9 Vitamins & Supplements I Use and Recommend

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The week of March 11th sees the beginning of Nutrition and Hydration Week

This week is an annual event which aims to highlight, promote and celebrate improvements in the provision of nutrition and hydration locally, nationally and globally.

I have previously written posts about hydration as this is especially important for us ostomates.

Coping With A Stomach Bug When You Have An Ileostomy

Top 5 Hydration Tips

Today I thought I would share some information about the supplements I take to try and keep myself healthy. As always – I am not medically trained and this post is based on my own research and myself. Please ask your doctor for advice on your own situation and needs.

Vitamins and Supplements

I regularly take supplements – both prescribed and over the counter to help give my body a boost. I have two auto-immune diseases and take medication which lowers my immune response. Crohn’s Disease also makes it difficult to absorb everything you need from food, and you often have to get these levels tested followed by treatment if they are low. I have written a list of nine supplements I take regularly and how they help me.

Calcium and Vitamin D


Calcium has several important functions.
These include:
– helping build strong bones and teeth
– regulating muscle contractions, including your heartbeat
– making sure blood clots normally

NHS

This is one I am prescribed by my doctor as I am on steroids. Steroid treatment can cause thinning of the bones so you are given a calcium tablet to take alongside them, along with Vitamin D to help regulate it.


Vitamin D helps regulate the amount of calcium and phosphate in the body.
These nutrients are needed to keep bones, teeth and muscles healthy.

NHS

Better You Oral Iron Spray

(AD ] gifted previously but not for this post)

Better You Iron Daily Oral Spray

I have written an in-depth review of this for A Balanced Belly which you can read here.

This has been the only type of iron that I have used and noticed a difference in my levels with, that hasn’t involved going for hospital infusions. I am, unable to take iron tablets due to the effect they have on exacerbating my Crohn’s Disease. I found similar with the liquid iron which is supposed to be easier on the digestive system. Even though I try and eat an iron rich diet, it does not give me enough. The spray is really easy to use and it doesn’t taste too bad! Four sprays inside my cheek and I am good to go for the day!

Check out the spray at Better You’s website


Iron is important in making red blood cells, which carry oxygen around the body.
A lack of iron can lead to iron deficiency anaemia.

NHS

Vitamin C & Zinc


Vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid, has several important functions.
These include:
– helping to protect cells and keeps them healthy
– maintaining healthy skin, blood vessels, bones and cartilage
– helping with wound healing

NHS

I buy this over the counter and take it as it is good for giving the immune system a boost. I am on a couple of immuno-suppressant drugs and try and think I will do everything to give my body a fighting chance.

Magnesium Bath Salts

Magnesium Bath Flakes

Currently something my body is struggling to hold on to is magnesium. One of the best ways to absorb this is through the skin which is why the bath salts are so good. I like the ones from Better You as I notice more of a difference after using them, but you can buy them from places like Asda and Home Bargains. They really help ease my joints and I feel refreshed after having a soak in them.

Better You has a range of forms of magnesium including the bath salts and gels which you can rub into the skin. See them on the Better You website


Magnesium is a mineral that helps:
– turn the food we eat into energy
– make sure the parathyroid glands, which produce hormones important for bone health, work normally

NHS

Multivitamin with Iron

I buy this over the counter just to give all the vitamins and my iron a boost.

Alflorex

(AD ] Gifted)

I was contacted by the people at Precision Biotics about their new product to help those with IBS. I have IBD but when I asked them about what the product was, I thought it would still be a great thing to try.

I find the world of probiotics and digestive heath a really interesting one. Alflorex contains a unique probiotic and in clinical trials has been shown to reduce

  • Bloating & gas
  • Abdominal Pain
  • Unpredictable bowel movements like diarrhoea and constipation

I was especially interested in seeing if it would help me with bloating. As possibly the only girl with Crohn’s Disease who has an anaphalactic reaction to Buscopan, I rely peppermint tea which doesn’t always help.

I was sent a sample month’s supply and am pleased to report I saw some great results and would definitely recommend. I felt it really helped my bloating and the pain associated with it. I have even been able to have the occasional fizzy drink without the usual, painful side effects. Due to having a stoma I am not in the best place to comment on unpredictable bowel movements, but if you do suffer from these symptoms, from the results I found with my bloating, I would definitely be inclined to give it a try. It is also suitable for those on the low FODMAP diet.

Alflorex

Visit the Precision Biotics UK website to read more and to shop

Vitamin B Complex

Another over the counter one which is just an attemt to build up the whole array of B vitamins in my body.

Folic Acid


Folate is a B vitamin found in many foods. The manmade form of folate is called folic acid.
Folate is also known as folacin and vitamin B9.
Folate helps:
– the body form healthy red blood cells
– reduce the risk of central neural tube defects, such as spina bifida, in unborn babies

NHS

I am on a folic acid supplement as I take Methotrexate and this can help lessen the severity of side effects. IBD patients can also become easily deficient in this and so are also given supplements for it.

