What’s the deal with Supplements?

What’s the deal with supplements? Why do we need to take them?

You need to build your resilience

So autumn is here, the pandemic doesn’t appear to be waning, but we have to get on with our lives which quite frankly are not what they used to be and, in my opinion, quite rightly so.   In order to build our resilience and support our immune system it’s important we practice good lifestyle choices like healthful eating, get exercise, reduce stress, get adequate sleep etc but that’s not the purpose of this blog

Boost your immune system – Supplement for optimal immune Function

At the recent Vibrant Midlife launch, one of the questions that came up was “What supplements do I take at Midlife”. We know research supports us taking a number of things for hormone balance; evening primrose oil being one of the more popular vitamins recommended.

However, in this article I want to give an overview of the supplements which can help us build our immune system, so we have the defences to protect us against infection as we flow back into our post lockdown lives.

Literature abounds with a number of things to take, but I like to always keep things simple, so we don’t get carried away and go overboard with things.  To be honest, most of what we need we should get from our diet, however I am well aware we all lead busy lives and so may not get adequate vitamins and minerals from our meals

Let’s start with an overview of the vitamins you need and why they are important. Multivitamin/Mineral complex: Honestly, this forms the basis for any health support regimen and is good way to cover the basic vitamins and minerals your body needs for day-to-day functions. I highly recommend this should be your starting point – get yourself on a multivitamin supplement and stay on one. Look for a good-quality, broad-spectrum multivitamin and mineral.  Here’s a good plant-based option to check out

Vitamin D3: Adequate vitamin D is critical for optimal immune function and this usually cannot be achieved without supplementation especially during the winter months. People with vitamin D deficiency are far more likely to get a cold or flu, while supplementing with vitamin D can reduce colds and flu.  It is best to get your levels of vitamin D checked for accurate dosing. Blood levels should be above 30 ng/ml; however, optimal levels are probably closer to 50ng/ml for most. Start with a daily dose of 2,000 IU.  Liaise with your doctor or pharmacist to find out where and how to get tested.  Vitamin D is also essential for our bone health and calcium absorption which is impacted in midlife due to loss of oestrogen.   So another important reason why a Vitamin D supplement is crucial.

Buffered Vitamin C: The role of vitamin C in supporting the immune system is not new information. Take 500-1,000mg throughout the day with meals and snacks.   You can get Vitamin C from fruits, many citrus fruits like oranges, lemons, limes & berries.  But if you aren’t eating a lot of fruit, then a good dose of Vitamin C will help keep your immune system robust

Zinc citrate: Is a powerful immune supporting nutrient and has become more popular especially over this pandemic period.  I tried getting some from a popular chemist here in the UK and was told they are consistently sold out.  Luckily though, Holland and Barrett came to the rescue and I got some online;  they usually have a sale on, so I suggest you grab yours at a bargain from there nowYou can take Zinc as a supplement or eat more foods high in this nutrient, seafood—especially oysters, red meat, and pumpkin seeds are good food sources.   I don’t eat a lot of red meat, neither do I eat oysters, however I do love pumpkin seeds and add it to my breakfast; chia pudding with Kefir or sprinkle them on my salads.   Its recommended to take 30 mg per day of Zinc  

Fish Oil (Arctic Cod Liver Oil): This old-time remedy for good health and robust immunity still stands true! In addition to the good fats, this cod liver oil contains additional vitamins A and D for added immune protection. This has also been shown to support cognition, memory etc

Calcium: It may be difficult to get enough calcium from your diet especially if you’re lactose intolerant, vegan, or just not a fan of dairy products. I for one have definitely reduced my dairy intake as I cant tolerate it so much any longer. I also know calcium is important at this stage of life for healthy bones. Older women are at risk of developing osteoporosis or frail and porous bones that easily fracture so its important we get sufficient calcium. Recommendation is about 1000mg per day, but beware too much calcium can give you constipation, gas and bloating. Calcium containing foods are milk, cheese, yoghurt, kale, spinach, broccoli, calcium fortified breads, cereals etc

There are other fancy products recommended and especially in this period a lot of claims are made about various products.  I’d advise, don’t buy into the hype.   If we keep things simple and get the basics right, we should be fine.  Just starting with a quality multi-vitamin, vitamin D3, vitamin C, zinc, calcium and fish oil is a great start. I take all of these myself.  The key is consistency!

So as we get into the ’ember, take some time to review your supplement stash, see if you need to add in any items.  I always recommend buying good quality products; as typically you get what you pay for.   If you’re busy and can’t get to the shops.  Try an online store like http://holland and barrett & shop from the comfort of your own home.

Before you go, please tell us in the comments, if this was useful for you. Also, please share the post with your friends or on your social media handles to help me in the mission to get the healthy lifestyle message out to as many women in midlife as possible  

Finally, whatever you do, stay safe & well.  Remember “The time for your healthy lifestyle is NOW!”

