Favorite Things

Over the years I’ve been writing this blog I’ve found some products and services that really work for me and my family.  Here’s a roundup of the best things I’ve come across – most of which we continue to use because of their positive impact on our health and well-being.  Note: Please see affiliate disclosure, below.

Supplements

  • Culturelle Probiotics – This product made more of a difference for me than all the other items on this page put together.  For much of my life I had terrible bouts of depression when I ate any food containing starch.  That stopped within about a week of starting Culturelle.  My hypothesis is that I had a colony histamine-producing gut bacteria, and the probiotic in Culturelle is keeping it in check.  The company tells me they are not in the business of treating depression, but that’s what it did for me.
  • Kid’s Chewable Culturelle Probiotics – My daughter has many of the same issues I have, including skin problems when eating too many histamine-containing or -producing foods.  I’ve been giving her this probiotic almost as long as I’ve been taking it, and the skin around her mouth has cleared up considerably.  Less itchy too.
  • Animal Parade Calcium Nature’s Plus 90 Chewable – For a while there we were avoiding both gluten and dairy with my daughter, trying to figure out what was causing rashes around her mouth. While she was off dairy I gave her this calcium supplement.  She loved it.  It tastes like marshmallows.
  • Thorne Vitamin C – This was originally recommended to me by a functional medicine practitioner as a high-quality brand and a necessary nutrient for battling adrenal fatigue and inflammation.  I just know I don’t get sick much anymore, and I don’t feel tired anymore.  It also contains bioflavonoids such as quercitin, which is helpful when you have histamine and mast cell issues.
  • Jarrow Formulas Toco-Sorb (Vitamin E) – Chris Masterjohn recommends this supplement as a low-dose daily source of Vitamin E to help with the detoxification of Polyunsaturated fats (PUFA).  My family greatly reduced our PUFA intake at the end of 2013 but it can take years for the body to get rid of it.  Vitamin E is protective during that process.
  • Jarrow Formulas Milk Thistle – I found Milk Thistle to eliminate mood swings caused by excess estrogen while I was losing weight.  It supports the liver in detoxifying that stuff so it is eliminated rather than reabsorbed.
  • Doctor’s Best Vitamin D – My husband and I both had very low Vitamin D levels.  We’ve been taking this for several years – at first daily, and now 3x a week for maintenance.  Last checked, my vitamin D level was in the 60s, much improved over the previous level.
  • Wellness Resources Multivitamin – This is the only multivitamin I’ve been able to find that has all of the B vitamins in bioavailable form, and that I can afford.  They ship fast too.
  • Wellness Resources Children’s Multivitamin – I love this multi for my daughter because it’s small so she can swallow it, and it has all of the bioavailable B vitamins.  It doesn’t have some of the bulkier minerals in it, but I wasn’t as concerned about those because she gets them in her diet.
  • Best Naturals Activated Charcoal – This has been a lifesaver any time I feel nauseous or like I might have eaten something that isn’t making me feel good. It binds yuckies in the digestive tract and gets me back to normal faster.
  • Doctor’s Best Magnesium Glycinate – I’ve been taking this magnesium for years.  When I don’t take it I’m more likely to get constipated (Sorry, TMI).  Also, there are just so many biological processes that rely on magnesium and it can be difficult to get enough in the diet.
  • Frontier Turmeric Root Powder – I went through a period where I was making Turmeric Paste out of this powder, coconut oil, water, and black pepper.  I’m not sure if it helped but a lot of folks on the Turmeric Users Facebook page recommended this one and saw great benefit in the lowering of inflammation and joint problems.  I’m planning on getting back to using Turmeric on a daily basis.  For now, I still use this one in my cooking.
  • Seeking Health B12 Lozenges – My daughter has some genetic polymorphisms that can cause poor assimilation of B12, so I gave these to her for a while.  As soon as she started taking them I noticed she stopped watching so much TV, and when she did watch TV she no longer felt the need to sit right up close.  My interpretation of this is that there was neurotransmitter deficit – maybe low B12 leading to low dopamine – that was resulting in the high need for visual stimulation.  I’ve tried other methyl-B12 lozenges, and she likes this one the best.
