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Daily vitamins

Discussion in 'Parents Off Topic' started by lynn, Aug 24, 2011.

  1. lynn

    lynn Approved members

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    I need some opinions please. We are having some very tight financial times here. I've always been conscious to feed my kids at least two servings of fruit/veggies at every meal. That is not happening anymore as we just don't have the money. We are also lacking in the dairy department.

    I have never worried much about giving my kids vitamins because our pediatrician has always said that as long as we eat a healthy diet then it wasn't necessary. I am now feeling like our diet is less than pristine and I would like some advice on vitamins from those of you who know more than I do.

    We live near a company that makes generic drugs and they have a company store that is open to the public. They sell vitamins there that are cheaper than in the regular store. Do you think that a simple daily vitamin with an additional calcium would pick up what we are lacking in our diet? If not, what would you suggest?

    Thanks much!
     
  2. Leece

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    Touchy Subject:)

    So I think that if your diet is less than perfect and you recognize that then a supplement would be a good option. I don't think that taking a vitamin is a excuse to feed your children or yourself less healthy food but if you are then go for it. Most vitamins are the same its the fillers they put in them that is different. Whether they are brand name or generic just check the levels and ensure with your doctor they are the correct ones for you and your family.
     
  3. AlisonKS

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    I think for the price of vitamins you can get some cheap frozen produce-it's just as nutritious if not more than fresh produce.
     
  4. Tigerlilly's mom

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    I have a PICKY eater who doesn't touch veggies or fruit (yes, I have tried EVERYTHING to get him to eat them - okay BRIBED) Was told by both endo and pedi. to make sure he takes a daily vitamin to make up for all the nutrients he isn't getting.
     
  5. Lakeman

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    It is a complicated subject.

    Food is a better way to get a lot of vitamins than pills but the food is more expensive and even with a lot of effort most people would still not get enough of at least something.

    No scientific study has demonstrated that a multivitamin does anyone any good though given how many studies have demonstrated the benefits of individual vitamins it would seem to make sense that a multi would be better than nothing. Still, a carefully thought out plan to give a person exactly what he or she needs either in food or in individual vitamins should be best.

    One thing that can be done is to reduce sugar and other overly refined foods. It does not cost anything to reduce sugar and in fact one would spend less by NOT buying the twinkies for example.

    IMO, the first goal is to make sure that you all are getting the right amounts of the macro nutrients: Protein, carbs, and fats. Get the healthiest ones you can afford.

    Second, have a VARIED diet that includes different kinds of proteins, carbs and fats. Too much of any one thing would not be good. Peas in every food would be no better than bread in every food.

    Third examine minerals: calcium is not the only one we need and since minerals work in balance many people actually cause deficiencies in others when they supplement with one. You need the right amounts of calcium, zinc, iron, copper, magnesium, and selenium. Wow, is that complicated enough? For most people a balanced diet will be good enough. But beware that a balanced diet includes green leafy vegetables. (and if you can hack it dandelion greens can be grown in most yards for free).

    IMO, vitamins, aka micro nutrients, are actually of fourth importance. And many fortified foods contain most of what we need. Why buy a multi when the breakfast cereal you are eating anyway may have what you want?

    Is it hard to figure out what you should be taking or eating? Yes, but you can get that knowledge for free too.

    So what is the conclusion? Learn what you need to do and tailor a program just for you based on your health concerns. Eat different kinds of proteins (dairy and meat and fish), vegetables (green and bright colored and leafy), and grains and beans (very cheap). Fats usually just come along for the ride with other stuff but if you did need a good fat flax seed oil is very good. Barlean's is best but it is about $20/bottle.

    Is this kind of diet too expensive? Being sick later will cost you more. And from what I see when I go to the expensive grocery store to buy one or two items many people FILL their carts not only with bad foods that are a waste of money but also with good foods that can be bought much more cheaply at inexpensive stores. Rule #1: shop at the cheapest store you can find and that alone can cut your grocery bill to a third of what it is now. With the two thirds savings you can afford more real food. In my area the cheapest store is called ALDI. I really do save two thirds by not shopping at expensive stores. If you don't have an ALDI then Super Wal-Mart can cost half of what the most expensive store charges.

    If you cannot afford real food and individual vitamins/minerals at cheap stores then re-evaluate your budget or be willing to get some food at a good pantry. That's what they are there for and it does the whole country a favor when you provide good food to your kids.

    Best wishes let me know if there is something you need.
     
  6. lynn

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    I agree; touchy subject.

    The thing is, I am not using vitamins as an excuse. I spend about $250 to $300 a month on food to feed nine people, two dogs, two cats, a goat, and a small flock of hens. I can buy a bottle of 100 daily vitamins for fifty cents for the olders in the family and a bottle of 250 chewables for $1.50. I can't add many frozen veggies for $2 a month. I understand what you are saying about choosing real food over supplements but our life just doesn't allow for that right now.

    Edited to add that I am also responding to Alison here.
     
    Last edited: Aug 26, 2011
  7. lynn

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    Thanks Alan.

