The Best Time of Day to take Supplements (and a few bonus facts!)

There is so much more that goes into health than simply popping pills. I never like to focus on supplements, because supplements are simply things to add alongside something else (hint, a healthy diet), in order to enhance it. In fact, in clinic they are the very last thing I prescribe with patients, often not getting to them for a few sessions because there is so much that can be done with diet alone. In any case, we must always ask ourselves why we need to supplement… Is our intake of food/nutrients not enough? Our absorption compromised? Do we have something else going on that is influencing this particular nutrient? And have we had pathology testing to confirm our deficiency or requirement for a top up?

There is actually quite a bit that needs to be considered when taking supplements for both safety and efficacy There is the form, the dosage, interactions with drugs, other supplements and food, and the time of day to yield optimal results. The form and dosage is very condition/symptom specific and should definitely be discussed with a qualified natural health profession. However the time of day, is something I can provide you with more general guidance on (of course, still checking in with your healthcare practitioner to ensure you aren’t on a specifically timed protocol). For the first year of practice, I was constantly having to refresh myself on these, amongst many things! As well as educate my patients. So I thought I would shed some light on some of the most common oral supplements, to ensure you get the most from those sometimes necessary little pills.


B Vitamins (including B12, B complex and multivitamins)

B vitamins are best taken in the morning, as they tend to provide energy. Whilst they’re well-absorbed on an empty stomach, you’ll likely need to take them with a meal due to potential nausea. Try them with breakfast and see how you go. Note, if you take a multi or prenatal with B’s in it, and are taking additional B’s, best to separate the dose i.e. one with breakfast, one with morning tea or lunch (before 12:30pm ideally), as B’s are water-soluble and only so much can be absorbed at once. If using a multivitamin for Bs, try to move your coffee or caffeinated tea away from supplementation (an hour before or two hours after), as caffeine can interfere with most minerals included in your multi.


Vitamin C

Vitamin C can really be taken at any time of day, or throughout the day. As it is also a water-soluble vitamin, splitting the doses here is quite important if supplementing a large amount (1,000 milligrams +). High doses all at once can definitely cause gastrointestinal symptoms. Try to take it away from B12 if possible, as it interferes with absorption. Whilst many people encourage you to take it with iron supplements for increased absorption of iron, be cautious if you suffer from inflammatory conditions e.g. gastrointestinal or autoimmune. Whilst it improves iron absorption, it also enhances the oxidative effects of iron (iron is a pro-oxitant, opposite of an antioxidant) which can be destructive in the presence of inflammation.



Iron is best taken on an empty stomach, preferable first thing in the morning. Fasting for over 24 hours decreases hepcidin three fold (key iron regulator), which naturally rises around 11am. It comes back down in the evening. The lower hepcidin, the better iron absorption. Therefore iron should never be taken in the middle of the day. The role of hepcidin is particularly important in women, as testosterone in men has a suppressive effect on natural hepcidin elevation! Some research shows that taking iron every other day further lowers hepcidin and thus iron uptake. Do not exceed 40mg at a time, as it won’t be absorbed (discuss with practitioner). 

If you notice stomach sensitivity/nausea when taking iron on an empty stomach, try it with a light breakfast or move it to the evening when hepcidin lowers again and there is a bit more food in your belly. Avoid coffee, dairy and calcium supplementation an hour before and 2 hours after supplementation.

As mentioned above, whilst vitamin C is helpful to increase iron absorption, it can also increase toxicity in cases where inflammation is rampant. Therefore these types of considerations need to be made by a professional who knows your full case and is up-to-date with the research.



Research shows that zinc is best taken on an empty stomach, but I am yet to meet anyone who can tolerate it (nausea). Therefore, I recommend taking it at the end of the day, perhaps before bed. This way it is away from food (2 hours or so) but your stomach is well-lined. See how you go and adjust accordingly. Ensure you take away from iron and calcium supplementation.


Vitamin D

Vitamin D is a fat soluble vitamin and is therefore best taken with a meal that contains healthy fats. This is also why for natural vitamin D from the sun, it is best to expose our “fatty bits” (bum, chest, belly), where uptake is better. Avoid supplementing at night as it may disrupt the body’s production of melatonin which interferes with sleep. Try it before 4pm, with a handful of nuts as a snack or alongside your lunch salad if it has avocado, olives, seeds or olive oil. Note, many vitamin D’s are made from lanolin (sheep-sweat-derived) so source a vegan spray (usually mushroom-derived, sounds better right?!).



