Now, I’m sure you’ve heard a lot of us natural mama bloggers talk about the downsides to giving our kids multi-vitamins… yes, even healthy ones, but have you ever wondered what we do instead?
I know I did at one point.
In the last several posts I’ve been talking about nutrition for kids… how to improve their diets, what supplements may be necessary from time to time, and how to skip the supplements and use food instead. Well today I wanna get more specific about multi-vitamins because this something I get asked about a lot.
When I’m asked about my not giving my kids a daily vitamin, the most common questions to follow is, “What exactly do you give them in place of the multi-vitamin?” and “Can I really nourish my child on food alone?”.
Well before I answer these questions, let me tell you why I personally think that daily multi-vitamins are over-rated and why I have chosen to skip them with my kids.
Why I Skip Daily Multi-Vitamins For My Kids
There are basically two reasons why I skip multi-vitamins with my kids.
- I feel that God designed our bodies to utilize foods for nourishment… not pills.
- Most multi-vitamins are synthetic and not absorbed very well anyway, and I don’t want to pay for myself or my kid to have expensive pee.
It’s not new news that the body was designed to take in food as nourishment, digest it, absorb the nutrients, use and store what it needs, and then discard the leftovers. Why would I not trust that process? It’s a grand design, and it works well so I’d prefer to keep it as the first choice in our lives.
Obviously, there are things that can hinder this process. Take less nutritious food for example. So what do I do? I work to boost the amount of nutrient dense foods my kids eat. Also, sickness and diseases can interfere with human design too. Thankfully, in my family, we don’t have any digestive issues or problems that cause trouble with our guts absorbing nutrients from foods. Some families do deal with this, therefore they have to look into different options.
Honesty and Expensive Pee
It’s also not new news that the majority of manufactured vitamins aren’t all that they’re cracked up to be. From my understanding, the vitamin industry isn’t heavily regulated, and that means each company can tell me what they want to about their vitamin. They can say their vitamin is a natural vitamin or even a whole food vitamin and then go add in synthetic vitamins as well.
This is why it’s important to get to know as much as possible about these different vitamin companies. Email their customer service departments. Ask them questions. Demand answers. If you’re paying the price of high-quality vitamins for your family, you deserve to know you’re getting what you’re paying for.
It’s also known that the body doesn’t absorb synthetic vitamins very well either, many of them are passed out of the body, unabsorbed, in urine, and it’s thought that they can cause negative affects on the health as well.
Ultimately, these are my two biggest reasons for skipping out on regular multi-vitmains. Your reasons may differ from mine. Do your research and see what you think.
If you wanna learn more about the vitamin industry, read this post by Mommypotamus called “What The Vitamin Industry Does Not Want You To Know“, and if you want me to throw a little confusion into the mix, check out this series of posts from Live To 110 on Synthetic vs. Food-Based Vitamins and 90% of Vitamins Are Fake. It offers a good look at both options and will hopefully give you some things to think about and ask vitamin companies you contact as well.
Now let’s move on to the more frequently asked questions I get about skipping daily multis.
Frequently Asked Questions About Skipping Multi-Vitamins
“So what can I do if I want to skip the daily multi?”
Well instead of me telling you what you should do, let me tell you what I do.
I first work hard at feeding my family healthy foods that are sourced and prepared correctly (and no, I’m not always perfect at this). I try to incorporate bone broth into our diets on a regular basis, lots of healthy fats, quality meats, organic produce for the things that need to be organic, food based probiotics, and I try to cut down on the junk and sweets we’d consume.
If for some reason life is busy and I’m not doing my best in the above area, there may be times when I supplement with healthy, nutritious options like cod liver oil, probiotics, superfoods, and herbs. Not only do these supplements help to pull in some of the extra things that may be missing from our meals from time to time, but they help me not to stress about food 24/7. That’s a huge relief in and of itself.
I try to plan out our meals ahead of time, I try to shop for quality foods that don’t cost me an arm and a leg, and I try to keep meals simple and delicious. Planning meals saves me time and helps me know what types of foods we’re eating throughout the week. Working to keep meals simple and delicious also goes a long way. It keeps me from getting burned out in the kitchen, and it keeps my family happily eating the good foods I make them. Sourcing foods, whether it’s weekly sales ads or shopping in bulk or on Vitacost, saves me money because, let’s be real here… healthy foods can cost more money. I will say that we save quite a bit of money too due to not eating out as much and not buying as many prepackaged, convenience foods.
I also try to know a bit about deficiencies my kids may be prone to. If something catches my attention, I research it, and I work to correct it with foods before opting for supplements. I try to know about superfoods and herbs that add vitamins and minerals to the body as well and incorporate those into my kids diet.
Lastly, I make our own multi-vitamins. Well, sort of. I always try to have something in the house that I use in place of the typical multi-vitamins. Something usually from an herbal source like my herbal multi-vitamin balls, this spring tonic herb blend for adding to foods, and/or an herbal multi-vitamin infusion.
“Can I really nourish my child on food alone?”
Well that depends. It depends on how much time and money you have to put forward, but for the most part, yes, I think you can… if you’re diligent and intentional about it.
- A mama who wanted to skip multi-vitamins all-together would have to be diligent in providing her family with healthy, real food, balanced meals that were from high-quality, organic sources and prepared properly.
- She’d have to do her research, knowing the nutrients her child would need and where those nutrients would come from.
- She’d have to buy healthy foods, then she’s have to prepare them properly, and she’d have to keep this up… learning and doing better as she goes.
Now let’s get back to reality for most of us moms. It’s rare to find a parent who can do this 100% for her family 100% of the time. No mama is perfect. No one will do it exactly right all the time. We all do better then we do worse. Thankfully there’s always more to learn and room to improve.
Ultimately, skipping multi-vitamins is up to each individual parent to decide. You have to base that decision on your child’s health needs as well as how successful you can be at feeding them solid nutrition from foods. If it’s doable, go for it. If not, supplement, but definitely find a good quality vitamin. I mention my favorite here in this post. If something comes up with your child health-wise, maybe supplementation is the answer… maybe not. There’s no blanket option for everyone.