Food is Foundational: Intentional Supplement Swaps to Help You Focus on Food First
Are you overwhelmed by the push of supplements within the health and wellness industry? Is your supplement drawer or cabinet overflowing with supplements that you did not even know why you picked up in the first place? Unfortunately, this is common among many individuals that are trying to heal their bodies and or just support their body's nutritional needs. According to a study the supplement industry has grown about 2% per year on average between 2017 and 2022₁. When it comes to choosing supplements you may want to consider swapping some supplements for REAL whole nutrient-dense food options. This will not only help clear the clutter in your pantry but also provide a more bio-available option for the nutritional needs that your body may be lacking.
Take vitamin D for example, you could pick up a bottle of some vitamin D capsules and call it a day or you could provide your body with some better Vitamin D options like; Cod liver oil, Salmon, Swordfish, Tuna fish, and Beef liver₂. In addition to these whole food sources for Vitamin D are better than just a capsule you can also add in some daily sun exposure for some additional free Vitamin D. Bioavailability is important because, in many instances, the vitamins and minerals found in food sources are easier to absorb than those in supplement form₂. Putting this idea of swapping supplements for whole foods into action is much easier than you would think. Next time you run out of a vitamin or mineral supplement you have you can do a quick search on the best food sources of that vitamin or mineral. Another great example is iron. Many people are iron deficient and should opt for a bioavailable source of iron rather than an iron supplement. These foods include; Oysters, Spinach, Liver and other organ meat, Red meat, and Turkey₃. A couple of important factors that you might want to consider when making this transition to more bioavailable nutrient sources.
1. Where is this food coming from? a. You will want to consider the sourcing of the food item you are choosing to ensure that it is a high-quality source. You will want to look for non-GMO, organic, pasture-raised, and hormone-free. This will ensure that swap is indeed better than just grabbing a supplement from your local store.
2. Avoiding additives. a. Casually browsing through the nutritional label to ensure that there have been no added fillers, gums, or preservatives to this food source will be key to ensuring that you have the top-quality nutrient sources at hand.
3. Buy local if possible. a. Finding a local farm and or farmers' market is a great way to not only support local businesses but also get top-quality meats and or produce. Often times local farmers will price their items competitively, therefore it is sometimes budget-friendly.
4. Do your research. a. Take the time to research what nutrient deficiencies your body might have before just implementing trendy supplements and nutrients. This is where doing some testing with a functional medicine doctor can come into play and truly benefit the body in many ways.
5. Baby steps. a. Baby steps in this process are important. Do not just throw all your supplements out and replace them with food, make it make sense for you. Make it a non-stressful transition and do not force something that you truly do not like. What do I mean by that? If you hate the taste of a certain food do not force feed it just to get the nutritional benefits.
Supplements have their place and finding high-quality supplements can be incredibly beneficial for the body when you can’t find the time and place to implement whole food sources. It is very important to do your research when it comes to finding supplements for your nutritional needs. Many supplements contain various fillers, additives, preservatives, and just nasty ingredients you do not want to put in your body. Finding a trustworthy company that does testing and sources their ingredients from a high-quality place is important. Ideally, you will want to look for brands with products and facilities that are third-party tested or certified, which helps ensure the safety, strength, and purity of supplements₄.
One supplement company that is a great option for those that are needing nutritional support and still want to implement that whole food source mindset is Ancestral Supplements. This company is a small-batch and third-party tested company that lives off of the whole animal (nose-to-tail) theory that optimally supports and sustains a vibrant, disease-free life₅. They provide products like; beef liver, wild fish eggs, beef organs, beef spleen, and much more. Incredibly nutrient-dense food sources are oftentimes hard for individuals to stomach or find at their local grocery store. Their beef liver supplement is incredibly beneficial and provides nutrients like; 5099 IU (100% DV) Vitamin A per serving, 13.6 MCG (230% DV) Vitamin B12 per serving, and 120 MG Choline per serving. Just this one food/supplement can replace a supplement you would buy at the store. (If you want to try their products, I have a promo code for you - it's KALEMEKOURT15 which can be used on their site.)
In conclusion, take a step back and look at how you can incorporate a more whole-food approach to your supplemental needs. Make it a stress-free transition by only incorporating the foods that you enjoy and that make sense for you and your body. If testing is an option try and see what nutrients and minerals your body might be lacking, this will help create a better idea of what you need. If food sources are not an option for you do a little research on the supplement companies you buy from. Giving your body what it needs from the most trustworthy and quality source will make you feel better from the inside out.