#75 Check for Vitamin Deficiencies

Sharing 365 life lessons, tips, or hacks; the things that make life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.

#75

Check for Vitamin Deficiencies

When was the last time you had a physical? And in particular, did it include a thorough vitamin panel to check for deficiencies? Our bodies have a method for letting us know but when we don’t know the signs, we aren’t able to ‘hear’ what our body is saying. Some vitamin deficiencies can lead to extreme health problems – others can create chronic difficulties.

Here are the things to pay attention to:

Omega 3’s

Fatty acids are essential for our skin. They act as lubricants for our body and when we are low, we are likely to see flaky skin, especially on the scalp. Cracked and peeling skin on the hands and feet are also a fair sign that your body may be low in Omega 3’s.

Fixing this problems is primarily accomplished by eating foods containing the vitamins; fish, nuts, and oils up to just over a gram a day for most adults. An average piece of salmon will contain almost a week’s worth; throw in a few nuts and a little oil and you’ll be all set.

B Vitamins

We need several of the B vitamins; B1 (Thiamine), B6, and B12. Beginning with Thiamine, a deficiency is rare in the United States but people who drink alcohol excessively are susceptible to Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome and may experience tingling and numbness in their extremities, weight loss, confusion, and weakness to name a few symptoms.

Eating meats, whole grains, and beans as part of a normal diet will generally offer enough of this vitamin

B6

People with kidney dysfunction, autoimmune disorders, and alcoholics have difficulty absorbing enough Vitamin B6 from their diet. Poultry, fish, and non-citrus fruits will help but so will adding a supplement (do so only with a doctor’s recommendation).

B12

As many as 15% of Americans don’t absorb enough vitamin B12 – they may consume it, but lots of factors may prevent the absorption. Symptoms include fatigue, weakness, loss of appetite and weight loss, numbness, tinglings, depression, poor memory and a few others.

Most multivitamins contain B12 and a doctor can prescribe an additional injection if a deficiency is found.

D

The human body needs more vitamin D as it ages and the food we eat doesn’t naturally contain a sufficient supply. As you probably know, the sun is actually the source for most of our vitamin D supply and yet depending on where you live or how much exposure you have to daylight, you may not be getting enough.

Deficiencies in vitamin D causes brittle bones and leaves people susceptible to breaks and fractures. It can, in extreme cases, cause Rickets.

It is easily remedied with supplements but you can also get too much so it’s imperative to have your levels checked before adding supplements.

These are the major vitamins that affect your mind and body but certainly not the only ones. A blood test will give you more information so the next time you see your physician, be sure to…

Check for vitamin deficiencies.

I love hearing your thoughts and ideas. Please share in the comments below.

#125 Eat Healthier

Sharing 365 life lessons, tips, or hacks; the things that make life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.

#125

Eat Healthier

This sounds like a New Year’s resolution at first glance and yet it may be the cornerstone to actually living a happier, healthier, and more productive life. The concept is only new to you if you’ve been living in a cave for the last couple of decades. Indeed, over that time, the Surgeon General and most of our health care practitioners, have touted the benefits of making healthier food choices while the average size of children and adults continues to escalate.

In our fast paced, modern world – the most basic element of survival has become more and more difficult to monitor. We are inundated with food choices almost everywhere we go. Even at my children’s orthodontist office – right next to the coffee pot (a valued added service) there are cookies, cake, or doughnuts ready to be gobbled up by waiting parents, siblings, and hungry kids ready for their after school snack.

Instead of picking an apple off the tree on a walk home from school, our children ride the bus around a corner and into a subdivision, get dropped off at the driveway and grab a processed rice krispy treat or a bag of Doritos before plopping on the sofa to play video games. Sadly, that morphs into a quick dinner with a ‘hurry up and eat’ before someone has to be somewhere more evenings a week than not. It’s the ‘way of the world’ these days and we are all guilty at some point of wanting and making meals to be quick and easy regardless of how healthy they are.

It is beginning to change with healthier options on menus everywhere yet our size continues to grow. In part, because even though we have options – we don’t choose them enough of the time for it to make an impact. Consequently, grocery stores still sell the processed stuff; restaurants still offer the 2000 calorie burger & fries, and deep fried Snicker bars are sold by the thousands at every fair/carnival around the country – because we keep buying them!!

