). Check out the chart below that illustrates what a typical fast-food meal looked like in the 1950′s compared to today:fast-food

It’s easy to see why nearly one- third of the American population is obese compared to only 9.7% in the 1950′s (Holy fat burn, Batman! That’s over a 300% increase in obesity in the last 60 years!). Research shows that people unintentionally consume more calories when faced with larger portions (basically, this means we eat whatever is put in front of us!). This can mean significant excess calorie intake, especially when eating high-calorie foods. One way of managing this, while still eating some of the foods you like but know are high calorie is to manage and reduce portion sizes (the regular restaurant won’t do it for you, so you’ll have to!). See these six easy techniques to help train yourself (and your stomach) on eating smaller portions.

•Use a smaller plate. Instead of using a traditional dinner plate, use an appetizer/salad size plate instead. This will force you to start with fewer calories right away. We’ve been taught as kids to eat what’s on our plate. So a bigger plate automatically means more calories.

•Divide your plate into 4 parts. A quarter of the plate will be reserved for starch (ex. Quinoa or brown rice), a quarter of the plate will be reserved for lean protein, and the last half of the plate should be reserved for fruits and/or vegetables.

•Eat slowly. Did you know the brain needs 20 minutes to receive the signal that you are full, so slow down!

•Drink water. Drink a glass of water 20 minutes before you eat. This will help to suppress your appetite

•Order two plates. No I don’t mean two orders, just order one meal but have them bring a second plate so you can split the meal.

•Keep a food log. Logging and measuring your food intake is a great way of bringing awareness to what and how much you’re eating.

Implementing these strategies will help you manage the portion sizes you consume and help you reach you’re ideal “portion size”! ! Wishing you the best in health and fitness.

What Should I Eat Before and After I Exercise

By Jamie McIntyre

We all know how important nutrition is to reaching our goals. As an exercise physiologist I am often asked what someone should eat before and after a work out to maximize results. To help understand the answer, I’ll explain why each meal is important and then get to what you should include in your pre/post workout meals.

First, pre and post workout meals are only really necessary for intense workouts that last 30 minutes or more. A pre-workout meal is important because it provides fuel to power through the workout. The post-workout meal is equally important because it helps your body repair and replenish itself after the muscles are broken down in the workout. It also helps reduce muscle soreness and fatigue.

So now that we know why these two meals are important let’s get into what they should consist of.

Pre-Workout Nutrition:
•Aim to eat approximately 15 grams of protein and 35 grams of carbohydrates 60-90 minutes before your workout
•Your protein sources can come from chicken, turkey, fish, beef, or egg whites.
•For complex carbohydrates, eat low-glycemic-index foods (the glycemic index provides a measure of how quickly blood sugar levels rise after eating a particular type of food)such as oatmeal or brown rice.

Post-Workout Nutrition:
•Aim to eat 10-25 grams of protein and 30 grams of carbohydrates within 1 hour of your workout
•Your protein sources can come from chicken, turkey, fish, beef, or egg whites. Another great option is an Advocare Post-workout recovery shake (click here to purchase).The post-workout recovery shake is convenient for those people who are too busy to sit down and eat a meal after their workout.
•Carbohydrate sources should come from fruits and vegetables

Remember that these are the recommended guidelines and that everyone has different needs so what works for one person may not work for the other.

I Want to Get Toned and Lean How Do I Do It?

By Jamie McIntyre

Getting toned, aside from weight loss, is probably the number one thing clients tell me they want. In fact, I’m currently on my own journey to getting toned and lean. Starting about two weeks ago I have already seen a more toned stomach and my arms are starting to shape up.

So what are the steps to take to exchange fat for muscle?

1. Train with a purpose – With my program, I’m alternating between hypertrophy (increasing muscle size) training and strength (getting stronger) training to maximize results. Most women are scared when you talk about increasing muscle size but the fact is that we don’t have enough testosterone to get big and bulky. To train for increased muscle size use heavy weights, low reps (4-8), and 4-6 sets with only 20-30 seconds rest in between sets. For strength training, similarly use heavy weights, low reps, and 4-6 sets with 2-3 minutes of rest in between sets.

2. Nutrition – Protein and eating healthy are essential to getting a toned, lean body. Protein consumption while doing high intensity training should be in the range of 0.64 – 0.9 g/lb of body mass. So a 150 lb person would need about 95 grams (0.64 x 150) to135 grams (0.9 x 150) of protein per day. The protein should come from healthy sources such as: chicken, lean meats, fish, beans, clean protein powders (e.g., Advocare Muscle Gain), or cottage cheese. With the protein it’s important to also eat lots of fresh fruits and vegetables and eating carbohydrates on workout days only. Along with the above, following the 90/10 rule, eating healthy 90% of the time and eating what you want the other 10% will help you set yourself up for success.

3. Supplements – I am also taking Omegaplex (Omega-3 fish oil), Coreplex (multivitamin), and Catalyst which is a Branched Chain Amino Acid that pulls water from fat cells into the muscle. While supplements aren’t always necessary they can help give you another boost to getting the results you want. Please note that no supplement substitutes for proper training and nutrition.

Many women work out consistently and don’t get the lean results they’re looking for. If this is you, take these steps (if they feel right for you) and see the changes you want in your body.