Our nighttime mineral! Magnesium promotes calmness, sound sleep and recovery. I recommend taking it about 30 mins prior to bedtime. Take away from calcium supplementation. If taking very high doses, you might split it up for maximum absorption and to avoid loose bowel movements (you’ll know if you’ve taken too much!). In this case, taking a serving morning and again at night, so long as it doesn’t make you feel drowsy during the day (can change the form perhaps for morning dose if this is the case. Again, you will need to discuss with your healthcare professional).



It depends on the probiotic, but for the most part, much of the evidence suggests probiotics be taken WITH food. This is very controversial, as we once thought probiotics needed to be taken away from food. Research now shows improved probiotic bacterial survival when taken with a decent-sized meal (especially including starch), due to favourable changes in stomach acidity in the presence of food, as well as the availability of food for the bacteria to feed on. Think about it logically, all wild animals eating food from the earth, are naturally consuming bacteria simultaneously (from the dirt, where we used to get it from before cleanliness became a priority). Throughout time, primates have eaten probiotics with their meals! Take them with any main meal.


Psyllium husk

An excellent fibre source and constipation-remedy/preventative, psyllium is ideally taken two hours after a meal with a full glass of water. High-dose fibre may inhibit your body’s absorption of fat and specific minerals, therefore it is best taken away from food and supplementation. The water is very important for effectiveness.


8 Healthy Snack Ideas That Hit The Spot

As with most things in nutrition, snacking can be a controversial topic! Based on my own clinical experience, the majority of people like to enjoy at least one snack, usually in the afternoon. I do feel like our meals should be satisfying enough to see us through to the next, however sometimes due to activity levels, stress, boredom, or poor planning, it helps to have an arsenal of healthy snacks in your repertoire that you can rely on. I like the below because whilst they might require a little more effort (some of them), they are brimming with real food nutrition and allow you to sneak in extra vitamins and minerals to your day. I hate the idea of empty calories – food that purely provides quick “energy” and no micronutrients – so I have put together some of my favourite nutritionist-approved snacks for you to enjoy…


Nori wraps – Seaweed is an underrated, under-eaten superfood! We need not only enjoy it in sushi. In fact, I suggest you try using it as a “wrap” to gather up some of your favourite vegetable sticks (carrot, capsicum, cucumber, green onion, fennel, zucchini, broccolini) with 1/4 sliced or smashed avocado and a drizzle of tahini. Ginger, wasabi, chilli, vegan mayo, Kim-chi and Tamari can all be added too if you want to get a little more fancy. This is way more exciting than plain crudités and dip, and is the perfect opportunity to add in more mineral-rich, thyroid-balancing seaweed. 

Green smoothie – There is no reason that a breakfast recipe cannot be had as a snack. I prefer to start my day light, and find many people feel the same. However on days I didn’t, or days I feel like I need another dose, a green smoothie is perfect to fill the gap between meals. I have plenty of green recipes on the blog and in my eBook, but the formula is: 2 handfuls greens, 2 servings fruit, 1.5 cups liquid, 1 tbsp greens powder (optional). Enjoying this or halving the recipe for a smaller snack is a great way to fill up on vitamins, minerals, fibre and yes, even amino acids. 

Pranaon protein balls – Bliss balls have long been a go-to snack and a staple in food prep for the week. But to be honest, I stopped preparing them when I found these guys! They are so delicious, plus the ingredients are clean, just how I would make them, and the convenience factor cannot be overlooked. Plus they keep out of the fridge, which is always a plus in a house where taking things out of the fridge is like playing Tetris! I’ll keep one in my bag or car for emergency snack situations, and have the full box in the pantry for an after yoga snack or post-dinner sweet craving.

Warm superfood latte – this one is great for those sweet cravings that sneak up in the afternoon/evening. If you work in an office, I recommend packing the powder of whichever ingredient you choose, and making it by either heating up your nut milk on a stove (if available) or in a microwave (it will do). Once your warm milk is ready, stir in your powder of choice. Some of my favourites are: cacao w 1 tsp peanut butter/tahini; ground turmeric, black pepper + a pinch of grated ginger (optional); matcha vanilla; or cinnamon + nutmeg. All sweetened with vanilla stevia drops or natvia natural sweetener. For frothier latte’s, blending is always a nice idea if at home.  Try my homemade almond milk recipe here and bring it with you in a small glass jar!

Power up Protein BlendPranaon protein powder in 1.5 cups nut milk or coconut water. If you have the option of blending it or pre-blending it I would also add  in a piece of fruit like a large handful of berries, cherries or 1 banana, spinach leaves and some cinnamon for extra flavour.  I generally only have these on days I have been super active where I feel I need it… or sometimes, as a morning snack if I am starving and lunch is going to be far away. 