In the interest of honesty I must disclose that I too, cave to the pressure – the smells – and the flavors that tempt and tease me. I can definitely commit to making more consistent healthier choices. In talking with clients who are challenged here as well, the common similarity is that we lack will power. It’s challenging to walk into a mall where Cinnabon has just finished baking a tray of toaster sized rolls. The air is pungent with the smell of cinnamon and yeast. A glance in that direction identifies the source and one can hardly ignore that they are frosted with a decadent amount of cream cheese sugary goodness – so much so that if you’ve ever tasted it – and love it – your mouth instantly begins craving another fix.  ONE classic bun touts 880 calories and the equivalent of 15 spoonfuls of sugar. Would you sit down and shovel 15 teaspoons of sugar into you mouth on purpose??

Instead of succumbing to the temptation of my olfactory inclinations, I make an effort to command control and convince myself that carrot sticks are sweet too. I then seek an eating establishment that offers ‘fresh’ non-processed options and each time I sit down to eat or stroll through the grocery store I make another concerted effort to…

Eat healthier.

(P.S. – Breaking an addiction to sugar is perhaps the most important part of eating healthier – it makes everything else taste better!)

I love hearing your thoughts and ideas. Please share in the comments below.

#136 Eat Dessert First

Sharing 365 life lessons, tips, or hacks; the things that make life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.

#136

Eat dessert first

This suggestion is the reason that my mother’s mother was by far – the best grandparent in the universe. Most of the days that I was there for dinner – days that were not family events – I was encouraged to have dessert before dinner was placed on the table. She used to preface it that we had to eat what we could before ‘Granddad’ got a hold of any available sweets. It was also her strategy to defy my parents in a small way – maybe giving them a taste of their own adolescent medicine.

Occasional treats are necessary for our sense of well-being – to prevent a sense of deprivation. If dessert fits that bill – why not? There’s a sense of defiance associated with the idea of reversing the order of what is considered the norm. If this is the depth of one’s rebellion, it’s more than manageable. It’s also just downright fun. It’s a harmless deviation from typically acceptable behavior and yet it is completely innocent. It’s a great treat for kids especially.

It’s a simple thought but stimulating nonetheless. Go ahead and treat yourself tonight…

Eat dessert first.

I love hearing your thoughts and ideas. Please share in the comments below.

LA Bound – Tale #1

“The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience.” ― Eleanor Roosevelt

I’ve been home from that amazing road trip now for about forty-eight hours and it feels almost surreal.  If you follow me on Facebook where we shared a variety of our experiences, then you know how large of an adventure it truly was – if not… check it out – all of our check-ins are public posts. So, in my last post – seven days ago – I danced around the idea that Erin and I wouldn’t get along for a whole week. I said that I may write and in fact, I had a list of topics that I intended to write about as well as a shorter list of task items that I thought I would make time for as I sat in the passenger seat with my laptop but… none of it happened!

I hope you’ll bear with me as I take the time to honor the highlights of our trip. I am certainly not a travel blogger but I will attempt to entice you to schedule your own adventure!

If you ever get a chance to do a road trip with an adult child or even a parent – I say “Do it!”. With the small exception of stress about weather or traffic – it was one of the most relaxing experiences I’ve had in a couple of years. There were no expectations, responsibilities, judgments, or arguments. Well – that’s not entirely correct… twice, we clashed on perspectives to the point that we were slightly annoyed with one another but hey… for mom and daughter, that’s bound to happen! Except for those two very short lived snappy moments, Erin and I enjoyed each other’s company immensely.

