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August 01, 2016

When energy goes low: The skinny on supplements

Mindful Mondays Vitamins
Christie_Vitamins1 Courtesy of Christie Mandia/for PhillyVoice

Christie Mandia outside of Bunn's Natural Foods.

In the past few weeks, my energy level has been very low. I have been feeling less motivated and more fatigued. Now that I am living more mindfully, I am trying to notice how external factors are contributing to how I am feeling.

I was thinking that my lethargy could be partially due to the heat and just being run down overall from a busy summer.

To be sure, I went to see my doctor and he ordered blood work to rule out any major underlying causes. When it came back, I was relieved to find that my white blood cell count was normal, meaning that my body is not fighting off any serious infection.

My doctor suggested getting on a vitamin routine to increase my energy. In fact, he recommended specifically that I visit Bunn’s Natural Foods, a Bucks county health food store.

Shortly after receiving doctor’s orders, I was in the car with my mom and I noticed she was carrying a plastic baggie full of what looked like 20 different vitamins. I said, “I need to start taking vitamins, what do you take?”

She responded shaking the bag wearily saying, “Everything. These are just my vitamins for today.”

I told her about Bunn’s and how my doctor had touted it as the Mecca of all vitamin dispensaries, where you could walk in and describe your needs and their knowledgeable staff would provide you with the best information and resources at hand.

Before long, we were heading down Street Road with sights set on a new regime. My goal was to increase energy and my mom’s was to consolidate her current supplements.

We arrived and were greeted by a lovely representative who listened with intent and gave us choices based on each of our specific needs. She made it very clear that she was not a medical provider and therefore could not tell us what to take. Rather, she was making recommendations based on our respective goals.

After about 45 minutes of snaking the aisles, we landed right back where our tour began. I chose a comprehensive multivitamin Country Life’s Core Daily-1 for Women. It seemed to pack the most punch with the greatest variety of vitamins, raw foods and probiotics (including a B vitamin compound specifically designed to boost energy). Coincidentally, Country Life makes a variation of the exact vitamin designed for women 50+ with compounds to support bone density and digestion, etc… that my mom purchased.

I also got an amazing product by Vibrant Health called Green Vibrance which is essentially all of the major super foods in a powder form to be taken daily with water or mixed in your smoothie.

To be honest with you, I have never been a vitamin person. I have tried many times in vain to adhere to a vitamin routine. Typically, I find that they are very hard to take, there never seems to be a good time to take them, and when I do, they leave me nauseous and feeling no better off than I did prior to taking them.

This truly has been an entirely different experience for me. I believe the difference can be attributed to a combination of having received a mini education in supplements at Bunn’s and the fact that I really do feel so much different (more energy) even after two weeks of taking them. Also, I have been taking the vitamins after dinner, rather than in the morning, which seems to have eliminated the nausea that I normally associate with taking supplements.

I highly recommend taking a trip to a natural health food store and talking to someone there about how you can better support your health goals with supplements. If you are in the vicinity of Bucks County, perhaps you will make the trip to Bunn’s. If not, I would suggest going to Whole Foods where the staff is also very knowledgeable and the products are both more natural and more potent than the drug store variety.

I hope that this information helps you as much as it has helped me. I will continue to keep you posted on my health journey and would love to hear your experiences as well. Please feel free to share below or tweet me @christiemandia.

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Each week, on Mindful Mondays, Christie shares her tips and tricks toward a healthier lifestyle. Give these tips a try to improve your health, wellness and quality of life!