    I shop at the cheap stores. I don't buy pre-packaged foods. If we have cookies it is because I baked them. If we have "Hamburger Helper" it is because I mixed a bunch of junk together and made my own. I recently got a recipe from a friend to make homemade Twinkies and four of my seven kids had never had a Twinkie before.

    I have a desire to learn more about nutritional balance. Can you recommend any websites? I get so bogged down when I try to look because most of what I have found seems a bit hokey.

    We have re-evaluated our budget repeatedly. We drive junk cars that we can buy with cash and my husband does the repairs himself. We live in a house that sat empty for years so we got a price that was WAY lower than the bank qualified us for---which is a good thing because we would have lost it by now if we had gone for the bigger money. We buy only thrift store clothes for the kids and we are looking forward to our second Christmas that will have only homemade gifts. We stopped using a dryer to dry our clothes over a year ago because we couldn't afford the electric bill. We make our cleaning supplies, including laundry soap. Our dishwasher sits unused because of the cost to run it.

    My husband's job is much lower paying than in the past and we have a son with a brain disease which required us to travel from Michigan to California for surgery in April. We now have to go back this fall to repeat testing to see how the surgery worked. Even with insurance there is a high deductible and out-of-state care is even more expensive, not to mention travel and lodging. I have no idea how we will ever pay for all of it.

    We've never lived high--with seven kids and a single income that isn't possible. I am not looking to keep a high level of living. I am really just worried about being able to keep the kids fed well and healthy. I know the long-term risks of poor eating now.:(
     
  8. andeefig

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    Is there perhaps a veterinary group of sorts that can help you feed all of your animals so you'd be able to focus on feeding the children? Maybe you can find some assistance with that... (sorry, I know the original question was about vitamins but your previous post was about explaining how you're trying to make ends meet and I don't know if there are organizations that help with pets during difficult times)
     
  9. Mom2Will

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    Try Angel Food Ministries for food, they are very, very reasonable. I just searched Michigan and there are at least 192 distribution centers.

    http://www.angelfoodministries.com/

    I've read somewhere else about reasonably priced food for animals, I'll keep searching.
     
  10. lynn

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    I don't know. I may have to look into it. We are trying to find homes for all but the dogs and cats. The cats live outside and, since we live in the country where there is never a shortage of field mice, they don't eat much store-bought food. We can't get rid of the dogs if at all possible. That would be too heartbreaking.
     
  11. lynn

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    Wow! They have really expanded their offerings since I last looked. My husband is VERY sensitive to MSG so we avoid almost all pre-made dinners and such because it is almost always in those things. My mother used to buy Angel Food boxes and at that time there seemed to be a lot of things that we wouldn't be able to use.

    Thanks for the link.
     
  12. swellman

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    Personally, I would say save your vitamin money unless you think your family is malnourished or doesn't eat meat at all.
     
  13. denise3099

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    I am not going to suggest all the ways you could cut back if you can't afford food--I'm assuming you've cut to the bone and are probably already trying to grow your own to get more veggies into your child. You may have more zucchinis coming up soon than you know what to do with.

    I will just answer your question--go ahead and add vitamins!! It's a good idea to balance out a diet that is not always perfect, and many american diets are short of perfect no matter how much money you have to spend. We don't budget food at all and my kids will never eat veggies knowingly. I throw out more than they eat. :mad:

    So even if money isn't an issue, I think a vitamin couldn't hurt even the most diligent families. It's not a substitute for calories of course, so please seek help any way you can --you've gotten some advice here. But nothing wrong with a viatamin.
     
  14. Lakeman

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    Wow I commend you on being thriftier than almost everyone - great job! Based on what you are doing now you might enjoy www.backwoodshome.com - not for advise on vitamins but on how to make soap and other related activities, even some that pay. In retrospect, I don't know why backwoods home would not have something to say about vitamins, maybe in their forum?

    Regarding websites: I do not have any I can recommend and I agree that far too many are hokey. I have always thought that people who take lots and lots of supplements are nutjobs and now I am one of them. My rule of thumb is not to take anything that does not have a noticeable effect - why take it if it does not make you feel better or improve your health? I started by going down the list of RDA nutrients (knowing that for many nutrients the RDA is a reflection of the minimum required rather than the optimum). But that is how I started, I recommend the book named below instead. For each nutrient ask yourself what food provides it and do you eat enough of that food. As an example, young women need a fair amount of iron, children a different amount, and grown men hardly any. Iron is found in green leafy vegetables and meat and raisins. If you get enough of any of these foods you should probably be ok with iron. Second look at all your health symptoms and do a search for those symptoms and supplements. As an example if you feel tired and dizzy and short of breath then you could examine iron again (as well as the other nutrients that anemic people need). As soon as you see a product that advertises to you then don't buy it but instead see what is in it and buy those ingredients separately in food or supplements.

    A good book is Prescription for Nutritional Healing. The book has a section on nutrients and a separate section on diseases. It will tell you what they recommend for each disease, often why, and how important each item is. But just because something is on the list that does not mean that you need it - everyone is different.

    p.s. I stay away from homeopathy and anything I feel is goofy like candling. Maybe something like that works for someone but I would err on the side of not throwing money at things like that.
     

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