People often ask me two primary questions: One, what, exactly is a naturopathic doctor, and two, what do they and you use to stay in optimal health?
The first is (of course) a breeze to answer. A naturopathic doctor—also called an ND— studies the same medical conventions as your standard physician, but also pays particular mind to psychology, nutrition, supplements and complementary therapies such as massage and acupuncture. We live by the tenet that our bodies are capable of healing themselves and to this end, urge holistic forms of treatment.
Now, what do we rely on to encourage mind, body and spiritual wellness? That gets a bit trickier, and is not only subjective but also contingent upon where I am in life and what, precisely, I need at the time. And yet, I still have a few things that I turn to on a regular basis.
In particular, here are seven items I consistently fill my cart with at Vitacost.com.
7 Must-Haves for Maintaining a Healthy Lifestyle
1. Herbs and supplements
As the Institute for Natural Medicine puts it, “Modern botanical medicine combines evidence-based science along with centuries-old experience to provide safe and effective treatments that support the body’s ability to heal.”
I’d second that—my medicine chest is filled with herbs and supplements that I take to bolster my overall wellness. Chief among these? Zinc, an essential mineral that naturally fosters immune health; reishi, which is believed to boost well-being and delay the signs of aging; vitamin C, which organically supports the neutralization of free radicals and promotes tissue health, and a quality multivitamin, which I consider a brilliant and vital form of heath insurance.
2. Fiber Smart
I do my best to eat fiber on the daily, often filling my plate with everything from leafy greens to cruciferous vegetables to lentils. And yet, sometimes extra measures are required for proper digestion.
For this, I turn to Fiber Smart—a supplement comprised of organic flax fiber, L-glutamine, probiotics and herbs. It helps encourage digestive equilibrium and intestinal health, and often results in feeling light, clean and fantastic.
3. All-Natural Beauty Products
While natural beauty products are becoming increasingly popular, I still shy away from what’s typically sold at Cos Bar and Ulta. Why? A number of products are filled with toxic ingredients such as parabens and perfumes, which can wreak havoc on the skin and the body.
Instead, I turn to Vitacost.com to get my personal-products-fill, often indulging in products like Burt’s Bee’s Beeswax lip balm (which is petroleum, phthalate, and cruelty-free), mineral foundation, organic mascara and eyeliner and all-natural (and oh-so-necessary) sunscreen.
4. Amazing Grass Powders
In lieu of coffee every morning, I make an invigorating drink with Amazing Grass’s Amazing Trio. A combination of barley grass, wheat grass and alfalfa, this gluten-free, raw and organic blend boasts a number of key vitamins and minerals, including beta-carotene, vitamin K, riboflavin, iron and calcium.
In my view, a spoonful of this stuff with hot water, MCT oil (more on this below) and almond milk is more energizing than a triple-venti latte.
5. MCT Oil
Two years ago, I road-tested the keto diet to see if it would be a viable option for my mother. While the diet didn’t last—there were only so many macadamia nuts I could manage—what remained was my commitment to MCT oil.
Commercially made out of palm and coconut oil, medium-chain triglyceride (or MCT) oil offers a host of wellness benefits: Thanks to its huge dose of healthy saturated fats, it naturally supports a sense of satiety and improved cognitive function; it also helps to control blood sugar levels.
Nutiva’s MCT Powder with Prebiotic ACACIA Fiber Matcha is a particularly good choice, in that it contains prebiotics and a small amount of maltodextrin, which makes it blend well with the fats. I usually use this in my morning smoothie. (Bonus points: the matcha in this product tastes great, too.)
6. Chocolate Green Superfood
Sound like an oxymoron? Think again. Amazing Grass—the brand I mentioned above—also makes a potent Green Superfood powder that tastes like I’ve landed in chocolate heaven but reminds me why we all should eat from the earth: Made up of over 3200 milligrams of greens, organic herbs and foods—including wheat grass, broccoli, acai, rosehips and maca—a single serving helps me meet my 5-9 daily servings of fruits and vegetables (while tasting delicious to boot). It’s cleansing and nourishing, and leaves me feeling rejuvenated and ready.
7. Vanilla MCT Powder
Everyone needs a treat now and then—and we NDs are big on promoting balance. And yet, instead of reaching for desserts that’ll inevitably leave me feeling worse, I seek out products that do double-duty. Nutiva’s MCT Powder with Prebiotic ACACIA Fiber Vanilla satisfies my sweet tooth and enhances my workout.
I add it to the chocolate green superfood I mentioned above, or simply add it to boiling water. Either way, it’s akin to a creamy mug of hot cocoa—only without all of the sugar. Indeed, it’s just the right combination of indulgence and energy to power through my day, inside and out of my naturopathic center.