7 Ingredient Carrot Cake Bites

I love carrot cake. In my family, it’s usually an Easter treat. I’ve made many different versions over the years from traditional, to gluten free, to paleo. I don’t think I’ve ever had a carrot cake I didn’t like. So when I was thinking up a new recipe, I was inspired by the warm spices of carrot cake.

I had medjool dates, shredded coconut, carrots and spices on hand so the recipe came together quite quickly.

I like using medjool dates when making bites or ball recipes as they are naturally very sweet. This means you don’t have to add any sweeteners like honey or maple syrup to what you’re making. Dates are also rich in potassium and magnesium as well as copper, iron, manganese and Vitamin B6. Dates are high in fibre too which is going to support your digestive system and contribute to regularity.

The Recipe:

  • 1 carrot, finely shredded (I just use the shredding attachment on my food processor)
  • 8 medjool dates, pits removed
  • 1/2 cup shredded, unsweetened coconut (choose unsulphured)
  • 2 tbsp collagen powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp allspice
  • 1/8 tsp nutmeg

Throw all ingredients into a food processor and pulse just until the mixture starts to stick together, almost forming a “dough”.

Scoop by the 1/2 tbsp and roll into balls. Place on a parchment lined baking sheet and into the fridge to firm up a bit. Before refrigerating, you could give them a roll in more coconut.

Makes approximately 16 Carrot Cake Bites.

*I was keeping the ingredient list short but feel free to add vanilla extract or a pinch of pink salt to enhance the flavour. A couple teaspoons of coconut flour added would make for a more cake-like texture.

©2019 Vibrancy Health Solutions

Interview with Registered Nutritionist Holly Bradich

Meet Holly Bradich, Registered Nutritionist practicing in the Kitchener-Waterloo region of Ontario, Canada. She owns Mindful Vitality. I reached out to Holly to see if she would be interested in answering a few interview questions for me. I did this because there are many misconceptions in the natural health industry and everyone’s health journey is inspired by something different. Whenever you decide to work with a practitioner it’s important to know 1) they know what they are talking about because they have the background and the credentials to support them 2) they use an evidence-based approach (aka science and literature) to support you. With not 1 but 2 undergraduate degrees as well as the designation of Registered Orthomolecular Health Practitioner (ROHP) and Registered Nutritional Consulting Practitioner (RNCP), Holly uses this approach in her practice.

Tell me a few things about yourself?

I’m a chocoholic (yes, nutritionist indulge too!) I’m obsessed with dogs, even though I don’t own one now, but plan to get a doodle in the next few years! I’m a science nerd: I love reading the latest science journals especially on the microbiome (gut health) I love to cook…and tend to dance and sing while doing it – something my boyfriend finds highly entertaining!

What is your area of expertise?

I focus in digestive health as I’m passionate about the gut brain connection – we can optimize our mental health by healing our gut! The gut is the root of all inflammation – as someone with chronic pain that is well managed, a huge part of that is my diet – I love educating patients with pain so they can feel motivated to make the changes necessary to reduce their suffering and get back to living their life! I’m also very experienced in helping clients transition to special diets such as gluten-free. I’ve noticed a lot of women in my life and on my social media struggling with menopause and perimenopause – they’re frustrated by the lack of information and support and they want an alternative way other than medications so I’ve recently started to really focus on this as there seems to be a massive demand. I want women to know that they have control over their hormones and that their hormones affect their mental health! I want them to feel their have the power to take their life back – to stop suffering and start living again!

We can optimize our mental health by healing our gut

Holly Bradich, BSc, BA, ROHP, RNCP

How did you get into nutrition and the natural health industry?

I’ve had gut issues since I was a baby and doctors couldn’t help me. As I got older I started doing more research of my own and starting spending time with family, friends and coworkers who were in the wellness industry and I learned a ton from them. About 10 years ago I started seeing a naturopath and found a huge improvement in my overall health including mental health, energy, gut health and pain – it inspired me to learn more and eventually go back to school for nutrition.

Did you always want to be a Registered Nutritionist?

