The Best of Neal 2018: Rants, Ravings & Really Good Advice

It’s the time of year to get nostalgic. This was our first year of writing a weekly blog along with our Monthly Rant, and I’d call it an overwhelming success. With a bit of a humble brag, I’d say our team has really put out high quality content in 2018. When you take a step back and look at it all, it looks to me like the beginnings of our first book…

I want to highlight a few of my favorites from this year while giving a little added commentary.  

Here’s my 2018 Woodstock Vitamins Blog Round Up!

1. My Favorite Blog To Write: The Wellness Pyramid

I feel like we needed something that really captures our approach and how we are different from the sea of “practitioners” and health “experts” out there. I had always used this pyramid analogy in my in-store consultations, so it was cool to share this with a larger audience and deliver it in a way it is understandable from afar.

The big take home message should always be that we want you to use fewer, high quality supplements – especially ones with actual evidence (small or large) to support the use.  This flies in the face of most “experts” as their goal is to get you to take more and more, all with false promises of “optimizing your wellness.”  I call BS, as I do. The only way to optimize your wellness is by climbing the Wellness Pyramid, one step at a time.

2. The Coolest Thing We Made: 14 Mega Corporations

Besides our weekly blogs and Monthly Rant, we dabbled in some videos – all which is pretty cool and fun to do.  But this year was the year for the Woodstock Vitamins INFOGRAPHICS. We created dozens of high quality images that distill the messages of my admittedly long-winded blogs to a simple graphic.

My favorite was the one we created about the Mega Corporations that own major supplement brands. Most people weren’t aware that two Vitality Approved brands were purchased by Nestle AKA “The Devil”, so this was a cool way to teach everyone about the big money that controls supplement brands.  

The infographic does a wonderful job showing that Big Pharma vs Natural Products is mostly a false narrative; “Big Pharma” and big money controls the raw material supply chain and customer facing brands. They are ecstatic that people think otherwise, as they can hide behind the smoke and mirrors and profiting all the way.

3. My Favorite Subject:  Calcium Doesn’t Work

I know, only dorky pharmacists say this, but I love talking about bone health!   

I love this article for a few reasons. First, I loved our approach here. I feel we did a great job conveying the BIG, no BS message around calcium: Calcium, Vitamin D, and the rest don’t do what all the so-called “practitioners” have been telling you they do. Calcium is CRUCIAL, but don’t believe the false promises that many people can avoid medical therapies by taking a few supplements.  

The title itself is pretty jarring. Any time I have an opportunity to add some “Middle Path” to how people feel about medicine, that is awesome too.  

And finally, because we formulated a true whole-food, comprehensive bone support formula, Calcium Care, it was great to be able to have a bone health option that has a bit more integrity than the stuff most people get.  

It is a hard balance to give people quality advice AND sell products without seeming like profit is our main motive. To be able to look at what is real, call it out for what it is, but then have an option that is really a better fit than what’s out there – that’s a good feeling!

4. The Blog With The Biggest Impact:  Flu Shots Are Nothing To Sneeze At

Lots of our articles are read thousands of times, and I believe many people get SOMETHING new from them. It makes the process rewarding. This year, I feel the biggest impact I made was with our Flu Shots Rant, which technically was a 2017 blog.

Besides the social media trolls that came out in full force, I believe this article addresses the nonsense around vaccines and flu shots pretty well.  I believe the approach of “Don’t get a shot if you don’t want to, but not because of all the crazy, unsubstantiated reasons” worked VERY well to those who are open minded and truly want to understand the REAL picture here. I heard from about 50 different people directly who said they normally skip the flu shot but were convinced to vaccinate because of that article. That means a lot – that means potentially 50+ people who won’t spread the flu to someone who could possibly get real sick or die, and a dramatically decreased risk of those people themselves from suffering.

5. Most Meaningful:  Meditation and Mindfulness

I make a strong case for both marijuana legalization and meditation in this piece. I really feel that mental illness isn’t recognized correctly in this country. Stress management is a HUGE request of our customers. Anxiety and depression bleed into all facets of health – impacting sleep, memory, and even pain. Our society has difficulty managing the darkness that our mind likes to create. Just like most of us, I suffer from the same types of stuff and I shared it a bit.

The article received praise from a number of local therapists, so I feel like we did good work here. If you’ve read it before, check it out again!

6. The Trendiest of 2018:

We try very hard to be timely. Our article covering bone broth and collagen touched on THAT trend, but they pale in comparison to the big talk of 2018: CBD.

Marijuana fever is gripping the nation. We need it, quite honestly…  Recent, ahem, events? have stressed out Americans to the max. We’re starting to see the benefits of marijuana legalization:  tax income, medical uses, increased sales of Funions.

As of this December, Congress legalized the new Farm Bill that makes hemp legal again. CBD is about to be EVERYWHERE. There’s a lot of garbage products out there – everyone and their moms are making and selling it… You can buy it at yard sales for crying out loud. It makes our jobs much more important. People need a trained medical professional who understands therapeutics AND quality, but most importantly someone with some integrity – it’s too easy to get ripped off with CBD.

CBD is great! We have so many great anecdotes from customers getting great anxiety, sleep, and pain support from it.  

We’ve been digging in and learning all about it, hoping to be your CBD expert!  Look for fresh new content coming early 2019.

Honorable Mention: Most Puns Per Paragraph – Joint Health

How often do the OTHER health and wellness blogs reference Snoop Dogg?  This article was fun to write! I hope we were able to make something boring like joint health interesting enough to gain some wisdom.

Thanks For Reading

To all you loyal blog readers, I can’t say thank you enough!

The feedback and love I get after each and every article I write is overwhelming. It truly is motivational; I happily grind away to get this blog done each week because I know how much you all enjoy reading them.  

Writing this blog is one of my favorite things to do.  I get to teach people important stuff and be myself, which is a sometimes professional, but mostly sarcastic guy.

I can’t wait for 2019 and all the great stuff we’ll get to share with all of you. See you on the other side!

Just trying to keep it real…

Neal Smoller, PharmD
Owner, Pharmacist, Big Mouth

Dr. Neal Smoller, Holistic Pharmacist

About Neal Smoller

Dr. Neal Smoller, PharmD, is a licensed pharmacist: and owner of Village Apothecary, an independent pharmacy in the most famous small town in America—Woodstock, NY. He’s also the host of the popular wellness podcast, The Big Mouth Pharmacist.”


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