Something smells fishy

by Khushboo on August 19, 2013

It goes without saying: I am a sucker for promotions & I have no shame about it.  When I was in London, I kept seeing ads and posters for the Penny Sale at Holland & Barrett, a chain of health food stores across the UK.   The Penny Sale is a basically a promotion on a huge number of their products where you can buy a second item for a penny- talk about getting a bang for your buck penny.

HB-Penny-Sale

Part of me was shocked at the number of supplements available- there seems to be one for just about anything and everything.  Despite how readily accessible a healthy diet can be, nutritional supplementation has undoubtedly turned into a multi-millionaire industry.  If you can get your nutrition as easily as popping a pill, why eat the food, right? Ehhh WRONG!  Call me old-fashioned but I am still in favor of eating a balanced diet based on real, WHOLE foods.  Aside from being stupidly expensive and not tasting nearly as delicious as real food, supplements oversimplify the nutrients in food.  Whole foods such as fruits, vegetables & nuts contain thousands of phytonutrients that interact with each other in positive ways.  Isolating nutrients from a food only loses the synergistic benefits.  For example, by just taking a vitamin C tablet instead of eating an orange, you’re easily missing out on the fiber and antioxidant value of the fruit.

Hummus Toast with Grilled Veggies

Hummus Toast with Grilled Veggies

That being said, I do think that supplements hold their merit to an extent, especially in instances where supplementation is needed in addition to, as opposed to a replacement for, a balanced diet. They may be appropriate for certain groups of people who can’t meet their needs from food alone including pregnant women, elders, athletes, vegans, and those recovering from serious illness or with a medical condition such which hampers how his/her body absorbs certain nutrients. I recently introduced a nutritional supplement to my diet: Cod Liver Oil tablets.

photo-63

As much as I love salmon and tuna, my intake of oily fish is extremely low in Mumbai due to the lack of availability. Although the health benefits of taking fish oil supplements are extensive, three that particularly appeal to me include:

  • Plentiful in vitamin D, which is ideal as sitting in the sunshine is not realistic during monsoon season
  • Provides Omega 3 fatty acids, which our bodies cannot manufacture on their own.  Lord knows my skin appreciates the extra dosage 🙂
  • Promotes hormonal balance, by providing many vitamins A, D, and K which are building blocks for hormone production.  The omega 3’s also keeps the ratio of omega 6:omega 3’s in check, to prevent overproduction of hormones

Another benefit of this recent purchase? I got that second bottle for a penny, baby!  

Do you take any supplements?  If so, which?

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{ 41 comments… read them below or add one }

Shashi @ http://runninsrilankan.com August 19, 2013 at 2:17 pm

I love your use of hummus – like the deviled eggs you wrote about and now this toast with the vegs! Awesome!
I am not a vegetarian, but mostly eat a vegetarian diet and don’t feel I get as much protein as I should, so I have a protein shake …now maybe I need to look into cod liver oil – well maybe I will wait till its on sale here too 🙂

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Khushboo August 19, 2013 at 8:48 pm

Haha what can I say- I like hummus a lot ;)! Thanks Shashi!

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Lucie@FitSwissChick August 19, 2013 at 2:40 pm

I absolutely agree with you – I prefer real and whole foods to pills. Though I started to take a spoonful of an organic green base powder in the morning to uppen my fiber and mineral intake, plus I need to take iron supplements as this is constantly low in my blood despite eating enough foods with iron.
Your hummus plate looks divine!!

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Khushboo August 19, 2013 at 8:50 pm

Sometimes our bodies just can’t process vitamins & minerals efficiently, no matter how much of a certain food we eat. That’s exactly when supplements are a great help!

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Arman @ thebigmansworld August 19, 2013 at 4:14 pm

Argh Khushboo, you’re going to hate an upcoming post I have on all the protein powders I have sampled…but I guess I don’t take them instead of food, but as a snack or add in to oats/yogurt/baking. I hope you approve 😛

Supplements I take which are not protein powders are fish oil, digestive enzymes and a multivitamin!

You have me absolutely craving hummus on toast now.