Not at all! Ask my family…my mom will roll her eyes because every time I talked to her I wanted to be something different! First it was a therapist (hence my undergrad in psychology), then it was a graphic designer, a hairstylist, a dietitian (hence my undergrad in nutrition). At the end of my degree in nutrition I had a meltdown because I didn’t have the grades to get a dietetic internship and I was 35 and in a TON of OSAP debt so I wasn’t about to do a masters degree…I decided to just start working and see what came my way. I ended up working at a health food store for 3 years, I also worked in long term care as a dietary aide and an obesity and diabetes management clinic.

I’ve had so many jobs, but two things always stood out to me:

  1. I wanted to help people heal naturally
  2. I didn’t want to work in the western medical model

I had started following a lot of nutritionists on social media and I started thinking to myself, hey, I can do that! So I did!

What are 1 or 2 supplements you think can benefit most people?

A lot of practitioners in the wellness industry would say probiotics – I used to say that as well, but really, every body is different, and some people (like myself) who are prone to allergies and have an overgrowth of bad bacteria in their gut should avoid probiotics and fermented foods until they balance out their gut and immune system. This is why it’s so important to work with a practitioner. There are also a lot of herbs that I could say are beneficial, however, if you take any medications there will most likely be an interaction…again, another reason to see a practitioner – it’s not worth wasting your time, money and energy on supplements that may or may not work for you and could cause serious side effects. I would say the two supplements that are safe for most people and would be beneficial would be omega 3 (whether it’s fish oil or vegan) and vitamin D. Vitamin D affects so many processes in our body from our mood to our immune system and bone health, and in Canada we don’t get enough sun exposure year round so many of us are deficient. Yes, milk and other foods are often fortified with vitamin D but if you’re dairy-free you probably aren’t getting enough.

You love to cook. What are some of your favourite things to make?

I love baking – mostly because it’s a necessity as someone who’s GF, nut free, dairy free and yeast free! Plus the GF baked goods out there are usually full of crap! Every week I usually bake two items; an every day item such as blueberry muffins (which I usually have with free run eggs for breakfast) or yeast free bread and then a treat such as chocolate chip cookies or squares…because everything in moderation! When it comes to cooking I love to make curries and roasted veggies!

What is one misconception you think people have about Nutritionists and the Natural Health Industry?

That we are woo woo and don’t base our practice and protocols on science. Unfortunately there are a lot of natural practitioners that aren’t science based, so it gives the rest of us a bad reputation…however, as a nutritionist with a BSc. in nutrition and a BA in psychology, I’m very much science based, and I work alongside a naturopath who is also very science based. We try to communicate that in our marketing so people know that we are different, we are trustworthy and your protocols will be safe and effective.

… as a nutritionist with a BSc. in nutrition and a BA in psychology, I’m very much science based

Holly Bradich, BSc, BA, ROHP, RNCP

What is something people assume about you once they hear you are a Registered Nutritionist?

I think they assume that I’m judging them for what they eat, and they also assume I eat super clean all the time…neither could be further from the truth! I respect everyone’s choices when it comes to eating because every body is different and there are cultural, religious, financial and social reasons for the way we choose to eat.

I eat meat, which I get slack for on social media, but as someone who can’t digest vegan sources of protein, it’s my only option, and protein is so important!

I’m also all about everything in moderation. One thing I learned in psych classes is that, much like a child, if you tell an adult not to do something (such as eat sugar) they will crave it more! Sure, maybe you could last a week or so without your favourite treat, but odds are you’ll end up caving and bingeing so it’s really not worth it, both for your physical and mental health. I came to this conclusion because I’ve been there myself. I tried every fad diet and detox out there when I was younger and I made myself really sick – I lost way too much weight and I was not myself – I got horrible carb cravings and end up bingeing, and because of that I now have chronic acid reflux – I wouldn’t wish that on anyone.

What was the biggest challenge you faced on the path to becoming a Registered Nutritionist?

Figuring out how to run my own business and how to make it profitable (which I’m still working on!) Most school programs don’t teach you these skills so you end up having to teach yourself, which is a stressful trial and error situation…as someone with no business background you really have no idea where to start!

