Whether you’d like to ditch your supplements for one week, one month, or for the entire 90-Days, we applaud you for considering The 90-Day No Supplement Challenge. We believe we CAN get everything we need from food and then some, and we’re excited to get started.
Our goal: to get the essential 13 Vitamins from what we eat (or from sunlight for Vitamin D). So for the next 90-Days we’ll track our nutrient intake with a food calculator, we’ll post recipes, and update on our progress here. We’ll also pay attention to sources and intakes of Calcium, Choline, and protein.
Are you in? Awesome!
Here’s what you’ll be looking to get from all the amazing meals you’ll be cooking and eating.
The Essential 13
Vitamin A (Retinol)
Vitamin B1 (Thiamine)
Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin)
Vitamin B3 (Niacin)
Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic Acid)
Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine)
Vitamin B7 (Biotin)
Vitamin B9 (Folate/Folic Acid)
Vitamin B12 (Cobalamin)
Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid)
Plus, Choline (some calls this the 14th vitamin) and Calcium.
The Rules – What we won’t eat on the 90-Day Challenge
NO multivitamins. For the next 90-days we’ll say goodbye to our One-A-Day, our B complex vitamins, and even our prenatal vitamins. If it’s a nutrient or mineral in pill form, we’ll be skipping it. Worried? I’ll be making sure my husband and I get the recommended amount of folate from food! If you’re vegan, and want to undertake the 90-Day No Supplement Challenge, welcome! The only supplement exception is for you and those with a diagnosed medical condition.* B12 in supplement form is allowed for vegans.
NO plant powders. Things like pomegranate powder and spirulina powder are NOT allowed on the 90-Day No Supplement Challenge. We’ll get our antioxidants from whole foods. BUT drinkable teas, and tea powders to make them, are okay as beverages. Milled flax is also allowed as it is considered a food, not a supplement. Nut flours are encouraged, as they are also considered foods, not supplements.
NO protein powders. No goat, whey, hemp, soy, chia, or pea protein powders are allowed on the 90-Day Challenge. But if you take chia seeds, for example, and process them into a powder at home as part of a recipe – more power to you! I realize that this may make the challenge difficult for vegans and vegetarians, but there are other ways to get protein, like adding whole seeds, nuts, and even beans to smoothies.
NO herbs or extracts. Plant compounds CAN be powerful stuff. In appropriate doses they can be medicinal or harmful. But that’s why, unless you are under the care of a licensed Herbal Medicine or Naturopathic doctor and have a prescription, that bottle of St. John’s Wort should stay on the shelf for the next 90-Days. Don’t let that stop you from using your food as your medicine, however. Foods like honey, and spices like turmeric, as long as they’re not in supplement form, are welcome during the challenge.
Other supplements . Everything from Melatonin to that pre workout fat burning potion are off limits for the next 90-Days. If it says “Dietary Supplement” on the label, shelve it.
The goal of the 90-Day No Supplement Challenge IS to eliminate supplements, multivitamins, protein powders, AND fortified and enriched foods. Many of the foods you’ve come to know as a source of a certain vitamin don’t naturally contain them. Vitamin A & D Milk is a good example.
Organic Valley explains:
“Vitamin A: We are required by law to add vitamin A to all of our skim/fat free/nonfat milk, lowfat (1%) milk, and reduced-fat (2%) milk. This is because vitamin A is “fat soluble,” so you lose vitamin A content when you reduce fat in fluid milk. We do add vitamin A to some of our whole milk products also. For confirmation, please reference the ingredient label.
Vitamin D: We add vitamin D to all Organic Valley fluid milks, with the exception of some specialty milk products. Vitamin D is naturally present in milk, but it can be low due to several factors like cow breed, seasonal exposure to sunlight, diet, and lactation. For confirmation, please reference the ingredient label.”
It’s not always easy to spot fortified and enriched foods. The key is to read ingredient labels. We typically don’t drink milk in our house, but we do consume dairy alternatives, almost all of which are enriched with synthetic micronutrients.
How can you spot them? First, realize that most of the milk alternatives you drink don’t naturally contain things like Folic Acid and Vitamin A. Second, read the ingredient label carefully. Naturally occurring micronutrients are not listed as an ingredient because they don’t need to be added. Here are the ingredients for Almond Breeze as an example.
|INGREDIENTS: ALMONDMILK (FILTERED WATER, ALMONDS), CALCIUM CARBONATE, SEA SALT, POTASSIUM CITRATE, CARRAGEENAN, SUNFLOWER LECITHIN, NATURAL FLAVOR, VITAMIN A PALMITATE, VITAMIN D2 AND D-ALPHA-TOCOPHEROL (NATURAL VITAMIN E).|
Another big source of synthetic vitamins are breakfast cereals and breads. Energy drinks are also off limits. As is white flour, since it’s required to be fortified with Folic Acid.
There’s never been a better time to ditch your supplements and multivitamins. There’s never been a better time to eat healthier food! With Whole Foods, Farmer’s Markets, and even Walmart beefing up their produce departments, there’s no excuse not to. We can get the essential nutrients we require from what we eat, no multivitamin required. And it’s never been easier to obtain fresh, healthy produce and good quality animal products. No Farmer’s Market near you? Head to the frozen aisle where frozen fruits, vegetables, and meats are the second best option. When making your meals think fresh first, frozen second, and canned third.
We’re convinced that when we start paying attention, and cut out synthetic vitamins and unnecessary supplements, we’ll feel better, look better, and be on our way to long-term health!
Are you as excited as we are to cut out the fortified products and empty promise pills? We’re humans, not Jetson characters, and it’s time to start eating like it!
Want to read about what inspired me to do the 90-Day No Supplement Challenge in the first place? Check out my story here.
*If you have any questions about your health and diet, please consult with your doctor or naturopath before doing the 90-Day No Supplement Challenge or adopting any changes to your regular regime.