Good morning everyone! I’m posting earlier today because I have an appointment and won’t be at my computer at noon. What a wonderful week!. The new year has really gotten off to a tremendous start and I’m feeling really thrilled about all aspects of my life. My show at the Cottage Theatre, Almost Maine, opens in two weeks, January 31, and I’m so excited for our audiences. We worked on the lighting and sound today and it is breathtakingly beautiful, not to mention the superb acting that is going on during each scene. I’m so happy to be involved with such a professional community theater. Not all towns the size of Cottage Grove are this lucky. But we are!
It’s been nearly three years since I moved to a vegan diet, and I feel so comfortable now eating a whole food, plant-based foods that it’s hard for me to remember eating any other way. Maybe it’s because it’s just so natural and easy to enjoy tasty, fresh whole foods that allow me to live compassionately as well as healthfully with emphasis on the health because I want to be around a long time to enjoy what I am doing…acting on stage, being with my family and friends, going on walks and hikes, and maybe someday playing with my grandchildren. I had my children later in life, so when it’s the right time for them to begin their families I want to be there with them every step of the way.
I’ve got 5 simple tips this week. Tip number five focuses around the topic of supplements when eating a plant-based diet. When eating natural whole foods, we can be assured of consuming foods that will sustain our health, foods that are teemed with nutrition including vitamins, minerals and essential amino acids. But I was grateful when my niece, who is a Registered Nurse, checked in with me and encouraged me to be sure I was getting enough Vitamin B12. At the time, I had a vague notion that I was but being one to make sure about things I started researching about Vitamin B12 and why it is so very important for us.
I discovered that without enough Vitamin B12 your body can’t make enough healthy red blood cells, which causes anemia, fatigue, and depression while a long-term deficiency can cause permanent neurological damage. Also, as it turns out, Vitamin B12 is a rather odd duck in that it cannot be produced by the human body and in fact, no matter what type of diet you eat … whether you are a meat eater or a veggie eater…humans need a reliable source and intake of Vitamin B12. It also does not occur naturally in any plant food (Vitamin B12 is only found naturally in the animal kingdom which I do not eat: seafood, red meats, liver, cheese and low-fat dairy and eggs) thus, to be the healthiest I discovered that I should be taking a supplement.
“The evidence is perfectly clear: you either eat adequate B12 fortified foods or take supplements. Michael Greger, MD, http://www.nutritionalfacts.org.” “I think the grisly consequences of Vitamin B12 deficiency really shake people up. I think most vegans have this vague sense that they should be eating B12 fortified foods or supplements, and maybe they pop a pill once in a while, but that may not be enough. Everyone eating a plant-based diet must ensure a regular, reliable source of B12 . Thankfully, it’s cheap and easy, but something that vegans can’t ignore.” 2012 interview with Our Hen House.
So, again, thank you Denise! I now take a Vitamin B12 supplement, and I feel that when I started taking it daily I immediately got a noticeable boost in my energy!
The second supplement I recommend is Vitamin D. This vitamin, which becomes a hormone in our body, helps maintain strong bones Your body must have Vitamin D to absorb calcium. It also boosts your immune system. I started taking a daily Vitamin D supplement about five years ago and I can honestly say that in that time I have not had a cold since then. So I swear by it. And this is someone who suffered from a severe case of the H1N1 which moved into a serious case of pneumonia back in 2009. Since that time, I take 1000 IU every day.
So here are my next five tips toward a healthier you:
Don’t skip meals: When you start skipping meals this can cause your body to go into a fat-storing starvation mode, making it harder to burn calories. If you are busy and on the run, prepare things the night before. Keep something handy in the car or with you, like some nuts or a healthy bar like a Lara Bar, and an apple. This way your body won’t get off track.
Avoid frying. There are healthier ways to cook that include baking, steaming, roasting, and broiling. When sauteing use broth instead of oil. Yes, olive oil is a “healthy” oil, but did you know that 1 tablespoon contains about 120 calories with 14 grams of fat. One ounce which is ⅛ of a cup contains about 250 calories and 28 grams of fat. That’s a lot of “empty” calories and the oil won’t fill you up! But if you eat a healthy portion of grains, veggies or fruit that total up to 250 calories – now you’re talking!
Shop smarter by using a grocery list. Know what you need to prepare food for the week or at least the next few days. When you shop from a list and only a list, you will steer away from those less healthy choices.
Stay hydrated and don’t confuse thirst with hunger. Drink a glass of water when you feel hungry to see if that’s what you’re really craving. Water is an essential and a wonderful way to “deliver” the nutrients to our cells. Also, by adding more fruits and veggies you get more bang for your buck because not only are they packed with nutrition they will assist with your hydration. Here are just a few of my top picks because as you know there are really a plethora out there to choose from: watermelon, grapes, cucumbers, tangelos, oranges, grapefruit, pineapple, strawberries, berries, kiwi …
Be safe. Do add Vitamin B12 and Vitamin D supplements to your regime. By eating a lot of tantalizing whole foods, vegetables, and fruits it will help you work toward taking very few pills, but these two supplements are essential for your health:
- Vitamin B12 – 250 mcg daily in the form of either a chewable or sublingual tablet: http://nutritionfacts.org/topics/vitamin-b12/
- Vitamin D, 1000 to 2000 IU per day (with a meal for better absorption); there is a global deficiency: http://nutritionfacts.org/video/is-vitamin-d3-better-than-d2/