I was lucky enough to grow up in home where good nutrition and home cooked meals were the norm. Since that time I have grown to love cooking and was fortunate to take two nutrition courses at university. As someone who works in lifestyle health I am regularly asked about my views on nutrition and was recently asked what type of supplements I would recommend. Although I am not a certified nutritionist I have always had a confident response to this question and after doing a little more research I stand by my answer.

I believe we have made food  more complex than it needs it be. Food should be simple. It should be something that we enjoy. It is easy to get bogged down by nutrition books and the constant barrage of super foods (excluding Kale of course:). When you live in a city like Vancouver there is not a food on the planet that isn’t within reach. There are definite arguments against the incredible selection we have but for 365 days of the year you can see every colour of the rainbow at your local grocery store. I also don’t buy the argument that healthy food is expensive. Goggi berries and gluten free items are expensive but for your regular fruit, vegetables, beans, and grains it is always far cheaper to buy than processed foods and supplements.  Sure it takes time but how about skipping 30 minutes of computer or TV time to make a meal with friends and family? You always feel good about yourself when you crack open an amazing home made lunch in front of co-workers.

Coming back to the original question on supplements, in certain cases, when a doctor or nutritionist recommends it, a singular vitamin or mineral supplement may be needed. However, in most cases a diet that consists of a variety of non-processed foods will meet the dietary needs to keep us healthy. The one supplement that is recognized and commonly recommended as a safe choice, is a multi-vitamin. If you do have further concerns about your diet and would like more information about how nutrition can affect your mood, sleep, and energy you may want to find a nutritionist who can talk to you in depth about your diet choices (Checkout local RD Desiree Nielsen for lots of good ideas!). I personally do not take any vitamins but feel comfortable with the mix of foods that I am taking in each week.

Remember that food and nutrition are simple. Don’t over think it, eat a balanced diet, stay active, do the things you love with the people you love, SLEEP well, and breathe deep.

Let me know what you think. Is food simple? Should we be taking supplements?


Dave Carter

Here are two good links from credible organizations discussing the role of supplements

  1. http://www.health.harvard.edu/newsletters/Harvard_Womens_Health_Watch/2013/January/dietary-supplements-do-they-help-or-hurt
  2. http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-living/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in-depth/supplements/art-20044894
  3. Just for fun a video of James Barber, “the urban Peasant” showing us how easy food can be! I love this guy!
  4. OA and supplements: https://nccih.nih.gov/health/glucosaminechondroitin