Love Bukky x

Effective Weight Loss tips for Midlife/Menopause

Losing Weight Is As Easy As 1,2,3,4,5

These tips include suggestions in each of the elements you need to work on in order to achieve your health, fitness, wellness and weight loss goals: (loving your body, eating right, exercise, support and accountability) as a bonus, I’ve added in some affirmations for you

1. Love Your Body

Embrace where you are on the way to where you want to get to.  When you love your body, you are encouraged to look after it, think good thoughts about it and speak kind words to it.  I recommend this should be your starting point on any weight loss journey.

2. Eating Tips

Next time you order or make pizza for yourself or your family ask for or use half the cheese. You’ll barely notice any taste loss. But what you will lose is tons of calories and a whole lot of grams of saturated fats. Pizza doesn’t have to be left off the weekly menu anymore. 

Also, with other meals see how you can reduce calories or save approx. 500 calories per day from your meals.  Having smaller portions is another thing to consider Eat more cooked meals than processed or restaurant meals and more vegetables, moderate amount of fruits. good fats, nuts, go organic if possible, for yo

3. Make Exercise Safe and something fun you enjoy

In order to lose weight, you have to become more active. Most people avoid moving their bodies and modern society doesn’t help. You can pick up food, a prescription, your clothes without leaving your car. I recommend you aim to walk for at least 30 minutes a day, even if you have to break it up into 10-15 minute chunks. Not only will you burn calories, you can walk with your family and increase your quality time as well. Move family time away from the TV and onto the street.  If you can build this up to the magic 10K steps per day, even better.

Sometimes, you may not be able to go out for a walk, so then I suggest you walk indoors here is a good source to help you.  Leslie Sansone: https://youtu.be/DYuw4f1c4xs  you have absolutely No Excuses!!  

Sport England is a great resource and has a special campaign for women; find it via https://www.sportengland.org/campaigns-and-our-work/this-girl-can

Strengthening Exercises

These use our muscles to pull on our bones and boost bone strength; they include:yoga, pilates, press-ups, planks, squats, using weights and resistance bands. Aim to do strengthening exercises at least two or more days per week.  Personally, I love pilates as I have found it so helpful for my overall wellbeing, it also helps with my core and hence my abs.  A couple of sources for you

Rachael Girl with the Pilates Mat:  https://youtu.be/D9Sb1Zi7AQA

Isa Wellyhttps://youtu.be/5ptKtJU287

4. Get a Buddy

Exercise with a partner;  but before you start make a pact that you will not let the other person down and you will pick them up should they start losing interest. It’s much easier to let yourself down then another person. You won’t do it, because you’ll feel bad if you do.  As a pair working on similar goals you can spur and support each other on the journey

5. Accountability Tools

A food diary is a great way to keep track of what you eat and when. Keep track of what you consume on an hourly basis throughout the day. If you do this for 2 weeks you will see exactly where those extra calories (and thereby those extra pounds) are coming from. Also, don’t forget to keep track of what you’re drinking.

A wearable device is also great to help you keep track of your step count throughout the day and motivates you to hit your set target . It doesnt have ot be anything fancy with bells and whistles; go with something affordable so you can get started. Here’s a version I use myself https://amzn.to/3jEJhj4

Here’s the bonus I promised

Healthy Weight Affirmations

I love affirmations, one of my things is “Say it, See it” so here I’ve shared a few you can say daily to further help your weight loss journey

  • Today, I maintain a healthy body weight
  • I take my body weight and health seriously
  • I strive to eat foods that help me maintain a healthy weight
  • I exercise to support my health and weight management
  • As I eat healthily and exercise my body achieves a weight that is healthy for me
  • My food choices and exercise habits make it easy to keep me fit and trim
  • Today, I enjoy my healthy body weight

Before you go, please tell us in the comments, if this was useful for you. Also, please share the post with your friends or on your social media handles to help me in the mission to get the healthy lifestyle message out to as many women in midlife as possible  

Finally, whatever you do, stay safe & well.  Love yourself enough to live a healthy lifestyle and remember the time for your healthy lifestyle is NOW!

Love Bukky x

So what is Lifestyle Medicine?

Picture Credit: American College of Lifestyle Medicine (ACLM)

I’m conscious I have used this term in a lot of my posts, so I thought it’s only right I explain what exactly this means.

Lifestyle Medicine has a number of definitions, but I like simple and have taken this from the American College of Lifestyle Medicine (ACLM) and they state:

“Lifestyle medicine is an evidence-based approach to preventing, treating and even reversing diseases by replacing unhealthy behaviours with positive ones”

The key areas or behaviours considered in Lifestyle Medicine are:

Healthy eating: Food is Medicine!  A healthy diet consists predominantly of whole, plant-based foods that are rich in fibre and nutrient dense. So mainly vegetables, fruit (in moderation), beans, lentils, whole grains, nuts and seeds.  Proteins like meat, chicken and fish are considered a side dish.  A ratio to bear in mind on your plate is 3: 1 – ¾ portion vegetables/beans/nuts/seeds/wholegrains and ¼ portion of protein

Physical activity:  Choose activities you enjoy so you can sustain your regimes and then engage in regular and consistent physical activity on a daily basis examples are – walking, gardening, push ups, lunges, Pilates, yoga, HIIT workouts, metabolic workouts, skipping 

Stress Management:  Stress can lead to anxiety, depression, obesity, immune dysfunction and more.   It’s important to recognise your negative stress responses, then identify coping mechanisms and reduction techniques which lead to your improved wellbeing

Avoid risky substance use:  There are exhaustive data in the literature which show that addictive substance use can increase risk for many cancers and heart disease. Some of the positive behaviours to practice that improve health include to stop smoking and limiting the amount of alcohol consumed. 

