Supplements and superfoods in my arsenal
The concept of beauty is ever-changing for me. In my 20s I just wanted clear skin. So I would bombard my face with various serums ad treatments not realising that a beautiful complexion is an inside job. In my early 30s I’d nailed clear skin but I wanted a slimmer waist. Thankfully I realised that I just had to cut all the crap but not nourishing foods like ghee, wholegrains, veggies and lentils. Now in my late 30s I just want to be healthy - I don’t want to fall sick, I want to be physically strong, I want to feel energised, and be mentally sharp. For me outer beauty is a symptom of inner health. If I’m energetic, strong and free of disease then obviously I’ll look good. Honestly, I’m tired of the concept of delicate beauty. That perfect makeup and blow-dry is worth nothing if you can’t pick up your own suitcase. Some of the most attractive women I’ve met are energetic, active, strong and sharp as tack. Skin, hair, smile etc are just superficial parameters of attractiveness.
So this winter I’ve been building myself up. I’ve mixed strength training with yoga, I’m eating a ton of farmer food (bajra roti, sarson saag, ghee, gur), and I’m popping some basic supplements and ayurvedic concoctions to boost immunity. I haven’t caught a cold or flu all season and I feel stronger than ever before. Here’s the list:
- Calcium with vitamin D
I take about 1500mg everyday. I need to take this because of the hormonal pills I have to pop because of endometriosis. If you are over 35 there’s a chance you may need to supplement calcium too. But check with your doctor before starting with these.
- Vitamin C
I take 1,000mg everyday. Vitamin C is water soluble, which means that you’ll pee the excess out. The chances of toxicity with this vitamin are extremely rare. This is the ultimate antioxidant and also helps build collagen from within. Currently I’m taking Solgar Vitamin C with Rosehips but you can take any other brand.
- Omega 3
I take a 1000mg everyday. The brand I currently use is Hum Nutrition because they have the highest amounts of EPA and DHA (the active ingredients in fish oil). Most brands have very low amounts of these two components, which make the supplements quite useless. So when you’re picking up fish oil, check the ingredients for EPA and DHA. See this old post on how to select a good fish oil capsule.
You do not need to take these necessarily. I’m just taking them because I had a surgery some time ago and I still feel tender. Turmeric is the best supplement for internal healing. But definitely do not supplement it in summer because its too hot. I like the Organic India Turmeric Formula because it uses the whole root instead of just extracting the curcumin. It also contains trikatu (a combination of black pepper, long pepper and dried ginger) that helps the turmeric get absorbed by the body. I take this and omega 3 together because the fat also helps turmeric get assimilated by the body.
I’ve been eating a big spoonful of this every morning with a cup of tulsi tea. I find it really delicious so it’s a real treat. Chyawanprash’s main ingredients are amla (SO much of vitamin C) and ashwagandha (to strengthen nerves, lift mood and boost immunity). I love the Organic India Chyawanprash because its really yummy and made with the purest ingredients.
My grandfather took it all his life and he died at the age of 96 with all his hair and all his teeth. I mix a tsp with hot water and drink it just before sleeping as a tea. Triphala is made with amla (massive amounts of vitamin C), haritaki (an excellent digestive), and bhibhitaki (also packed with vitamin C and antioxidants). I feel like this churna is an anti ageing elixir and really great for digestion. And great digestion is always related to great skin. I got this triphala from Dr Uppoor in Goa, but if I were to choose something it would be the Devang House Triphala. You can also make your own at home by grinding equal quantities of amla, haritaki and bhibhitaki.
My mother was quite horrified when I picked up a small bottle of this amazing Himalayan tar. In India we look at it as a male aphrodisiac and she could not comprehend why I’d want to eat something for ‘arousal’. But shilajit is actually a really potent antioxidant-and-mineral-rich ingredient. It’s made of plants and minerals that were compressed under the Himalayas for decades. When summer comes these pressurised minerals ooze out from the mountains like a resin. It’s only my first day drinking a gram of it mixed with warm almond milk and honey, but I’ll give you the full report once I use it for a while.