I Am What I Eat

1 January 2017

This will drop the blood sugar, causing a release of adrenaline. The chain reactions in our bodies created by what we consume define the saying, “We are what we eat. ” As an adolescent I was diagnosed with hypoglycemia. I learned at an early age the effect and importance of what I eat, to control the symptoms. The brain needs sugar to function. When the body has low levels of sugar, the brain starves. Symptoms such as moodiness, depression, cold sweats, perceptive illusions, and unconsciousness are some of the body’s signals that elements are out of balance. What teenager wants to follow a strict diet?

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It did not take me long to understand what foods would create certain reactions and what cheats could be used to keep myself from passing out. However, this established a lazy attitude and bad habits toward my nutritional intake. Habits that have continued for over thirty years. I became an emotional eater when in a depressive state. Looking back, I wonder if my adolescent mental issues of depression were influenced by or at least contributed to by my hypoglycemic condition. Binging on high fat, high sugar foods only made me feel better emotionally until those bad nutrients permeated my body.

When I began to feel ill from the effects of the junk food I would try to counter it with a portion of something good. This behavior created a yo-yo affect, jerking my body into extremes that I did not understand and eventually lost control of. Thus began the battle of my weight and spiraling health issues. As I have aged, I have toned down the binging and extreme yo-yo affect. However, I do still tend to lean toward emotional eating. Continued and worsening health issues are the result. Good connection here with food pyramid and your personal experience My children are grown and I live alone.

Motivation to prepare healthy meals is low. I find I eat for convenience, controlling my blood sugar over any other motivation. This leads me to choose foods for their protein and carbohydrate levels rather than fruit and vegetable content. Once my blood sugar is stabilized I stop eating, unless I am stressed. I consume large quantities of milk products. According to the MyPyramid Tracker I consume nearly double what my daily requirements of dairy products are. Dairy products are a good source of calcium, potassium, vitamin D, and protein.

Nevertheless, when over consumption of a good thing overshadows other nutrients the result is still an imbalance and poor nutritional intake. MyPyramid Tracker also indicated my sodium intake is higher than I anticipated. Sodium levels are more than just adding salt to a recipe or food when cooking. Many sauces and seasonings as well as canned and prepared foods add sodium without being noticed. MyPyramid Tracker showed me how items like the canned turkey chili (even though low-fat), cheeses, and even dairy products I consume add excessive levels of sodium to my diet.

Family history of heart disease and high blood pressure place me at high risk for heart disease and high blood pressure myself. I never gave much thought to sodium levels in my diet because I do not add much salt separately in my cooking. Sodium is needed for muscle contractions, nerve transmissions, maintaining pH balance, and hydration. Sodium regulates the fluid outside of the cells and is needed to pump fluid into the cells as potassium carries by-products out (“The facts about,”). Commercial food preparation requires stabilizers and preservatives to allow the food to have a longer shelf life and permit safe time frames for shipping.

Salt is one of the oldest and most widely used preservatives. This is why commercially prepared foods are so high in sodium, and why preparing fresh food at home is the best way to reduce sodium intake. My current eating habits leave my nutritional intake greatly lacking in variety and content. Not enough fruits and vegetable, too much dairy. The meats and beans portion of my daily diet is right where it should be. Maintaining my protein intake is an easy and generally high focus because of my hypoglycemia.

Raised on a combination of poultry, fish, vegetarian, and a little bit of beef I learned how to manage and vary protein and fiber. This knowledge comes in handy when handling my hypoglycemic condition. Combining the protein I consume with complex carbohydrates constitutes 80 percent of my diet. When I eat simple or complex carbohydrates without protein, my blood sugar becomes more erratic. If I consume proteins without complex carbohydrates then I become hungry, or at least feel hungry in approximately half the amount of time until my next meal.

Both of these conditions promote elevated consumption of food in an effort to regulate my blood sugar. So I just grab something handy. Random thoughtless eating steers me toward convenient, quick ready to eat foods over foods that provide proper nutrients. Combine this with my tendency for emotional eating and poor food choices abound, e. g. raw cookie dough and half cooked sweetened biscuits. All these foods do is disrupt my blood sugar, causing me to eat again, which bounces me back while leaving me craving nutrients, which directs me to eat again. And so the vicious cycle goes.

Based on the results of the MyPyramid plan, a woman of my age can handle a food intake plan with 2000 calories. My grains need to be 6 ounces daily with at least 3 ounces of those whole grains. Vegetables are the one food group where I struggle the most. My vegetable intake needs to be two and a half cups daily. In the past I was more likely to get that quantity in a week. A combination of dark greens like broccoli and spinach, red or orange, like carrots and tomatoes, beans and peas are all good options. Beans and peas can also be part of the protein food group.

The recommendation for fruits is one and a half cups daily. Fresh fruit is better than fruit juice. Fresh fruit is the second worse food group for me to consume in sufficient quantity. Dairy is one of my weak areas. Weak because I do not control it, I exceed it. The recommendation for daily nutritional needs in the dairy food group is 3 cups. It is nothing for me to meet that quantity in a single meal. Proteins are the food group I have the least issue with. My recommendation for proteins is five ounces daily. I can easily consume beans and poultry to meet that recommendation.

However, in order to be more nutritionally balanced, a variety of proteins which include fish, nuts, beans and seeds would make better options. Undoing a lifetime of bad eating habits is a daunting task. The influence of stress from a lost job, the emotional effect of divorce, the lack of motivation when living alone all play a role to undermine efforts to make good food choices. Emotional eating is one of the toughest dietary elements to overcome. It is a little like an alcoholic who has to avoid alcohol once treatment is sought and completed. Pre-planning is key to the success of changing a poor diet.

The tools available through mypyramid. gov are a good place to start. Overeating and binging are easy because it is familiar. Understanding in black and white, as it were, exactly how I eat is the first step to change. The charts and graphs in MyPyramid are designed to guide me toward making good choices. A few days of entry into my personal plan has shown me where my habits migrate. Knowing this pattern is important. I will take that information and create a menu and shopping list that I can really live off of rather than just getting by as I have been doing.

The first focus will be consuming high fiber foods like beans and vegetables because they help me feel full while increasing physical activity will dispel the propensity for emotional eating. Making visual records of exactly what I have eaten this past week has made a bigger impact than any other method of tracking and dieting I have used in the past. This emotional influence will undoubtedly help me create new and improved dietary habits. References The facts about sodium. (n. d. ). Retrieved from http://www. myfooddiary. com/Resources/nutrient_facts/nutrient_sodium. asp ?

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