How to Improve Metabolism

By Jamie McIntyre

Metabolism. For some this word is their best friend, but for most of us that word is our worst enemy. In general, as you get older our metabolism starts to slow down which means you can’t get away with eating the same way you did when you were a teenager. I know what you are thinking, why is this 26 year old writing about a slow metabolism? Since graduating college and playing competitive sports on a regular basis, I’ve felt the effects of a slower metabolism in the past few years and I’m often reminded by my parents and clients “just you wait until you are my age.” Inspired by these warnings, I’ve spent that last year searching for a magic pill that will stop my metabolism from slowing down but so far the magic pill still eludes me. Ok, so there’s no magic pill, but there is a proven formula to help jump start your metabolism!

So, the question this week is what can we do (until I find the magic pill) to improve our metabolism?

1. Nutritional Balance:
Make sure you aren’t going more than 3 hours without eating… It slows your metabolism way down. Eating every 3 hours gives you more energy and helps control your blood sugar which means you will burn more fat. When preparing your snack or meal make sure you have a ratio of 2:1 or 1:1 of carbohydrates:protein. A great in-between meals snack is an apple and about 15 raw almonds.

2. Add Strength Training to your Exercise Regimen: Strength training is an important part of improving your metabolism. When you perform resistance exercises, you are expending additional calories, thereby increasing your caloric burn, or metabolism, for that given day. After you complete your strength training workout, for the next 24 – 48 hours, your body will have to work harder than normal in order to repair the muscle tissues that have had stress imposed on them. As your body is recovering from your most recent strength training workout, you are burning more calories than you would if you hadn’t worked out.

3. Proper Recovery and Hydration: Sleep and hydration are also crucial to improving out metabolism. A lack of sleep increases blood sugar levels and interfere with the body’s ability to metabolize carbohydrates. This leads to higher insulin levels and more fat storage. It is recommended that we get 6-8 hours of sleep every night.

Because your metabolism is responsible for using body fat as fuel, it’s important to make sure your metabolism is running as fast as possible. It needs water to process calories, so even under mild dehydration the metabolism will slow down. According to a study in the “Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism” metabolic rate increases 30 percent after drinking two cups of water. The recommended number of ounces of water we should drink every day is equal to our body weight (in lbs) divided by two. For example, a 150 pound person should be drinking 75 ounces of water a day.

Adopting all three of these steps will jump start your metabolism and get your body burning that unwanted fat!

P.S. If I ever do find the magic pill I promise I will share it with you!

What Nutritional Supplements Should I Be Taking?

By Jamie McIntyre

Nutritional supplements have become an extremely confusing topic. I was at the grocery store this weekend looking at the supplements section and I was amazed at what I saw. There were an endless number of bottles of vitamins, minerals, and essential fatty acids. It was confusing to me and I knew what I was looking for.

To add to the confusion, every time I turn on the TV or read a health magazine there is a new story about how this “new supplement” will help me stay healthy. So the question is what supplements do I really need to be taking? Despite all the clutter, the answer is really quite simple, every person should be taking a daily Multivitamin and Omega 3 Fatty Acid supplement.

Why a Multivitamin?

Only about 3-4 percent of Americans meet the recommended nutrient goals for maintaining good health. Due to the over-cultivation of soil the nutritional value of an apple today is not the same as it was 50 years ago. It is nearly impossible to get all of your daily vitamins and minerals from food sources alone.

Another reason is to support strong bones. As we age the requirement for bone-strengthening vitamins and minerals increases. Women over the age of 50 and men over the age of 70 need 1,200 mg of calcium per day. For vitamin D, the recommendation also increases in men and women. In addition to nutrient-rich foods, a multivitamin with calcium and vitamin D may help reach these increased daily requirements. We like Coreplex from Advocare (click here to purchase).

Why Omega 3 Fatty Acid Supplement?

Omega-3 fatty acids act as an anti-inflammatory. The consequences of inflammation can be quite severe for the sufferer. For instance inflammation can lead to things like arthritis and joint pain. Consumption of omega-3 fatty acids also reduces the risk of adverse outcomes from cardiovascular disease, like heart attack and cardiac death. Some other benefits of taking an Omega 3 fatty acid supplement include decreasing cholesterol, improving brain function, and decreasing symptoms associated with ADD and ADHD.
Have you taken fish oil and feel like you are burping up fish all day? That is because of all of the fillers in lower quality fish oils. When choosing Omega 3 fatty acid supplements look for 600mg of Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and 400mg of Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) which are both Omega-3 fatty acids that people can’t create themselves. We like Omegaplex from Advocare (click here to purchase).

What are some common misconceptions of vitamin supplements?

Not all supplements are created equal. Look for a multivitamin with at least 1500IU of Vitamin D and if you are a menstruating female find a multivitamin with iron. Other things to look for in a good multivitamin are 100mcg of CoQ-10 and 600mcg of lycopene. Studies are showing that these are great for cardiovascular health. With the Omega-3 supplement follow the guidelines above of 600mg of EPA and 400 DHA)

Along with adding these supplements to your routine, participating in regular physical activity and eating a balanced diet will keep your body healthy and functioning well.