As an athlete in high school and college, I was always trying to get adequate amounts of protein. The quickest and easiest way to get protein was through protein powders and protein bars. Once I began learning more about nutrition from a natural/holistic approach, I started to understand more about a “whole foods diet.” This idea simply entails eating foods that nature creates rather than food that is created by machines. It also encourages eating unprocessed foods that are either stripped of their natural nutrients or that have unnatural ingredients added to them. I am a strong believer in eating “clean” and natural foods as the main platform for achieving optimal health. However, there are several situations in which I believe supplementation is an appropriate option:
1. When an honest attempt at a whole-food diet still doesn’t reverse the deficiency
2. When a person has several food allergies, lending to a very limiting nutrient intake
3. When a person has made the decision to go vegan or vegetarian and are deficient in certain nutrients
In these cases, I believe that supplementation should be ‘supplementary’ to an already existing conscious diet as opposed to simply a replacement for a whole nutrient group. For example, consuming protein powder as the main source of protein in your diet as opposed to vegetarian or animal protein sources. There are some supplements that can be used as a bridge to get to a more stable level of health.
Before choosing supplements, I recommend meeting with someone who is educated in nutrition to make sure that you are making sound supplement choices. Taking supplements that are not required for the enhancement of your health is a waste of time and money. Many supplements today are packed with harmful additives which can actually send you in the completely opposite direction of health. Be sure to do your research and/or work with a professional to choose the supplements that will lead improve your health.