1/2 small papaya filled with 2-3 tbsp coconut yoghurt, cinnamon and a sprinkle of bee pollen – easy-to-digest, hydrating and anti-inflammatory, papaya’s are another overlooked food that is actually delicious. Many people get confused with paw paw, but red papaya is actually much more tasty. It’s one of those fruits you get quite a decent amount of in one serving (low glycemic-load) so you can feel satisfied. The extra fat added by the coconut yoghurt also helps to keep you fuller for longer, with cinnamon and bee pollen offering appetite-controlling, blood-sugar stabilising properties. If the coconut yoghurt is not of interest to you, you could always pair it with 2-3 tbsp raw nuts or seeds, or enjoy it on it’s own with some lime juice.

Miso soup with nori/dulse and edamame – this warm concoction can either be made at home (preferred, due to cleanness of ingredients) or definitely can be ordered from your local Japanese shop. It is quite low in calories/energy, but soup can actually be quite satisfying. The edamame definitely bulks it up. It is a great protein boost to eat alongside your miso or enjoy in the soup. When buying miso for the home, try to find an unpasteurised version. Even better, also gluten-free.

Nut butter + celery – 1-2 tbsp nut butter in a celery “boat” is an oldie but a goodie and something I will never get sick of! Any snack that is accompanied by veg is a win in my books.

For more healthy recipes and appetite-controlling tips, check out my eBook Rebalance – a 3 step protocol.

“I’m Vegan and Always Hungry. Help!” Appetite Control and My Top Tips To Reduce Insatiable Hunger

Amongst its many jobs, the hypothalamus (in the brain) is responsible for appetite regulation by stimulating metabolic and behavioural responses to maintain energy balance. Many factors come into play here, including the roles and reactions of biological hormones and peptides as well as psychological cues.

A lot of people fear or find that when they cut out meat and dairy, essentially everything they have been conditioned to associate with protein, they won’t be satiated. Well, protein is indeed satiating, and lucky for us, it is in everything. So if it is protein you are worried about, simply ensuring you get enough calories daily should suffice to meet protein requirements (.8g/kg of body weight), read more here. While the effect of protein on appetite control is well-documented, increasing protein consumption beyond what is necessary does not appear to be helpful, and clearly shows a 75% increase in overall mortality, and a four-fold increase in cancer death risk! Interestingly, some experiments show that high animal-based protein diets might help with quick weight-loss and appetite control short-term, but these effects tend to dissipate after one year. Further, these diets deplete the bodies glycogen stores and the water that goes with them, so it stands to reason that participants lose (water) weight.

In one study, a vegetable-based meal (beans/peas) influenced appetite and energy intake favourably compared to an animal-based meal (pork/veal) with similar energy and protein content. Further, a vegetable-based meal with low protein content was as satiating and palatable as an animal-based meal with high protein content! So we can see, protein isn’t the only thing that is important to consider when it comes to appetite control!

Aside from protein, nutrient density and fibre are extremely important when it comes to satiety. Nutrient density is important because if you are eating nutrient-poor but calorie-rich foods (fast, processed, refined foods), your body may send you hunger signals, hoping that you choose to feed it the nutrients it so needs. There is ample evidence that increasing consumption of high-fibre foods may decrease feelings of hunger. High-fibre foods are shown to take a while to digest, controlling blood sugar, keeping you feeling fuller for longer, and having the added bonus of “cleansing” the system and feeding beneficial gut bacteria.

Without knowing an individuals diet, it is tricky for me to answer why they are feeling constantly hungry. A common mistake people make is forgetting to replace the meat in their meal with something else nutrient-dense e.g. a chicken salad, minus the chicken, will not fill you up. You must add staples like chickpeas, beans, lentils, brown rice, quinoa, nuts or seeds in place, to amp up the energy and nutrient-density, and thus the satiety.

Lastly, we are supposed to get hungry! “If I eat a vegan meal, I find I am hungry a few hours later”… Well, that is often a positive when transitioning to a vegan diet, we become more in tune with our appetite. We must stop looking at hunger as a bad thing. You need food to fuel your body to function, it is simply about choosing the right fuel. Waking up hungry, feeling hungry every 3-5 hours is a very natural, normal and healthy indicator of your body working efficiently. Food is not the enemy!

