Sleep, my pretties

Some people I know make a point of ridiculing me for believing that nutritional supplements are useful to the human body in some circumstances. To wit, my own carcass, sort of all the time. My doctor, whom I mercifully see on an roughly never basis (not that this has anything to do with how I manage my health, you understand) has a great deal of trouble suppressing a smirk when discussing vitamins. Except of course for when I was pregnant, during which time he instructed me to take more vitamin D, omega 3–6–9, and that thing that’s supposed to prevent spina bifida. Pregnancy sure is special if it makes doctors change their nutritional advice like that.

This is the same doctor, by the way, who didn’t hesitate to prescribe two rounds of steroids to my then-three-year-old daughter who had a bad case of eczema. His pharmaceutical enthusiasm stopped at two rounds because I put my foot down and said enough with the steroids I’ll find another way. Which I did; after a friend told me of a similar problem with one of her children that was related to lactose I took all dairy off my toddler’s diet for a week. Nothing happened. So I put back dairy and removed eggs. Nothing happened. So I put back the eggs and removed gluten and in three days her eczema completely cleared up. I kept her on a mostly gluten-free diet for a while, maybe about a year, and gradually reintroduced gluten. Her skin stayed beautifully clear. Whatever it was that was causing eczema so bad the doctor feared a skin infection and prescribed steroids disappeared, never to come back. Without pharmaceuticals.

Was her eczema in her head? Maybe. It could be that this particular kid, at the age of three, had decided to play tricks on everybody after reading crackpot anti-gluten blogs on the interwebs. I wouldn’t put it past her. She’s a weirdo just like her mom, and almost as stubborn too. Or maybe there was something in those foods her little body didn’t like and just giving her system a chance to clear that something was enough to fix a problem that was threatening to become a real medical issue.

So yeah. I take supplements. For my joints, for my bones, for my skin, and the occasional iron boost. Oh, and probiotics, especially when I’m hormonal and living under the thing I refer to fondly as my Eternal Cloud of Hopeless Doom.

The little happy gut bacteria with the funny Latin names help make me less depressed and mood-swingy during those special moments in my cycle. I don’t know how, or why. But I know that they do. Possibly it’s all in my head. But hey, since that’s where my Cloud of Doom resides, I’ll take it.

You can go ahead and cackle, too. Just like my doctor and other Serious Scientific People, who laugh at me but don’t bat an eye when they hear someone’s on SSRIs or their kid’s on Adderall, or their dad’s taking Viagra, or [whatever, pick your poison the list is endless]. I read somewhere a few years back that the average Canadian filled out nine prescriptions a year. Even if you discount birth control, that’s a lot of pills.

I take none. So evidently somebody somewhere is taking 18. (That’s how math works, yes?) I don’t remember the last time I had to fill a prescription for myself. I prefer monitoring my body on mine own and so far, I think I’m doing a fine job of it.

You do your own health care any way you like, of course. But in the end, belief in Xanax is no less smirk-inducing than belief in vitamin D, if I do say so myself. And may the healthiest crank croak last.



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Brigitte Pellerin

Brigitte Pellerin

Writer | Ottawa. Books include Épître aux tartempions, Le national-syndicalisme, Down the Road Never Travelled, Not Just for Kicks and Le livre Uber.