The 5th Day of Christmas: Gift of Sustenance


This is the day when you’d be getting five golden rings.  The bird site mentioned in day 4 thinks that these refer to ringneck pheasants, as though the whole song is about delicious game birds, but whatever it refers to, today is the day to look at the way you are feeding your physical body.

The Gift of Sustenance can be divided into 5 parts (each one as valuable as a gold ring)

1.  Sustain your body with a multivitamin/mineral supplement.  No, we don’t get everything we need from the foods we eat, and in some cases, vitamins are precursors that enable key processes to happen in our bodies. They also help maintain bones, joints, teeth, eyesight, skin, heart regularity, other organs . . .

2. Eat enough protein. Not too much, not too little, and look for quality.  I love cheese, cottage cheese, milk and yogurt because I also get calcium when I eat these.  I also love eggs because I have 32 chickens strolling the lawns.  No, really — eggs are a super source of protein.

Turkey, chicken, beef, pork — I tend to use proteins like these more as condiments as my daughter is vegetarian, and I can leave them out of her dish and add them into mine and my son(s) when we want to.

Let’s not forget beans (I really do love them, and especially right now since I’m hungry), combined whole grains, tofu and other soy products, and vegetables in general.

If you have the time, calculate how many grams of protein you get every day.  Use the RDA or try this calculation if you’re sure to account for all protein you get during the day:

1. example: 130 pounds,  first translate into kg:  130/2.2 = 59 kg

2. then multiply by .8g if you are sedentary, 1.1g if moderate in exercise and 1.4g if active.

59 kg x 1.1 g/kg = 65 grams protein

I try to count 50 grams per day from the foods that are easily counted, and then assume the other 15 is showing up in things like salad, green beans, crackers, the odd wedge of brie, the bowl of popcorn . . . .

3. Eat your greens!  And your reds and oranges and yellows — in fact, try a rainbow!  (Check out that link from my friend Sharon’s blog). What are greens not good for?   Packed with fiber as well as everything else that’s good for you — I’m not going into a discourse here, just eat them.  Season them to make them lovable if you need to, but eat them!

4. Switch simple carbohydrates to whole grains for the added nutrients and fiber, but also to keep your glycemic index down and avoid putting on belly fat. And cut out sugar as much as you can.  I’ll do it if you will . . .

5. Adjust your portion size until it is just right for you and your activities.  Your body will tell you it’s full if you’re listening . . . to help with the listening, slow the speed of your eating. Usually the stomach’s voice perks up about 20 minutes into a meal, so see if you can linger over and savor your food.

If you feel you’re overweight, try cutting portion sizes in half and try that on for a while.  If you’re exercising moderately and you begin to lose weight gradually, the portion size will be just right until you get to your target weight.  If you’re underweight or a growing child, teen or young adult, you may need to increase your portion sizes.

That’s it — five golden opportunities to create health for yourself! What a gift!

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