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Khushboo August 19, 2013 at 8:51 pm

Haha no no- I definitely think protein powders can be a beneficial aid for people who workout intensely. There’s only so much protein anyone can eat in a day 🙂

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Amanda @ .running with spoons. August 19, 2013 at 4:42 pm

I definitely agree that supplements should never be seen as a replacement for proper nutrition, but as a precautionary addition to a healthy diet. That being said, I do think supplements are kind of important, especially because we don’t know the honest nutritional value of our food these days – it’s definitely not as rich in vitamins and minerals as it used to be 😕

Right now I take vitamin D (because the sun up here is wonky), C, calcium/magnesium, and a fish oil capsule. I go back and forth between taking a multi, mostly because my stomach doesn’t seem to respond to them too well, but I still want the benefits!

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Khushboo August 19, 2013 at 8:52 pm

That’s a really good point about not being sure about the nutrition in our food- with transport alone, lord knows how much of the nutrition gets sucked out! Have you noticed a difference since you started the fish oil supplementation?

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Amanda @ .running with spoons. August 20, 2013 at 2:58 am

I want to say yes because I’ve noticed improvements, but I started doing so many other things at the same time that it would be hard to attribute it to the fish oils alone 😕 I figure it isn’t hurting, though 😀

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Khushboo August 20, 2013 at 10:59 am

That’s the way I see it too- even if I don’t notice any significant benefits, taking fish oil supplements can’t hurt!

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ritika August 19, 2013 at 5:16 pm

i am a bong, and though i think i eat a lot of fish, clearly i don’t. so, this sounds like a great idea. any particular brand that you recommend [available in India],
thanks 🙂
btw, that spread on your plate… it’s 5.15pm, i am at work away from food, and i am starving.

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Khushboo August 19, 2013 at 8:52 pm

Ah unfortunately I am not too familiar with Indian brands of fish oil- sorry, Ritika!

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Jess August 19, 2013 at 5:56 pm

Love the idea of a penny sale!!! I can’t go past a bargain either! I also take fish oil, one of the few supplements I take.

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Khushboo August 19, 2013 at 8:52 pm

Bargains are always a pleasant surprise 🙂

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Alexis @ Hummusapien August 19, 2013 at 5:58 pm

I totally agree with your stance on supplements. Whole Foods are always so much better, unless they’re unavailable (like your fish problem). I don’t take any supplements, but I used to take B12 when I was vegan!

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Khushboo August 19, 2013 at 8:53 pm

Ah I had no idea you were once vegan! I actually take vitamin B12 shots as my red meat intake is very minimal.

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Chelsea @ Chelsea's Healthy Kitchen August 19, 2013 at 6:32 pm

You took the words right out of my mouth about supplements. It’s so much better to get your nutrients from food because of all the extra components in food like antioxidants and fibre. But that being said, sometimes it’s hard to get enough nutrients from your food based on your diet and circumstances. I take vitamin D in the winter because you can’t get enough from the sun then, and I also take omega 3s because I only usually eat fish once a week. Also I started taking iron because of my iron deficiency.

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Khushboo August 19, 2013 at 8:54 pm

Totally agree, especially in the case of vitamin D- apparently it’s only the early morning rays which make a beneficial difference!

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Sam @ Better With Sprinkles August 19, 2013 at 7:01 pm

Mmm…hummus toast. Now I’m kicking myself for not buying hummus this week! And I think that supplements are meant to be just that – supplements. You should be getting most of your nutrition from real food, with supplements to fill in the little gaps. Right now, I take fish oil capsules (I usually eat fish once a week) and a greens powder as a multivitamin.

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Khushboo August 19, 2013 at 8:55 pm

Have you noticed any differences since taking fish oil capsules?

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Sam @ Better With Sprinkles August 19, 2013 at 9:56 pm

I’ve been taking them for at least two years, so in all honesty I don’t remember what benefits I started noticing. Generally what I hear is improved skin, hair and nails though.

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Khushboo August 20, 2013 at 10:55 am

I guess time shall tell 😉

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Lisa August 19, 2013 at 8:59 pm

Yes! You’re so right about your thoughts on supplements!
I totally agree that the best approach is to eat real whole foods, but in the term of fish. Not happening for me…ever:)
I just can not stand the smell or taste so I also take a cod liver oil supplement! I think it was one of the many reasons my skin cleared up SO much. It was kind of amazing.