I’m so lucky and grateful to have an amazing mentor and colleague Dr. Kristin Spark, ND as well as a few other amazing women I found through social media that have helped tremendously with marketing. I’m going to be starting an online marketing program this fall so I’m pretty excited for that.  Marketing as a healthcare professional and for wellness clinics can be quite different from marketing other mainstream products or services so I’m excited to learn more and to eventually help other practitioners who need guidance in growing their business!

If you’d like to learn more about Holly or work with her visit her website at www.mindfulvitality.ca


Sugar, Sugar

I bet you’d be surprised to learn the average Canadian consumes 26 teaspoons of sugar per day according to Statistics Canada. This equates to 88 pounds per year or 20 bags! That’s an insane amount of sugar. How is this possible? Where is all this sugar coming from? Well, it’s coming from hidden sources. Big companies LOVE adding sugar to their products because they know we’ll want more and more of it. Sugar is addictive in the same manner opioids are. Sugar addiction is a biological disorder that stimulates the reward (addictive) center of our brain. It makes us feel good so we crave more.

Sugar is the root cause of the obesity epidemic. When we consume too much sugar, it taxes our liver. The liver has to convert the excess sugar into fat and store it. Where is it stored? Our hips, thighs, waist, all over! In addition to the excess weight, there is a rise, especially among children, in the prevalence of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. This is heartbreaking. This is a completely PREVENTABLE disease not to mention parents are the ones responsible for most of what a child consumes. This disease is becoming so prevalent that by 2020, it will be the number one reason for liver transplants in the US surpassing Hepatitis C.

Back to where this sugar is coming from. You might think you’re making healthy choices when buying foods but if you’re buying packaged or processed foods then chances are there’s added sugar in there! It doesn’t have to be a bag of candy or a chocolate bar. Those are the obvious offenders. I am referring to the foods you wouldn’t even think sugar is added to. For example, bottled salad dressings. It’s very easy to make salad dressings at home but we buy them in bottles for convenience. And what’s in the bottle? Sugar! As well as refined, high inflammatory oils like canola, soy and/or peanut. Sugar is also added to condiments, energy drinks, prepackaged oatmeal, granola bars, protein bars, crackers, cereals…the list goes on! Chances are, if it came out of package, sugar has been added to it.

So how do you make more informed choices? You have to read the ingredient labels. Don’t think it will be easy right away as companies are allowed to write sugar in many different ways. The best way to find the sugar is to look for words ending in “ose”. If it ends in “o-s-e” like dextrose, maltose, sucrose, fructose, lactose, then it’s a sugar. In addition, the grams of sugar will be listed on the nutrition facts panel. It’s important to keep in mind this will be for the serving size. If the cereal serving contains 10g of sugar per 3/4 cup and you’re eating 1.5 cups of cereal then you have to double the sugar. That’s 20g! The best way to reduce sugar consumption is to limit or better yet avoid packaged/boxed/bottled/processed foods. This means eating real, whole foods. Foods that are grown in the ground and purchased in their original form. This would include (but not limited to):

  • Dark leafy greens
  • Vegetables
  • Nuts
  • Seeds
  • Avocado
  • Coconut
  • Organic meat

Protein and good fat are essential for keeping your blood sugar balanced especially if you are working to shift your diet away from hidden and refined sugars. Combining the two in a meal or snack with some complex carbohydrates will help keep you satiated.

I hope this inspires you to read the ingredients in the foods you’re buying and encourages you to make shift towards healthier eating.

#livevibrantly

Fermented Foods

Show your gut some love with fermented foods. Fermented foods (and drinks) are foods that have naturally occurring probiotics. The naturally occurring sugars and carbohydrates in the foods are left to sit (and steep when it’s a beverage) while they interact with beneficial bacteria. This changes the chemical structure of the food and it becomes rich in gut-healing probiotics. In addition, this makes the nutrients more bio-available which means our body absorbs them better.