Adequate Sleep: Lack of, or poor-quality sleep can lead to a strained immune system amongst other things. It’s helpful to Identify factors in your daily life that can help you improve your sleep health. It could be food, the environment, where you sleep and strategies to help you sleep better e.g. breathing/stretching, meditation

Relationships: Studies show that isolation is associated with increased mortality.   Social connection is essential to emotional resilience and wellbeing.  Consider your relationships and support network, evaluate your relationships and avoid any that are toxic.  Aim for mutually stable, loving and supportive relationships that foster health and wellbeing. This requires you to intentionally in invest in them also

I’ll be touching more on each of the individual areas I’ve mentioned in further blogs to share practical examples of what we can do to adopt positive behaviours to help our overall health and wellbeing

Personally, the areas I am focusing on are my diet, making the necessary adjustments in what I eat and shifting more towards a plant-based diet, I still eat proteins but tipping the balance more in favour of plants/grains, nuts etc. I am also trying to eliminate a lot of dairy products, which is a great ask for me actually as I love greek yoghurt and cheese.

I also struggle with consistent exercise, so I have set myself a daily plan which seems to get me doing something small every day.  I rotate daily between walking, skipping, Pilates, and a metabolic workout, for me the rotation keeps it interesting otherwise I’d get bored.    I’ll share more of what I am doing as we go along

To summarise “….Being mindful of your food choices, managing your stress, being physically active, avoiding risky substance use, getting plenty of sleep and having a strong emotional support system in your life — are “just what the doctor ordered”   to powerfully prevent, treat, and, often, even reverse chronic disease and select autoimmune conditions” ACLM

Lifestyle Medicine gets to the root cause of disease and puts you at the centre, it’s all about you and your choices but is a powerful approach to prevent, treat, and often reverse chronic disease and select autoimmune conditions.   It allows the body to protect and heal itself by promoting heathy lifestyle choices

So there you have it, if you have a chronic disease or a health concern or just want to live in better health and wellbeing I’d encourage you to consider which of the areas I’ve mentioned above you could work on to help support what you are doing already to maintain strong health and wellbeing

There has never been a more crucial time to evaluate where you are and make some life changing choices.  Are you going to CHOOSE health and wellbeing and so choose to change in certain areas?

If you need any help or have any further thoughts, I’d love to hear from you, so please leave a comment or get in touch via our social media channels

Love Bukky x

“The time for your healthy lifestyle is NOW”

Back To My Roots

…Hello Everyone

I thought I’d give you some background as to how Vibrant Midlife came to be. Last year, I mentioned in my other online communities that I’d be taking a new direction… and here it is. As you may or may not know, I’ve been a pharmacist for 33+ years, working in the pharmaceutical industry for many blue chip Pharma companies dealing with scientific data, training, policy writing, creating scientific material and communicating with healthcare professionals and patients about various medicines. 

In September last year, when I came to the end of my most recent contract, I was an exhausted Medical Affairs contractor. I knew at that point I needed to take time out to to discover what I wanted to do with the rest of my life as pharma as I knew it wasn’t fulfilling anymore.

I’ve always had a passion for “ living well” with a focus on preventing illness rather than treatment. I guess years of reading leaflets in medicines and talking to countless patients about their symptoms, treatments etc helped me develop that focus. I joke that “I’m the pharmacist who doesn’t like to take medicine”

So, after a lot of soul searching and with the help of an awesome executive career coach, I’ve decided to pursue a career in “Lifestyle Medicine”. Another way to describe this would be “Health coaching”. However, I won’t bore you too much with definitions – suffice to say my focus is helping women in midlife live in health and wellbeing on their terms.

I’m working with women in midlife as I am at this stage of life myself, I can totally relate to the experiences and symptoms of midlife and can proffer specific help to this group of women. As a scientist, I believe in an evidenced based approach to healthcare, so lifestyle medicine ticks that box for me also

I believe this is my life’s call. Lifestyle medicine also ties into the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal No.3 – “Good Health and well being for all” and through my work I hope to play my part in helping to transform our world by transforming the health and wellbeing of my clients. 

I’m on the start of a very exciting journey with some lofty goals (why not eh?). I’ll be undertaking formal study and will share a lot more of what I’m up to, as well as all I’m learning to help as many women in midlife who want a change and are committed to make the lifestyle tweaks needed to live in health and wellbeing

I’d love to hear from you so please pop a comment below.

Thanks for joining me on your journey to a vibrant midlife. The time for your healthy lifestyle is NOW! 

Love Bukky x