Q "Almine, What Are Some Of The Best Supplements I can take?" T.S., Boise, ID.
A. The supplements that I prefer are not vegetarian. I wanted to state that upfront, because I do get that question a lot. Questions about supplementation for vegans and/or vegetarians would be a separate post. That being said, I'm meticulous about quality. Quality DOES count. You get what you pay for. I only get grass-fed, humanely-raised, additive-free organic supplements (a mouthful, I know ;-) People ask me how I have so much energy? I have "slower" days, like everyone else, but in general, my energy is very good. One of the reasons for this, I attribute to what I call "ancestral eating." My B.S. is in Medical Anthropology. My Master's is in Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine. I have traveled the world over, doing research in the Amazon to living in the high Himalayas. I've lived in jungles in Central America, doing research on Mayan OB/GYN practices, & have studied throughout Europe with the best Celtic herbalists and homeopaths. My suggestion is this. Research a predominant "strain" or "line" of your ancestry, & read up on what their traditional diet was. Do your best to follow that as closely as possible, & it will be hard to not have good health. Genetics don't change very much over thousands of years. New fangled "faux" foods, such as imitation "milks," "meats," etc. zap energy from you. Your body doesn't recognize them, or how to break them down. An example of this would be COQ10. Your body doesn't recognize COQ10 on its own. However, the plains Native Americans have been shown, through Medical Anthropology, to have the highest COQ10 levels of any traditional people. Why? The plains Native Americans, such as the Pawnee and the Sioux ingested heart. Yes, you read that correct: heart. You may recall this being shown in the movie "Dances With Wolves." There is a saying in homeopathic and Oriental medicine: "Like treats like." You eat heart, to have a strong healthy one. If you choose to eat meat, then my advice would be to eat as much of the animal as possible. This is what your ancestors did. They didn't eat the muscle meat only, which was actually considered the "lesser" meat of the animal. All micro-nutrients, organically bound minerals, and fat-soluable vitamins (which is ONLY found in animal fat...there is no vegan source of fat-soluable vits.) was in the organ meat. Again, quality is of the utmost importance. You cannot ingest organ meats, which have been treated with anti-biotics, pesticides, etc. and expect to feel good. These harmful substances, when given to the animal, go straight to the vital organs. Therefore, you MUST get high-quality organ meats. I ingest a great deal of raw, organic, grassfed liver and heart. I get my liver by the large tub at: www.bodybuilding.com Liver is the highest bio-assimilable iron source in the world. Women, in particular need this. Most iron supplements out on the market (even the "natural" ones) create bowel irregularity. The more active a woman is, the more iron she needs. On "high" exercise days I eat up to 18 tablets of liver. Liver is also one of the highest sources of branch chain amino acids (BCAA's), B-complex, and has up to 30x more beta carotene than carrots. In Chinese medicine we use it for eyesight/night-vision problems for obvious reasons (the high beta carotene content). I get my heart at: www.drrons.com Dr. Ron is a naturopathic physician and grass-fed raw dairy farmer. All of his products come from N. Zealand, where they've never had a case of organ contamination, and they do have "humanely raised" standards. If you eat meat, you're "skimping" yourself nutritionally if you're only eating the muscle meat. For more information on this, "ancestral diets," and the Medical Anthropology of native/traditional peoples, please purchase Dr. Weston A. Price's book, "Nutrition and Physical Degeneration." Truely, the pictures in there are worth the purchase alone. Or, you may go to: www.westonaprice.org My undergrad. thesis was based on Dr. Price's work on traditional people's and native diets.
Also, I'm a proponent of HIGH-VITAMIN cod liver oil. I emphasize high-vitamin, because it must say that on the bottle, or you're not getting the fat-soluable vitamin amount in the cod liver oil that your ancestors did, when they ingested cod liver oil. You cannot find high-vit. in stores, even "Whole Foods" or any of the health food store chains. Again, you may order this online from www.drrons.com They even have a fermented option, which is a bit more expensive, but worth its weight in gold. It is a completely raw product, rich in enzymes and associated nutrients, and is produced in America by traditional methods with imported cod livers.
In addition, I always take digestive enzymes with my meals, even my raw ones. I eat a diet rich in a variety of fermented beverages and foods. Native peoples get the majority of their vit. C (particularly those above the equator) from fermented foods. There are very few trees of the citrus family in places such as the Alps, Ireland, Scotland and Scandanavia, so Northern European peoples had to improvise by using the "food alchemy" process of fermentation to create a dynamic, bio-assimilable vit. C source in the winter, rich in pro-biotics and enzymes by fermenting their food and beverages such as kraut, olde-world style mead, beet kvass, etc. With the depleted soils, that our food is produced in (even the organic ones) it would be hard to get enough fermented foods and beverages in your body, particularly for the athlete. Digestive enzymes have been shown to decrease DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) post-workout. People can say, "Yes, but I eat an all raw, or the majority of raw food in my diet, so I'm getting enough enzymes." My response, "Not necessarily." Just because you ingest something doesn't mean you digest it. Oriental medicine says, that unless you're living in a warm, year-'round area to have the environment help "warm the middle jiao" (or the digestive system, as we say in the west), eating a perpetual diet of raw food in a cold region will "suppress the digestive fire, and in the long run create weakness." My suggestion is to eat seasonally. Traditional people ate more cooked foods in the fall/winter, and then switched to more raw in the spring/summer. Using the "Macrobiotic Diet" general rule of "80/20" is a good place to start. I "eyeball" my plate, and have 80% cooked food on it in the fall/winter, and 80% raw food on it spring/summer. You don't have to measure this out. Just use your eyes as your measurement tool. Again, when I eat a predominatly cooked diet, I eat and/or drink a good amount of fermented foods and/or beverages with it for enzymes. This is the way of my ancestors. Native people's didn't eat like it was Thanksgiving everyday. Even when their physical activity increased in the spring/summer, statistically, they still ate less in the warmer summer months. Generally, Americans eat like they're about to go into a famine everyday. You will have to take into consideration physical exercise, of course. The amount of food one eats, for obvious reasons, will need to be increased the more physical activity you do. This is a different subject matter all together. For now, I'm referring to "the average American." The above is a good start to getting you on your way to peak health and wellness. Enjoy ;-}