Magic Potions? They’re Hocus-Pocus!

Screenshot 2016-01-06 15.34.12As a health coach, I respect the fact that every person is different and therefore will find different products that work for them. That is why I carry more than one, and use more than one brand of product. I choose what works best FOR ME. I also help my clients choose what is right FOR THEM, even if what’s right isn’t any of the products I can supply.

In health coaching school, we are taught that choosing real, unprocessed foods that are non-gmo and grown in a sustainable manner AND managing your primary foods (emotional needs such as stress, love, exercise that you love, and spirituality) are the foundational cornerstones of health. My experiences with my family’s health and my clients’ have proven to me that this is true.

What about all these magic potions out there?

There is no magic potion, no fancy drink or pill that will make up for choosing too much sugar, unhealthy fats, or toxic chemicals. To be at our best, most of us should be eating real foods at every meal, including a full glass of water and about 6 grams of protein within 1/2 hour of waking…and I don’t mean by adding water to a processed protein shake…I mean through FOOD.

Healthy smoothies, ground by you, using fresh veggies, fruits, and food-based-proteins are fine. And, if you choose to use a healthy, no-chemicals-added replacer shake from time to time because of time constraints that is better than nothing, but it is still NOT a healthy food replacement.

Feel free to enjoy and use some of the natural herb and essential oil based products that can naturally help curb cravings and support healthier digestion and weight loss…but just don’t think they make it so you don’t need healthy foods.

What about supplements and essential oils? Do you really need them?

Supplements and essential oils support health and can have amazing benefits, but they are not a “get out of healthy habits free card.”

The answer is that with our current food supply, yes, most of us do need supplements (even those of us who eat very healthy). Again though, they are not even close to a replacement for healthy foods. And, most supplements you find either don’t have the right kind of nutrients and macronutrients, not enough of what you need even if it IS the right kind, or they have TOO much (which can also cause problems). In all of these cases you are likely to end up with very few benefits and very expensive urine…because you likely won’t absorb most of what you take in.

Most everyone needs a BALANCED multi-vitamin and mineral (no or minimal iron unless you are low), Omega-3s, Vitamin D (if it isn’t in your multivitamin in high enough amounts) and a high quality, multi-strain probiotic.

Many companies claim to have amazing probiotics and charge an arm and a leg for them, but do you know what matters in a probiotic?  The number of healthy bacteria strains, the measurement of bacteria strains (cfu), how it is stored/protected to keep those bacteria alive until you consume it, and how those bacteria are introduced into your system and how they plan to ensure most of the bacteria make it through your digestive system into the targeted location. If your probiotic brand is not refrigerate, you have no idea how long it has sat on that shelf, has only 1-4 strains, and has no explanation of how it was specially made to ensure you will actually benefit from those bacteria (rather than merely killing them during digestion)…well, I would recommending researching them more before you spend the money.

You can skip the expensive probiotic altogether if you choose to ingest foods high in probiotics EVERY DAY such as kombucha, water kefir, sauerkraut, raw cheeses, and raw unsweetened yogurts…but these can be expensive too unless you make them yourself; and if you buy the regular processed store cheese or yogurt instead of raw, unsweetened it won’t help much (and may hurt by feeding the unhealthy bacteria with the sugars and additives they contain).

Whether of not you NEED essential oils is a very personal opinion, but they are not magic potions either, but just as with supplements, they can provide great benefits and be a supportive part of your wellness toolkit.

What about a cleanse? Are they really helpful?

I believe I owe my life to a healthy, food-based elimination diet cleanse. Literaly. I am not exaggerating. So, of course I feel a cleanse can be helpful.

But be careful. There are some very UNHEALTHY cleanses out there being touted as safe, when in reality they can cause harm. For example, your body needs fiber to remove toxins, and juicing releases a lot of toxins from your system. So, if you stay on a juicing-only cleanse for many days without adding in any fiber, or even worse, while also adding in supplements to enhance the detox, you could easily overload your filtering organs and get very sick.

Any cleanse should be primarily food-based (or all). Remove all sugar, processed foods, trans-fats, and inflammatory foods for 10-30 days. That along with increased water intake of 64-96 ounces of water per day will make most Americans feel like a million bucks (at least after the first week of detox sludginess…that is a word according to me). 🙂

If a cleanse says you don’t have to change what you eat, or worse yet, that you don’t have to eat at all, please look for another one. Supplements can support cleansing, but the right foods are still what matters most. Great cleanses will teach you healthier habits you can maintain even after you are finished with your cleanse.

And as usual, don’t blindly take my word for it…do some research…look up some of these things for yourself and make an educated decision on what works best for you.

What do I advise?

Please throw out this search for magic potions and fountains of youth, and instead consider these three primary steps to work toward and maintain your version of healthy:

1) Eat real, healthy, unprocessed foods.

2) Move your body every day…in whatever form of exercise makes your heart sing. Take a hike, go for a walk, do yoga on your bedroom floor, join a fitness class group (peer group, belonging, AND exercise…helps with number 3 too)…just move somehow.

3) Take care of your emotional needs. Make your self-talk kinder, surround yourself with people who help you stay positive and celebrate your strengths instead of pointing out your challenges, learn how to say no unless you are excited about saying yes, and make yourself a priority. You deserve to be healthy, but almost no one can be healthy if they aren’t first HAPPY.

Feel free to supplement these steps with any of the holistic complimentary therapies that work for you. In my family, some of the things we supplement with are regular chiropractic care, herb and whole-foods based supplements, essential oils, an annual cleanse, and pet-therapy (we have two of the cutest dogs ever who smother us in unconditional love, laughter, and cuddles).

Which of these three primary areas do you do well in? Which would you like to focus on improving this year? What are some of the complimentary therapies you find helpful? I’d love to hear from you!