About a week ago I heard about the Whole 30 program–basically a super strict version of the Paleo lifestyle to really break you of sugar cravings and food associated mood swings. I decided to do it. June 1st was my first day of my self proclaimed, ” 30 days of boring” yet I am learning that this does not have to be boring. Not at all.
Cauliflower seems to be very popular among the Paleo set–with pizza crusts, “rice”, and even “mashed cauliflower”. I was a little skeptical. Up to this point in my life, I have never tried cauliflower. It always looked so bland and mushy. However, it seemed like a taste test was going to be inevitable.
A friend mentioned this idea–roasting cauliflower with bacon–and I thought it might be the perfect way to try out this elusive little veggie.
As it was cooking, I was dreading it. I wasn’t in love with the smells coming from my kitchen. But, I was in for a great surprise when it was done. Honestly, I couldn’t stop eating it. I can’t really explain it but the cauliflower was a bit sweet and the the smoky saltiness of the bacon was a perfect accompaniment. I had to force myself to stop. And, it wasn’t easy.
It is very easy to make. Almost too easy to give out a recipe for it but here goes anyway.
Toss about three cups of cauliflower florets into a bowl. I like mine bite sized so I had to cut a few down to size.
Add about 1 Tablespoon of olive oil to the bowl and use your hands to make sure each piece is well coated.
Cut three slices of bacon into about one inch slices. Toss it in with the cauliflower.
Put on a shallow baking sheet and bake at 375 degrees for about 15-20 minutes.
Dinner: Paleo Lasagna (original recipe coming soon)–basically layers of eggplant and zucchini topped with turkey marinara sauce and a cream of cashews.
Dessert: Goji Bites
Late Night Snack: Banana
How did I feel?
I did feel that I had lots of energy today. I was in a good mood. My paddle didn’t feel too strenuous. However, I was conked out on the couch at 7:30 pm–something that I NEVER do.
I have been waking up with severe leg cramps which is why I have been eating lots of bananas. I read that it is something that happens when people switch to a low carb way of eating due to the lack of salt in the diet. I need to watch this because those cramps are painful!
Breakfast: Nothing really…..We got a late start and I had my black coffee and that was it.
Lunch: On the road–quick stop for Turkey Jerky and Kombucha
Dinner: We had friends over to BBQ. I made spinach salad, grilled chicken thighs and sweet potato fries. I also made dessert: Chocolate Cherry Paleo Treats. It was great…the kids kept asking for more of everything.
How do I feel?
Great! I wasn’t hungry at all this morning and was getting kind of worried that my body just didn’t seem to be hungry. I stopped for the Turkey Jerky just to get some protein in.
I was excited to have friends over and was determined to make food that was good enough that no one would even know or suspect that it was anything other than any old dinner party. They didn’t. We all ate until we were full and enjoyed the company.
I have felt a little bit of anxiety when I think of the planning aspect of eating this way. I wake up asking myself, “What am I going to cook today? Do I have the correct ingredients? Am I going to get hungry?” But–I have been working through the planning and it is just fine.
I ordered a cookbook today. I have been loving the personality of the people behind Nom Nom Paleo and thought I should order their cookbook.
I had paddleboard race training class tonight and we were coached to go out about 45 minutes into the wind and then turn around and let the wind push us back. It was HARD. At a certain point, I felt lightheaded and I wasn’t sure if it was because I hadn’t eaten enough during the day or what. I was very excited to go home and eat my tacos that Aaron made for me.
This is getting easier. Cravings have subsided and I really proud of myself. One of my friends had said that she had only eaten donut holes and pizza that day and I thought, “Normally, that would have been me too.” So happy that I started this!
Lunch: Carrot Cardamon Soup (getting a lot of use out of this!), blueberries
Dinner: Baked chicken thighs and grilled asparagus.
Snacks: almonds, turkey jerky
How did I feel?
I felt hungry all day today. I’m thinking that my workout last night just kept my metabolism revved up and I just needed more food.
I want to weigh myself so badly. The Whole 30 program advises against it because this is more about general overall feeling rather than weight loss but I just really want to see if I have made any progress. I am going to have to assume that I have–I feel less bloated and feel lighter. So, I’ll be happy with that!
