Friday, April 18, 2008

April in a (high in Vitamin E) Nutshell

Well, I first must apologize to all my loyal readers for a severe lack of postings. April seems to have slipped away from me. And now it is already Passover, and I am sitting down for a moment to relax while the brisket finishes cooking. Mmmmm, brisket...

Exam updates
In the span of 4 weeks, we have had 3 quizzes and an exam. Which means I have been study, study, studying. Exam #3 was as equally difficult as the first two, but I am getting better at anticipating what kinds of questions I'll be asked. Study guides have also been helpful, as have flashcards. Exam #2 was indeed curved, and I managed to fare far better than I had originally thought. Exam #3 was mostly on protein and the fat and water soluble vitamins.

Protein
Class 9 focused on proteins, which truthfully, was really boring. Proteins give us structure, proteins allow our muscles to move, proteins make up hormones and other chemical compounds in our bodies, proteins act as buffers in our blood to keep Ph levels in check blah, blah, blah. Perhaps my lack of enthusiasm about protein stems from my deep distaste for eggs. Ick. Great protein source, I just cannot stand them. One take-away I will share... humans only need about 10-15% of their calories from protein to meet daily needs. The average person in the US eats way more protein than that. So what happens to it? Well, the body does an excellent job of converting excess protein into fat. Even lean proteins.

Vitamins
There are two kinds of vitamins: Fat Soluble (Vitamin A, E, D and K) and Water Soluble (Vitamin C, all the Bs --Thiamin, Riboflavin, Niacin... etc. and Folate) Vitamins do a TON of stuff. They assist with metabolism, they have antioxidant properties, the assist with growth, development, vision, immunity, blood pressure and more. If I listed each vitamin's properties individually, it would make your head spin. Suffice it to say, they are important, and you need a varied and balanced diet to get them all in. These are the take aways from class:

  • Eat a wide array of fruits and vegetables to ensure you're getting all the vitamins. This means colorful. If you always buy green peppers at the market, swap for red, orange or yellow. Eat strawberries this week, but maybe choose blueberries the next. Honeydew, then cantaloupe. Yukon gold potatoes, then sweet potatoes. You get the picture; eat the rainbow!
  • Fat soluble vitamins are usually found in more protein based foods (but also in fruits and veggies). Be sure to choose low fat dairy, lean meats or nuts and seeds to compliment your diet.
  • I get this question quite a bit... "Should I be taking a multi-vitamin supplement?" The answer varies depending on the rest of your diet and your individual situation. For example, if you are pregnant or trying to conceive, then yes, you should be taking 400mg of folate a day. If you are eating a normal, well balanced diet (and most of us in the US are, since so many of our foods are fortified) then well, honestly, you are paying for very expensive pee. Especially if you are taking a water-soluble supplement. Concerns? Talk to your doc or email me. Every case is different.
In other news
Looking forward to Sedar at my house with some friends and family. Still plugging away at the gym with my new ipod and busy, busy at work. Registered for summer classes, and I'll be taking a research seminar. Hopefully, parking on campus in the summer will prove easier than the current state of affairs. Oh, and if you've heard in the news about the terrorist threat on campus, fear not. All went smoothly the day of April 10, no one got hurt, and a young disgruntled student who made the original threats (scratched onto a campus desk in a lecture hall) was found and arrested. While I do not condone such activities, I will say it was blissfully easy to find a parking space that day.