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beets lettuceMany people are making lifestyle choices about nutrition.   Examples are vegetarian diets, organic diets, whole foods diets.  Clients ask me to assess the adequacy of changes they have made and recommend supplements if needed.  This is an important health decision requiring professional assistance and regular nutrient analysis to determine the best food combination's especially if young people are still growing, pregnant or are athletes.  Many adults with a family history of heart disease and high cholesterol could benefit from a low saturated fat vegetarian diet.  For any of the below choices a nutrition assessment is advised.

Vegetarian Diet

peppersThere are several types of modern vegetarians.  They include vegans who decline any foods from living creatures and use only vegetable sources.  The lacto-ovo vegetarian will still use only vegetable sources but will add eggs and dairy to the diet.  There are also a group who may be vegan or lacto-ovo but still use some meats or fish on occasions or to improve their health.  The rules for some have become more relaxed due to some nutritional needs.  For example a lifelong vegetarian who had to use some meat and fish in later years as the only way to maintain his iron levels when his health was declining.  Another example is pregnant women craving animal protein sources during pregnancy. At the Nutrition Assessment Clinic we advise vegetarians to obtain an annual test of hemoglobin, ferritin and B12 to maintain their health.  It takes 3 months for iron stores to be depleted and 3 months for them to be replaced.

 Organic Diet

bread The choice to eat organic sources of all food is now easier because of the demand for more products.  Organic dairy products are now available and are still pasteurized and most are still fortified with Vitamin D by law.  Check the labels to be sure this is still the case. These guides are given to protect your health.  Organic fruit and vegetables are now widely available and of good quality.  Organic meats, fish and poultry are more difficult to obtain but available.  Organic grains are now widely available.  Because our soils are low in iron and folate, the federal government has legislated the addition of iron to flour, pasta and breakfast cereal.  This provides about 30% of the iron in our diet.  Using organic grain and cereals alone will not provide this source of iron.  There is now widespread iron deficiency in those not using grains in their diets and/or using organic grains.  Those at risk are male or female athletes, women of childbearing age and children.  It takes 3 months for your irons stores to drop to a dangerous level and it then takes 3 months to recover on iron supplements. This will effect your mental and physical performance for many months. Folic acid is also added to flour to prevent the birth defect (spinabifida).  Nutrition assessment strongly recommends the use of enriched cereal, flour and pasta for these individuals. 

Whole Foods Diet

bulk grainsA growing area of interest to the public is the concept of a whole foods diet.  The major premis is to obtain foods that are whole in the belief that we will have less exposure to food additives.  This can easily be done and can encourage people to find healthy recipes and enjoy more herbs and spices in their cooking instead of using fat as flavour.  Again people may choose to follow this at a different level.  For example they may choose whole food organic or 100 mile or both.

 

 

100 Mile Diet or Locavore Diet

vegetablesThis diet is a choice to use only locally grown foods in your diet. It is a great way to support your community and reduce the carbon footprint.  Depending on where you live, the 100 mile diet can be a great choice and encourage local food production on small farms and some local processing could occur.   In Countries where we cannot grow citrus fruit, there is a concern about specific nutrients.  Eg vitamin C and folic acid.  These are also found in fresh greens, berries, melons and tomatoes.  Keep in mind that some soils are deficient in some nutrients and this is the reason food is fortified with some vitamins.  For example there is more iodine in the soil in the regions near salt water and less iodine in the soil inland.  This is because of the vast amounts of iodine in seaweed.  Vapourized iodine falls with the rain over local land.