I ALREADY KNEW a lot of the tips nutritionist Beve Kindblade recommended. I knew about the critical 30-to-45-minute window after working out to fuel your body. I knew I should take vitamin D. I knew I should chew my food more thoroughly.
I wasn’t doing any of these things. Sound familiar?
When I actually tried them, I noticed an immediate difference. I had more energy. I felt satiated sooner at meals. I felt more even-keeled and energetic after workouts.
I once believed a good diet equals complete nutrition. Then I met Kindblade. She bases her guidance on data from blood tests. People at my gym had raved about her protocol. I always want more information about my health, and I also wanted to lose a couple of pounds to make my weight class for an Olympic weightlifting competition.
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Everyone has different nutritional needs, though there are themes. People in the Pacific Northwest are generally vitamin D-deficient because of cloudy winters; it was worse last summer, with wildfires and cloud cover instead of sunshine, Kindblade said. Many people are iron-deficient, which affects oxygen to the brain. People unknowingly eliminate key vitamins, like calcium and vitamin B, fortified in our modern diet through bread and other foods. She also recommends buying vitamins from suppliers with third-party testing.
My curiosity was piqued, and Kindblade gave me instructions for my doctor to order the tests. (Side note: Check your health insurance for nutrition coverage.)
First I worked on fueling my body post-workout. After elevating your heart rate for 30 minutes or more, Kindblade recommends 50 grams of carbs and 14 grams of protein within 30 minutes to refuel your depleted glycogen. Eat later than that, and your body turns that fuel into fat.
It’s a lot of food: a slice of bread, two hard-boiled eggs and an apple, for example. I relied on bananas and almond butter or beef jerky.
I had been ignoring my body’s need for fuel. I felt better, faster, by eating quickly after a sweat.
Then my test results came in. My vitamin D was oh-so-low. With a sunny trip a month before the tests, it’s likely my body is not efficient at making vitamin D, Kindblade said. Vitamin D is a wonder nutrient — it helps the body kill bacteria and viruses, and it affects sleep and mood, such as seasonal affective disorder, Kindblade said: Low vitamin D can be an independent risk factor for up to 16 added pounds.
Vitamin D supports absorption of calcium and phosphorous, and with vitamin K, affects bone health, Kindblade said. She put me on a high-dose regimen.
My iron was solid, which I attribute to eating red meat regularly. Iron is especially important if you’re active, because it carries oxygen on red blood cells, she said. I was low on vitamin B, which is tricky to absorb, and necessary when active. B-12 impacts the fatty layer around your nerve cells and can affect short-term memory.
My iodine was low (I realized my regular sea salt doesn’t have iodine). Kindblade also advised me to eat more fish, take fish oil for its anti-inflammatory omega-3s, and add more electrolytes. She recommended I chew my food thoroughly, until it’s liquid in my mouth, for nutrient breakdown and satiation.
Five days after starting my new vitamins, I noticed an uptick in energy. I’m often tired when I teach yoga in the evenings. After my vitamins, I had a boost of energy for class. A long stretch of rainy days didn’t drag me down. I also traveled and got a new puppy during my first couple of weeks on vitamins, so I didn’t sleep more or eat particularly well, and I was still energetic. I also dropped a couple of pounds.
In short, I love my vitamins and will stick with them. My goal in the new year is to chew my food thoroughly. Kindblade has more ideas for timing my meals. I’ll report back.