Sunday, October 23, 2011

Mmmm, Yellow

Do you take vitamin supplements? Do you give your kids vitamin pills? I'm not judging, really I'm not that kind of person. I'm just curious.

Until fairly recently I was one of those people who thought you should get all the vitamins you need from the food you eat. We have quite a varied diet, and the year-round fruit and vegetable options available to us here in California mean you can't open your mouth without ingesting vitamins and minerals. Really, we had no excuses. Plus, there was this recent Finnish study that concluded taking supplements actually shortened the life span of otherwise healthy 60 year old women.

We'd never considered supplements before, but then came Lucy.

Why eat spinach when there's cake?

Lucy will only eat food if it's yellow - and quite frankly not much of that either.

Anna on the other hand has always been a good eater. Her first babysitter described her as a 'garbage-disposal'. How sweet. Her current favourite food items are dried seaweed, calamari (the more legs the better) and miso soup.

Despite her limited diet, Lucy is chuffing ginormous, a beautiful long-limbed Amazon of a two-year old. In fact she is often mistaken for a petulant 3-4 yr old when she's actually still in the throes of the terrible twos. Quite what out of her diet of chocolate milk and chicken nuggets is making her shoot up is unclear. Many evenings I'll try to recollect what she's eaten, only to come up with; popcorn, goldfish, chocolate milk and popcorn.

Maybe it's the daily stretching:

Hang in there baby.

I realize that I am supposed to be in charge here. I used to be a smug parent, of the opinion that if you just present them with a variety of wholesome food options they will eventually be eclectic eaters.

Ha! Ha ha hahahahaha.

No I not! Says Lucy. I can't yike this! It's a battle of wills, and she can out-stubborn me any day. She eats when she wants to eat, and what she wants to eat. I honestly don't have the time to sit down with her for an hour each night cajoling her to eat every broccoli floret. Yet, I'm still fighting the good fight, and thanks to Anna, Lucy now eats dried seaweed - but only because she can't bear to see her sister enjoying something without wanting to quash that joy by at least 50%. But, because I'm genuinely concerned that she's not getting a good nutritional range I've started feeding then gummy vitamins. And now I'm eating them too.

I was always worried that gummy vitamins would be confused with candy, and I'd come downstairs one morning to find them gorging themselves on Vitamin C and Zinc. The container does come with a child-safe lid though, and the girls do seem to be aware that they can only have one dose a day. Me too - because I've found that unlike the horse pills masquerading as 'Women's Multivitamins'. I can actually stomach these gummy vitamins without waves of nausea hitting minutes later due to the iron. Plus, these little gummy bears contain the B vitamins that may decrease the frequency or intensity of my migraines. It's probably too early to say, and the trouble with migraines is that everything can be a culprit, but I think they may be helping. And as long I feed Lucy the red bears that means her nutritional rainbow has been increased by 100%, and that is one less daily battle to fight.


mcCutcheon said...

holy shit! American vitamins creep me the hell out. I got sick during our holiday in NY so I decided to get some zinc pills and yes, "waves of nausea" is pretty accurate. Well actually, on our last day they even made me projectile vomit (uh huh...) and I went home with a gazillion of burst blood vessels on my face (yay!).

maybe your kids will build up an immune system to immune pills. not like us European grown kids :D maybe the gummy vitamins are like a gateway drug to stomaching badass vitamins. maybe the normal (for our standards) doses will lead them gently into being able to take in 800% of their daily needed zinc and iron dosage.

or maybe you should just mail order a lifetime supply of old world vitamins from boots or something... ;)

seriously.. americans... still shaking my head here. I mean, projectile vomit? seriously?


MsCaroline said...

I think she looks lovely and healthy to me. Does your dr. recommend the vitamins? I never gave my kids vitamins when they were small despite some very eclectic eating habits, and they seem to be ok now they're in their teens. As far as zinc pills go - well, I'm American, and zinc pills made me sick, too. No idea who's taking them...

FeatherDuster said...

I can't take vitamins, they make me feel awful. Even the smell turns my stomach. I've decided that I really need to find one I can tolerate, because even though I do try to eat what I should, there are times when don't. I think I'll give those gummy-thingies a try :-)

Finn said...

I admit I'm not a regular on your blog but mcCutcheon sort of got me interested in this post.
being the knowledge geek I am I went into research mode and started to find stuff out.

I'm not writing out a whole lecture here, but I'd just like to say the bottom line of things is. you don't really have to give supplements to your kids. unless you have the devastating results of a blood test that says they have scurvy or something.

usually, even if they only eat one food group/colour,etc. they don't lack anything. also, children usually change their eating behaviour according to what they need.
kids will start eating bananas in abundance when they need potassium or spinach for iron or something like that.

more than 60,000 people overdose on vitamins per year, 80% of those people are children under the age of 6.

if you're concerned talk to your doctor, but don't feed them vitamins, just to be on the safe side.

AliBlahBlah said...

McCutcheon - you are so right! I once took a zinc pill to ward off a cold (genius advice from LK). I took it on an empty stomach and woke up in the middle of the night feeling like it was burning a hole through my stomach - which it most likely was.

MsCaroline - good point, I'll ask her MD about gummy vitamins, see what his take is.

Finn - thanks for the research. Freaky. The idea of them overdosing is really not worth the risk is it? Maybe I'll just keep the chewies for me and if they help with my migraines then it'll be worth it. I think you're absolutely right about kids sourcing the vitamins they need as and when they need them. That seems to be Lucy's eating habit in a nutshell

Thanks for all your comments. Much appreciated!!

mcCutcheon said...

I was just thinking: you could always start buying yellow food dye in bulk and have a go at it :D


Laura said...

Vitamins for the most part just give you expensive pee. Oh, I took the horse pills (most days) during pregnancy, but that was it. I think Lucy looks great! My Sarah (almost 2) seems to consume about 200 starchy calories a day, and yet she too is tall and rangy and growing like a weed. I think the gummies are a good idea, though. Can't hurt!

AliBlahBlah said...

Laura - expensive pee. LMAO.

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