  • AOR Hydroxyl B 12 Lozenges – My husband has some of the MTHFR and COMT genetic variations that make Hydroxy-B12 better and more effective for him than Methyl B-12.  He reports better ability to concentrate when he takes these.
  • Life Extension Optimized Folate (l-methylfolate), 1000 Mcg – My husband takes these because of his homozygous MTHFR mutation, to make sure he’s getting enough folate in bio-available form.  When he first started taking this he noticed a significant change in his ability to remain calm when he otherwise would have reacted emotionally. 
  • Life Extension Enhanced Zinc Lozenges – These were recommended in a video by Chris Masterjohn called “How to Kill a Cold with Zinc”.  He recommends this particular form of zinc and this particular brand (who knows, maybe he has stock in Life Extension or something).  But I tried it and it works.  These zinc lozenges are rather gigantic and the taste is “meh” but they actually do kill a cold in the early stages.
  • Numedica – Gluten Support GI Restore – This is bovine colostrum, which is effective for the purpose of healing a leaky gut.  When I used it I noticed a change in my ability to tolerate a wider variety of foods.  There’s quite a story behind the history of this product.  Apparently the guy who founded the company actually went to school to be an engineer so he could invent a mechanical process for extracting the colostrum from milk.  Serious dedication.
  • Natural Stacks – CILTEP – Mental Performance Supplement – My husband is always looking for ways to improve his memory and ability to focus.  This product helped him focus.  When he was taking it he sat down and wrote a book.  I didn’t see him much that month because he was always at his desk.
  • Pure Encapsulations Biotin 8 mg – When I was trying to eat very low carb my hair started falling out.  This biotin product stopped my hair loss. 
  • NOW Potassium Gluconate Pure Powder, 1-Pound – Because I take a diuretic (HCTZ) to manage my blood pressure I’m always at risk of running low on potassium.  This because very clear when I was also eating low-carb and started having heart palptations.  Most potassium supplements (in the US) come in 99mg doses – to meat the recommended daily allowance (RDA) you would need to take 50 tablets per day.  Ridiculous.  I like this potassium powder because you can control your own dose.  I would generally use 2 tsp a day of the powder (1 tsp 2x per day) and also increase my intake of potassium-rich foods (avocados, OJ, bananas, tomato juice).  Unfortunately, those foods are also all high in histamine.  So when I needed potassium and couldn’t find enough of the right foods to eat, this supplement would help out a lot.
  • Thorne Research – Vitamin K2 Liquid – My family has been using this Vitamin K supplement for years, specifically for the purpose of building bone health.  My daughter (7 years old) has not had any cavities, I’ve had none since I started using it, and my husband (who has some serious dental issues, requiring crowns every couple years) also has had no cavities since using it.  It doesn’t work alone – you do need calcium and vitamin D also, but K is an important factor that gets overlooked. I originally balked at the price of this supplement, but it lasts a really long time.  You only need a drop a day (and even that is a fairly high dose – the RDA is lower than that) and there are about 1300 drops in a bottle.  We use it about 3x a week now.
  • Health Natura Vitamin A Liquid – This is the best-tasting Vitamin A drop I’ve tried, and I tried about 4 different brands.  It’s also a pretty high dose (15K mg) so one drop a few times a week is good for my needs.  This reduces my daughter’s car sickness and eliminates her keratosis pilaris on her arms.  It’s also great for keep skin clear of acne and rashes.
  • Gaia Herbs Oil of Oregano – I used this when I was having problems with a bacterial overgrowth that was interfering with my mood.  It’s very effective.  Unfortunately my overgrowth re-grew afterward, but I do believe this would be an effective natural antibiotic for a lot of purposes.  It will kill some good bacteria as well as bad bacteria, so I’m not sure it’s appropriate for everyone, but it’s strong.