Fermented foods provide the body with good bacteria that helps to heal the gut, fight yeasts and fungus, support the immune system and improve digestion. Some fermented foods you can start incorporating into your meals include:

  • Kefir is a drinkable yogurt made from dairy (usually cow or sheep)
  • Kimchi is a fermented spicy cabbage traditional in Korean culture
  • Sauerkraut is popular in Eastern European culture and is made from cabbage. Great as a topping or a side dish
  • Pickles to be fermented, they cannot be vinegar based. Fermented pickles are found in a salt brine and are refrigerated. When looking for fermented pickles, it is very important to read the ingredient list. This is an excellent brand of fermented pickles which you can find in most grocery-carrying health food stores in Canada.
  • Kombucha is a fermented drink made from black tea and sugar. It’s lightly carbonated from the fermentation process. This beverage comes in all kinds of flavours and can be purchased or made at home.

Fermentation is so beneficial that there are many companies out there creating all kinds of fermented foods, drinks and even supplements. Genuine Health was one of the first companies to create a line of fermented protein powders and bars because of how beneficial probiotics are to our health. Living Alchemy is another Canadian supplement brand that uses a unique kefir-kombucha fermentation process to create their products. I really appreciate companies who use fermentation in the creation process because of how much more available the nutrients become to our bodies.

You don’t need to be experiencing trouble with your digestion to incorporate fermented foods into your diet. Pick one you’ve never tried before and start there.

#livevibrantly

Double Chocolate Protein Truffles

Mmmmm, chocolate. Like most, I love some good dark chocolate which is partly why this recipe is a double chocolate one. I enjoy having protein balls (or energy bites) on hand for a quick snack to help keep blood sugar balanced. A lot of the time, I’ll make them oat or coconut flour based. This one is mostly protein powder based and uses raw cacao as the fibre rich ingredient.

Raw Cacao is important for this recipe not only for the fibre it contains but it’s also not processed like a traditional cocoa powder. Instead, it remains rich in minerals like magnesium and iron making these truffles nutritious as well as delicious.

Collagen powder is another powerhouse in this recipe, providing additional protein as well as muscle building amino acids. Collagen is an excellent supplement to add to any diet. This amino acid rich supplement helps enhance our hair, skin and nails as well as our joints, digestive system, muscles and all our connective tissues.

Ingredients:

  • 2/3 cup raw cacao powder (I use Bulletproof)
  • 2 scoops of your favourite vanilla whey protein*
  • 1/4 cup collagen powder (I used Organika collagen)
  • Pinch of Himalayan pink salt (can add more for a salty chocolate flavour)
  • 2 tbsp natural almond butter (use a seed butter to make them nut free)
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup raw honey
  • 3 tbsp chocolate chips (I use Enjoy Life mini chips)

Directions:

  1. Combine cacao powder, protein powder, collagen and sea salt in a bowl. Stir to combine.
  2. Combine almond butter, coconut oil and honey in a small microwave safe bowl or sauce pot. If microwaving, melt for 45 seconds. If using the stove top, turn heat to low and stir until everything is melted.
  3. Pour the liquid mixture into the dry and stir until everything is combined and there is a consistent colour.
  4. Fold in the chocolate chips.
  5. Scoop by the teaspoon onto a parchment lined baking try.
  6. Place truffles in the fridge for half an hour to set.**
  7. Yields 22 truffles. Store in fridge in an airtight container

*I made this recipe with a whey protein. Specifically, a fermented Greek yogurt protein. I have not tried it with a vegan protein. If you choose a vegan protein, you’ll likely have to add additional liquid to the mixture as plant proteins require more liquids to get the same texture.

**If you’d like a softer, more traditional truffle texture allow the truffles to cool on the counter for at least an hour and store at room temp in an airtight container. Will keep at least a week, if they last that long!

©Vibrancy Health Solutions, 2019

Our Microbiome

I received an email this morning from Dr. Mark Hyman regarding the human microbiome and felt it was something I needed to share. Rather than paraphrase his already short email, I decided to present it in it’s entirety here. Below is the original email with all the information and links he provided. None of this is my own material.

With the trend of probiotics and fermented foods like sauerkraut and kombucha, it’s becoming easier to understand what a beneficial impact certain types of bacteria can have on our health. 

