The Great Vitamin Debate

Remember when I tested my antioxidant levels a couple weeks ago?  My antioxidant levels were above average, which was great confirmation that my healthy lifestyle is working wonders for my insides.  You may also remember that I was sick that week.  I was diligently taking my vitamins and herbs in hopes that it would all help the good cells regenerate.

I’ve got to be honest and let you know that, in all actuality, I have to work at remembering to take my vitamins on a regular basis.  For a long time I thought my body was getting enough vitamins and minerals through the food I was eating, but after I started tracking my food on SparkPeople, I realized that I might not be getting everything my body needs to thrive on 1200-1500 calories a day.  That’s when I decided I needed to find a middle-ground that works for me.

I eat heaps of veggies and listen to my body’s signals – I’m mostly pescatarian, but when I start to feel light-headed and semi-anemic, I cook up some responsibly-raised chicken or turkey – so I don’t feel it’s completely necessary for me to take a multivitamin every day, but I’m also fully aware of the fact that I’m a very active 25-year-old woman who wants to set herself up to live a long and productive life (that will someday include creating a child or two).


[Looking at the photo above makes me giggle a little because it looks like it’s quite the loot, but I definitely don’t take all of these every single day.]

Let’s break it down, shall we? I try supplement my healthy, veggie-filled diet with the following:

  • 1/2 a multivitamin every day [Centrum works for both Ben and me, so we got a big bottle from Costco that seems to last us forever].  Why only half?  Because (1) a whole one really makes my tummy hurt, and (2) who really needs 3000% daily value of vitamin C, anyway??  It’s a supplement – and I’m already getting a bunch of vitamins/minerals from my food.
  • B-12 every other day. Ben and I started taking B12 vitamins after feeling drained with our busy lifestyles.  A friend told us that B12 would help with mood and energy, and boy does it ever!  We’ve both found that taking it every day makes us feel a little out-of-sorts, but that every-other-day seems to work perfectly.
  • Omega-3 fish oil every day. I’m finding that taking fish oil every day actually helps with my joints – my knees and hips don’t feel as tender after runs anymore.  Also, I don’t eat much “bad” fat, but I do think it’s important to look out for my heart (my family has a history of heart issues).
  • Chinese Herbs twice-a-day [although I’ll be completely honest and tell you that I routinely forget to take these]. I see an acupuncturist/Chinese herbalist who either mixes me custom herbs or recommends some for me.  Right now I’m taking eight Four Gentlement Teapills twice-a-day, which is a formula that focuses on my specific body type (which she calls “spleeny”).  They help with energy, metabolism, and organ function.
  • Amino-Iron supplement when necessary [I’m hoping for never]. My naturopath has told me that my iron levels are borderline-anemic, so I’ve since paid very close attention to those signals.  I hate the way iron supplements make me feel, so I’ve turned to eating meat again instead of taking these pills (which are “better” than other iron supplements, but still not so nice for me).
  • Bromelain + Papain Protein Digestant/Anti-Inflammatory when necessary. This is a natural digestant aid that I use if I ever feel like things have stopped moving, but I didn’t buy it for that reason.  When taken between meals, Bomelain +Papain (which comes from papaya) works as a natural anti-inflammatory, which came in very handy when I had my back injury.
  • Two natural cranberry supplements every day/every other day. I started taking these after a bladder infection to help with urinary and bladder health, and have found that I really just like the way I feel when I take them often.

IMG_5222So really, I only take a few things every single day–and I place a much higher emphasis on getting my nutrients from my food–but I find that it’s really helped with my energy levels to take vitamins.

[Disclaimer: I am not a nutritionist or dietitian.  It’s important, always, to listen to your body.  I have learned to tune in with the functionality and rhythm my body, and have found that this is what works for me. I encourage you to find what works best for you!]

What’s your stance on vitamins? Do you feel you get all the vitamins you need from your diet?

Aloha Pumehana. Whether you’re here to find balance, wholesome recipes or inspiration, I hope you enjoy the posts.  Please subscribe to Green Plate Dinners to receive automatic updates and be the first to read new posts for free!


5 thoughts on “The Great Vitamin Debate

  1. inmytummy says:

    I don’t take vitamins but I probably should. I have actually started wondering if I am deficient in vitamin B12. I eat eggs and dairy (and sometimes fish ) but I am tired all the time.

  2. jenny says:

    I take 2 calcium supplements a day and two sour patch kids one a day vitacraves sour gummies. And I have a bottle of generic cvs cranberry supplements that I never take. I’m impressed that you notice a marked difference when you do/don’t take things, or when you vary the schedule for taking them.

  3. Katie says:

    I take a multi vitamin almost 80% of the time ( i tend to forget) as well as an acidophilus pill in the morning. I used to take omega-3s, and may start them again to see if i feel any difference in my joints. Wow, that just made me sound like a really old 24 yr old.

    I started upping the cranberry after an infection, which was horrible. I never want to happen again. I don’t take it in pill form though, I have a glass of cranberry juice every other day. My bottle of it tends to last awhile because I cut it with water in the glass.

  4. Earl_J says:

    Hello Haley,
    just a word of caution about vitamins and supplement, if I might…
    There are fat-soluble and water-soluble varieties…
    Vitamin C and Vitamin B are both water-soluble; if you take too much, the excess becomes a solution in your blood and eliminated along with other body waste. The excess of fat-soluble versions gets absorbed into your body fat and might become toxic over time. It will NOT kill you; it will, however, affect the normal functioning of the organs in which it is stored, and that fact might create serious health problems…
    All of which reinforces your concept of listening closely to your body … keep track of what you ingest; identify how it affects your normal body functions; and adjust accordingly… it might even include adding one item at a time to more clearly identify the changes that item makes on your body.

    Great post. . .

    Until that time … Earl J.

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