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Khushboo August 20, 2013 at 10:55 am

Ah I’m so glad it helped clear up your skin :)!

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dixya| food, pleasure, and health August 19, 2013 at 9:58 pm

I feel the same way about supplements as well – whole foods should not be replaced and also another thing that bugs me is how can you be sure that pills are providing us with % of whatever vitamins/minerals because the rules are so flaky on supplement world. I am a sucker for these promotions too but you got a good deal here 🙂

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Khushboo August 20, 2013 at 10:57 am

Aside from flaky rules, sometimes the dosages are too concentrated and end up leaving your body unbalanced!

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honeywhatscooking August 20, 2013 at 12:41 am

nothing can replace whole foods. i don’t usually take supplements, but i have these multi-vitamin gummy bears that taste like candy, if i remember, i’ll pop 2 at a time a few times a week. i’ve also heard diff things about multi-vitamins, that they can speed cell growth, bad cell growth, hence cancer.
so i take it in moderation.

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Khushboo August 20, 2013 at 10:59 am

Confession: I used to take a vitamin C tablet mainly because it tasted like an orange-flavored candy 😉

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Charlotte @ Commitness to Fitness August 20, 2013 at 7:58 pm

i’ve never tried cod liver oil. i’ve heard great things about it though. my relationship with supplements goes through phases, but currently its pretty much non-existent. there are just so many different ones that i get overwhelmed too quickly (plus, i LOVE eating, so, why take the fun away from that 🙂 )

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Khushboo August 21, 2013 at 8:30 am

Eating food is SO much more enjoyable than swallowing pills 🙂

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Alex@Veggin' Out August 20, 2013 at 8:30 pm

I completely agree with you! Supplements should truly only supplement, not replace, real, whole foods. And really, what fun would it be to swallow flavorless pills when you can EAT!! 😉 I do take calcium, flaxseed, vitamin E, and a multivitamin just to make sure I’m getting all the nutrients, but I still try to get most through my diet. I’ve thought about taking a fish oil pill too. As you mentioned, there are just so many great benefits!

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Khushboo August 21, 2013 at 8:31 am

I’ll be sure to follow up if/when I start notice any benefits from taking the fish oil supplements 🙂

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Brittany August 20, 2013 at 8:44 pm

I rarely take supplements, even the ones I know I need (such as B12!) I 100% rely on my diet to take care of me. The human body is AMAZING and I know most of the foods I eat are supplying my body with what it needs to make ends meet. When I feel my energy plummet, I will take a multivitamin and some B vitamins which is maybe once a month? FOOD ALL THE WAY!

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Khushboo August 21, 2013 at 8:32 am

Love your approach to trust your body..they’re defo smarter than we give ’em credit for 🙂

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Laura @ Sprint 2 the Table August 20, 2013 at 11:57 pm

I take a good amount of supplements becasue I am really, really hard on my body. That said, I recently quit taking fish oil because I eat so much seafood!

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Khushboo August 21, 2013 at 8:33 am

Hard on your body as in workouts?

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Laura @ Sprint 2 the Table August 21, 2013 at 8:46 am

Yup. And general rough housing. 😉

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Davida @ The Healthy Maven August 21, 2013 at 9:11 pm

Even though I eat plenty of meat products I take B12 because for some reason my body has a hard time absorbing it. Recently I found out I was low on iron too…so frustrating!!

I totally agree though that unless there is a need for supplementing (diet, malabsorption etc..) you can pretty much get all the vitamins & minerals you need from a healthy, well-balanced diet!

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Khushboo August 22, 2013 at 11:04 am

I hear you on the B12! I actually take vitamin B shots for faster absorption. In case you’re interested, I posted about it here: kthadani.com/2012/11/05/worth-a-shot/‎

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Meghan@Clean Eat Fast Feets August 26, 2013 at 7:33 am

I used to take more supplements like vitamin C and one a days. Now though I rarely take anything and just try to eat whole, real foods. I feel like if I’m nutritionally deficit in one area, my body will start craving foods high in that nutrient so it’s always self correcting if you will.
I do take vitamin D in the winter though because I’m in Ohio, and we don’t get much sun in the winter.

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Khushboo August 26, 2013 at 8:34 am

“Self-correcting”–> you phrased it perfectly 🙂

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