Hunger-fighting Tips:

– Replace the meat in your meal with something nutrient-dense, fibre-rich and substantial;

– Ensure you reach adequate protein daily through a variety of plant-sources: fruits and vegetables (everything adds up), beans, legumes and grains, tempeh and tofu, nuts and seeds. If you wish to incorporate a protein powder, you may, but that isn’t always necessary. Remember, sufficient calories = sufficient protein, read more on this here. Include beans and legumes in your diet, evidence suggests that such plant-proteins provide a longer feeling of satiety than animal proteins;

– Fill up on non-starchy vegetables – 3+ cups per meal is not too much! Go hard! Snack on these freely;

– Nutritious mini meals, such as the three S’s – salads, soups and smoothies – can also be snacks and are often healthier and satisfying than packaged and processed snack options;

– Think nutrient density – perhaps your body is craving nutrition rather than calories;

– Don’t deprive yourself of carbohydrates – carbohydrates are a mainstay in a plant-based diet. Gluten-free grains, legumes, beans, fruit… these foods are not to be feared. They are the bodies primary source of fuel, crucial for healthy brain, thyroid and digestive function and keeping you full, happy and healthy.

– Not too long, not too short, just right – Don’t wait too long between meals to the point where you are famished, make poor choices and guzzle your food, but don’t eat too soon, as we need time between meals to cleanse the digestive system! Aim to wait at least 2-3 hours;

– Plate your food – if snack items are out of reach, studies suggest you eat less. Ensure you are seated when eating, not on-the-go (or standing over the sink!);

– Do not inhale food – eat slowly and mindfully, away from distractions. Chew each bite 10-20 times. Set an alarm in your phone to go off after 20 minutes, this is a good guide for how long you should eat. Place utensils down between bites, and swallow each mouthful before going for another!

– Sleep – a lack of sleep actually leads to heightened appetite and less feelings of satisfaction after a meal due to its relationship with the hormones Ghrelin and Leptin. Essentially, it reduces the amount of leptin in your body, the “stop-eating” hormone;

– Ensure you are hydrated – Sometimes we mistake thirst for hunger, particularly with fruit cravings. Have a glass or two of water, wait a few minutes, then decide if you are truly hungry. Note: it is best to drink away from meals, so as not to dilute digestive enzymes needed to break down food;

– Apple cider vinegar – fights candida and may help with sugar cravings, bloating and stimulation of stomach acid;

Cinnamon – trials ustilising cinnamon as a means for blood sugar stabilisation, particularly in diabetics, have yielded mixed results. However, given the little downside, why not try it in meals. Be sure to choose Ceylon as opposed to Cassia (more common/cheap), due to potential coumarin toxicity;

– Phenylalanine – Is an amino acid thought to help suppress appetite, due to its relationship with the satiety hormone cholecystokinin. Bee pollen and chlorella (can be taken as tablets) are nutritious superfoods, rich in phenylalanine;

– Peppermint tea – may help suppress appetite, and is a lovely way to end a meal. Note: avoid if you are prone to reflux.


How to add more veggies to your day

Often, we focus on getting in enough protein. We track our intake of fat. Some closely monitor their sugar intake… but is anyone counting their vegetables?! 5 servings a day is a minimum requirement, but frankly, I rarely see clients who meet this conservative amount. We know that the consumption of fruit and vegetables is linked to a reduced likelihood of chronic disease. Fibre, antioxidants, bioflavonoids, water, vitamins and minerals, and even nutrients like omega 3 and protein, yes protein! are in our beloved vegetables. Therefore, for optimum health and in line with using food as preventative medicine, the amount we strive for should be much, much higher. I believe eight servings a day is a better recommendation, with no end in sight! My advice: Eat as many as you can fit in! The below ideas are ways to creatively include veg into your meals, for you or perhaps for fussy kids, to boost the nutrient content, colours, flavours and even texture, and far exceed 5 servings a day…

Smoothies – 1,2,3 even 4 handfuls of greens! When you blend them, they break down and you won’t even notice, especially spinach or cos lettuce.

Aim for 3+ cups with main meals such as salads and stir-fries – leafy greens, a variety of chopped raw salad veggies, and roast veg. Include a combination of all three.

Soups – you can make soups 100% vegetables, from using veggie stock (loaded with nutrients), to chopping veg in or pureeing it. Sometimes I even puree it e.g. cauliflower soup, and then top it with mushrooms, broccoli or sliced zucchini for texture. A cup of veg soup makes a great afternoon snack or dinner starter.

Snack on carrots, capsicums, cucumber, celery – crunchy foods are often more satisfying, aren’t they? Keeping sliced veg sticks handy are a quick go-to snack to enjoy, whilst upping your veggie intake. Pair with dip such as hummus or nut butter for satiation.

