With that being said, here are a few supplements that have been beneficial in my life, in my family, in my body. And I'm willing to share them with you because I know you'll accept them as just that!
Get ready for a long one, guys! It has taken me days to write this, that's why it's the first post this week.
I've grown and changed a lot in the food realm since I was pregnant with Hadley. Throughout the past 2 1/2 years, I had to figure out how I was going to handle health issues that came up while nursing a baby and her tender little digestive system. I also learned quite a bit about my own body, like where my diet was lacking nutrients, or certain foods that were causing damage to my gut and how to recover from that damage. This essentially brings us up to the stretch of time that I spent on the GAPS diet to help with the healing process, which I will be writing another post about- very soon, I promise! I know some of you have been waiting patiently for a little more GAPS insight.
Basically, knowing what I know now, which is the extreme importance of gut health, I am so excited to be able to have another pregnancy, birth, and baby-- another try at everything! I'm excited to put my knowledge into practice. Not only do I feel like I can be ahead of the game this time, especially in the area of probiotics and fermented foods, but I also think once the baby is born, trouble shooting digestive issues will be less stressful.
When it comes to supplements, I don't go crazy. I try to get my nutrients from the food I eat. I like the way Hippocrates (Greek scientist and father of western medicine) put it: "Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food." Yes! Yay! But there are certain things that I've realized are either hard to obtain from food or hard for my body to absorb via the digestive system. Some of them are particularly important for my body/symptoms/deficiencies, and those are the things that for me, are worth buying in supplement form. Here are the ones I currently have and would recommend. Also, I should note that the title of this post is somewhat misleading, as 4 of the 5 supplements are still my favorites when I'm not pregnant.
1. Organic 3 Gut Pro probiotic powder. I like to eat fermented foods/drinks because they tend to have a wider spectrum and larger volume of probiotic strains, but I do take this supplement as well. It's a convenient way to pack in an extra punch of beneficial bacteria. And, with another human being inside me, I can't get too much of those good guys right now. I like this probiotic in particular because it doesn't have any fillers, allergens, additives- no unnecessary ingredients. I've seen it's effectiveness in everyone in my family, and over time it ends up being one of the least expensive probiotics on the market. I take this first thing in the morning on an empty stomach.
2. New Chapter Perfect Prenatal Multivitamin. Last time I was pregnant, I just took the prenatal vitamin someone handed me at a clinic. I had no idea what was in it. This time, I was excited to pick out my own, because I knew what I wanted. I chose this one because it's made from whole, cultured foods, it's non-GMO, and it even has a blend of sprouted seeds in it- so it's extra digestible. Plus, it's available on Amazon Prime and it never bothers my stomach a bit. I take one tablet with each meal.
3. Ancient Minerals Magnesium Oil. After Hadley was born, I learned that I was very deficient in magnesium. For a great, great read on how crucial magnesium is, why it's so common to not get enough of it through our food and water, and what symptoms are related to magnesium deficiency, read this post by Cheeseslave. I love it. And I'm in love with magnesium!! I supplement with this magnesium oil, instead of a pill, because it's much more easily and efficiently absorbed via the skin (our largest organ) than the digestive system. Also, digestion changes a lot during pregnancy, which can make it even tougher to absorb magnesium from your food, multivitamins, etc. I use the oil almost daily, as I'm trying to correct my magnesium deficiency as much as I can before the baby comes, but I know that my pregnant body is currently using the bulk of nutrients I put in it and isn't able to store up much. I will still continue supplementing with magnesium oil after the baby is born. I chose this Ancient Minerals brand of magnesium oil because it's completely free of mercury, lead, arsenic, and fluoride. It works great and makes my skin so soft! There was a tingly-itchy feeling the first few times I used it, but that has gone away now. I spray it on my torso, arms, and thighs after I take a shower, leave it on for 20 minutes while I put in my contacts, dry my hair, etc, and then wipe it off with a warm cloth and put on some lotion. Make sure you moisturize the areas you put it on, because that will help with any dryness/itchiness.
On another- possibly hugely helpful- note, vitamin D and magnesium really helped tame my morning sickness! If you're interested in reading more about how morning sickness and magnesium are connected, check out this post by Wellness Mama or this post by Mommypotamus.
4. Green Pasture's Fermented Cod Liver Oil. Because I believe in healthy fats!! And I think cod liver oil is a healing superfood! I take this one because it's a fermented, raw, live food- it has not been heated. So, the life-giving nutrients (vitamins A and D, EFA/DHA, omegas) have not been destroyed by the manufacturing process. Along with magnesium, I was also deficient in vitamin D after Hadley's birth and throughout the first year of nursing, and cod liver oil is one of the best sources (after the sun- which I took full advantage of while pregnant this summer) for real, bioavailable vitamin D.
5. Naturally fermented sauerkraut -- not actually a supplement, but I think of it as something to "take" every day because it is such a nutrient-dense, probiotic and enzyme-rich, healing food. We make ours homemade, but I like this store-bought brand, too, because it's inexpensive and made using traditional methods, with only cabbage, water, and sea salt. We also like to make a sauerkraut salsa sometimes, which is a blend of cultured veggies and peppers that tastes really great with eggs for breakfast. Sauerkraut is high in B vitamins, also vitamins C and K, calcium, magnesium, fiber, folate, iron, potassium, copper, and manganese. (The fermentation process increases the bioavailability of nutrients making it more nutritious and digestible than plain cabbage.) Honestly, I care the most about the live probiotic strains that are present in sauerkraut. These will help me give the baby a good start in life- a healthy and balanced gut, strong digestion, and a tough immune system. I shoot for having a spoonful (if not more) of kraut with each meal.
Whew! There you have it: all the supplements I eat/take. And if you made it through all that- you are incredible and awesome. Thanks for reading! I hope some little tidbit somewhere in there will be helpful to someone. If you have questions, please feel free to ask or write me an email! Not that I know a lot, but I'd be happy to try to answer them from my experience.
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