Healthy Food First, Than Supplements

by Lauren on March 23, 2014

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On Wednesday evening I attended a hormone seminar at Nature’s Emporium. The speaker was a woman named Lorna Vanderhaeghe. She’s a women’s health expert, and has been researching nutritional medicine for over 30 years. She started a company called Health Solutions Inc. and has developed her own line of supplements.

I’m really interested in the area of hormonal imbalance and was excited to attend the seminar and hear what she had to say. I love being around other nutritionists to expand my knowledge and get inspired.

Unfortunately, I left the seminar feeling disappointed, frustrated and uninspired. She spent the entire 2-hour seminar promoting and pushing her line of supplements.

I went through her supplements handout, and they seem legitimate, but in my opinion, supplements should not be the first course of action. What about healthy food first? Supplements should do exactly that: supplement a healthy diet.

I took a detox course through my school (The Canadian School of Natural Nutrition) in October with a focus on hormonal imbalance and you can absolutely treat hormonal issues with food. Eating is such a huge and enjoyable part of life. Doesn’t she want to help people love food again by promoting healthful foods that are not only delicious, but that can also make them feel better?

At one point she actually said: “people don’t want to change the way they eat,” so they should just take supplements.

Of course people don’t want to change. Change is difficult, uncomfortable and requires effort, but I don’t think there’s one success story out there where someone has accomplished something major without change – weight loss, quitting smoking, starting an exercise program – all aspects of healthy living that require change and effort. Nothing worth having comes easily.

Our job as nutritionists is to help people identify imbalances, educate them about healthy food, and help them make changes to their diet and lifestyle to help them feel good and accomplish their health goals. Sometimes supplements are a necessary part of the protocol, but they should never be the only solution.

Plus, it’s expensive! If you listened to Lorna, you’d not only be buying and eating your regular, unhealthy food, but you’d be spending tons of money on supplements every month to try and re-balance the negative affects that your bad food is having on your body. Sounds like a vicious and expensive cycle to me.

One of the most upsetting things was that the room was full of women who came to get help. The majority of women were in their 50s, and desperate to learn how to deal with issues like: menopause symptoms, weight gain, insomnia, fatigue, skin issues, and low energy. They were hanging on her every word; she had a captive audience, and in my opinion it was a wasted opportunity.  She would present a slide that outlined a list of horrible symptoms, and than follow-up with the solution: one of her supplements.

I heard one woman behind me saying that she was already on 6 different supplements from Lorna’s line. I wondered why she was there. Were they not helping?

I’m sure Lorna knows what foods to eat to help rebalance hormones, but she didn’t mention one of them during the entire 2 hours. The message she left with this captive audience of women was: the way to deal with all of these issues & symptoms is with expensive supplements, which were conveniently located outside of the seminar room for purchase on their way out.

I’m attending another seminar on Thursday hosted by holistic nutritionist Jennifer Pike that talks about ways to detox for spring. I’m hoping to leave feeling more inspired after this one.

What’s your opinion on this issue? Eat unhealthy & buy expensive supplements to feel better? Or would you rather learn how to make healthy food choices, and supplement if absolutely necessary?

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