For those of you that know me, you know that I am a huge believer in taking high quality supplements. However, supplements are not for everyone. What I mean by that is supplements are not the place to start your health journey. Before we add anything to our routine or diet, we first need to look at what to take away. For example, if you are stopping by McDonald’s for lunch everyday, you shouldn’t be thinking about adding fish oil to your diet, you should first look at removing these unhealthy habits.
Before I recommend a supplement to someone, I make sure have consistently been meeting the following minimum criteria:
DRINKING ENOUGH WATER
Drinking enough water is arguably the most beneficial things that most of us can do. Americans are severely and chronically dehydrated! 80% of american report that they do not drink enough water. In fact, the average american drinks only 1.5 cups of water per day. Did you know that one of the first signs of dehydration is joint pain? Water is super important to normal human function. This is why water represents 60% of our body’s makeup.
EATING A MODERATELY HEALTHY DIET
Diet and eating habits are crucial to baseline health. Before we look at adding any kind of supplements we should look at how we can modify our diets to best serve us. Bottom line, most of us consume to many processed foods and way to many carbohydrates and sugar. The problem is that most of us are unaware of what our diets actually look like. I always recommend tracking your food intake over a two-week span. Only then can we honestly evaluate our current diet and execute proper strategies to make changes. There are so many amazing food tracking apps available to make this easier than ever.
Don’t over think this. If you google “best diet” you will find thousands of diets all claiming to be the one for you. And all of this information will contradict other information you read. Keep it simple. Avoid processed foods and sugars and eat high quality meats and vegetables.
The last, and probably most obvious thing that we need to talk about is exercise. Exercise is a crucial part of our overall health. I have not found a single person that will debate this with me. However, a CDC study released last year found that only 22.9% of american adults are getting enough exercise. The standards for enough exercise in this study was “150 minutes of moderate intensity aerobic exercise per week”. Maybe 150 minutes seems like a lot to you, but that comes out to 30 minutes 5 days per week. What that could look like for you is coming downtown and walking your dog along the water for 30 minutes. It doesn’t have to be SoulCycle and CrossFit (although I do think those programs are awesome). In order to be consistent with exercise you need to find something that you enjoy doing. Experiment and try new things until you find something that fits.
Why do I recommend this? Let’s look at each of the things on that list. All of the things I listed above are essentially free and easy. I am a firm believer that if you are not willing to consistently do things that are free and easy, you will not do things that are costly and require effort. Until you are able to do these things consistently do not waste your time and money on purchasing supplements. Maybe this is the realist in me coming out, but it’s just human nature.
But, if you have taken a look at your life and removed obviously unhealthy habits, and consistently done the things I mentioned above, adding the right, high-quality supplements to your diet could be hugely beneficial.