This is the third and final post in a series on nutritional supplements. In Part One, we covered why supplements are important, and in Part Two, we covered the five primary categories of supplements and talked a bit about what each one entails. In this entry, I will cover exactly which supplements I use and why, and give you an idea of how my daily regimen unfolds.
Important: As I list and describe all the supps I use, I wanted to mention that I have no endorsement arrangement with any of these supplement manufacturers, nor do I receive any form of financial compensation for “promoting” these products. I’m only featuring the following products because they are the ones I actually use.
I’ve always maintained that we should be getting the bulk of our nutrients from the food we eat, and not a bunch of pills and powders. That said, The Ultimate Meal smoothie mix – which I’ve been using religiously in daily Superfood Smoothies since 1993 – is a critical part of my overall nutrition regimen and has a major influence over my supplement routine.
The Ultimate Meal is actually not a supplement, but rather (as the name implies), the “ultimate” meal you can have, even though it’s taken in the form of a smoothie. It’s so nutritionally dense, in fact, that one 2-scoop serving of it eliminates the need for any kind of multi-vitamin/mineral supplement. I just wanted to mention that, since my personal regimen does not include a basic multi for this reason.
However, if you’re not doing a high-density Superfood Smoothie everyday, then it might not hurt to take a basic multi-vitamin/mineral supp as a foundational product. It will not be as effective as something like The Ultimate Meal, but it’s advisable nonetheless, just so you know you’re getting many of the basics covered.
The P.E.A.C.E. Approach
As discussed in Part Two, I created the P.E.A.C.E. acronym to describe the five basic categories of supplements I recommend. So to review, here they are again:
P is for Prebiotics/Probiotics
E is for Enzymes
A is for Antioxidants
C is for Chlorophyll (or super greens)
E is for Extras, which represent a few isolated nutrients that may require supplementation, depending on exactly what you’ve eaten on a given day.
Let’s take it section by section….
My Favorite Prebiotics/Probiotics Supplement
Probiotic supplements are those that contain more healthy bacteria for your intestinal flora, while prebiotic supplements are those that contain the optimal nourishing food source for the healthy bacteria that’s already a part of your intestinal flora.
I approach these two ways…
1. Grainfields Australia – I like to refresh my flora a couple times a year with a full bottle of this stuff, which is my favorite pure probiotic supplement.
I’ll knock down a couple servings a day, on an empty stomach, until the bottle is history. And I actually don’t mind the taste; it’s kind of like unsweetened apple cider.
2. Synergy Kombucha Tea – I will usually drink these on occasion throughout the year anyway, since I really enjoy the flavor and the “carbonation” vibe. (Trilogy and Guava Goddess are probably my faves.)
However, as an alternative to #1 above, I’ll sometimes make it a point to have one of these everyday for 10 to 14 days, just to flood my system with extra amounts of friendly bacteria.
Note: If you decide to go with a probiotic in tablet form, just make sure that tablet (or capsule) is enteric coated, so that the good bacteria will bypass the acids in the stomach and wind up in your intestinal tract, where it belongs.
Also, only use dairy-free probiotics!
The optimal food of choice for your flora is a little something called Fructooligosaccharides (or FOS). The optimal form of FOS comes in a handy little product called…
The Ultimate FloraZyme: This is an ingenious, dual-function product that contains both FOS and digestive enzymes (which we’ll cover next). To get the FOS benefit, take a couple capsules with some water first thing in the morning and/or late at night before bedtime. That’s it. Flora fed, and fed well.
My Favorite Digestive Enzymes Supplement
The Ultimate FloraZyme: No, you’re not seeing double. For some extra digestive firepower to assist in digestion and assimilation, I reach for these at every meal. I’ll pop one capsule about five minutes into the meal, and the other when I’m about 2/3 or 3/4 of the way through it. For extra large meals, I’ll take a third capsule more towards the end.
In this context, The Ultimate FloraZyme really makes a difference in both the ease of digesting the meal, as well as in the superior assimilation of all the nutrients. This product is especially helpful when eating anything overly-processed, gas-producing, or in any way hard for you to digest. I will not leave home without them!
My Favorite Antioxidants Supplement
The Ultimate Defense: This is the best synergistic blend of antioxidants I’ve seen on the market. A lot of painstaking effort has gone into the exact collection of ingredients used, ensuring that not only are the world’s best antioxidants included, but also that the optimal types and amounts of each antioxidant are present for maximum benefit. You’ll notice that most of the ingredients in The Ultimate Defense are also found in The Ultimate Meal smoothie mix, making it an ideal reinforcement of antioxidants for your ongoing nutritional regimen.
So… If you’re over 40, enduring a lifestyle that is inherently mentally, physically or environmentally stressful, or dealing any kind of illness, take three-at-a-time with meals, up to twice per day. (No need to take it with The Ultimate Meal, though.) And if you ever feel like a cold is on the horizon, I would get extra diligent with taking these. In addition to my own experience with this, I’ve had a number of people tell me that whenever they feel like they are on the verge of getting ill, they start hammering the Defense a bit and the illness often never sets in. It’s the best product I’ve seen for helping to keep you well.
