N IS FOR NUTRITION
Elaine Doll-Dunn, Psy.D.

I drive a PT Cruiser. He’s really cute, full of zip, and a comfy ride. I take really good care of “Petey”, because he looks good, runs well, and gets me safely to where I’m going. To that end, I make sure he has proper petrol, periodic professional maintenance, and massage (wash) therapy as needed. He’s a 2001 model and has a right to feel good, look good, and run like a top. It has been my observation that many of us take better care of our cars than we do our bodies. Not exactly a revelation, but a puzzle, since our body is the most incredible vehicle we will ever own, it just makes good sense to honor it with considerate care. I don’t know about you, but I’m in this for the long haul, and I want to look and feel as good as I can for as long as I can; therefore…N is for Nutrition.

The first order of business is the feed and caring of the human body. We all know the basics, or pretend to, but just for the sake of review, are we remembering that:

  • Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. The body is depleted after a night’s rest, and the word “breakfast” literally means to “break the fast”. It jump starts the metabolism to burn calories, feeds the brain, and safeguards against over eating the rest of the day to make up for lost energy.
  • The government’s soon to be revised pyramid is not as accurate as once thought; we do not need the ferocious amount of carbohydrates it mandates, but the fruit and vegetable index is right on. Just need to beef up the protein and it were. (Sorry, didn’t really think about it…incidental punning.)
  • Women can’t eat enough to get the vitamins they need daily…take a supplement.
  • Avoid processed food. It’s quick and easy, but also often full of sugar, salt, and preservatives, and much of the digesting has been done for you. Make your body work for its energy. For example, eating an orange is better than drinking orange juice because your body has to work to digest it; a blender gets that benefit with juice.
  • An electrolyte replacement drink is okay in its place, but its place is neither for lunch nor during a low endurance activity. A runner requires nothing but water for any run less than 10 miles, after that a diluted electrolyte every 2 to 4 miles will suffice. The concentration of sugar and salts in them draws water from the blood stream if used before needed, simply contributing to dehydration.
  • Protein is the muscle builder; we need it to maintain healthy cells.
  • Calcium is essential for strong bones. You can get that calcium from yogurt, milk, cheese, ice-cream, and other milk products.
  • Read labels, sugar is sneakily added to many foods. It creates a need for more so we eat more. Good marketing ploy.
  • Graze. Eat at least six times a day. It keeps your metabolism fired up, staves off hunger, and can result in weight loss. I have something at 7:30, 10:00, 12:00, 2:00, 4:00, 6:00, and 8:00. Never a donut or anything sweet, usually a cheese stick, or cashews, or jerky, or fruit. Meal time consists of a portion of protein the size of the palm of my hand, a carbohydrate equal to the size of my closed fist, and limitless green vegetables. My evening treat is cereal (homemade granola, to die for!), and yogurt or ice cream. Yes, ice cream, I have a life too!
  • It’s okay to enjoy one glass of red wine with dinner. It’s good for your heart, mind, and body. Plus you eat more slowly and savor the meal…dinner is not a timed event.
  • Water, water, water. Two glasses before every meal and whatever it takes in between to make 8, 8 ounce glasses a day. (Unless you exercise strenuously, then up it to at least 10.)
  • Never skip a meal. Your body and brain need the food and water on a regular basis, and your mind will play tricks on you, giving you permission to overeat at the next meal.
  • We burn 800 calories overnight just staying alive. Think about that!
  • Food is fuel; your vehicle needs it to operate efficiently.

So take care of your incredible machine. As far as I know there is no trade-in value, some reconstruction is available (at great price), but those recently off the line are not an option, so get over it. Take care of what you have. Mine is a ’37 model, and I don’t think they even make replacement parts for it anymore. Therefore, I am pretty diligent about maintenance. I hope I have a lot of miles left and I want to ensure, to the best of my ability, that those miles are smooth and pleasant.

A nice massage is good for the chassis and the paint job, TLC works equally well for two wheeled or four wheeled vehicles, and a scheduled visit to your favorite “mechanic” is imperative.. Remember, the base word of ‘nutrition’ is ‘nurture’... meaning to care for. Clear enough? Happy nurturing.

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