By Keri Glassman, MS, RD, CDN
To supplement or not to supplement. This is black and white for some, but for most it is a foggy gray with a scratch to the head.
I’m very clear with my stance on supplementation: I believe even the best supplements should do just that — supplement the diet.
If you regularly visit my site or know anything about my food philosophy, you know I believe in whole foods that are the least processed or least refined as possible, and that we should all be getting most of our nutrients from foods like vegetables, fruit, lean protein, and healthy fats.
Ideally, we would all eat the perfect amounts and proportions of just the right foods from just the right places, grown in just the right ways, to obtain optimal nutrition and overall excellent health.
Whole foods however, are more complex than your ex, and they contain a variety of the micronutrients your body needs — not just one. And, we’re still learning the true power of how all of these nutrients work together. Just like you can’t spray a multivitamin on a sugar cereal and call it healthful, you can’t pop a pill and expect it can replace the avocado you should be eating. There is no pill, powder, or tincture that can compare with the perfect nutrient packages we find in whole foods. However...
"Just like you can’t spray a multivitamin on a sugar cereal and call it healthful, you can’t pop a pill and expect it can replace the avocado you should be eating."
On the flip side, our food supply, busy lifestyles, specific nutrient needs, and simply our choices make it difficult for many of us to meet all of our needs. This is why I say, there is a time and place for supplementing the diet. It’s realistic and possible for some of us to meet most of our needs through food alone. But, most of us don’t live in perfect eating worlds.
This is why I’ve been recommending supplements for years — because they supplement what is hopefully a healthy diet to begin with. Think of them like insurance for your body — they won’t replace solid nutrition, but when your body needs a little extra help, they’ve got your back.
If your lifestyle, palate, time, energy, or priorities make it hard for you to get all the nutrition you need through foods, supplementation may be appropriate. I love fish, but I know I don’t get adequate omega 3s from diet alone.
You’re probably wondering, “What supplements should I take?” You see them everywhere. Big bottles, small bottles. Shiny bags, glittery promises, prices on each end of a long spectrum. How do you pick supplements that are right for your needs?
After you’ve checked all the boxes and made sure you’re doing the best you can getting nutrients from food (no shortcuts here), then you can assess what supplements you may need.
By adding supplements to your daily routine, you may start to feel a little healthier and more motivated, which can slowly make you become more mindful of what you eat. When you learn to make better food choices and feel better in your body, it’s a game-changer for your whole life.
Feeling good comes from the inside (mentally and physically), and creating change in your wellness routine can happen without deprivation.
"After you’ve checked all the boxes and made sure you’re doing the best you can getting nutrients from food (no shortcuts here), then you can assess what supplements you may need."
There are a handful of supplements that I’ve always recommended to my clients because I think they’re the most important ones for optimal health, and often ones that we’re not getting enough of.
Naturally they were the first products we developed when I began working with Life’s Abundance, and we focused on formulating them in an easy to digest way. We carefully handpicked each and every ingredient — if it’s in there, it’s in there for a reason — and left out any that posed a health concern or just flat out didn’t need to be included.
"Feeling good comes from the inside (mentally and physically), and creating change in your wellness routine can happen without deprivation."
Keri Glassman is the founder and president of Keri Glassman, Nutritious Life, a nutrition practice in New York City, as well as The Nutrition School, a 12-week online course created to provide an unprecedented nutrition education and a springboard for building a successful career as a nutritionist. She is on the advisory board for Yahoo Health, is a contributing editor and advisory board member for Women’s Health Magazine, the Health and Wellness partner for JW Marriott hotels, and contributes monthly to Livestrong.com and Foodnetwork.com.
Keri was Lead Nutritionist for Turner’s health and wellness entertainment brand, Upwave, and the Nutritionist and Judge on the healthy cooking competition show, “Cook Your Ass Off.” She has authored four books, including The New You, Improved Diet, and The O2 Diet. Keri is regularly featured on national television programs including The Today Show, Good Morning America, and Access Hollywood Live. She is a spokesperson for national brands that align with the Nutritious Life mission, and is a prolific writer and commentator for many media outlets. Keri resides in New York City with her children, Rex and Maizy.