That goes for viruses and fungi, too, as the three collectively up make up our microbiome—the microbes that live in and on us and influence everything from our immune system and digestion to our ability to focus and have a clear complexion, plus so much more. 

And while it’s wonderful that the microbiome is finally getting some of the attention it deserves, there’s a pretty big problem: we’re starting to see a disappearance of microbes from our bodies.

Within developed countries, each new generation is found to have less and less of our native microbes. And while we know that certain imbalances lead to specific problems—for example, low levels of Bifidobacterium and high levels of the fungi Candida are related to eczema and allergies—we can’t quite predict what could happen if certain varieties of our native microbes become extinct

There are many reasons for this microbial decline, some of which we can work on with our daily diet and lifestyle choices. 

You won’t be surprised to hear me talk about food first; a high-fiber diet supports microbial diversity, while one of refined carbs and starches (very high in the Standard American Diet) does not. Microbes need to eat just like we do, prebiotic fiber is the best way to feed our internal probiotics. 

Then there is our obsession with cleanliness, leading to the use of hand sanitizers that do kill bad bacteria but take the good bacteria with it. And of course, antibiotics are a major part of this conversation, as they do the same thing on a larger scale—wipe out bad microbes and take the beneficial ones too. The aftermath of antibiotics can linger long after use, can support the spread of opportunistic bacteria, and can also lead to antibiotic resistance due to widespread overuse.

Antibiotics were definitely a breakthrough in medicine, we are just using them entirely too much and often without looking at alternative options as our first line of defense. 

Another link to our changing microbiome may surprise you—dirt. Or, to be more specific, the soil we are growing our crops in. Conventional farming practices like pesticides, heavy tillage, and a failure to add organic matter back to the soil have depleted the soil microbiome that our own microbes coevolved with, affecting both our food and our health. 

For more on the topic of soil and the microbiome, be sure to check out my latest episode of The Doctor’s Farmacy with Dr. Daphne Miller, where we discuss how healthy dirt leads to a healthier food system and healthier body. I hope you’ll tune in to gain a better understanding of soil microbes and how they impact us.  

Dr. Mark Hyman

Wishing you health and happiness, 
Mark Hyman, MD

Egg Nutrition: Too Much Cholesterol?

I overheard part of a conversation the other day between two individuals while shopping. They were talking about eggs and using them in cooking and making paleo breads (which usually call for 5-7 eggs depending on the recipe). The question of “What about a person’s cholesterol levels?” came up between the two. When the other answered “I just get checked by my doctor” I realized our level of education (as a society) is a little behind the times. Yes, these two individuals were a generation older than me and yes, I know there has been plenty of research in the past cracking-down on eggs but it raises the question of “are eggs healthy?”

I’m going to share with you my thoughts on the subject. Yes, I do believe in moderation, eggs are a great addition to a whole food lifestyle. My reasoning is their nutrient value outweighs the cholesterol aspect. Eggs are an egg-cellent source of lecithin which is a phospholipid that actually helps block the absorption of cholesterol. Eggs are also a good source of protein. The yolk is rich in Vitamin D and choline. Choline is a B vitamin that is important for the nervous system as well as fetal brain development (for all the pregnant mommas out there). Registered Dietitian Lily Nichols calls it “Folates long lost cousin”.

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It’s important to keep in mind how the eggs are prepared. When you fry an egg, you oxidize the cholesterol which is what leads to the cascade of events that causes cardiovascular disease especially if you’re enjoying them with a side of bacon and white toast. Boiled eggs or poached eggs are better options to protect the cholesterol from oxidizing. It’s also a good idea to choose eggs from happy chickens that get to be outside on their own terms and eat omega rich flax seeds and/or an organic diet. You’ll notice the deep orange colour of these yolks compared to the pale yellow of a conventional egg. Colour always means nutrition! These deep yellow/orange yolks are richer in nutrients and have nigher levels of anti-inflammatory omega 3 than conventional eggs.

There is a ton of information available in this article by Julie Daniluk if you want to know more about what the different labels on eggs mean as well as great recipes and tips if you are sensitive to chicken eggs.

