Image from www.cronometer.com
10 years ago my life could have gone very differently. I was beginning to lose my balance, my speech was occasionally slurring, my thoughts were fuzzy, and I had horrible sores in my mouth. I mean gross!! I had ulcers on the roof of my mouth, the inside of my cheeks, on and under my tongue, and all down both sides of my tongue. It was miserable!! All this right before my wedding too. Romantic right?!
I went to the dentist, doctor, dentist again, a dental specialist, and finally the doctor again! On this visit I saw a wonderful PA who asked "Has anyone checked your B12 levels?". No, they had not. The results came back at 47! Normal is 190-950 pg/ml! At 47 I was at risk of permanent neurological damage!
Fortunately for me we caught it early enough and also discovered I was anemic (low iron) and had very low levels of vitamin D. This allowed me to take action and make change so that today I live a healthy life vs the life I could have led if left untreated. I had been in the habit of tracking my eating, but didn't always pay attention to the true nutritional value of what I ate.
Why does it matter?
Why do I tell you this story? Because life is more than counting calories, Vitamins and Minerals matter to our health, but we often put all of our attention on Macronutrients (fat, carbohydrate, and proteins) and don't stop to ask ourselves if we are getting proper nutrition!
Think about it, how often do you hear "Oh, I can't have that, it has (too many calories) (too many carbs) (too much protein)? What about "No thank you, I'm working of eating more nutritionally dense foods right now" instead?
When we rely on simply counting calories or Macros alone we miss the whole picture and can choose unhealthy foods that we feel check the boxes for us. Like highly processed "health" bars and meal replacements or highly processed "health food". I'm not saying don't use calorie counting trackers, just choose wisely. When we don't choose wisely we can be deficient in vital Vitamins and Minerals that help support our immunity, cell regeneration, and over-all health.
One of my favorite trackers is called www.Cronometer.com, it does a great Job letting you know if you are on track to hit your nutritional needs each day.
Only a blood test from your doctor will tell you what your blood levels of certain nutrients are, but you can start making wise choices now and will feel the changes in your body.
What to do
Try tracking your nutrition each day. You can use apps like Myfitnesspal or Cronometer.
Don't log your vitamins and supplements until the end of the day, after you have looked to see how you did first. I find supplementation to be very important and without it I'd be a mess. Supplementation helps me fill in nutritional gaps and make sure I don't relapse.
I Sell supplements because they saved my quality of life, if not my life! But they are meant to follow wise and healthy nutritional decisions.
Myfitnesspal also has nutritional values, make sure to check your reports.
Choose nutrient dense foods. Nutrient dense foods tend to be lower in fats, sugars, and additives and they are high in vitamins, minerals, trace minerals, and phytonutrients. Nutrient dense means foods that are higher in vitamins and minerals.
Read the label. How many ingredients are in your choice? How processed is it? How much sugar and fat vs vitamins and minerals?
Eat more fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains. Building your lifestyle of eating around these foods will help you meet your nutritional goals as well as improve your health and reduce negative health outcomes. As long as you are also ditching the junk!
You don't have to become a vegetarian or vegan, but consider increasing Whole Foods and decreasing meats.
Give yourself a treat from time to time. As you learn to eat healthier foods your taste buds will begin to change and you'll find you like healthier foods better and you'll appreciate the natural sweetness in foods, but sometimes we just want Thin Mints, well...I do at least! So have one or two. It won't derail your lifestyle, it is what we call and occasional treat.
Don't fill up on sweet drinks. This is especially important for kids. Our pediatrician suggested 4 ounces of juice a day. I put 2 ounces in 2 cups, filled up a cup with water, and one with a little milk. I have 2 kids and I gave each of them a spot in the fridge for their daily cups. It was great, they were in charge. One kid would drink the juice first and everything else the rest of the day, the other would take tiny little sips all day and the last sip at the end of the day, and neither complained or argued about it. It's just what we did. What could you do to help wean yourself from sodas and sweet drinks?
Scurvy, Rickets,Beriberi and symptoms like Anemia, bone abnormalities, foggy thinking, heart problems, sores, fatigue, confusion, nerve sensitivity, eye problems, hair loss, burning sensation in the feet and more can all be the result of nutritional deficiencies. There is more to life than counting calories, Micronutrients matter!
Take charge, track your nutrition to see how you're doing and then make some changes. Let us know the results! Tag us @lwburbach on Instagram or comment below.
Meology: A quick assessment to help you know what vitamins and minerals especially fit your needs, based on your family history, your lifestyle, wellness metrics, and blood tests and DNA. Enter as much or little of that information as you'd like, but the more you put in, the better the results.