The SUPERFOODS I use regularly and love & how they help me
I'm sure your probably scratching your head wondering why I eat marine collagen or down so many acai bowls and I can assure you, there is good reason why I do!
As the months went by after my diagnosis I introduced each one because it served a purpose that either helps with a symptom i'm suffering, a vitamin or mineral I wanted in my diet, or my overall health and vitality. And now I have some firm favourites that I could not live without.
During the beginning days of my diagnosis I probably bought every supplement you could imagine. I was literally swallowing about 20+ pills (i'm not kidding) every morning in the hopes they would heal me. But it got to a point where I felt physically ill when I took them, especially fish oil. Then after watching Dr Terry Wahls famous Ted Talk on recovering from Secondary Progressive MS, I decided that all my nutrition was going to come in food form, so I could get everything naturally, more bio-available to the body with heaps of other beneficial nutrients along the way just as she does. Then anything leftover would be supplemental.
BESt DECISIOn I EVEr MADE
Because it automatically put the emphasis back on food which then forced me to get into the kitchen and get creative. And it significantly reduced the pills I was swallowing. No more morning nausea!! thank goodness!
* This is not intended as health advice - what's right for me may not be right for you.
marine COLLAGEN POWDER
After diagnosis I had about 6-8 months of hair loss (as if MS wasn't enough!). After months of thinning hair and taking supplements that didn't seem to do much. I did my research and found a lot of talk around marine collagen powder helping significantly with hair growth and collagen production for healthy skin and nails, so I gave it a try.
I also loved the fact it was something I could throw in my smoothies every morning, which makes life so much easier!
"Marine collagen is usually derived from fish and can be extracted from the scales or skin; Vida Glow uses the scales as it is richer in nutrients and collagen protein. Japanese women have used marine collagen as a secret weapon for youthful radiance for many years, and the scientific studies highlighting the benefits are plentiful.
Marine collagen works from within to promote optimal collagen function within the body, by delivering essential micronutrients to the collagen matrix below the dermis. Vida Glow's marine collagen is a low molecular weight collagen peptide powder, which is highly bioavailable, with a high absorption rate above 90%. Whereas, pills and tablets average from 20 - 30% and can take up to 40 minutes for the body to breakdown." - vidaglow.com
I started on 3 sachets a day for about 3 months as advised because I wanted a really good kick start and i'm now on 1 scoop a day (1 sachet) as a maintenance dose.
I could feel my hair was noticeably thicker after a few months, and continues to be. It's so much healthier, thicker and stronger now, in fact it's now thicker and healthier than it was before I got sick.
It's also made my nails like so strong, long and growing like crazy.
I have a post coming up all about my hair loss experience and how I got my hair back on track soon.
BRAND I USE: Vida Glow
I buy mine online at vidaglow.com
Shipping is always speedy and it's always great quality. They offer an array of lovely flavours too. I've tried mango, original and blueberry and they're all delicious with really subtle flavour, not overpowering or too sweet. The packaging is also really hardy - I take it camping and travelling with me and it always withstands knocks. You can get sachets which are great for travelling or loose powder with a scoop for home.
I put mine in my smoothie bowls everyday and I can't taste a hint of fish at all.
COCONUT WATER KEFIR
Coconut water kefir is fermented coconut water so it has beneficial probiotics for a healthy gut which therefore benefits our overall health.
"Similar to dairy-based kefirs, coconut kefir supplies your gut with lots of beneficial bacteria that improve your immune system, digestive system and fight infection." - Dr Axe
More and more i'm learning that the health of our gut and our micro-biome has a huge influence on our overall health including our mood and our weight aswell. The way we take charge of our micro-biomes and gut health is by feeding it with good quality whole foods, reduced stress levels, reduced toxin load and beneficial bacteria. A lot of environmental things can effect the micro-biome like stress, alcohol, processed food, heavy metals and antibiotics. So I like to eat fermented foods often, and it's a really affordable way to get probiotics.
BRAND I USE: Peace, Love & Vegetables
I get mine from my local health food store, in the drinks section of the fridge with the other probiotic drinks like kombucha.