Overall, I believe most people can incorporate a few eggs a week into their diets.

#livevibrantly

Clean Foods vs Real Foods

One quick search online or one quick visit to Instagram and you’ll see #cleaneating but what does that actually mean? Through marketing and social media certain foods have been labelled as “clean” which is supposed to be synonymous with “healthy” but that it not the case. These “clean” foods are marketed to us as healthy because they typically contain 0g of sugar, low fat, high protein and moderately low carbohydrate. And at some point, these were decidedly “healthy” categories. The problem with these foods is that Diet Coke (to use an example) would fall into “clean” as a 0 calorie, 0g sugar product. How many times have you seen an “influencer” in the health industry drinking 0 calorie drinks and diet pop? ALL THE TIME. These drinks are made with artificial sweeteners that have animal research to support carcinogenic effects. The biggest problem with “clean eating” is that it can lead to Orthorexia which is a term that means an individual does not get adequate nutrition because of food rules they set out for themselves.

Another issue I have with the term “clean eating” is that the words “cheat meal” are also used. Cheat is an ethical term and should not be associated with foods. It indicates you’re doing something wrong, something bad. This creates a negative mindset around that food. For example, having a cupcake if your are “clean eating” would be considered a “cheat meal”. This sets you up for thinking you are being bad when you eat a cupcake. Yes, cupcakes are not typically nutrient-dense but no one should be chastised for eating one cupcake. 

Low fat is also promoted to us through “clean eating” especially through fitness influencers and the HUGE problem here is, our bodies NEED fat. Our brains are made of fat, our hormones are made of fat, our cell membranes are made of fat. Our bodies can literally not function properly without fat in our diets. 

The foundation of any diet should be whole (real) foods and mostly plant-based. Eating fad diets or following specific plans like keto, low FODMAP, intermittent fasting, paleo etc will not work for everyone but what does work for everyone is eating real foods.

Real foods are nutrient-dense foods that fuel and support the functions of our body. Fats like avocado, coconut, ghee, nuts and seeds are nutrient-dense foods that provide our bodies with additional micronutrients and trace minerals. Fish and eggs are also great sources of fat (and protein) that again, provide our bodies with more than just macronutrients. There are trace minerals and vitamins present in these foods that our bodies need.

My take home message is don’t fall prey to marketing and influencers as their messages are typically driven by money and not coming from a place of education. Make decisions for yourself based on what makes your body feel the best. When you choose real, nutrient-dense foods like fruits, vegetables, organic meats and fish, eggs, nuts, legumes and seeds you have more energy, a clear mind, clear skin, inflammation is reduced, mood improves, joint pain goes away, your gut heals and so so much more!

Winter Skin Fixes

So the warmer weather has arrived! We’ve just spent months wrapped up in layers as the harsh cold and winter winds hit our faces. You might be noticing your skin is a little dry, maybe dull. If you’ve been moisturizing your skin and it still hasn’t recovered from winter, there’s a little more you could be doing.

While it’s important to be applying moisturizer to your skin, don’t forget about moisturizing from the inside. That might sound a little weird to you but by consuming healthy fats, we’re helping our skin from the inside out. Fats like avocado, nuts and seeds, omega 3s from fish, evening primrose oil and GLA oil are excellent oils for skin. They will help keep your skin hydrated, glowing, plump and clear.

Water is also essential for beautiful skin. Keeping hydrated will keep your skin hydrated. If water is boring to you, try adding fruits and herbs like watermelon, lemon, strawberries, cucumber or mint to add a fresh twist.

orange fruits on brown wooden surface
Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com

What you’re applying to your skin will also determine if it’s dry or not. Choose a moisturizer with clean ingredients. Read my post here about how to select clean beauty products.

I moisturize my skin in both the morning and evening. In addition, after a shower, I take the opportunity to moisturize the rest of my body. Not just my face. At night I love using an oil. Oils are great at night because they leave your skin fresh and soft in the morning. Using them during the day might affect your makeup application or make you look a little too “glowy”. My choices includes the antioxidant-rich and anti-aging Argan oil which I’ll add 1-2 drops of Lavender essential oil to once it’s in the palm of my hand or Blue Tansy Oil from Acure.