Better You b12 Oral Spray

Another nod to Better You and this time their B12 Oral Spray. I think the way Better You are helping patients by looking at HOW we best absorb the things we need is fantastic. Having certain parts of your bowel removed can lead to you being low in b12 and needing injections. I use this to hopefully prevent that, and it tastes lovely too!

Better You Boost B12 Daily Spray

Check out the Better You website for more on this


Vitamin B12 is involved in:
– making red blood cells and keeping the nervous system healthy
– releasing energy from food
– using folic acid

NHS

I hope this post has been helpful and has given you some ideas about things to look into and try. Feel free to let me know anything you recommend in the comments below, or ask if you have further questions and I will try and help.

References

NHS website – Vitamins and Minerals

January Challenge

Good morning and happy new year! Who else is so ready for 2019? I am definitely hoping for lots more positive and happy experiences this year and am ready to get working for them.

December Challenge

I am pleased to say I completed my Instagram photo challenge last month and am rather pleased with my little self! The prompts were great and definitely got me thinking about everything around Christmas. I also was pleased to discover a couple of other great parent bloggers over on Instagram through the challenge. Thanks for hosting The Granthams!

January Challenge

It sounds cliche, but this year I am starting with a fitness challenge. I was definitely wanting to lose some weight prior to Christmas, but thought waiting till after the festivities were over was the best idea!

I have tried not to over indulge too much and have not been a total pig, but after the years of steroids taking their toll, I am heavier than I am happy with and ready to get down to a version of me that I am more content with.

I know many will look at me and say you aren’t overweight, and I understand that, but I am happier when I weigh a little less than I am now and am looking to get back down to 56/57 kilos.

My Weight Journey

For most of my adult life my weight has been pretty consistent at around 50-52 kilos. A Crohn’s flare in December 2013 saw my weight plummet by a stone in just 6 days over Christmas, but at the time I just battled through it as it wasn’t long after my diagnosis and I thought I just had to crack on, as you do! Prior to my ostomy surgery in 2016 I was down to 40kg and severely ill. As I had been poorly for around six months, I didn’t quite realise how poorly I looked during this time. Now I look back at photos and the skeleton shape staring back horrifies me.

The photo on the right is me in April 2016 weighing just 40 kilos and severely ill

Following my hemicolectomy and ostomy surgery, I began putting back on the weight my body had lost and was feeling much healthier. After being used to such a skinny appearance for so long, I struggled with this though too. I remember sharing a photo of me holding my cousins newborn baby and everybody saying that I looked so healthy and so much happier – I felt huge. The constant yo-yoing of weight caused by my Crohn’s Disease had caused me to suffer with BDD.

I HATED this photo for so long and thought I looked massive

What Is BDD?

Body Dysmorphic Disorder is a mental health condition which causes you to worry about flaws in your appearance. These flaws are often minor, or not even noticeable to others. Because I had been poorly for so long and had become used to how skinny and underweight I was, the weight gain I experienced post surgery affected me badly at first, making me think I was hugely overweight. In fact, I was around 56/57 kilos which, although heavier than my usual body weight, was actually very healthy and I now look back on that photo and love it!

Find out more about BDD, symptoms and what to do if you think you have it on the NHS Website

The Goal

Since having a couple of bad flares and rounds of IV steroids, I have developed the ‘moonface’ people often struggle with, as well as an increase in appetite which has caused me to gain a lot more weight. My goal is now to get back down to around 56/57 kilos which was my weight post surgery and where I felt most confident and happy.

Diet

To do this I will be ‘dieting’ to an extent. I eat pretty healthy meals anyway but I would like to stick to a healthier schedule of eating and make sure my snacks are healthier. Having a stoma and Crohn’s Disease won’t make this ease, as I struggle with fibre and have to stick to lower residue foods but I am ready for the challenge and also looking into low FODMAP as a potential thing to try.

Exercise

I have really been falling down on my exercise this last year and this is where I am going to make a concerted effort to improve. I used to walk the children to and from school every day and now don’t have that to do, so I have cut out a huge chunk of my normal daily activity.

I found this on Pinterest and loved the fact it was quite relaxed and you could choose different styles of workouts to fit the theme each day. As I have arthritis many of the workout plans posted are entirely unsuitable, or have certain chucks of them that I have to miss out. I will be swapping the yoga sections fop Pilates as this is very similar and something I already do and enjoy.

I grabbed this from He & She Eat Clean and they do have some workouts for the cardio and strength training days if you would like to have a look!

Would love some exercise buddies, so if you want to join in please pop a comment below – we could maybe start a little chat group where we can keep an eye on how we are all doing and motivate one another. I am really looking forward to this challenge, although we will see if that mentality continues to the end of the month… wish me luck!