Blend them into a dressing – sometimes I throw in capsicum, zucchini, cucumber, beetroot or carrot in a salad dressing with things like tahini or miso. Makes for a beautiful colour and tasty flavours!

Veggie Juice – juice more veg to fruit for a healthy juice combo that is sure to give you an energy boost! Even better – use things you would usually throw out, like celery or beet leaves, where there is actually a substantial amount of nutrition. Throw in lots of lemon and/or some green apple, and you will mask any bitterness.

Grate carrot or zucchini – in your oats +/bircher, blend tomatoes, pumpkin, carrots, zucchini, broccoli in your dips like hummus, try beetroot muffins… easy, delicious and great for variety!

Are we tired of avoiding fruit yet?

Hi guys,

what I am about to post might be a little controversial. I get it, I myself jumped on the “all sugar is sugar” bandwagon and went through a long period of avoiding all things sweet, including fruit. In fact, if you look back at some of my recipes, you will see I used to make a lot of fruit-free smoothies, replacing it with avocado or soaked nuts and stevia/xylitol.

Whilst I think limiting fruit has a place, like in issues with Candida overgrowth, my transition to a 100% plant-based diet has seen a revival in my love affair for fruit. It has brought to my attention the very warped way in which I once viewed whole foods, like fruit, and the way I believe so many of us still do.

You see, we live in a world where packaged food with nutrition panels, ingredients we can’t pronounce, flavour numbers we don’t understand, and buzz words that deceive, are viewed as “good”, yet we are afraid of the plant foods that grow from the earth and have been eaten by humans for centuries. Hmmmmm...

It goes back to the simple concept, if you can recognise it, your body probably does too!

Fruit is natures beautifully alkaline, perfectly packaged, fibre-rich supplement.

When we consume fruit we get vitamins and minerals such as vitamin A, vitamin C, potassium, magnesium, folate and calcium. We also get the benefit of antioxidants such as organic phenols, which have been shown to decrease oxidation helping to prevent chronic disease and promoting healthy aging. The fibre acts as a buffer to the natural sugar being consumed, ensuring it is slow releasing and preventing those dreaded highs and lows of refined sugars. Not only that, but ripe fruits are the most alkaline of all foods. We want our body to stay alkaline to prevent chronic disease and toxicity and make us feel and look our most vibrant (animal-based foods are acid-forming, which causes the body to leech specific nutrients that balance this acidic effect, like calcium). And last but not least, fruit contains water making it extremely hydrating, which never goes astray when so many of us struggle to meet our daily quota of 2L water.

With all these incredible health benefits, we have somehow managed to demonize fruit and glorify artificial, man-made formulas.

So how did we get here?

Big bad fructose: Any ill effect of fructose, the sugar found in fruit, is strictly limited to that of industrial fructose such as high-fructose corn-syrup, and not fruit. In fact, this study proves that a diet that restricts fructose from added sugars but includes fruit, is more beneficial for weight-loss than a diet that limits both fruit and added sugars! It is definitely a combination of the above health benefits that ensures fruit doesn’t have the same effect on our blood sugar as refined sugars. Indeed, restricting fruit intake has even been shown to be ineffective in type 2 diabetes patients.

Here is something else I have come to understand – when you cut a food out completely you usually need to fill it’s void with something else. What I found myself doing was replacing a lot of my fruit with nuts, seeds and oils, essentially replacing healthy carbohydrates with good fats. I didn’t feel good on a high-fat diet, and even though I still promote good fats as part of a balanced diet, I think we are all too concerned with eating fat and not concerned enough about eating fibre and nutrient-dense plant foods.

We are in fact designed to eat carbohydrates as a large portion of our diet – particularly land and ocean fruits and vegetables, even whole grains. Yet so many of us are crowding out carbohydrates with protein and fat. We actually have 5 tastes: sweet, sour, salty, bitter and umami. As you can see, sweet is indeed one of them, meaning we need not feel guilty for wanting something sweet! And fruit is the perfect answer.

The more I eat real, whole foods, the more I can eat fresh fruit and even a little dried fruit, with no guilt, no bloating and no weight gain. It actually makes me feel so, so good and alive! This is where another age old comes into play – listen to your body. We are unique individuals.

Experiment, eat consciously, tune into yourself.

Don’t fear a whole food group, especially one as vast, nutritious and natural as fruit. We are fruit eaters – look at the banana-loving chimpanzee, our closest relative!

I just want you to think about how you view food, and begin to see the irony of fearing foods that are whole, pure and come from nature.

Surely, that doesn’t seem right?

Love, health & wholefoods, always

Sami xx