Acai is my best food friend. It's hands-down my number 1 go-to superfood for boosting my energy and mental clarity. I now have an acai smoothie bowl every morning to get my brain going. Some people use coffee, I use acai.
I discovered this when I started having it daily and realised I had no mind and little energy without it. I've written a post all about Acai here, which goes into more depth about why it's so amazing.
In a nutshell benefits can include better heart health, blood flow, brain health, eye health, cognition, muscle & tissue repair, digestion, immunity, protective against cell damage, pathogens and illness, anti-inflammatory, neuro-protective, anti-viral, anti-cancerous and anti-ageing.
I have about 1 tablespoon everyday, ESPECIALLY when i'm working. It literally does wonders for my concentration, energy, focus and it addresses cog fog brilliantly. I use the frozen acai packs for smoothie bowls + a teaspoon or a tablespoon of the freeze dried powder for an extra boost.
BRAND I USE: Amazon Power
I use the pure organic frozen acai packs found in the freezer section of the health food store. And the freeze dried powder found on the shelf with the superfood powders like cacao, chia, maca etc.
I know and trust this brand and have used them for years, it's always great quality and flavour, it's really affordable and they do the most AMAZING granola! that you MUST try! so so delicious!!
I recently met the owners and they are the loveliest Brazilian couple! I'm very grateful they do what they do so we can enjoy this wonderful food.
I started taking Maca in an effort to normalise my cycle as I read that it has a beneficial effect on the endocrine system and hormones. And it worked! Then I noticed how energised I felt when I ate it. Maca contains unique alkaloids that stimulate the "master glands", which in turn improves the overall functioning of the endocrine system.
"As a nutritional supplement, Peruvian Maca has generalized tonic effects on the biochemical functioning of the human body. Chief among these effects is the enhancement of endocrine function. The endocrine system includes all of the glands, and the hormones they secrete, that exist in the body and that control such conditions as fertility, sexual function, digestion, brain and nervous system physiology, and energy levels. Hormonal regulation is responsible for all of the physiological attributes that enable us to enjoy the myriad sensations of being vibrantly alive, including those related to sexual arousal, physical activity and mental-emotional states of being. Maca root has also been called an adaptogen, which means that it increases the body's ability to defend itself against both physical and mental weakening, hence potential illness. It is believed it achieves this by supporting adrenal and pituitary gland health, both of which underlie proper endocrine function." - realrawfood.com
Maca also contains amino acids, zinc, phosphorous, calcium, manganese, copper, iron and B vitamins.
It has quite a unique almost caramel flavour to it and it's quite strong so I only use a teaspoon every few days. I love it with pink pitaya in my smoothie bowls, the flavours go really well together.
I've written a post all about Maca here, that goes into more depth about its health benefits.
BRAND I USE: Loving Earth or Power Superfoods
Found in the health food store with the superfood powders and the supermarket in health-food/gluten-free section sitting next to chia seeds and cacao powder.
Chia seeds are super duper fibre rich, and my number 1 fibre go-to now, I take about 1 tablespoon a day.
I amped up my chia intake after my urologist told me that in order to address the bladder we need to address the bowel first, so she said to buy a good fibre supplement. I'd taken psyllium husks in the past and i'm not a fan of choking, they are the grossest things to get down. So I decided to take chia instead.
Chia seeds are really easy to incorporate into your diet - you can sprinkle them on toast or crackers, salads or smoothie bowls, their small and light so they'll stick to anything. You can also make chia pudding by combining them with nut milks. I even make chia eggs sometimes when i'm baking. Their also virtually tasteless.
BRAND I USE: CHIA CO
Chia co sell large bottles which I find more affordable and easier than buying small bags. It sits with the other superfood powders on the shelf in the health food store, or the health food section of the supermarket.
Flaxseed oil is a core part of OMS, we supplement 20-40mls daily as the studies show such great benefit to those of us with MS.