I suppose we did have expectations of how far to get on a certain day and for half the trip we had scheduled stops to see family who conveniently lived near places we were planning to spend the night but that was fun too. It was great planning on our part to make time for people we don’t get to see but every few years – if that. Not only was it great to catch up with loved ones, but it gave Erin and me an opportunity to diverge our conversations after having only one another to talk to for an extended period. It broke it up a bit. And of course, we made some of it about the food…

We had ribs in Memphis, barbecued brisket in Dallas, TexMex in Santa Fe, Energy shakes in Sedona, and avocado jalapeno burgers in Los Angeles. I’m going to give myself a week of light eating before I get on the scale to see what kind of pound damage I did but even then – I won’t chide myself… it was worth it! Each time, we opted for recommendations from friends (thanks, Margaret! The Memphis Ribs were phenomenal) or ratings and reviews from Yelp (an app that personal ratings on restaurants and activities). We tried to stay away from national chains and searched instead for local treats. It worked great except for our first try in Nashville… Erin picked out a place to get breakfast downtown and it looked adorable. I think it may even have been recommended to her. It was a fun and hip coffee shop with a full breakfast menu but it was counter order and table delivery. The problem was only that it was so crowded, that when our order was delivered – we were still standing, holding our place card and looking at the guy with the mindset of ‘ok… now what?’ We were a bit put off by the people working on a laptop – taking up a whole table and never offering to share the extra space so we could sit down and eat. We ended up taking our plates out to the patio which, on any ordinary day in Nashville would be fine but that day… it was only 31 degrees. We ate quickly before the yolk in our eggs could freeze – and left.

It was a gray day in Tennessee. I’m sure it is beautiful in the other three seasons but without the sun to highlight anything, the gray of the landscape was muted even more by the cloud cover and frankly… it was difficult to find enjoyment in the scenery. I did find the topography in Nashville amazing tough… the hill cutouts (where they made room for overpasses and highway) looked like stone walls versus the typical layers of sediment that we expect to see when the earth is exposed. I’m a bit of a geology nerd in the sense that I am captivated by different geology formations – not that I really know anything about the science and so it was amazing to look at. We saw the Grand Ole Opry and did a backstage tour. Nashville isn’t really ‘my thing’ and I know next to nothing about Country music but Erin loved it. We got to stand in ‘the circle’ on stage which I recognized from American Idol or some other talent reality show and it was fun to know that people like Elvis had stood on that same strip of wood. I could definitely feel the vibe of extreme creativity and talent. In Memphis, we walked Beale street for a few minutes but the wind was whipping off of the Mississippi and biting our exposed skin – we had NOT planned for such intense winter weather on our Southern drive.

We spent that second night with family just outside of Little Rock, Arkansas. They are the parents of my sister-in-law and we hadn’t seen them in a long while but after spending a week with them during a beach vacation a few years ago, we knew we would have fun and be comfortable.  I had a moment that evening as I watched my daughter engage in conversation with other adults and noticed how absorbed she was in the discussion, contributing in a meaningful way. It’s not that it was a surprise. She is quite intelligent and one of the things that made her a good server and bartender is that she pulls people in… she’s interested and converses well. And as I observed, I recalled something my mother once said to me. She looked at me one day and spoke of how amazed she was at the woman I had become, at how much information I had acquired and how I shared it – or something to that effect but I got it now.  Here, I was the mother observing a daughter who had transformed from a girl to a teen and now to this young woman who demonstrated influence far beyond the perimeter of what I had created. I instantly connected to those words my own mother spoke so many years prior and understood. It was a moment and there is a sense of amazement in it… again – it’s not a surprise but an awe… a revelation or an acknowledgment of life’s flow. It was quasi-emotional and I felt proud.

We woke up to a dusting of snow, which meant that the school system and many employers had called off the day. Blessings for us since there was practically nobody on the road as we headed for Texas. It didn’t warm up much. We found an authentic BBQ restaurant in the Bishop Arts District in Dallas where the Brisket melted in your mouth. I pretty much ate with my hands… pulling apart little pieces and dipping them in yummy barbecue sauce. In fact – I was simply piggy about it but I enjoyed ever delicious bit and… I had blue cheese cole slaw – a new favorite combination that I will definitely make at home! The Arts District look amazingly cute and enticing to walk through but alas… it was COLD. In fact – it was snowing as we exited the restaurant. People were standing in doorways taking pictures of the snowflakes as they settled on the ground and Erin and I giggled at them for being so easily taken in by a frozen rain drop. I made a mental note to go back to Dallas in the spring and wander around those streets.

To be continued….

 

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