My Favorite Chlorophyll (Super Greens) Supplement
The Ultimate Blue-Green: Yet another product from The Ultimate Life… this is my all-time favorite Super Green foods supplement. Algae is one of the greatest single food sources we can ingest, and perhaps the ultimate “blood food.” The Ultimate Blue-Green is created from some of the most cleanly harvested spirulina on the planet and it’s super convenient to use since there is no mixing or drinking involved. I’ll usually take around five to seven tabs with any meal that is lacking any real green power, or whenever I want an infusion of superior nutrition. (Actually, I’ll usually take at least five at any meal period!)
My Favorite “Extras” (Miscellaneous Supplements)
The Extras refer to any specific nutrient that you might be deficient in on any given day (or week). The main three to watch out for on a plant-based diet are B-12, Vitamin D and Omega 3 Fatty Acids. (Again, this has more to do with our modern eating practices, lifestyle choices and farming methodologies, as opposed to any inherent shortcoming in the plant-based diet.) Here are a few quick solutions that I’ll potentially use at various times:
Solaray B-12: I don’t necessarily have a favorite B-12 supp, but Solaray (2000 mcg.) is usually what I wind up snagging. So although I’m 99% sure I get enough B-12 from my smoothies and many meals, I simply dissolve a 2000 mcg. tab under my tongue once a week just to play it safe. (The reason I take such a high dose in a supplement is because the higher the dose, the less you absorb.)
Natural sunlight is actually your best source, and all it takes is about 15 minutes of exposure to the face and arms, minus sunscreen, a few times a week. But if you live like a vampire and don’t make it outdoors much, or if you live in a part of the world where sunshine is a rare commodity, and if you’re not much on foods that are fortified with Vitamin D… then a good “D” supp will be essential.
VegLife Vegan D is my favorite. Many vitamin D supps are derived from, or encased in, animal products. This is an excellent 100% plant-based source. I just pop a tab whenever needed. Fortunately, I rarely have to take these, and I feel like a damn fool when I do, given the sunny climate I live in!
Omega 3 Fatty Acids
The problem here is that there simply aren’t a lot of foods around anymore that have a significant amount of these particular healthy fats. And regarding those foods that are available (flax and hemp seeds, walnuts, etc.), most of us are not likely to eat acceptable quantities of these foods every couple of days to make a real difference. This is where flax seed oil comes in handy.
Barlean’s Flax Oil is my oil of choice here. It contains an optimal blend and daily supply of all of your Omega 3, 6 and 9 oils. I usually add a tablespoon of this oil to my Superfoods Smoothie every two or three days, although I’m not particularly strict about it.
And on Occasion…
Vitamin Shoppe Soy-Free Vegetable Protein: Although I’m rarely inclined to take a protein supplement (since I get plenty of protein in my daily eating regimen), I will, on occasion, make a vegan protein-based smoothie if I feel like I’m a little protein-light on a given day. (This will be in addition to The Ultimate Meal smoothie that I have every morning.) And since its primarily only the protein I’m after, I’ll usually opt for a cheap, non-soy based powder like this one. (I always go non-soy in my protein powders since it’s so easy to overdo the soy products with certain meals and snacks.) I’m sure there are a number of other vegan protein powders out there that are of a higher quality and have a bunch of other cool stuff in them. But again, I’m just looking for the 20+ grams of protein, and this powder is cheap and convenient.
Final Thoughts and Guidelines
1. Silver, Gold or Platinum? – Do not feel overwhelmed by how many different products I use! This regimen has developed through a number of years and represents what I believe to be the ultimate, most complete regimen possible. Throughout my writings on nutrition, exercise and mind/body, I tend to classify various programs in one of three categories: Silver, Gold or Platinum. These represent the degrees of strictness or “difficulty” of a given program. The above routine is definitely a Platinum regimen!
So if it seems a bit much for you, or if you’re starting from scratch and want to gradually acclimate to a supplement regimen, consider going Silver to start. For that, you might hit some B-12 once a week, then use The Ultimate FloraZyme and/or The Ultimate Defense for your meals. This (as just one basic example) will get you up-and-running and into the groove of a steady regimen. From there, you can add more stuff later.
2. Keep ‘Em Out in the Open – If you store your supps in a drawer or pantry somewhere, you will likely forget to take them. Keep your supps right out in the open where you eat… just like salt-and-pepper shakers. This will help you get in the habit of taking them everyday. Next, you will want to eventually get some kind of pill box from the drug store so you can have your supps handy when you dine out.
3. It Will Become an Unconscious Act – At first – like any new practice – it might seem like a pain in the ass to have to deal with supps on a regular basis. But isn’t most any new habit that way? Trust me… if you do this consistently enough and long enough, it will become second nature and you will eventually hardly be aware you’re even taking them.
4. Pay Now or Pay Later – Yes, supplements cost money. But so does getting sick and being unhealthy! Consider the money you spend on your supplement routine an investment in your superior health that will continue to pay dividends into your future. Nothing is more important than great health.
Part I of this series – Must We Use Supplements?
Part II of this series – Supplements: Sorting Through the Madness
The Ultimate Life – Official Web Site
Best place to order most of this stuff online – Amazon (believe it or not!)
Until next time,