Are Health Foods Worth It?

I will confess that for the past four months I have watched HOURS (probably days) worth of Health and Fitness Youtubers, and I will also admit that I fell for the hard sell of supplements that are regularly portrayed in their videos.

Now I am not a nutritional therapist, and I am not qualified to say whether certain supplements work or not, but as a fellow ‘influencee’ I wanted to acknowledge that I too got lured into the hype of these supposed magical natural remedies that will make you feel incredible and look sensational.

Having issues such as a yeast intolerance, a life time of digestive issues and chronic sinusitis AND having worked with doctors as part of my job, I often feel that a lot of things can at least be helped naturally, without dependency on medication. As part of my epilepsy, I am required to take 9 pills a day (including AED’s and supplements), so you can probably understand why if there’s a way I can help something without turning to medication, I am keen to do so.

So when I saw these YouTubers’ with similar intolerances and digestive issues I was keen to tap into their world and study what they were eating and what supplements they were consuming. One thing that was heavily used was Maca Powder – which quite frankly I had never heard of. According to the YouTubers’ it’s a great natural remedy for energy boosts and balancing of hormones. Although I suspected my hormones were okay, I could always do with an energy boost as I’ve never not been tired since my diagnosis back in 2006!

I did a little bit of extra research and couldn’t see any problems. That weekend I walked into my local supermarket and what should be there – Maca Powder! It was destiny.

Now I won’t lie – I definitely felt an energy boost and it was like water of a duck’s back to bash out 3 HIIT’s in four days despite not having exercised for weeks. I felt great!

We then went to the Highlands were I openly discussed that I was having horrendous heart burn but I soon put this down to living off rubbish for 5 days. During my time away I concluded that my gut health wasn’t great and followed a 75% plantbased diet on my return and the indigestion subsided.

The following week, the heartburn remained at bay but I had such a terrible pain in my stomach. I put it down to a bug or gastritis and with the heavy use of the 16:8 intermittent fasting, I began to win the battle.

Coming into this week, my weight shot up and has kindly stayed that way since. Yes, I thought it was retention too but no it appears to be fat as my stomach has got bigger. I even took a pregnancy test and it’s not that either.

This week I have suffered from so much trapped wind it’s been unbelievable. In fact, today I purchased my third set of antacids in 3 weeks.

Since Sunday I’ve been keeping a food diary in relation to bloat, trapped wind and heartburn and there was a slight pattern suggesting nuts weren’t helping matters. That is, until today.

If I’m honest, I was beginning to get quite worried. Is it stress? Am I ill? Is it IBS? Have I developed another intolerance? I still don’t know for sure.

However, there has been a development.

I decided to google side effects of Maca Powder. To me, it was just a fancy powdered vegetable kind of thing, and I personally don’t tend to google the side effects of vegetables on the whole. But at this point I had nothing to lose.

There were SO many forums and articles relating to stomach pain and Maca Powder. Yes it does help with energy and hormone balance, but studies have also suggested it can support weight gain (definitely not what I need) and that users should be careful of digestive issues that may emerge when consuming it. People also reported poor gut health because the Maca Powder was interfering with their flora.

Now yes I have a history of digestive issues but this is due to a hiatus hernia and I don’t typically consume antacids at the rate I have been doing so for the past 3-4 weeks. I also find it weird that I have lots of wind and pain but don’t see any changes in the bathroom department (sorry, TMI).

So I will keep you updated on my Maca Saga – if I’m honest, I think it’s most likely the route of my problems due to the timings of everything.

However what this has made me aware of is how different we all are. A healthy balanced diet should mean that for most people supplements aren’t required. But when there are these ‘natural remedies’ promoting that they will help you get your s*** together, it’s obvious that we may be tempted to buy into them.

I’m not disparaging health foods – they certainly have their place. But it just goes to show they’re not suitable for everyone. It’s definitely made me open my eyes and made me realise I’ve sucked into the Instagram vacuum of clean eating – something which I vowed I would never do.


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