Supplements can also help make a difference. Collagen and antioxidants will keep your skin youthful and glowing. In addition, probiotics can help support your skin health especially if acne is of a concern. Check out this post on probiotics to learn more. 

A final note I will make is on sunscreen. Sunscreen is necessary to protect our skin from the damaging effects of the sun. Look for physical sunscreens with Zinc Oxide rather than chemical sunscreens. The Environmental Working group has an exceptional list each year of the best natural and clean sunscreens. Here’s the link to see how clean your sunscreen really is. It also offers alternative choices for your family so only the safest products are going on your skin.

Supplement Choices

If you’ve been into a health food store lately and chances are you have, the shelves are overwhelmingly filled with hundreds of different supplements.

This can cause a great deal of frustration and anxiety if the store doesn’t have a well educated staff to direct you towards what your are looking for. What’s worse, is when you don’t know what you should be taking because then, you’ll receive all kinds of opinions and information from many different sources.

I’m going to simplify things with you and say, if you’re not working with a Naturopath, Registered Nutritionist/Nutritionist or other health care provider who has recommended you specific supplements, the below list will work for just about everyone. These are the supplements that I believe, everyone should be on. I have made this decision based on research and the typical Canadian (North American) diet. 

Magnesium: is an incredible mineral. It’s the 8th most abundant element in the universe but many of us our deficient. Magnesium is required for over 300 biochemical reactions in our bodies. It helps build bones, relax and calm the mind, provide stress relief to your body, relax muscles, activate B vitamins and so much more! Look for a magnesium bisglycinate supplement. Glycine is an amino acid that is bonded with magnesium. This helps the magnesium get through the stomach acid and absorbed in the intestines. It’s also easy in the GI tract and won’t cause any quick trips to the bathroom.

Omega 3: Omega 3 is a type of beneficial fat that reduces inflammation. Omega 3s can help support our digestive system, our eyes, our brain, our skin, our mood, our joints and our hormones. This nutrient needs to come from animal sources or an algae source. The reason for this is, Omega 3s from flax and other plant sources are not actually in an Omega 3 form. Our bodies have to convert it and do so very, very poorly. It’s best to consume a fish oil source of Omega 3 such as anchovies, sardines and mackerel. Most supplements will be from these types of fish. The reason is, these fish are small and so, will have much, much less heavy metals and toxins in them. Look for a company that is using sustainable harvesting, multiple levels of testing and has a certified product. This brand is fantastic!

Probiotics: are beneficial bacteria that help us digest our food, produce neurotransmitters and vitamins and protect our immune system. They help reduce gas and bloating, keep yeast counts in our gut in check and reduce inflammation. Did you know our bodies have more bacteria in our digestive tract than we do cells in our bodies? This is why probiotics have such a huge impact on our health. When looking for a probiotic look for the number of different strains used, how many bacteria are in each dose, the type of formula, the guaranteed potency and the delivery system (enteric coated). Check out this company here.

Vitamin D: is so much more than just a vitamin. First of all, most Canadians are deficient in Vitamin D. We live in a climate with cold, dark winters where we are covered up head to toe. When the sunlight hits our skin, our bodies (through a series of reactions) turn cholesterol into Vitamin D. When our skin is covered up either with winter clothes or sunscreen, we do not make any vitamin D. There are also not many foods naturally rich in Vitamin D, another reason why supplementation is important. The current recommended intake for Vitamin D is quite low in my opinion. There is lots of research out there that indicates supplementation with 2000, 3000 even 4000 IU of Vitamin D daily is safe. Vitamin D also acts as a hormone in our body in different signalling pathways. There’s research supporting immune health, cancer risk, bone health and osteoporosis as well as depression. When looking for a Vitamin D supplement, remember Vitamin D is fat soluble. This means it needs fat to be absorbed. The best supplements will have the Vitamin D in olive or coconut oil. A liquid is best as it’s highly absorbed. It’s available in flavours like orange or lemon or unflavoured.