I feel at odds with myself lately.
Last night, it was awful. I didn’t feel like the right size in my own head. The ground felt uneven, curved and broken. I felt like the parts of myself were strung together on a piece of Scotch tape.
This was after a weekend of slight craziness. It was as though nothing was the way it was supposed to be, and yet everything that was supposed to happen actually did – it just didn’t match up to my feelings of expectation. We went to the beach on Galveston island, but it was overcast and therefore cold.
Lately I just don’t tolerate cold very well. I don’t like being cold. I don’t like strong air conditioning. I have taken to eating outside at restaurants, drinking hot coffee, or just craving hot food to keep me feeling warm inside. I mentioned this to a friend last night, and since he works in an ER and has some medical knowledge, he immediately thought of medical reasons, asking if I was anemic.
I shouldn’t think so. I mean, don’t I tend to eat a variety of healthy foods anyway? So then I looked up the iron-rich foods that should be good for anemia, and I realized that I had almost systematically eliminated most of them from my diet.
Basically, the only foods I had recently been consuming that were high in iron were eggs, chicken and figs, and, to a more sporadic degree spinach, sweet potatoes, broccoli, strawberries, and watermelon. The animal sources of iron are more easily absorbed than the plant sources, the “heme” iron versus the “non-heme” iron, and combining the two increases the absorption rate for “non-heme” iron. Lastly, if you eat anything with Vitamin C, it increases the iron absorption rate.
So now it gives me some ammunition for menu-planning. It’s not enough to just eat foods on a list, but I need to really plan around specific nutrients and their interactions together.
Oh, and the part I left out is that if you have caffeine or calcium rich foods in conjunction with your iron, you block your iron absorption. This was the least happy news of all to a coffee junkie.
As a matter of fact, I felt that was a personal insult.
I guess I’ll live.
Then I got worried looking at the list of foods because I have been eating a lot of cabbage lately as an inexpensive vegetable of choice that holds up well in the refrigerator over several days. Some vegetables are overly tempermental and need to be used immediately; cabbage is one that you can cut a hunk of it off to eat, wrap the rest up for a few days and then come back to it.
So I did a little digging just now and found a pro-cabbage propaganda page that made me happy:
Okay. So I wasn’t completely bonkers crazy for eating cabbage. Neither am I the Witch of The Nutrition Psychos for wanting more variety in my vegetable choices. Because it looks like not only do you need to plan intelligently, but you need to hit a broad spectrum to get the nutrition you need. And apparently, when I’ve been craving certain foods back in my diet (sweet potatoes), there’s a good reason.
But it looks like there are some “Super Foods” that I need to continue to have as staples:
- Sweet potatoes
And I need to introduce Kale. Because kale is the new kick-ass vegetable on the block.
Now, it’s pretty easy to plan a healthy breakfast that hits the major groups because all I need to do is pre-make little breakfast frittatas in muffin pans with eggs and either spinach or broccoli.
More later. I’ve gotta run.
Okay, so breakfast frittatas are easy, because you can make a dozen of them Monday morning and have them to quickly warm up the rest of the week. Pair that with a slice of pre-cooked sweet potato and some berries, and voila! Breakfast!
Lunches are more difficult for me. I need to either have a plan and make ahead several lunches or just make extra at dinner the night before and plan to take the rest as lunch the next day.
And dinners are just plain work. It’s different when I haven’t been running all day, but when I have, the last thing I want to do is spend an hour in the kitchen. I just flat out don’t have the time to do it, nor do I want the clean-up afterwards.
I suppose I’ll spend the next few months exploring hits and misses with my meals, and I really want to invest some time in planning nutrient-based meals.