Archives for posts with tag: nutrition

I will admit that diet and nutrition talk is not my forte. It just doesn’t give me the tingles the way talking about deadlifting or fixing knee pain does.

Did I creep you out yet?

 

 

 

 

…..How about now?

 

Aaaaannyway… I try to keep up with diet and nutrition information via books, blogs, and research. This week I just wanted to keep it simple with the basics of macronutrients: Carbs, protein, and fats.

Do Carbs Make You Fat?

Carb consumption gets a lot of attention these days since diets like Atkins and Paleo have become more and more popular. It can make people carb-phobic and do things as radical as cut out fruit from their diet! Too much of any macro-nutrient will make you fat, but all 3 have their place. This is a great explanation of choosing the right carbs and using them effectively.

The Ultimate Guide to Protein Supplements

I’m a big fan of protein shakes for a couple reasons. First, if you’re like me, you’re busy. Protein shakes take about 5.3 seconds to make and they’re portable. Second, it’s a quick and easy way to get an extra 20 or so grams of protein; and I usually aim for ~100g/day. Lastly, it’s a little extra hydration and I frikken love the taste. This article is a great explanation of which type of protein supplement might be best for you, if you’re interested in trying one.

What Are Safe Cooking Fats and Oils?

Many people think olive oil or seed oils (think canola or peanut oil) are healthy to cook with, but believe it or not there are better options. This blog explains why.

 

Happy Learning!

-L

 

To a certain degree, I would consider personal trainers allied health care professionals. I believe a good personal trainer helps his/her clients go beyond exercise. It’s pretty standard for a trainer to ask a new client about their nutrition; however I like to take it a few steps further and dig into sleep habits, water intake, stress levels, energy levels, and just life in general. Obviously, I’m not a doctor, but I would be so bold as to guess that I have a much closer relationship with my clients than they do with their doctors. I need to get the whole picture to improve my client’s lives. Who am I if I’m not helping others?

Today I wanted to share with you a little bit about a personal health journey.

A fellow trainer wrote a blog post once about how he ate an unusually unhealthy dinner one night, proceeded to get terrible sleep, and felt like crap the entire next day. Then it occurred to him that that’s some people’s normal.  And we just accept it as ‘it is what it is.’

For the past few years I’ve had a sneaking suspicion that I have a mild case of hypothyroidism. I have a list of mild yet annoying symptoms that until recently I didn’t really put much thought into piecing them together. Obviously when I was younger, I just accepted these things as ‘it is what is it’ and that’s just how I am. When I started to think about it.. I wondered if all these things were connected in some way. Here’s what I came up with:

1. I’ve always had very dry skin. Even in the summer time I can’t go a day without putting lotion on or else my skin resembles the Sahara.

2. I bruise like a peach. Like… a super old peach. The littlest whack to the shin can cause a gigantic deep purple contusion.

3. My overall energy is not bad, but could be better. When I was in college (and clearly had too much time on my hands) I would take 2-3 hour naps DAILY. Obviously I don’t have anywhere near that amount of free time now, and I find myself barely being able to keep my eyes open on the T ride home.

4. My eyes get puffy and sensitive to unnatural light (especially fluorescent).

5. Most noticeably, my hair has gotten very brittle, and breaks very easily.

6. I have poor temperature control. I’m either sweating or freezing.

7. I’ve always been in a healthy body fat range, thanks mostly to good exercise habits (re: lifting) and a good diet. However, it takes a pretty significant effort for me to get in the teen range (usually entails two-a-days and VERY strict diet). Hypothyroidism can cause weight gain, or difficulty losing weight.

About a year ago I had my doctor check all my hormone levels. According to her all my levels were ‘normal,’ and I had nothing to worry about. Yeah… thanks for nothing doc. An analogy I read while doing my research talked about the RDA for vitamin D. Basically, it’s just enough to not get rickets. But many people question if it’s enough for optimal health.

“Health is not simply the absence of sickness.”  ~Hannah Green

But.. I figured doctors know best and it just… is what it is.

So a year goes by. One morning about 3 weeks ago I found my lab report for my  thyroid levels. I was on the low end of normal. I decided to type all my symptoms into Google just to see what popped up. Not surprisingly, every single result said hypothyroidism. I also have it in my family; my grandmother takes a thyroid pill every day of her life. But I thought… there has to be a better way. I wanted to get to the root of the problem.

So I did some more research. What are the underlying causes of hypothyroidism? Does it just get out of whack for no reason or can something be done to fix it? And then I found it.

Iodine Deficiency. 

Iodine is an essential dietary element because it aids in producing thyroid hormones. According to the WHO, a deficiency in iodine can cause hypothyroid-like symptoms,  miscarriages in pregnant women, or even mental retardation and brain damage.

Iodine deficiency is actually pretty rare for the standard American diet because we eat so much processed, high sodium foods. (Most of the salt we consume is fortified with iodine). However, if you eat a better-than-average diet with minimally processed food and lots of fruits and veggies, you can actually be missing iodine! My diet significantly improved after college, when my symptoms got more noticeable, so I put 2 and 2 together.

Now, supplements are good but real food is better. So the next step in my research was to find foods naturally rich in iodine. Big shocker: seaweed. Ahh, the light bulb turns on. So obvious. Needless to say, I got pretty pumped about where my research had taken me so I went out that afternoon and got me some ever-so-delicious kombu.

Seaweed soup anybody?

 

Luckily, I live in an area with a large Asian population and we have a gigantic Asian food market down the street. The seaweed was easy to find and pretty cheap. I’ve tried to consume some at least every other day for the past few weeks, and I can honestly say I already feel a difference. My eyes have been less puffy, my energy is better, and my skin is (slightly) less dry. All of the other things will probably take some more time to really see changes, and I will surely keep you updated.

Admittedly, I put ‘fat loss’ in the title to get your attention. Although everything about iodine, thyroid, and weight loss is true, the intention of this article is not to get you to think seaweed is the magical key to weight loss and you should go eat a crap ton and you’ll lose ten pounds by next week.  (Yes grammar freaks I realize that’s a run-on sentence. Cuff me.)

The intention of this article is to get you to take a second look at your health. Can things you just accept as normal be improved? I encourage you to dig a little deeper and solve your issues from the root instead of just putting a band-aide on them. Ask questions. Do research. Think critically. Everybody deserves to feel good every day.

“To insure good health: eat lightly, breathe deeply, live moderately, cultivate cheerfulness, and maintain an interest in life.”  ~William Londen

In Best Health,

-L

References:

1. http://www.who.int/nutrition/topics/idd/en/

2. http://www.marksdailyapple.com/iodine-deficiency/#axzz29f3jQqOp

3. http://www.marksdailyapple.com/a-visual-guide-to-sea-vegetables/#axzz29f3jQqOp

4. http://www.livestrong.com/article/336014-nutritional-therapy-for-hypothyroid/

5.http://jonnybowdenblog.com/thyroid-fish-oil/

6. http://www.marksdailyapple.com/kombu-egg-soup/#axzz29f3jQqOp

7. http://www.wellfedhomestead.com/what-to-do-if-you-are-low-in-iodine

8. http://freetheanimal.com/2010/01/the-hidden-benefit-of-the-sad-iodine.html

9. http://www.womentowomen.com/hypothyroidism/foods-naturalthyroidhealth.aspx