A great friend and mentor of mine recently shared about the supplements she's found for her children. I thought it was really educational and of value to share with all of you. This article is written in interview form and I'll also share any applicable links (images are clickable) or contact info so you can find these easily if they are something you'd like to add to your family's routine.
I'd like to introduce you all to Rita Griep. It's so crazy, we actually connected randomly on Instagram and now have been a part of each other's lives for 2 years. Her two older children are about the same age as my boys and I've known her long enough to trust her judgement regarding health and wellness.
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Malia: Hi Rita! So I was so impressed with the thoughtfulness, time, research, and energy you and your family put into selecting the best nutritional supplements for your kids. As a recovering "convenience-mom", I’ve always just gave my boys a simple healthy multivitamin. I learned a lot from your post and would love to get these ideas out to my readers. I think there are a lot of moms out there who would find this info incredibly helpful. I would love it if you could tell us a little bit about yourself and your family..
Rita: My name is Rita Griep, I grew up in an indian/lebanese family. My parents are first generation here in America. My grandfather was a family physician in India and I like to say all his medical passion poured straight down into me. I am married to my best friend Zach, 7 years this October. We have 3 children, 4, 2 ½ and 5 months old. I serve part time at our local church as the community groups director. People are my passion!
Rita: I want to start off by saying I do not have a medical background. I am not a doctor, nurse, chiropractor, specialist, or nutritionist. What I am is a woman who has battled gastrointestinal issues for the majority of my almost 30 years of life. Those that have struggled medically with any disease become experts in the specific area they’ve had countless number of appointments talking through, amount of hours researching and reading up on. I was misdiagnosed and left un-diagnosed until I became my own advocate.The biggest thing I want to scream from the rooftops, if you haven't learned this already is...You are your BEST advocate and your family’s best advocate. Medical professionals should partner with you in your health journey. I could go way too long about this but that's the quick bit. Be your own advocate. Find a doctor that cares about your optimal health. Not just someone who wants to quickly end their 15 minute slot time to slap your symptoms away.
Please also take note to talk to your pediatrician and doctor before taking any vitamins/supplements. There are many factors in play for what you need.
Malia: What do you give your children currently?
Rita: First of all, like all products made, all vitamins are not alike. Many market vitamins contain harmful toxic ingredients to preserve the vitamins. Honestly, our bodies also absorb whole foods better than anything. You may only be absorbing 5-9% of vitamins off the shelf vs. the 90+% through whole foods. There is no substitute also for whole food, healthy eating. We all want quick fixes and live in a society that wants to pop a pill to solve a problem. Your most powerful tool in healthy living is healthy eating! I’ll share more why we take supplements in the next question.
My kids take a probiotic, K2D3 Calcium, Omegas 3-6-7-9, Whole food gummies. In the wintertime they take elderberry daily, spring/summer if they are getting sick or something is going around our area/community.
Malia: Why are you so committed to children’s supplements?
Rita: Through my own healthy journey I learned the importance of gut health. Probiotic and omegas were a no brainer for me. K2D3 Calcium, my children take since we do not drink cows milk in our home. Vitamin K guides the calcium into your bones and D helps control the absorption. This is a great one for kids! I love the mary ruth’s organics brand. Omegas are great for brain health and this is one of those I’ve learned through the years we all need to supplement because we just don’t get enough.
Whole food gummies. We eat a whole food diet and we all know we are supposed to eat the rainbow, 9-13 servings of fruits and veggies in a day. What we don’t realize is that these plants hit optimal nutrient content 2-3 before fully ripened on the vine. They are pulled over a week before so they can last on the shelf at your grocery store. This doesn't include the fact that there is so much research out there about our soil and the lower amount of nutritional content in our fruits/veggies. Again, this is not a take this gummy and your kids have everything you need for the day. This is a supplement to your healthy living. I love Juice Plus whole food gummies and will share more about that. (You can find Juice Plus products from Rita's friend @thehopefulmom on Instagram)
Malia: The next thing I’d like to ask is HOW did you find these particular things; was it trial and error, recommendation, or from an outside resource?
Rita: So, I actually refuse trial and error. Especially on my kids. I have seen so many negative effects that it takes me a long time to ingest anything, and then i guess we hit trial and error but usually by that point its what we end up sticking with.
Trusted resources are where I started. A friend of mine sold Juice Plus and I had stiff armed her for a while. My son, at the time, was really struggling with his eczema and we know he has autoimmune issues. Well, a year and a half (or more) go by and I invite her over after researching the company to tell her I am ready to give the gummies a shot. A week in and his eczema was gone; proving to me that this was a gut/diet issue. (runs in the fam, obviously :( ). We have stuck with it ever since and is really an easy decision. It is just fruits and veggies juiced and dehydrated in gummy form.
Mary Ruth’s is another brand some trusted people I follow have shared and I read up on her and her company. I eventually ordered the items and we love them.
Malia: Have you found that other options don’t work as well?
Rita: I am sure there are many companies out there doing the right thing, but there are many that dont. Just do your research or phone a trusted friend you know. Juice plus out of all of them (and I am not a rep) stands pretty alone to me. An easy way to check a whole food product you are using is to see if it has a supplement label or an actual nutritional label on the back. You want whole foods, so a nutrition label signifies there being real food in the product.
Malia: What have you noticed since your family has added these to your routine?
Rita: My children have not taken a single dose of an antibiotic. This is not a controlled research study and I honestly think there are many reasons for this. Our healthy eating is a big deal, but I don't think alone caused our health. Low dairy, little to no refined sugar.
I also do not want to make empty promises. I think you will notice a difference in your kids health but BIG CAUTION and disclaimer is that disease, sadly, is everywhere. We are doing the best we can to steward and care for our bodies well, but I am a follower of Jesus and so there is a supernatural element and brokenness in this world that we cant escape. We do the best we can as moms and trust the Lord with the rest. I want to caution against entering into this with fear and foolishness. Breathe! Pray! And ask questions. This goes hand in hand with being your own advocate.
Malia: You gave a price break down for what your family spends per month on these. Would you mind sharing that with us.
Rita: Yes, Budget transparency is important to me because this costs money! I dont take for granted for a second that we live in a country that has the resources to even think for these things!
We spend about $50/child a month on supplements right now.
You can find Rita's Video sharing her supplements on her instastories. To visit her page click here.
Malia: If you could give any mom’s out there advice on children’s supplements, what would you want to share?
Rita: I think pay attention to your kids. They are unique. Do you have a really healthy child (I have one. Insanely strong immune system, no gut issues). One who gets sick all the time? Skin issues, bowel issues. Journal about these things and talk to your doctor about them. I'm beating this drum a lot but take notes, reach out, and do your own research! Reach out to moms who you trust and are experiencing the same thing. Yes, be careful with too many voices, and wacky info. But, we live in an awesome time with so much information, easily accessible. This can be a pro and a con. Trust your gut. And honestly ultimately, surrender perfection to God. You won’t achieve it. Do the best you can!
I want to thank Rita so very much for sharing her knowledge and allowing me to offer this information to all of you. I hope you've learned something today or found some resources that are new. As always, you're welcome to subscribe to stay up to date with all things green living, clean beauty, and mom life! And if you found this helpful, please share with a friend!
Malia was born and raised in Kaneohe, Hawaii and graduated from Azusa Pacific University. She spent the majority of her career as an Early Childhood Education Teacher/Administrator.