Websites

  • Vitacost – I love Vitacost.  They deliver a lot of the dry grocery items we eat, and some of the supplements.  They’re fast, friendly, have great coupon codes (all the time!) and are a really affordable way to get home delivery on hard-to-find stuff like gluten-free, paleo, organic, etc products.  I’ve never had to contact their customer service about anything because their website is fabulous and makes everything easy.
  • Cronometer – Of all the diet tracking apps and websites I’ve found, Cronometer is the best for getting feedback on micronutrient intake.  They have a nice free service but the paid membership has some additional features that are handy, including looking up foods by their micronutrient content.
  • Weight Watchers – I was fairly successful with WW, and in fact I’m still a member.  I was able to lose weight following their plan, but then I gained some back when I went off.  I’ll be the first to say that a program is only as successful as your ability to maintain the results, but as far as diet programs go I think this is one of the better ones – mostly because it encourages the consumption of lots of produce and lean protein, which I happen to agree with.

Food

Cosmetics

  • Burt’s Bees 100% Natural Moisturizing Tinted Lip Balm, Rose – I have always needed lip balm – ever since I was a kid.  As an adult there’s always been a battle between my lip balm and my lip stick – do I care more about having soft comfortable lips or having colored lips?  With this I have both.  It’s a beautiful subtle tint that acts like a lip balm. I just love it.
  • Larenim 2-wm Mineral Airbrush Pressed Foundation – Honestly I don’t know much about this company itself – I just really like this pressed powder.  It’s a little pricey, but I’ve never had it break into a million pieces so it lasts a long time – like 10 months or so, if I use it once a day.  It has a really nice smooth rich feel to it and makes my skin look great.
  • Seventh Generation Hand Wash – I like the lack of scent, the lack of antibacterial crap, the lack of dye – it’s just a good, clean liquid hand soap.

Tools

  • Pickle Pebbles – Wide Mouth Glass Fermentation Weights  – When I was doing my own fermenting these were great for weighting down the veggies so they don’t get exposed to air. 
  • Pickle Pipe Silicone Waterless Airlock Lids for Mason Jar Fermentation – These airlock lids let air out but don’t let air in – great for when your fermets are creating gasses that would otherwise need to be vented.  Handy for low-maintenance fermenting.
  • Libertyware Dash, Drop, Smidgen, Pinch, Tad Measuring Spoon Set – These are great for measuring powdered supplements.  I’ve used them for years.
  • Pulse Oximeter – A handy tool for measuring your pulse and O2 saturation.  Great for Peat-heads who are keeping an eye on their heart rate.
  • The 7 Day Pill Organizer – I’ve been using this for years.  It’s great for helping to organize pills/supplements that are dosed various times during the day.  There are 4 compartments for up to 4x/day dosing.
  • Vionic Women’s Walker Classic Shoes – I have plantar fasciitis, and I’ve found the most effective and long-lasting treatement is good shoes with good arch support.  These are the shoes I wear when I walk, and my feet feel good the next morning.  I’ve had the same pair for several years – they last.
  • Diva Cup Model 2 Menstrual Cup – I used this for years (now in menopause).  I was starting to have allergic reactions to tampons (probably a reaction due to histamine or Lichen Sclerosus) and this worked well.  It takes a little practice to use effectively, but once you got it it has a lot of advantages over regular feminine products.  It’s re-usable – no additonal cost after the inital purchase – non-allergenic, greater capacity, and it works.

Podcasts

  • Quote of the Day – More than any other, this podcast has helped me to believe in myself and go after what I want in life.  It’s a daily 5-15 minute motivation talk, presented by Sean Croxton.  Great for mental health.
  • Bulletproof Radio – Dave Asprey’s podcast – lots of great health-related and biohacking topics, good interviewing, interesting guests.
  • Nourish Balance Thrive Podcast – Run by a former member of my personal health team, Christopher Kelly – a great podcast for athletes and others who care about improving their health and performance.  Even if not an athlete, lots of great topics for the health-conscious and biologically curious.

*Affiliate Disclosure:  Please note, some of these links are affiliate links – when you click through and purchase something I may receive a small commission that helps pay for the expenses of this blog (and maybe a few lab tests here and there).  It costs you nothing extra.  If you choose to use them, thank you!