Sunday, September 12, 2010

It's no longer going in the trash

Not many people know that I subscribe to Fitness magazine and have for the past three years. I read the magazines religiously- cover to cover and always glean some information to enhance my lifestyle. Everyone knows magazines have tremendous giveaways. Everyone also knows that I love free stuff. Who doesn't? So one day this summer, I created an account with Fitness magazine so I could enter to win free stuff on a daily basis. When entering contests for free stuff, Fitness suggests signing up for their newsletters. Normally, I look at the topics, "Drop a jean size" or "Create a healthy meal plan" and say 'no thanks.' One auspicious day when I was particularly excited about the $25,000 Girlfriends Getaway prize, I said 'yes' to the Daily Fit Tip. Ever since then, Fitness magazine has been sending me tips EVERYDAY on how to be healthier, and EVERYDAY I have been highlighting those emails and clicking 'Delete.' EVERYDAY that is, until today.

Today I looked at the subject: What to Eat in Your 20s, 30s, 40s and clicked on the email all while pompously thinking, 'they're gonna tell me what I already know.' The article started off talking about what to eat in your 20s. Calcium, vitamin D, fish oil, whole grains. Okay, duh, I knew that. I was about to navigate away from that page of common sense, when I decided to read WHY us 20 something women should be getting all of these. Did you know that your 20s are the last decade in which you can build bone without bone loss? I didn't! Oh crap. Now, I had taken Viactiv on and off throughout my 20s, maybe even a straight-up supplement when I was in college, but I never knew that this was the LAST DECADE to build bones. Yikes. Reading on I discovered it is necessary to take in 1,000 milligrams of calcium a day. Well, I had always thought that eating the right foods would get me all the calcium I need. To an extent, I was right. One cup of organic skim milk provides 30% of the calcium need of someone on a 2,000 calorie diet. One cup of spinach? 8%. One half cup ice cream? 10%. One juice box full of organic apple juice? 10%. One six ounce serving of Stoneyfield organic yogurt? 30%. I could eat all of that food each day and still only get 88% of the calcium someone on a 2,000 calorie diet needs. By the way, who is this 'someone' on this 2,000 calorie diet? Obviously percentages of what we all need vary depending on our age. So these percentages are most likely a moot point for a women in her 20s. The important thing for us to know is that our bodies need to get 1,000 milligrams. My milk chocolate Viactiv supplement contains 500 milligrams. I plan to take one of these a day and get the other half of my body's calcium needs from servings of dairy and dark leafy greens. Also, for those who are wondering: CheezIts have 0% of your body's calcium needs. There goes that excuse for scarfing them down. ; )

You can take all the calcium in the world, but it's nothing without it's partner in bone development: vitamin D. This wonderful vitamin is necessary for calcium to be used by your body to create bone. In other words, your body needs vitamin D to be able to properly use the calcium. First grade explanation: vitamin D and calcium go together. You need both for your bones to grow big and strong. According to the article, you can get vitamin D from food, but it's not easy to get the vitamin from food alone, so you should take a supplement too. Now, it does not mention getting vitamin D from the sun. However, after reading a fact sheet on vitamin D, I am vindicated. According to the fact sheet, just 5 to 30 minutes being out in the sun as little at two times per week can get you enough vitamin D for the whole week. Sounds a lot easier than stressing about the vitamin D content of food all week long! : ) It is also suggested one takes a daily supplement when unable to get sun exposure i.e. Missourian's in winter time!

Now, I will definitely be paying attention to my vitamin D and calcium intakes. Bones are important to me. The fish oil portion of the article didn't really give me a good biological reason why I should be taking the supplement or stressing about getting it into my diet. According to the article, fish oil should be taken to lower stress and thus enhance happiness. For me, there are other things in my life that lower my stress way more than fish oil, mainly my dogs and my husband. So, instead of taking this supplement/stressing to get it into my diet, I plan on playing with my dogs more and talking to friends on the phone. Both are sure ways to elevate my happiness level!

Whole grains is such an obvious one. Of course refined grains cause mood changes and often times take your energy. My main problem eating refined grains is that they are so good I just have to keep eating them. Whole grains just have so much more nutrition than the refined grains because of that they taste healthy and I am much less likely to overeat on them while watching Arrested Development. Whole grains are just so much better for you and aren't too expensive to get into your diet! After praising whole grains, I must admit to having a pack of all purpose flour in my pantry. It is scarcely used throughout the year; mostly around Christmas time to bake cookies. Everything in moderation.

My life has changed today: I will now open my Daily Fit Tip, unless it mentions dropping a jeans size. Not interested in that, just interested in keeping my body healthy and my mind happy.

I want to know....
What is your favorite way to get calcium into your diet?


  1. Not so good at the calcium one...although I did start taking a multi vitamin (Raw Vitamin Codes) last year. And us Coloradoans get 300+days of sunshine :) Bring on the Vit. D!

    Oh, and invest in "Whole Grain Baking" by King Arthur Flour. AMAZING! Getting refined flours and sugars out of my diet the past 1.5 years has helped tremendously with skin, and everything else. Now, when I eat enriched flour food, I feel awful...

  2. Calcium is so easy to neglect.... You're absolutely right about the cookbook- I know what I'm getting Kyle for his birthday!