Have you had a bit of a think on what I wrote about last? Do you feel a little more comfortable when you consider eating what nutritionists and health experts refer to as a ‘balanced diet‘? I have discussed in a very general way how food is suggested to be eaten and I have then elaborated on the importance of fruits and vegetables in ensuring you are nourishing your body. I want to explain how and why this is, and what you need to know and consider when selecting foods, but I simply cannot. Ethically and intellectually this information is not mine to share, I am only blundering around myself.
What I can do is take you on this next step of the journey with me as I show you what was offered to me and how I made the decisions I did.
The first time I saw a nutritionist was when I was fifteen and diagnosed with Idiopathic Thrombocytopenic Purpura (ITP). The hemotologist at the time wanted to remove my spleen as he believed it was destroying my platelets and thus causing the disease. My parents researched the procedure and were reluctant to jump so willingly into that extreme option which would potentially leave me with a penicillin intolerance or allergy later on in life. They made a deadline and decided to keep with the medication route as well as a diet and alternative treatment options.
During this time I took Chinese herbs, underwent acupuncture sessions, took natural medicines and ate a specifically tailored diet. It took two years as I was resistant to some of the foods at the time. What I learned from this initial visit, and from regular subsequent visits since then, is how to select what I should eat, based on what my body needs. There may be a presumption amongst some of you that I am pleased to eat anything but it is only in these past two years that I have stopped being as picky. I still am a bit of a princess when it comes to trying new things.
Sometimes you need to do what is right, not what you feel like. This includes food.
I learned to appreciate some foods for their nutritional values and health qualities regardless of their taste. I learned how to introduce foods into meals, how to be less picky and stubborn about my appetite. I learned how to best access the nutrients in the food and how they should be stored, what is needed for us to best metabolise these nutrients and what is necessary to focus on more.
How to discover your current ‘nutrient-fixes’
The main point is to first be honest with yourself about your diet. What you are and aren’t eating and in what quantities. The easiest way is to do a food diary. For maybe three days during the week and one or both days of the weekend. Try to drink water out of a jug or bottle so you can keep record of your fluids, and roughly a handful of food equals a cup, if this helps for quantities. Quantities of bakery products are easier to track than confectionary, but whatever you eat just be honest. No one will arrest you for these numbers. When you know what foods you are eating you can assess what nutrients you are ingesting on a regular basis.
Yes, this means you may have to google some stuff.
The main point of knowing what you are eating regularly is that you can find out what you are missing from your diet.
How to discover what you need in your ‘nutrient-fixes’
*SIGH* Here is the second round of annoying research I am going to have to lump you with.
You will need to address your age, gender, general and specific health as well as the very specifics of your lifestyle. Consider any sports activities you engage in, your exposure to outdoor and indoor environments, what your digestion, water retention and BM (Bowel Movements) are how regular and restful your sleep and sleep patterns are. You need to think of the impact of current prescription medications they may interfere with nutrient retention and levels in general. It can happen. People that are attempting to fall pregnant, gain or lose weight need to think about foods that inhibit or restrict the potential for this. A good discussion with family members can be valuable as many congenital, or hereditary, health troubles can be eased to a point through a good diet.
When you have looked into what you are not eating, what your body in your situation, needs and how regularly then you need to hop back on the internet, or JUST BUY A BOOK ON NATURAL GROWN FOODS and these will tell you what nutrients are in it.
Now for the best part
We need to get these into you. Now you will be sitting there eager at the idea until you read mushrooms or blueberries or spinach. Everyone has at least one ‘No Food’ and that is okay but you kind of need to buck up and get over it. You would be surprised how easy it is to mix some things into food. Remember though that you can’t cook it down to a point where the nutrients are hidden. You are better off to hide a berry in chocolate sauce than cook it into a turnover. We don’t want to destroy the nutrients or ‘denature them’ but we do need to enjoy them. Kale sucks. Yes it is bitter and stands out. Yes it is hard to hide and we all smirk and pretend we enjoy it for the week that we can stick it out before going back to chocolate milk.
The best way to get a variety of foods into you without losing nutrients or tasting the hated ‘No Foods’ are salads, stir-frys and a kind of best which is a mixture of both. Lunch and dinner aren’t your only meal times and you should be thinking about how you can get nutrients into you for breakfast, morning tea, afternoon tea and dessert as well if and wherever possible.