I thought it was about time I dug my head out of a book to let you know I’m alive and well and up to my ears in quizzes, exams, foods lab, papers, and all kinds of analysis (read: math *cough*). I’ve been exercising my right brain more than my body these last few weeks, but it hasn’t been all work and no play.
There was Gettysburg:
The tower and the fortress were spaces I could only have experienced from a tour bus or in books and photos when I was at my heaviest. Every time I add things to my list of things I can do now that I couldn’t do then, I thank and honor the woman who made the decision to lose weight nearly 7 years ago.
Halloween was successful:
I consumed only one small roll of Whoppers malted milk balls and one (only one) candy corn, which Claire shared with me after I begged a little.
I’ve also watched three seasons of “Mad Men.” Don Draper is my non-caloric eye candy reward for working so hard in school. Yummy!
I also completed the second part of the 3-day intake analysis assignment I first wrote about October 5 (see “Knowledge is King & Breaking Bad…A Tale of Bread Addiction”).
We were asked to take a look at the complete nutritional picture, not just the energy nutrients (carbs, protein and fats) from the previous assignment. What did I learn? That I need a big serving of vitamin D, with a little iron, fatty acids, and B12 on the side. Oh, and a sprinkle of thiamin and niacin on top. Hold the sodium.
We were to write about where we were lacking and how best to improve our diet without supplementing. I won’t bore you with the report I wrote, but here are the highlights.
My essential fatty acids (Omega-3 and Omega 6) intake fall short of the DRI (daily recommended intake). Because I don’t eat fish (although I did try fish oil tablets a year ago and did not tolerate them), I need to pay closer attention to my consumption of flaxseed and walnuts, and use sunflower, safflower or soybean oils in my cooking.
Thiamin and niacin will get a boost if I eat more pinto beans, soy milk, and tofu, and I can improve my vitamin E intake through an increased intake of seeds and nuts (which will help with the Omega-3 issue, too).
Because of B12s importance in maintaining nerve cells and a whole lot of other things, I need to improve my average daily intake. On the day I recorded a cup of soy milk and a serving of cheese, I exceeded the DRI by a fraction. On the two days I didn’t eat these, my B12 intake was miniscule at best.
My biggest vitamin concern is vitamin D. I am at 27% of the DRI. Given its relationship to calcium and phosphorus in maintaining blood concentrations of these minerals, 27% is clearly not adequate. While I’m sure I get enough vitamin D during the summer because I spend a lot of time outdoors, this isn’t the case now. I need to rethink my egg-whites-only diet mindset and begin to consume more yolks with my morning omelet and look for products that are fortified with vitamin D, particularly in the winter. The only way I can drink cow milk is in a Starbucks latte and I’m not paying for one of those every day. So I bought a container of cottage cheese. I only like cottage cheese as a dip for potato chips (no, I’m not kidding) and on lasagna, but I’ll give it a try by itself. Mixing it with fruit will…trust me…only make it worse for me.
Regarding minerals, I’m pleased with my calcium, magnesium and potassium intake. While the 3-day average had my potassium slightly lower than the DRI, on a broader average, my intake of potassium-rich foods puts me above the DRI most days.
Where I’m lacking is iron. My iron levels have been low most of my adult life, except when I was taking a multivitamin with added iron. I stopped taking supplements a few years ago, and while my doctor hasn’t been too concerned about my lower-than-normal iron levels, it doesn’t mean I should ignore the fact that I consume less than 50% of the DRI for iron every day. According to our text, “Vegetarians need 1.8 times as much iron to make up for the low bioavailability typical of their diets.” Again, increasing my consumption of soy, legumes and seeds would help, but so, too, would cereal such as cream of wheat, a favorite of mine from childhood. I have begun to consume wheat products again on a very minimal level, but I will give the cream of wheat a try a few times a week to see if my levels improve when I see my doctor in early December.
It was an enlightening assignment, to say the least. Not that I’m going to go all hog wild and stress myself out to get it all perfect, but knowledge is power, and I’ve got the power to change a few things to improve my diet. Why not? I might discover I actually like cottage cheese by itself.