Wednesday, January 17, 2018

My Winter Supplement Routine and What I Ate Wednesday (A Day of Vegan Eats)

As I write this post, the sun is shining through the trees in my front yard. I feel such joy when I see even weak rays of sun shining on six inches of snow. If you've never lived in a climate with a long, snowy winter and a lack of sunshine, I'm not sure you can understand how downright depressing it can be. This winter has been especially cold and it makes it all the more tempting to just curl up with a blanket and hibernate. Not always possible, of course, and not only that, it's not the most healthy approach. We humans need exercise and sunshine to flourish.

We bought a spinning bike and an elliptical trainer from a gym that was downsizing in December. I have used the elliptical exactly twice. (I won't use the bike because that type of position bothers my cranky old neck.) The first time I used the elliptical, my head immediately started to hurt. My headache lasted three days. (A sign of how out of shape I am?). The second time I started off more slowly and it went a lot better. My sister-in-law and I are planning more walks outside when the temperature gets closer to zero too.

In the meantime, I am using my happy lamp for 15 minutes a day and trying to keep up my winter supplement routine. Not shown in the photo, above, is Evening Primrose Oil. I take one teaspoon of Evening Primrose Oil in a small amount of orange juice each morning. I use a liquid form because otherwise it's enclosed in (non-vegan) gelatin capsules. The oil helps keep the skin on my face, scalp and legs from drying out in this furnace-heated indoor air.

Why I Take Vitamin B12

In terms of supplements, the most important for me is vitamin B12. I tend to be low in B12 if I don't supplement. This can be a concern for vegans, but also for non-vegans as well. It's a good idea to get your levels checked next time you have blood work. With age, it can be harder to absorb B12, and deficiency in this vitamin can have nasty repercussions like weakness, heart palpitations, nerve issues and depression.

Other Supplements

It can be a balancing act taking several supplements in a day, especially when some are to be taken between meals and some are to be taken with food. Read the labels, because I've noticed that one brand suggests one thing while another brand of the same type of vitamin or supplement suggests another. The label on the last probiotics I bought said to take the capsule before eating. My current bottle says to consume with food.

Each day I take vitamin D (2,000 IU) to make up for the lack of sunshine, as well as probiotics to help promote good bacteria in the gut and ward off colds and flus. I get occasional migraines or just "cloudy" kind of numbing headaches, so lately I've been taking magnesium to see if it helps balance my system a bit. The label suggests taking three to six capsules a day, but I've been taking one or two. I don't want to throw too much of something at my tummy at once. Plus, these supplements can get expensive.

I am not recommending any particular brands, because I tend to switch depending on what's on sale or what people recommend to me. I also look for supplements that are suitable for vegans, although I just realized that I didn't fully read the label on the Sisu vitamin D I bought. It's a D3, which can be vegan or not, and it doesn't say which, meaning it could be from some source like sheep's wool.

Nowadays I find that I'm exhausted in the last couple of days of my period. I don't take iron all the time, but my doctor suggested taking it during my period. I was using Floradix Iron & Herbs liquid, but I found it seems to get used up quickly and it's quite expensive, so this time I bought Floradix iron tablets. There are 80 in the box and I take one per day during my period and for a week or so after.

That's the supplement routine that's working for me right now. I'm not an expert, so definitely consult your doctor or natural health practitioner if you want to switch up your routine or if you're worried about drug interactions. I know people differ on suggestions for the amount of vitamin D you should take too. It's fat-soluble and stored in body tissues, so you can get too much of a good thing.

What I Ate Wednesday

My daughter was home with a cold for two days this week. My What I Ate Wednesday day of vegan eats fell on Tuesday, her second day home. We were pretty tired of being in the house at that point, and she had been asking for scones a lot. I made vegan raisin scones on Monday evening and again on Tuesday morning for breakfast. Before that I had been having oatmeal topped with fruit each morning for more than a week, so I was due for a treat. We had organic raspberry jam and decaf green tea on the side.

For lunch, we had leftover curry from a very simple recipe in Lookbook Cookbook: Simple, Delicious, Gluten-free & Vegan Dishes for Fashion Loving Foodies. I got the cookbook on clearance at Chapters and it's really inexpensive online too. It has a lot of easy peasy vegan recipes for those days you want something quick and healthy. We also had leftover Yves Veggie Cuisine kale and quinoa bites. They taste a lot like falafel balls, but milder. I would recommend serving them like falafel, in a pita with tomatoes, cucumber, pickles and tahini sauce.

By mid-afternoon, my daughter was complaining that I wouldn't go out and get her a smoothie from Booster Juice. I said I'd make something, but we didn't have orange juice (which she wanted in her fruit smoothie) so she suggested a smoothie of chocolate soy milk with frozen banana. I added half an avocado too and we both had a little smoothie.

We were feeling pretty dismal by dinner time, so I suggested we have some good ole comfort food. I had out my copy of The Edgy Veg: 138 Carnivore-Approved Vegan Recipes, because I shared two brunch recipes from the book here on the blog yesterday. We settled on a breakfast-for-dinner scenario. What could be more comforting than that? I made Southern Biscuits and Gravy and we ate them with vegan sausage. I undercooked the biscuits and the gravy wasn't my favourite, but it was a simple and filling enough meal. I was feeling too gloomy for salad at that point. I did have orange juice, for something resembling fruit.

Be sure to enter to win a copy of The Edgy Veg in this post.

So, what's your supplement routine in winter? Does it change from the rest of the year? What do you eat for comfort food?

Linking up to WIAW at Sprint2TheTable.

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  1. I love those Yves quinoa bites! They are the perfect addition to so many dishes :)

    1. They are great! I'd love to hear how you use them.

  2. those kale and quinoa bites look so tasty!

    1. Yes, and they are healthy and convenient too!

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