Flaxseed oil is anti-inflammatory and a great source of plant based omega 3 fatty acids. The brain is made up of about 60% fat and the axons and neurons in the brain that carry all the signalling are coated in omega 3 and 6 fatty acids, known as the myelin sheath. The myelin sheath ensures brain signals travel smoothly and uninterrupted, and are what get injured during a flare in someone with MS.
The reason we take flaxseed oil over fish oil is because the results of the HOLISM study run by Dr Jelinek showed that those taking flaxseed oil and eating fish had a 60% decreased risk of relapse, and an improved quality of life over those on OMS not taking flaxseed oil. Dr Jelinek therefore recommend we take flaxseed oil and eat fish over supplementing with fish oil for omegas. It's also great for lessening our exposure to mercury.
I absolutely love flaxseed oil. I add it to my smoothie bowls every morning which makes them taste deliciously creamy. I also drizzle it all over my toast and add it into my chocolate vegan ice-cream. It makes OMS really enjoyable and satisfying.
BRAND I USE & love: melrose health
I've used Melrose Health Flaxseed Oil ever since I was diagnosed, I go through a 500ml bottle about every 2 weeks. It's always great quality, flavour and it's an aussie brand that I trust. Plus its certified organic.
* Flaxseed oil is delicate and goes rancid easily with exposure to light and heat. Melrose Health use amber bottles so no light alters the oil and it's stored in the fridge at the health food store to keep it cool. So always buy it at your health food store preferably from the fridge, NEVER from the supermarket, keep it cool in the car, and get it home to the fridge asap!
RAW CACAO POWDER & nibs
Raw cacao powder is one of the BEST!! It's the unprocessed form of cocoa with all the nutrients still in place. I've used it for years and it can be really addictive. It has lots of magnesium for relaxation, lots of antioxidants and it has a really nice stimulating, clarifying effect. I use it in my acai bowls when I need a little more energy and brain power and it's also a staple in my baking.
"Cacao is considered a superfood due to its more than 300 nutrients. It could hardly be "the food of the gods" if it weren't powerful, with nutritional and medicinal value (which in turn gave it value as a currency as well). The vitamins, minerals, and dietary nutrients in cacao include protein, fat, carbohydrates, fibre, iron, zinc, copper, potassium, phosphorus, calcium, magnesium, and sulfur. It also has quercetin, flavonoids, flavanols, xanthenes, polyphenols, caffeine, theobromine, phenylethylamine, and anandamide, among others. It has many uses as a stimulant, antibacterial, antioxidant, and protector of the cardiovascular system." - naturalnews.com
I wrote a post all about the amazing health benefits of raw cacao powder here if you want to read a little more.
BRAND I USE: oh so natural wholefoods
I get this at Aldi as it's the cheapest raw organic cacao powder i've found. It's usually found around the fruit and vege area with the maple syrup & nuts. Also available at the healthfood store with the superfood powders or the supermarket in the health food section.
Those are my top 7 superfoods and the firm favourites that I use daily. A quick recap...
Marine Collagen Powder - healthy hair, skin & nails
Coconut water kefir - Probiotics & gut health
Acai - Energy & COGNITION
Maca - energising & Hormones
Chia seeds - Fibre
Flaxseed oil - Essential fatty acids
Cacao - Energising, raw treats & baking
If your out shopping and want to stock up you can get all of these at a good health food store. Ask the shop person where the superfood powders are and you'll be able to find chia seeds, acai powder, maca powder and cacao powder all in the same section. Then head over to the fridge area and you'll find frozen acai packs with the frozen foods, kefir with the drinks and flaxseed oil in the fridge also, with all the other omega supplements.
Marine collagen is usually found with the protein powders or you can order it online which I find easier. Always ask if you can't find anything as their usually more than happy to help you. You could take a photo of this list and give it to them and they'll point you in all the right directions.
I hope thats helped to give some clarity around all the different superfoods I've been using and exactly why I use them. They help me so much to feel and function at my best, I'm not sure where I'd be without them. If you feel like any of these don't agree with you then don't persist, as they may not be right for you. But hopefully you get all the amazing benefits I've been experiencing and more!!
I'd love to know how you go, which ones you love and if you get any benefit from them, please leave some comments below and i'll reply!