Ways To Make Your Favourite Naughty Food Healthy by Guest Blogger Brittnay Sharman

Today I have another guest post, this time written by the lovely Brittnay Sharman.  Brittnay is an Australian who lived in London for two years.  She managed to squeeze in 21 trips to Europe & Africa in that time . She is passionate about her health and her family.  You will find her healthy and delicious recipes on The Nut Butter Hub

nut butter

Ways to Make Your Favourite Naughty Food Healthy

Junk food is great right? It’s scrummy and tasty and moreish, but it’s not always so great for our health. The likes of cheesy pizza, crispy fries and ice cream make it difficult to avoid. Just need to arm yourself with a little bit of knowledge to understand how to tweak  your favourites so you can still enjoy them. Here are some healthier alternatives our favourite comfort food.

Don’t Step Away from The French Fries

The next time you want fries try baking them instead of deep frying them litres of oil. When at home try tossing your sweet potato wedges in a bag with olive oil and semolina. This coating with ensure you get a crispy oven chip every time. You can also try using a healthy oil like coconut to help reduce your cholesterol levels.

Healthy Fried Rice, That Still Tastes like Rice

Rice can be good in moderation however, if you find that when you cook it there is enough for the whole village (and you managed it eat it all) it might be time to find an alternative.

All you need to do is roughly chop your cauliflower and throw in a food processor for a minute.  You will find that the texture is very similar to rice. Use this ‘faux’ rice can be used in any dish where you would have normally used white rice and it tastes just the same. One of our favourites is cauliflower fried rice, the family didn’t even blink an eyelid when I served this one up!

Add Some Smoky Flavours

Smoking food is a simple way of packing loads of flavour into your food. It also adds a great depth to your dishes. You can hot or cold smoke your food to give different depth of flavour. Hot smoking both cooks and flavours your food whereas cold smoking only flavours it

I’m sure we’ve all heard of smoking meat and fish however, using your gas smoker you can also smoke fruit & vegetables. This can open up the world to a new level of tastes! What about smoked garlic or smoked aubergines? You can use different woods to give different smoke flavours or even soak the wood in your wine. You can also add spices and herbs to your smoker to infuse new flavours

Use Healthy Natural Sweeteners

One of the main culprits for making your food unhealthy is sugar. Well, there are lots of things which are naturally, which you can use to replace sugar.

You can use honey, dates, agave or coconut sugar as a replacement for sugar in recipes. Dried fruits like sultanas are a great way of making cereals a bit sweeter and palatable. Bananas are great for making pancakes with, they add a sweetness that is absolutely delicious

Make Your Own Chocolate Bars

If you find you a get a hankering for chocolate, try making it yourself. There is a huge difference between cocoa and cacao, so just by making the conscious decision to use better ingredients will improve your healthy. Cacao powder is packed with nutrients and taste just as good as cocoa. We love making our own truffles, it only takes a few simple ingredients such as coconut oil, cacao powder and sea salt.

Can’t Give Up Mac and Cheese?

Processed pasta is not a good thing to eat on a regular basis. Get rid of boxed mac and cheese and make some at home. You can make a velvety cheese-based sauce with added butternut squash. This sweet taste on mac and cheese is sure to be satisfying.

Take it a step further and replace your high carb noodles with a plant-based pasta made out of chickpeas or legumes. The texture may be a little grainier than regular pasta but it tastes almost the same.  

Educating yourself is crucial when it comes to eating well. Rather than denying yourself or overindulging, just a few tweaks here and there won’t have you missing out on anything. Turn these idea and behaviours in habits to ensure you lead the healthiest lifestyle possible (well still enjoying it)!

 

Super Smoothies?

I’ve been trying to up my fruit and vegetable intake recently. Anyone with Crohns/an ileostomy will know this can be tricky as many are off limits for different reasons – too much fibre, skins have to be removed, blockage causers – the list goes on.

One way I have started to get more of the good stuff in me lately is by drinking smoothies and fruit/veg juices. I wondered if any of you were able to share any great recipes with me (or where you get your pre-made ones from). I’ve been getting Asda’s own ones but I’m getting a little bored of the flavours now. Some of them are so expensive though, so I thought I would give some recipes a try.

I was sent this one by the lovely people at Palm PR and it caught my eye as it looked super yummy and is purple – the Crohns & Colitis Awareness ribbon colour! I thought I would share this to get you started and see what wonderful ideas you have to help increase my 5-a-day target. Please let me know your smoothie recipes in the comments below, as well as what you think of this one!

Purple Immunity Smoothie

Immunity Smoothie.jpg

1 Sambazon Original Superfruit Packs

1 c Orange Juice

½ Banana, frozen

¼ c Pineapple Chunks, frozen

½ tsp Ginger, ground

Top with Fresh Berries

Put everything in the blender (make sure to break up your Superfruit Packs), blend until really thick – adding more liquid if necessary – then pour into a bowl, top with your favorite fresh berries and enjoy!

I’m excited to try this – the fruit combo sounds delicious and I know ginger is widely recommended for lots of things. I’ve also recently spotted lots of different frozen fruit packs in Aldi so know I will be able to pick up those from there. I will let you know how I get on in the coming weeks with this. Thanks in advance for any hints, tips and recipes you share

NatalieThe Spoonie Mummy