I asked the good old Facebook people what types of posts they’d like to see in 2015 and my good friend Kelly asked if I could share a list of my favorite supplements. Yes, Kelly! For you I will. While my favorites have certainly changed over the years as I’ve been experimenting with how my body reacts to various things, I think I’m finally in a place where I know what I’m doing. To compose the list, I literally opened up our cupboard and started pulling out all of the things that we take. Most are on a daily basis, some I take several times a day.
What IS a supplement??
The FDA defines a dietary supplement as:
a product intended for ingestion that contains a “dietary ingredient” intended to add further nutritional value to (supplement) the diet.
They can be vitamins, minerals, herbs or other plants, amino acids (the individual building blocks of protein), or parts of these substances. They can be in pill, capsule, tablet, or liquid form. So basically anything that you add to your normal diet. While there is some controversy over whether supplements are necessary or not, I’ve found that I enjoy adding in a few different things that I think my diet either lacks or could use some improvement upon. Every person is different so take this list with the grain of salt that it is. There are a few affiliate links in here but no company sponsorships so please don’t feel bamboozled – buy if you like…or don’t. Just sharing what I like and actually use.
My Favorite Supplements
Hands down, PlantFusion wins my vote for the best PLANT-BASED protein powder. I’ve tried Vega and Sunwarrior and they just don’t hold a candle to the taste and versatility that I’ve found in Plant Fusion. If you’re looking for a non-dairy protein powder (dairy seems to hurt my belly in large quantities), PlantFusion is a good fit. It’s made from various vegetables and grains but has the same protein content as a whey protein.
If you’re good with whey and casein protein powders, you should give Optimum Nutrition a try. Travis uses this 100% Casein and adds it to his bedtime cereal bowl (just add a scoop on top and mix it in). Whey is great for post-workout refueling as it absorbs quickly and gets to those muscles faster. Casein is slow acting so its best for right before bedtime, decreasing the likelihood of your muscle breaking down over night. I also add casein to any baked goods that I make (seriously…even to brownies) just to cut the glycemic index a bit. You can’t even taste it! <-tip: I also buy VANILLA flavored powders as you can easily make them chocolate (or any other flavor) by adding cocoa or extracts.
I take two Catalyst pills about 30 minutes before I work out in the morning (so as soon as I pop out of bed, along with my Spark). Catalyst helps maintain muscle mass during exercise & aids in preserving muscle and energy levels. It’s an amino acid that helps repair & protect muscle tissue. Even when nursing, I can take Catalyst so it’s not a thermogenic or anything like that (no jitters, no crazy spikes). I feel like it provides me with a little boost for my workouts.
Oh Spark! This stuff is amazing! It seriously tastes like kool-aid! Spark is a intraworkout supplement (intra = pre, during, post) that provides ENERGY through amino acids, B vitamins and as much caffeine as a small cup of coffee. I drink one serving a day, usually before my workout and during. Favorite flavors = Mango Strawberry and Fruit Punch.
When I’m not feeling Spark or just need a little change, I like Scivation Xtend. Xtend is a sugar free and carbohydrate free intra-workout catalyst that offers high quality branch chain amino acids (BCAAs). It’s perfect for before, during and after a strength training workout. Pretty tasty too – although listen up! DO NOT order the Orange Cream like we did – it is pretty gross. The Watermelon and Mango flavors are much better!
Advocare’s PROBIOTIC Restore Ultra
I’ve talked before about my poo problems but I’ll say it again – without a little help from probiotics, low dairy consumption and a high leafy green consumption, I could easily go several days without a bowel movement (chalk that one up to excessive laxative abuse in the past..stupid girl). I like the Probiotic Restore Ultra pills because I can tell a difference when I don’t take them. Probiotics help to maintain normal beneficial intestinal microflora, support healthy intestinal function and improve nutrient absorption. I take these on an empty stomach first thing in the morning.
Digestive Enzymes – Trader Joe’s & Spring Valley
I discovered digestive enzymes while we were living in Colorado. It seemed like everyone was popping these pills after their meals. Adding a digestive enzyme to your supplement regimen can help with the breakdown of food – they just make it easier for your body to break down meals and absorb vitamins and minerals. I keep these at the front of the cupboard and chew a few after larger meals. Honestly, I don’t know if they do much (lol) but I just like them. :)
I’ve been taking fish oil for a few years now and notice a big difference in my hair and nails the most. Fish oil supplements (like Omegaplex) contain both EPA and DHA fatty acids which are proven to lower cholesterol, reduce triglycerides and decrease the likelihood of heart attach and stroke (source). While you can find omega-3 fatty acids in foods (think fish, sardines, flaxseeds, walnuts), I personally don’t eat a ton of these things and feel the need to supplement.
I’ve only recently started taking this Rainbow Light Women’s One Multivitamin but it was sent to me through a friend. I think like most multivitamins, you can’t REALLY tell a huge difference in the way you feel so it’s harder for me to recommend one over another. I will say that I’ve read up on the Rainbow Light line and feel very comfortable suggesting them – they have all-ORGANIC, non-GMO, food based supplements. We also use their Children’s multivitamin (chewable – Fruit Punch flavor) and Fiber Garden gummies! H & C love those things!
Phew. That list took a lot longer to put together than I had anticipated! I hope you find something that fits your needs!
QUESTION: What types of supplements do YOU take?? Worthwhile links are appreciated! I’d love to see what you guys like!