Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Healthy Habits in 2010 - Eating Right

I had a physical two weeks ago - nothing like that to get you back on track!

I'd been eating horribly the last few weeks - lots of potato and tortilla chips for snacks and things like graduation parties and church dinners with an abundance of hot dogs and the like for the meal. Uff da. Stress makes me eat a lot more than I should and we've had plenty of that around here too!

My cholesterol - which I have to watch due to genetically high levels of body-manufactured cholesterol - was high. Not shockingly high or anything like that. It was borderline. Since I'm typically quite good with my cholesterol, that was a noticeable thing for my doctor. I also have some serious vitamin deficiencies that I'm now taking mega-doses of to get my levels back up to 'normal' range.

In either case, healthy eating has moved back to the top of my list!

Not only am I working on portion control and reasonable snacking (and I have been in theory for the last 7 1/2 months!), I'm focusing on getting the recommended number of daily servings in each 'category' of the dietary charts. Like many people, I have a tendency to do overboard with the starches and not get enough fruits and veggies. We cut way back on meat-protein a few years ago and haven't gone back, so I'm usually fine with that.

Don't get me wrong - we typically have fruit at each meal and veggies at lunch and dinner. However, the recommended amount is 4-6 servings of veggies and 3-5 of fruit. A serving is one small fruit (apple, peach, pear, etc.) or 1/2 cup of fruit. I get maybe 1/2 cup of fruit at lunch and 1 cup at dinner, but breakfast is a 'garnish' usually - so about 3 servings. I guess that's okay, but I like fruit and would do better if I was eating 4-5 servings. Veggies, well, they're worse. If I get 3 servings I'm on the high end of the scale.

One thing that surprised me is finding out how little calcium is readily absorbed into our bodies from calcium sources. There's a reason why we're usually recommended to drink 3 8-ounce glasses of milk per day. Yes, that gives us plenty of the recommended dairy (the 3 servings), but it is the most readily absorbable source of calcium we have! Supplements aren't as readily absorbed. And the amount of absorbable calcium in any other dairy product and leafy green vegetables is about 1/4 what it is in milk. Beans are a good source of calcium - about 75% the absorption rate of milk - too, but I'm not going to eat beans for 3 meals per day! :) Those things really surprised me since I hear about so many people getting their calcium from sources other than milk.

So, on my agenda is making sure I get my 4-5 servings of fruit and 5-6 servings of veggies per day. And getting enough calcium (even though I really don't care for milk).

What's on your agenda for healthy eating? Care to share?

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