Restricted Mobility (travel) and Healthy Eating – Getting the Nutrients you need

Here we are with our “at home” experiment in St. Louis, with the intend of stopping the spread of a menacing virus. There are many reasons to get down about it, worry about it, and complain about it, but… Right now, we have an opportunity to work on the quality of our caloric intake. We have an opportunity to begin dietary changes that could lead to permanent improvements in how we feel, how we perform, and how our body composition is defined.

We could, right now, choose to cut the burgers and fries, tacos, chips, pizza and beer. The easy thing to do would be to shop the frozen food section at the grocery store and make easy meals. Easy is never the path to greatness. The best things are usually hard.

Chances are high that right now, you have a vitamin or mineral deficiency. Even the healthiest eaters and most active athletes can have nutrient deficiencies due their unique biochemical makeup and the sheer amount of nutrients burned during exercise.

Studies have shown that over 90% of Americans have insufficient levels of several vitamins, minerals, and micronutrients, with Vitamin D, Vitamin E, Magnesium, and Vitamin A among the most common deficiencies. No one age group, gender, race, or class of “healthy eaters” is immune.

For the fitness-minded, what nutrient deficiency translates into is the body not being able to operate at peak performance, reduced strength or endurance, or slower recovery time. For the less active, it often translates into slower metabolism, lower energy, headaches, and general fatigue (regardless of how many cups of coffee you have throughout the day!)

There are many steps in the cellular energy production process, and vitamins, minerals, and micronutrients are critical to this process being carried out properly. With insufficient levels of these nutrients, the body doesn’t have the resources it needs to do everything it should do, when and where it needs to do them efficiently, which can lead to anything from headaches to hormonal imbalances, birth defects, or heart problems, and of course, the inability to exercise efficiently, feeling sluggish and fatigued before we should.

For any deficiencies that exist, they can be addressed by adding nutrient-rich snacks or through supplementation. Everyone is unique, and unfortunately, a single multivitamin is insufficient to get all the nutrients our bodies need because of the variability in our genetics, lifestyles, and diets. Where deficiencies exist, supplementation can work, but keep in mind, bodies don’t absorb nutrients as well from supplements as they do from food.

Greg Glassman, the author of the CrossFit methodology is no fan of vitamins. His take is that the only supplement that has meaningful benefits is fish oil. Other than that, we should get our nutrients from nutrient rich foods. Vitamins often pass straight through your system and are not absorbed. Taking vitamins with food can help.

Food does contain lower concentrations of vitamins and minerals than supplements, that’s why we need to choose the right foods. With the wrong foods, we get empty or negative value calories that fill us with empty value. Changes need to be made slowly. Too much change too fast, and the associated shift in vitamins and minerals can actually hurt and make you feel worse rather than better.

Nuts, seeds, potatoes, tomatoes, and green leafy veggies and other vegetables of rich color are some of the best “bang for your buck” food sources of vitamins and minerals.

So here we are, working from home, working out from home and eating from home. We can look at it as a quarantine, or we can look at it as a unique opportunity to improve our health through great choices. It’s up to you…