I must tell you that I get thoroughly confused when it comes to supplements. No longer is a simple multivitamin enough; a new superfood or magical health-improving tablet seems to be added to the long list of nutritional “must-haves” every week. And I used to be really sceptical about them, until I saw the benefits first-hand of including, for example, Chia Seeds and Goji Berries in my smoothies or alkalising supplements in my juice. Clearer skin, less bloating, a general feeling of wellness and vitality… (My biggest scepticism of all was kicked firmly to the curb this year, too, when I started on a program of Chinese Herbs with John Tsagaris, TCM specialist, and saw my health problems do a literal “about turn”. More on that later on this year, I have a super-post planned! But suffice to say that the sneering cynicism I used to have for natural remedies and also alternative medicine has been all but banished.)
So I’m no longer sceptical about most of these supplements; what I am is bewildered. Which ones are helpful? Which ones are a load of – to use the official word – bollocks? Are there certain supplements that we can all benefit from, regardless of age or constitution, or do they need to be carefully prescribed after a lengthy look at our lifestyles and perceived ailments?
I asked Chris James to talk through his new supplements range and explain, in the simplest terms, what they can do for the body. I’m already a fan of Chris’s health approach. I met him about a year ago and thought that he had some kind of special lighting following him around – he was literally glowing with health. It was ridiculous. And I always try to listen to people who practise what they preach but don’t come across as completely bonkers or scarily evangelical. You may have heard of Chris James’ amazing Mind and Body Cleanse; it’s a twelve-day program that uses a clever combination of supplements, diet changes and cleansing agents to help your body to rejuvenate and get rid of toxins. I keep meaning to set aside a time to do it, but have been useless at finding a date and committing! If I manage to, then you’ll be the first to know about it…and if you want to try the Mind and Body Cleanse, there’s more info at SpaceNK here.
Me: Many people are scared of supplements, especially ones that aren’t the straightforward “multivitamins” that they see in the supermarket or in Boots. How do we know what we should be taking? How do we separate the good from the bad?
Chris: “I agree, to the casual observer the vitamin aisle can be a confusing, crowded and overwhelming place. Many years ago, I used to believe that if you eat well, you shouldn’t need supplements, however this is not taking things like soil depletion into account. Even if you eat 100% organically, wear sandals and organic cotton thai-fisher pants with a Yoga mat slung over your shoulder, you have to understand these days supplements are essential health-boosters that can help fill in nutritional gaps and protect your body against the occasional diet slip-up, especially taking into account the modern pace of life.
While I recommend everyone eat whole, preferably organic foods, I also believe that high-quality supplements are essential. While they won’t make up for a bad diet, you can think of them as your nutritional workshop at the ready, standing with screwdriver in hand ready to make those quick tweaks, fixes and adjustment to your internal engine – to make sure that your body is running as healthily and beautifully as possible.
If you are struggling to cope against a tide of new and exotic products and brands flooding the supplementation marketplace, “Bee Poo, anybody?” you’re not the only one! So, I have broken down the framework for your supplemental regime into these four key essential areas – the Fantabulous Four:
- Blue Green Algae. Most people will benefit from a blue-green algae to alkalise the system. The modern western diet – lots of over processed meat, eggs, dairy, and alcohol, and not enough vegetables – is predominantly acid forming. Human beings have the same pH as Sea water (7.3 / 7.4); prolonged eating of acid forming foods will contribute to acidosis of the blood stream and increased inflammation. What does this mean? Basically without skirting round the edges, acidosis of the bloodstream and the inflammation that this creates in the body is responsible not just for poor skin and premature ageing, but eventually the symptoms of poor health too. So a long term focus to eating alkalised foods, systematic bi-annual cleansing of the body, supplemented with blue green algae will help to keep the system alkaline. You can buy the above in either powder or frozen form, and to add to soups, salads, smoothies, and juice made from leafy green veg. As one of the most alkalising foods, blue green algae, such as you will find in Gorgeous Greens restores a healthy pH.
- A Good quality Multi Vitamin. Multi vitamins, taken daily, should include a full complement of vitamins and trace minerals which assist in bone formation, energy production, and help maintain blood alkalinity. Make sure that your multi vitamin contains a full compliment of VitC, VitD3, Zinc and Magnesium. We need magnesium as it is the last nutrient to form in fruit/veggies when they ripen on the vine. We pick them early to travel far afield. Also make sure that the multi vitamins have good quality B complex including Vitamin B1, B2, B3, B5 B6, & B12. B Complex creates and sustains your body’s energy supply by helping to break down fats, proteins and carbohydrates. The busy B’s activities keep heart health and immunity humming. Small doses of the B’s are also a great treatment for a headache, stress, tiredness, mood swings and menstrual disorders. In fact, with With B vitamins involved in so many of the body’s procedures, it’s easy to see how you can come up wanting on the B chart. This is particularly key if like me you are a vegetarian which might be short on B’s in your everyday diet.
3. A Good Quality Probiotic. Probiotics are designed to optimise your gut health and support your digestive function. Probiotics enhance nutrient absorption and immune function. For everyday use what you need is a high quality and gentle probiotic. There has been too much of an emphasis in recent years on numbers of different strains in probiotics. As a result, probiotics have become too complex for everyday life. Brilliant Biotic is a special high quality formulation that has been created with this in mind – real health and beauty begins in the gut!
4. Glutathione. Glutathione is one of the most powerful antioxidants our bodies produce. It plays an important role in getting rid of heavy metals, reducing free radicals, and supporting the immune function, which are all very worthy, anti wrinkling pursuits! However degenerative illness, toxic exposure, stress and aging deplete natural stores of glutathione, and our ability to produce it. In fact Low glutathione levels have been linked to every major aging process in the human body. So fight back with supplementation – and help keep your energy levels higher, for longer! It’s a no-brainer!”
Thank you Chris. It’s much easier to understand supplements when you break them down like that! And now I have a little quiz for you; two very common lifestyle ailments for you to help relieve. What would you recommend for the following (over-indulged!) circumstances?
1) Post-holiday stomach. You’ve overeaten and had a little too much wine and just feel generally toxic. What’s best to take?
“If you’ve overeaten and are suffering from toxic overload or if you are looking to get svelte and lose the excess flab before your holidays, you could do far worse than do my proven “12 Days” Cleanse. Not only will you lose some of your unwanted flab, you will also feel energized and uplifted.”
2) Hangover situation. Any tips?
“Green (Shrek) Smoothie: kids go crazy for it!!
It doesn’t look good, but it works. It’s a fast, easy, natural and delicious way to get a big dose of vitamins and minerals into your body.
This is how you make it:
You will need:
- 1-2 bananas
- a couple handfuls of spinach
- ice (if desired)
Add enough water to blend and enjoy, that’s it! Forget the dehydrating morning latte and get the glow with a Green Smoothie instead.”
Many thanks to Chris for sharing his words of healthy wisdom; you can find his new supplements, including the Brilliant Biotic, Gorgeous Greens and Magical Multi at Urban Retreat. If you’d like to read more about making green juices and smoothies, take a look at my post here. I need to quiz Chris some more about supplements like Aloe (good for the stomach, apparently) and I’m also going to give all of the above a whirl, so I’ll be back with another post to let you know how I got on. Do any of you take supplements? Which ones? Or are you a big sceptic and rolling your eyes at this very moment? Let me know!