What is Calcium?
Per the National Institute of Health, Calcium is the most abundant mineral in the body. 99% of the Calcium in our body is found in the bones and teeth; the remaining 1% is utilized to support metabolic functions. The recommended daily allowance (RDA) of Calcium is between 1,000 and 1,200 mg for adult males and females. Children need more Calcium proportionally than adults, to support their growing frames. Calcium is naturally abundant in foods common in the Standard American Diet; and many other foods are fortified with Calcium.
Role in our bodies:
Calcium performs many critical roles in our bodies. A partial listing of the many functions Calcium serves in our bodies:
Supports bone structure and function
Vascular function and vasodilation
Muscle functioning (contraction and relaxation)
Fibrin stabilization (required for blood clotting)
Plays a key role in maintaining regular heartbeat
There are typically no symptoms in the short run associated with a Calcium deficiency. In the long run, a Calcium deficiency can cause osteopenia, which can lead to osteoporosis. Other possible symptoms of a Calcium deficiency include muscle cramps, high blood pressure, convulsions, tremors, tooth decay, poor appetite, lethargy, bone and joint pain and abnormal heart rhythm.
It is possible to have too much Calcium in the body, typically from supplementation, which can result in constipation, kidney stones, renal insufficiency, vascular and soft tissue calcification and high levels of Calcium in urine. In addition, Dr. Carolyn Dean lists a host of other issues from allowing Calcium levels to remain unchecked by Magnesium levels in The Magnesium Miracle.
There are certain other vitamins and minerals that are critical to the absorption of Calcium, as well as the optimization of the levels of Calcium in the body. Vitamin D is the most widely touted cofactor, but others include Magnesium, Vitamin K2, Boron and Phosporus.
Not surprisingly, dairy products are the richest sources of naturally-occurring Calcium. Other sources of Calcium include salmon, leafy greens, broccoli and certain legumes. In addition to naturally-occurring Calcium sources, many foods have been fortified with Calcium, including orange juice and cereals. Certain components in food, such as phytic acid (found in whole grains, nuts, seeds, legumes) and oxalic acid (found in spinach, turnip greens, sweet potatoes and legumes) can bind to the Calcium and inhibit absorption in the body. It is estimated that adults absorb 15-30% of the Calcium in foods, depending on the type of food.
How to Supplement:
While Calcium is available in many foods, some people are at risk for Calcium deficiency based on their diet. For instance, many people cannot tolerate dairy products or choose not to consume dairy for other health reasons. Vegans may need to pay careful attention to Calcium intake and possibly supplement, as the richest sources of Calcium are animal products. (however, it is possible for a Vegan to get all his/her Calcium from food sources!). Many multivitamins contain some amount of Calcium as well.
Many Calcium supplements come with Vitamins D3 and often Magnesium and Zinc to optimize absorption and usage in the body. The most common forms of Calcium in supplement form include carbonate and citrate. Calcium carbonate is a higher percentage of elemental Calcium (40%) than the citrate form (21%); however, the carbonate form is associated more with the gastrointestinal side effects that some may experience. Research shows that Calcium, regardless of form, is best absorbed in dosages under 500 mg at one time.
I personally get 325 mg of Calcium in my multivitamin. I do not feel I need to supplement beyond that, as I likely get plenty of Calcium in my diet and I have read enough to convince me that Calcium excess is more likely a concern than deficiency in my situation. Thus, I have chosen to supplement Magnesium to help keep my Calcium in check.
If you think you may be deficient and would like to supplement with Calcium, please consult with your doctor first, particularly if you are on other medications or have any medical conditions.
This is meant to be an overview of Calcium, not a comprehensive article. For additional information, there is so much great information out there available and I highly recommend you research it further for yourself. I particularly think it is important to research Calcium in terms of its cofactors and optimal balance/ absorption. Here are some great book resources, in addition to the abundant information available over the internet:
Vitamin K2 and the Calcium Paradox by Kate Rheaume-Bleue
The Calcium Lie II by Robert Thompson and Kathleen Barnes
In my own quest to better understand how to feed my body for optimal health and to determine which micronutrients might require supplementation, I thought it would be fun and educational to do an ongoing series on the various micronutrients. Each Friday (“Feed Your Body Friday”) I will highlight a different micronutrient and give an overview of its role in our bodies, based on my research. There is so much debate over ideal macronutrient (fat, carbohydrates and protein) ratios, that I think micronutrients tend to get lost in the shuffle. I want to bring micronutrients back into the forefront and discover the optimal balance for my body (and hopefully help you discover yours!). Without further adieu… I’d like to introduce you to MAGNESIUM.
