Monday, May 6, 2013

Alternative Medicine: Supplements and Shakes

Dreamstime stock photo - source

Other posts in this series:
What is an alternative medicine doctor and what do they do?
What testing do you get when you choose alternative medicine?

So what do you do when you are eating a very limited diet and you need more nutrition than you can get through food?  You add in a whole bunch of nutritional supplements.

Besides giving me a new diet, the Naturopathic doctor also "prescribed" nutritional supplements for me.  I say "prescribed" in quotes because she wrote them down as if they were prescriptions, but they are all over-the-counter items and they are all natural, non-synthetic vitamins, minerals and amino acids that are normally found in your body.  There is really no prescription needed.

The first set of items I mix up together in a shake every morning:
Thankfully, on my way home from Atlanta, I stopped off at a good friend's house in Chattanooga.  She sells Advocare products and is much more wise about nutritional supplements than I am.  I had her look through all my stuff to make sure it was normal, non-quacky products.  She assured me that it was.  

Her husband was also invaluable because he showed me how to mix all this up into a good tasting shake.  Personally, I had never made a protein kind of shake in my life.  But, thanks to Jon, I can now whip up a shake every morning for breakfast.  The secret?  Add frozen strawberries and some honey.  Makes it super yummy.  The Foundation Gut Enhancement itself is vanilla flavored and would probably taste OK without the strawberries, but it is yellow and all I can think about when I see it is that it looks like I'm drinking pollen.  I just can't stomach it by itself.  So I add the strawberries to make it pink and I put it in a dark glass.  Then I can't see the pollen looking yellowy parts as much.

Also on my list to take are a bunch of supplements in pill form:
  • Ultrazyme - A digestive enzyme to take with each meal.  It just helps the food to be digested easier and for the digestive tract to get a little break.
  • Liver pills - Integrates vitamins and minerals to improve liver function.  Your liver helps detox your body from any drugs you may be taking.  Since I am taking a lot, my liver has been working overtime.  So she prescribed several things to aid liver function.
  • Pro-adrenal - Helps provide support for your adrenal gland, the infamous stress hormone gland.
There are, in total, 12 pills to take every day.  It's a lot to remember.  I have 3 pills containers now - one for breakfast, one for lunch, and one for dinner.

The last set of supplements are those I take at bedtime.  I have been on sleeping pills for over a year now and have been having a hard time weaning myself off of them.  In light of that the doctor prescribed me something to help me feel sleepy more naturally:
  • MaxRelax - A mixture of several amino acids.  This causes you to relax and keeps your mind from racing when you are trying to go to sleep.
  • Natural Calm Magnesium - Magnesium is used for a lot of things, but in this case, it is used for liver repair.
These two are both dissolved in water.  The MaxRelax is cherry flavored and, by itself, just wasn't very good.  So instead of having 2 glasses of water for 2 different things, I decided to just mix them together.  The magnesium is raspberry-lemon flavored and together, they are much better.

This list is very overwhelming to add to my daily regiment.  To make it easier, instead of adding them in all at once, I added them in slowly over a few weeks.  I started with the Foundation Gut Repair and added in a new item from the list every 2 days.  That allowed me to see any adverse effects from any of the products.  For instance, the glutamine taken in the recommended doses made my stomach hurt, so I had to play around with a lower dose of that until I could handle it.

I also made up a chart to put on the fridge to tell me what to take at each meal. And, as I told you already, I found 3 separate weekly pill boxes to use, one for each meal.

I didn't like the fact that the appointment ended with them ushering you into their store.  They make sure to tell you that you can buy your supplements from anywhere, but they, conveniently, provide a store on site and knowledgeable sales people to aide you with your purchases.  At that point, I had been there for almost 4 hours.  I was hungry and tired and I just wanted to be finished.  So I handed the list over to their saleslady and she went and collected everything on it.  $300 later, I was ready to go.  Yes, $300 for a one month supply.

The good news is that, since then, I have had time to look around at other places that sell this stuff and I am more knowledgeable for next time.  I can have a list of other prices and other ingredients with me to compare and decide where to buy anything that I need to continue on.

As you can see this was a BIG doctor visit for me.  I'm sorry for the long posts, but I process things by blogging about them and it took me about 3 weeks to process everything.  I just finished my last take-home test.  Hallelujah!  Fingers are crossed that all the results will be ready for my next visit on May 16.  I'd really like to find some answers and a treatment plan that will work well for my pain.

I've provided links to each product that I bought so you can see the ingredients.  I am not being compensated in any way for those links. 

1 comment:

  1. May 16...I hope and pray you get the answers you are seeking, and that are something not too overwhelming. Hate you are having to go through all of this. :(