While I aim to meet my nutritional needs from real food, read on to see my supplement philosophy, how I use them to fill gaps in my diet, and my favorite supplements. This post is sponsored by Vitamin World.
Fill The Gap: My Favorite Supplements
With a blog titled Kath Eats Real Food, I wholeheartedly believe in getting the base of your nutrition from whole foods. My goal is to eat as many superfoods, or super nutrient dense foods, per day as I can.
But let’s be real: I am not having wild salmon or kimchee or even common foods like walnuts every single day. Especially when you factor in an energy needs to nutrient needs ratio, the ~1,800. to 2,000 calories that I eat couldn’t possibly include every micronutrient for optimal nutrition, even on average.
I remember back when I was studying to be a Registered Dietitian we did a three-day diet analysis on ourselves in one of my courses (similar to this, plus the micronutrients). Of course I ate as well as I could during the three days I tracked. While my results were good, there were still nutrients I didn’t hit the RDA for – even on average. And those gaps are why I take supplements.
Weighing Cost & Benefit
My goal is to find the balance between food, cost, and optimizing my nutrients. For this reason, I don’t take supplements every single day. (Unless of course if a doctor recommended I did or when I was pregnant!) I hope to find a balance between what I am getting from food and what I’m not. So on a day I’m having wild salmon for dinner, I don’t take an omega-3. Or a day that I have a few probiotic-friendly foods, I might skip a probiotic. Even my multivitamin I take every other day. My goal: get a benefit to fill the gaps. (I do the same thing with my skincare, alternating days to spread out the benefit and switch up the goals.)
Vitamin World: Your Supplement Hub
Vitamin World is a down-to-earth online supplement company based in the USA. The company’s tagline is “Life is complex. Taking a vitamin should be simple.” And I couldn’t agree more with that.
Their supplements work smarter with blends of goals, like their Ultra 360 Women’s Active Multivitamin. I love that they carry brands other than their own that I like, including Garden of Life, SmartyPants, OLLY, and Nordic Naturals.
With a dedication to quality, ingredients are sourced from around the world but manufactured in the United States to ensure a pure product. Each supplement batch is retested for strict purity and 100% potency.
My Favorite Supplements
Here are my go-to favorite supplements to help fill the gaps in my week. I love gummies, especially for the kids, but for myself too. They are much more fun to take! Like I mentioned above, I look for a balance in quality and cost and a real food base.
A multivitamin is the best “cover your bases” supplement you can choose and for a relatively inexpensive price. There are many different kinds and styles to choose from and many of them are tailored to specific audiences. (Fun fact: Thomas is insistent that we take men’s and women’s separately, but I steal his men’s whenever I run out! No worries, there aren’t hormones in there.)
I look for a multivitamin that has some added perks. I don’t just want vitamins A, C, and E and to call it a day. Extra perks might include: antioxidants like turmeric and grape seed, probiotics, collagen, or probiotics. I also love to see adaptogens on the label having read up on those last year. The ULTRA 360 Women’s Active Multivitamin fits the bill with a handful of these, including turmeric, collagen, hyaluronic acid, elderberry, and Ashwagandha.
The gut is so important for overall health, particularly immune health, that I want all the help I can get. The kids and I all take probiotics on a weekly basis. Birch can’t take pills yet, and it’s easier to toss a gummy at Mazen then have him pause to swallow one, so gummies make this super easy! These also have prebiotics included to help fuel the probiotics you’re adding to the gut.
Here’s another memory back to my time at Winthrop studying nutrition: I asked a professor if she thought I should take an omega-3 supplement or not. Her response: why not just eat fish three times a week? It was a lightbulb moment for me in my journey to believing in real food first and foremost. But here’s the truth: I generally only eat fish once a week, only occasionally do I have it multiple times. We love to cook salmon, but I wouldn’t cook it more than once in a meal plan. And if I’m having leftovers there is less room to want to add sardines or tuna for lunches. So honestly, having fish once a week and taking an omega-3 on another day or two is a good balance between ideal and realistic.
I am sure this supplement category went up during the past two years! We started being more consistent with elderberry and probiotics in 2020, although we have always taken them in the winter. We double up if one person (ahem I’m looking at you children) comes home with a cold. These elderberry gummies are delicious, and we have vitamin D sprinkled throughout our other supplements (multi, probiotic).
These fall into the “personalized to me” category. I’m turning 40 this month and am thankful to be as active as I am with soccer and ACAC classes. But I often pay for it the next day especially my left foot. I had joint surgery on my foot in 2005 and am seeing if a joint supplement helps me on my post-soccer recovery days. I like that this one has vitamin D too because I had a history of being low in that.
To celebrate their 45th birthday, there are a ton of great deals going on right now at Vitamin World. If you’re looking to try something new or need to restock something you already take, look out for BOGO deals and more!