26 September 2012

Questions about salt answered.



I never really thought much about salt.  I knew too much was bad (for your heart and fluid retention), but how much was good?  What foods supply it?  How much can you add at the table?  What does a craving mean?  Here’s what I found:

The daily recommended allowance for sodium is 2300 mg (only 1500 mg if you are over the age of 50 or have other health concerns).  This amount can naturally be found in whole foods that you eat in a single day, excessively in processed foods including lunchmeat and frozen meals.


How quickly you can get 1914 mg* in one day?  
Breakfast (255 mg): glass of grapefruit juice, 10 mg + 1 cup of multi-grain cheerios, 120 mg + 1 cup of skim milk, 125 mg. 
Snack (244 mg): granola bar, 65 mg + Babybel cheese, 179 mg
Lunch (585 mg): 1 slice of wheat bread, 160 mg (320 mg in a sandwich) + 2 Tbsp peanut butter, 140 mg + jelly, 10 mg + 13 potato chips, 115 mg (apple = 0)
Snack (350 mg): 2 Tbsp humus, 130 mg + 9 pita chip/crackers, 220 mg
Dinner (480 mg): (whole grain spaghetti = 0) + ½ cup spaghetti sauce from a jar, 480 mg (vegetable = 0)

*This assumes you eat the printed manufacturer serving size. 
If you do add salt for flavor, keep in mind 1 tsp = your total daily allowance (2300 mg).

What’s good about salt?  Sodium is one of three primary electrolytes (potassium and chloride being the other two) that move nutrients to cells, and waste from them.  But too much of a good thing can tip things out of balance to the point of being unhealthy.  http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/sodium/NU00284             

What causes cravings?  Many times it’s simply the result of habit.  If you consume lots of sodium (hidden in foods or added with a shake) your taste buds will become accustomed to the flavor.  Other times, you may need to replace levels you’ve sweat out due to hot weather or exercise.  But sometimes, a craving can be a sign of a hormonal insufficiency or adrenal fatigue which should be discussed with your doctor.  http://www.livestrong.com/article/459071-adrenal-glands-fatigue-salt-cravings/    

01 September 2012

Nutrition Facts when you find yourself at McDonald’s



I was out running errands all afternoon, by 2:00p I was hungry and my blood sugar level was crashing.  Begrudgingly, I swung in McDonald’s drive thru on my way home, and ordered their Filet-O-Fish sandwich.   I hoped it was a healthier option than their Cheeseburger.  It was fish after all, right?  Well ... 

The Filet-O-Fish sandwich is 380 calories (25% of those calories from the tartar sauce).  That’s actually higher than their Cheeseburger, Grilled Chicken Sandwich, and Honey Mustard (chicken) Snack Wrap.  It’s higher than all of the above in total grams of fat (only the Cheeseburger was higher in %DV of saturated fat).  

The fish sandwich (made with pollock) was lowest in sodium, although still high (25% DV) which I guess is expected for a processed food.  The protein value was on par with the Cheeseburger and Snack Wrap, but you can get twice that with a Grilled Chicken Sandwich or Grilled Chicken Salad.  Their Salad contained half the calories, twice the protein and delivered loads more Vitamin A and C.


Cal
Total fat
Saturated fat
Sodium
Protein
Vitamin A
Vitamin C
Calcium
Iron
Filet-O-Fish
380
18g
19% DV
610mg
16g
2% DV
0% DV
15% DV
15% DV
Cheeseburger
300
12
28
720
15
6
2
20
15
Grilled Chicken Sand
350
9
9
820
28
4
8
15
20
Honey Mustard Snack Wrap (grilled)
250
8
18
650
16
2
2
10
10
Caesar Salad w/ grilled Chicken
190
5
14
580
27
160
35
20
10

"Food for thought" the next time you are in a rush and need to grab a bite on the go.  Click here for McDonald’s full menu nutrition chart.

03 August 2012

Yoga for Tension Headache


While on vacation, just after putting the kids to bed, I could feel a tension headache tightening up.  A line of pain strained up from my right shoulder blade, along the back of my neck to behind my right eye.  These headaches can last 4 hours and sometimes cause “eye spots” in my vision.  

I was sharing a double bed with a child in a one-room lodge in the middle of Yellowstone National Park.  To relieve the pain as quietly as I could, I found some space on the floor and ran through a few repeats of the Sun Salutation asana, which includes a few poses recommended to help release tension headaches:
  • ·         Upward & Downward Dog
  • ·         Forward Bend
  • ·         Mountain Pose
When I got home and had internet access again, I found six more favorite poses that help relieve tension in the neck, upper back and chest:
  1. Child’s Pose (with arms extended)
  2. Bridge (arms clasped underneath)
  3. Seated Twist http://www.yogajournal.com/poses/485 
  4. Upward Plank (opens chest)
  5. Eagle Arms (stretches shoulder blades) http://www.yogajournal.com/poses/785            
  6. Gomukhasana Arms (relaxes shoulders) http://www.yogajournal.com/poses/689         
I finally rested in Savasana (Corpse Pose) and fell asleep ... relief.