What is Magnesium? Per the National Institute of Health, Magnesium is a mineral that is abundant in the body and is a cofactor in 300 enzyme systems in the body. Magnesium is so critical to our body functioning that some doctors, such as Dr. Carolyn Dean, have devoted much of their career to studying this important mineral. Dr. Dean feels most Americans are deficient in this mineral, due to poor absorption of many forms of the mineral, soil depletion and modern lifestyle factors.
Role in our bodies:
A partial listing of the MANY roles Magnesium serves in our bodies (in “layman’s terms” for those of us who are NOT scientists!)…
Relaxes muscles Remineralizes teeth Strengthens bones Lowers blood pressure Relieves constipation Enhances insulin production Relaxes the nervous system Regulates the levels of other micronutrients in the body Contributes to energy production Promotes Melatonin production for better sleep
According to Dr. Mark Sircus, symptoms of magnesium deficiency can range from heart palpitations to fatigue. Other conditions from which people report improvement after Magnesium supplementation include muscle cramps, anxiety, depression, insomnia, PMS, heart arrhythmias, hypertension, hypoglycemia, migraines, tooth decay and osteoporosis.
Other nutrients that must be present for optimal magnesium absorption and uptake include Vitamins D, K2, B6, Calcium and Potassium (among others). In other words, simply increasing your magnesium intake may not alleviate your deficiency symptoms, if you do not have these others nutrients available. Interestingly, in addition to being cofactors, Calcium and Magnesium are also competitors in the body. Meaning, if you take a supplement containing both, it’s possible only one will get utilized by the body… Confused yet??!
Foods rich in Magnesium include leafy green vegetables, legumes, nuts and whole grains. However, be aware that some of these foods also contain phytic acid and oxalates that can bind to magnesium and inhibit absorption.
How to Supplement:
While Magnesium is abundantly available in foods, it is thought to be poorly absorbed from many foods and supplements. Many oral forms can have a laxative effect, as well. Dr. Dean recommends the following forms, for optimal absorption and least chance of laxative effect:
She recommends against oxide forms of Magnesium as one study showed only about 4% the elemental Magnesium is actually absorbed after ingestion. There are other forms of Magnesium as well, with varying absorption results. I encourage you to do your homework when choosing a supplement- quality does matter!
I personally am using magnesium oil on achy muscles at night and in the mornings on the tops of my feet. Warning: it stings and itches like nobody’s business! I’ve gradually gotten used to it- but it was not fun the first few applications. I also spray a small amount on my toothbrush (yuck!) and use it in my retainer tray at night in the hopes of improving my tooth and gum health. I am just starting to take a little Natural Calm in the evenings, as well. I am hoping for some alleviation of my PMS symptoms and acid reflux. Also, I am interested in the cardiac benefits, given my personal situation with heart disease (another story for another day). I intend to try a smaller dosage of Natural Calm on my kiddos and see if it settles some of the chaos around my house at night. (one can hope for a miracle, can’t she!?!?) My husband, who suffers from anxiety, will be taking it at as well – whether he knows it yet or not. My research has convinced me that we are likely deficient, so I want to gradually add supplementation to see if there is any improvement. I will post in the future on my personal results from supplementing with Magnesium, as I want to give it at least 3-6 months.
If you think you may be deficient and would like to supplement with Magnesium, please consult with your doctor first, particularly if you are on other medications or have any medical conditions. Supplementing with too much or a malabsorbed form of magnesium can result in diarrhea, so start slowly and trust your body. (this is starting to feel like a pharmaceutical commercial- but you know, I gotta’ give the disclaimer!).
I barely skimmed the surface on Magnesium- there is so much great information out there available and I highly recommend you research it further for yourself. Here are some great book resources, in addition to the abundant information available over the internet: