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Chewing on a horseshoe? - Tactical Ninja

Nov. 15th, 2012

09:02 am - Chewing on a horseshoe?

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Today I'm feeling kind of disheartened. I've been training in handbalancing since July, and I feel like I've made virtually no progress. I realise that this is at least in part because my ears are messing with my balance at the moment, but given the amount of time I've put into it, you'd think I'd be able to maintain a handstand for a decent amount of time. Last night I couldn't even find balance, never mind stay up there.

My normal solution to this would be "Train harder!" but I'm painfully (literally) aware of how handstands are pushing the boundary of what's ok for me to do with my shoulder and just GRRR!

*frustrated*


This was only recommended to me about four years ago by kimeros, and in my usual style, it's taken me this long to work my way to the place where I want to look into nutrition, and hey presto I remembered it.

For those not familiar, it's a site that lets you log various bits and bobs regarding health and fitness - you can log foods eaten, activities undertaken, calories, measurements, mood, whatever floats your boat really.

I was particularly impressed to discover that they list shearing under 'activities' - albeit under the general heading 'caring for farm animals', but it's there and that's awesome.

Anyway, this is part of my ongoing plan to get my physical shit together. When I started this I was eating no breakfast or lunch, and more or less subsisting on coffee, icecream and mince. I am not joking. My eating habits have been messed up for a very long time for a whole bunch of reasons, [vague ED references]from having spent a lot of time working weird hours with no breaks through to a history of low self-esteem and self harming behaviour, and I tend towards the bulimic. Not in a way that's ever been detectable to anyone else, but it's an ongoing battle for me to not just keep on eating every time I sit down with food. When I was in my 20s and 30s it didn't really matter, but now I'm finding it harder to maintain a healthy body with such crap eating habits. so last year I decided to do something about it.

It started with eating breakfast, then moved into making myself healthy lunches, then to three proper meals a day, and now I'm looking at making sure the meals provide the right sorts of nutrition so I don't get too hungry in between. I've never been a calorie counter or a nutrition-focused person so I've no clue if what I'm eating is actually the right stuff or not. I've been following that thing that guy said:

"Eat food, not too much, mostly plants."

However, now that I feel like I'm eating all the time, I'd like to know if what I'm eating is doing me any good. Also, while the relatively healthy approach I've been taking has been good for my general condition, in the middle of winter I had a bout with mild depression and spent a month stuffing my face with ice cream. Go me, the model of self-control and healthy eating! Anyway, the ice cream binge led to extra wobbly bits and I could live without trying to balance those on my hands too.

So anyway, this site has a thing where you put in the food you ate in a day and it gives you a chart of how the food relates to your daily requirements for various vitamins and minerals. It seems my diet is mostly meeting those needs but I'm struggling to get enough iron and Vitamin E.

I eat loads of spinach and have red meat or chicken at least 3x a week, but I'm still consistently coming in at about 75% of what this thing says I should be getting. I know I'm not the only person who struggles with this - it seems accessible iron is quite hard to get without tucking into a giant steak every night. Nuts are good for protein and vitamin E but not so hot on iron.

I don't want to increase my intake of red meat because I'm very aware of the impact of livestock farming on carbon emissions, but that doesn't leave a lot of options. I'd rather get this stuff from food than from pills, you know?

Any suggestions (short of sucking nails)?


tl;dr My navel, it's full of yummy food that isn't quite as nutritious as I hoped. Bler.

Meanwhile, it's only 2 more days before exams end, which means I might actually get my result next week. I feel like I won't be properly finished until I know my result. In my copious free time, since Skyrim is huge and absorbing and I don't always have the headspace for it, I've been playing Drawn: The Painted Tower as a filler. It's fun and very pretty, and while it's possibly a bit juvenile, I quite like the layered thinking that the puzzles require as a slight brainstretch. A+ would recommend.

Comments:

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From:thesecondcircle
Date:November 14th, 2012 08:26 pm (UTC)
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My Dr. recommended an iron skillet when we were low on iron.
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From:tatjna
Date:November 14th, 2012 08:56 pm (UTC)
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The problem with that is that I barely ever use a skillet in cooking.

(nb so far all three of the suggestions have been from americans and they all say skillet and I had to look up what that was hehe)

Mostly I use a wok for the sorts of things that may go in a skillet, and grill meat. Hmm...
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From:ferrouswheel
Date:November 14th, 2012 09:11 pm (UTC)
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On the plus side, we probably get our RDI of teflon!
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From:tatjna
Date:November 14th, 2012 09:21 pm (UTC)
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Reckon we should buy one of these skillet thingies?
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From:(Anonymous)
Date:November 14th, 2012 10:01 pm (UTC)

mmmm

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caste iron fry pans. they are good.. just be careful with them on glass top hobs.. aka the dropping thing.. we had one, and now i have it.. its great, will need a reseasoning.. but that is just part of the upkeep.. *nods*

do be do..

also its me polly...
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From:tyellas
Date:November 14th, 2012 08:37 pm (UTC)
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Seconding the iron skillet. Also, snack on some dried fruit now and then (prunes, figs, apricots).
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From:rivet
Date:November 14th, 2012 08:52 pm (UTC)
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FYI, cooking in cast iron increases the nutritive iron content of your food. rly. And it's easier than chewing on a horseshoe. [oops, others beat me to it since I refreshed the page]

Also, while I'm a fan of fitday, research shows (I know that's horrible, but I don't want to look up refs right now) that the variance on both nutrition intake and calorie expenditure is actually pretty huge, so I'd recommend using it as a guide rather than exact science.

Edited at 2012-11-14 08:53 pm (UTC)
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From:tatjna
Date:November 14th, 2012 08:58 pm (UTC)
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Yeah, that's about what I figured, so I'm not following its recommendations to the letter, and if it says something that makes me go "..." I look it up elsewhere.

This iron thing is more of a trend than a specific. Each day, that seems lower than everything else. And it kind of makes sense since it's something a lot of people apparently struggle with.
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From:bekitty
Date:November 14th, 2012 08:54 pm (UTC)
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What does it say about selenium levels? I know that NZers tend to mostly get their selenium from brazil nuts and (nowadays) bread made with Australian grain, since the soil here is selenium-poor. If the program is made in the US, it might not calculate for that.

I generally steer clear of "healthy eating"-type things, as they have an unfortunate tendency to focus on weight loss. Fuck losing weight, I want to eat healthily and maybe GAIN weight! I used to buy the Healthy Food Guide magazine for the recipes, but it gradually started going the same way and then started doing advertorials for questionable "diet" products.

I also used to buy Men's Health, but stopped when it became apparent that they were just recycling articles. I did quite like their attitude, though. They had a cheeky sense of humour. :-)

Anyway, another +1 for the skillet idea. Preferably with something tasty cooked in it. Moore Wilson has some nice free-range meats (OMG wild pork bacon OMG!), but they're bloody expensive.
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From:tatjna
Date:November 14th, 2012 09:00 pm (UTC)
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One of the things I like about this site is that you only have to look at weight loss stuff if that's what you're interested in, and it allows for an increase in weight as a goal too.

You can choose how it displays the info so if your goal is to check nutrition, it'll show a basic breakdown of your food intake rather than a calorie type one.

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From:bekitty
Date:November 14th, 2012 09:08 pm (UTC)
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As I thought, it's a US site. Which means that the default beef is grain-fed, and grain-fed beef is lower in omega-3s, vitamin E, and beta-carotene. It might be lower in iron too, but I'm not sure.

Grass-fed beef is also lower in saturated fat, mostly because the fat is distributed differently so it can get trimmed off before processing.

But I expect you knew all that already! :)
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From:tatjna
Date:November 14th, 2012 09:09 pm (UTC)
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Also, if you go into the food log section and type in 'beef', it gives you a list that includes grass-fed. ;-)

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From:tatjna
Date:November 14th, 2012 09:08 pm (UTC)
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Oh, and on the selenium levels I always take those readings with a grain of salt because I've spent a large part of my life providing selenium (and copper FYI) supplements to livestock - so I just assume they don't read right for here and make sure I get extra anyway.
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From:fushia_darkness
Date:November 14th, 2012 09:34 pm (UTC)
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Excellent work getting around to healthy eating habits! I wish food wasn't such a tricky business. I tend to be somewhat bipolar there too, either starving or stuffing myself too full.
Black pudding (blodpudding in Swedish) is a great way to get iron. I like it, some hate it, and it's definitely nothing for the vegetarians. But if you're not shy to take on a steak on your own you should be just fine.
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From:tatjna
Date:November 14th, 2012 09:56 pm (UTC)
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I haven't had black pudding, but I imagine it tastes something like liver. I could be completely off track here though.

I don't have any issues with blood or semi-raw meat, so maybe it's worth a try. ;-)
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From:fushia_darkness
Date:November 14th, 2012 10:37 pm (UTC)
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Gawd no, I hate liver! Been served too many disgusting meals in school when I grew up so I can't stand it. Black pudding is nothing alike at all. Easy cooking too, just slice it in up and panfry it. I like to serve it with bacon, and some people like lingonberry/cowberry to it too. The smoked taste of bacon and acidity in the lingonberry works very well with the black pudding. Something I highly recommend!
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From:dragonvyxn
Date:November 14th, 2012 11:24 pm (UTC)
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well, in order to get at the iron present in spinach et al., you will want to have extra vit c to help out. other than that, i have nothing helpful to add. i don't eat red meat and i'm not anemic, yay, because of greens and vit c, so it does work!
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From:kimeros
Date:November 15th, 2012 05:55 am (UTC)
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Second the vitamin C comment. Combining Vitamin C with iron rich vegetables increases the absorption of iron.

Also, there are a few things you shouldn't combine iron rich foods with as they reduce the bio-availability of the iron - the ones I'm aware of are calcium, coffee and tannic acid (in tea).

The first time I used fitday the main things I had to work on were Vitamin E and Vitamin K - I hadn't even heard of Vitamin K! (yum, yum lettuce).
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From:tieke
Date:November 14th, 2012 11:30 pm (UTC)
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True fact: sometimes training harder makes it worse. Sometimes you get better and stronger by taking things a bit easier, and/or doing something different for a bit. Srsly.
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From:tieke
Date:November 14th, 2012 11:47 pm (UTC)
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True fact no. 2: Handstands are hard. 3-4 months training is not long, and you're dealing with ear and shoulder issues. Stop beating yourself up.
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From:tieke
Date:November 14th, 2012 11:52 pm (UTC)
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True fact no. 3: Circus training is meant to be fun (unless you're Russian or Chinese). If it's getting not-fun, there's not a lot of point in doing it. I get like what you're describing, on a fairly regular basis, and recognise it now as a burn-out early warning sign. For me that means that I have to take a bit of a break, and make an extra effort to be nice to myself about what I have achieved.
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From:tieke
Date:November 14th, 2012 11:53 pm (UTC)
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/lecture over

(sorry)
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From:tatjna
Date:November 15th, 2012 12:50 am (UTC)
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It's not so much that it isn't fun, just that I'm not making the progress I'd hoped for. Last night brought that more to my attention. I'm also frustrated that a thing that doesn't hurt my shoulder one week will hurt it the next so I'm never sure if I'm 'safe' to just go ahead and do it. Osteodude says it's getting better so there's that.

But you are of course right. I think after this term I'll skip doing classes for a term and just train on my own, or maybe focus on something else for a bit and see how that goes.
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From:pundigrion
Date:November 15th, 2012 12:55 am (UTC)
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I'll second the blood pudding/black sausage. It doesn't taste a thing like liver I promise. It has a rich flavour that tastes sort of meaty but with a smooth texture like pate. (Depends what filler they use though, usually it is bread crumbs or rice here.)

I really like it fried with potatoes or served with mashed potatoes and applesauce like so: http://www.achefshelp.com/recipe/1334/himmel-und-erde-side-dish-germany-worldwide-recipes
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From:tatjna
Date:November 15th, 2012 01:00 am (UTC)
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Funny, I was looking at the blood that seeped out of the steak we had last night and thinking "I bet that's where all the iron is."

I'm not that keen on pig so now I'm wondering if you can get it here made from cow or sheep, and even better, how to make my own.
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From:pundigrion
Date:November 15th, 2012 02:09 am (UTC)
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Oh yeah, that's the good stuff. Of course I am a heathen that sops the blood up on the plate up with potatoes, veggies, bread, or my tongue. *slurp*

It should really be one of the easiest sausages to make at home since the filling is very loose and it doesn't need a meat grinder. I haven't given it a go myself since we have such a good selection at the farmer's market, but this shows the basics: http://mattikaarts.com/blog/charcuterie/home-made-blood-sausage/
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From:tatjna
Date:November 15th, 2012 02:28 am (UTC)
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I looked up a few recipes and they all seem to require the addition of a bunch of fat. I'm wondering if there isn't a way to capitalise on bloodiness without feeling my arteries hardening as I eat it.

Maybe I'll go your method with the sopping. ;-)
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From:pundigrion
Date:November 15th, 2012 02:38 am (UTC)
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Mmm, yes that is rather a normal part of sausages! I know there are low-fat blood puddings, but I've never tried one. There are other recipes with blood in them as well, but they will likely also be fatty. I happen to be a fan of fat, but I'll keep you in mind when cookbook reading and let you know if I see something promising. (I just eat a smaller portion of rich foods, means I get to enjoy them for longer at least, but I know that doesn't work for everyone!)

I know there are a bunch of Asian soups that use blood as an additive, but all the ones I can think of are pork-based.
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From:pundigrion
Date:November 15th, 2012 02:42 am (UTC)
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And you know, right after I said that I had to go looking some more for not-sausage recipes and lo I think I might have found you some ideas! You'll have to scroll a bit, but there are a few that might work: http://www.darkbanquet.com/info.php?page=625
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From:tatjna
Date:November 15th, 2012 02:55 am (UTC)
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Whoah. Some of that stuff looks awesome!
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From:pundigrion
Date:November 15th, 2012 02:59 am (UTC)
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Yeah! I am totally going to be keeping this in mind for myself for next month. I always start craving bloody steaks during Shark Week.
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From:helianthas
Date:November 15th, 2012 01:11 am (UTC)
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I've seen some anti-liver comments but I LOVE chicken livers cooked with mushrooms and onions, or eggs, or fried with bread crumbs...
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From:tatjna
Date:November 15th, 2012 01:22 am (UTC)
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Yeah, I can't stomach liver at all, it literally makes me gag. But I think there might be something in the blood suggestion - I know I can stomach that.
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From:rivet
Date:November 15th, 2012 02:39 am (UTC)
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Lots of food cultures do blood puddings of one sort or another because it's such a great source of iron. The thai do pork blood in cubes like dark coloured tofu and throw it into soup. Not really my thing, but YMMV.
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From:rivet
Date:November 15th, 2012 02:44 am (UTC)

Pumpkin seeds! who knew?

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Raw pumpkin seeds provide 30 percent of the Recommended Daily Value for iron.

Read more: http://www.livestrong.com/article/209812-list-of-iron-rich-foods-for-vegetarians/#ixzz2CFttDhuL
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From:tatjna
Date:November 15th, 2012 02:47 am (UTC)

Re: Pumpkin seeds! who knew?

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Ha! And pumpkin seeds are one of those things we always have in the cupboard, for a Tats goto snack food. Yay!
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From:rivet
Date:November 15th, 2012 02:58 am (UTC)

Re: Pumpkin seeds! who knew?

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I'm here to help, and armed with the INTERNET!
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From:dreadbeard
Date:November 15th, 2012 10:25 am (UTC)

Re: Pumpkin seeds! who knew?

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mmm, good to know...
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From:dreadbeard
Date:November 15th, 2012 10:24 am (UTC)
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Beetroot is also epic and overlooked re: iron. And is pretty epic in general.
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From:laughingmagpie
Date:November 15th, 2012 04:06 pm (UTC)
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I looked at a list of iron content in food, and Oysters and Mussels came out ahead of all the red meats except pork and chicken livers (they came out ahead of beef liver even). Shrimp and clams weren't bad either - they came in just after beef and ahead of lamb. I know these are still heme-iron sources, but at least their carbon footprint would tend to be less than beef, etc.

I know it's a bit of a cop-out, but I also like my enriched oatmeal in the morning.

ETA: Also, although the bloody bits certainly contain hemoglobin, the heme group which holds the iron is also found in myoglobin in muscle (so even if it's not bloody you'd still get iron from it) and the iron in liver is stored in a different way again.

Edited at 2012-11-15 04:14 pm (UTC)
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From:tatjna
Date:November 15th, 2012 07:05 pm (UTC)
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I am starting to wonder if fortified food may not be the simplest option. I'm allergic to shellfish, unfortunately. I didn't know that about them though - I'll certainly be recommending them to my non-allergic friends!
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From:thatgirljj
Date:November 15th, 2012 06:56 pm (UTC)
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Honestly if you're at 75% on iron and you have no symptoms of anemia, then I wouldn't worry about it. The recommendation for women is overgenerous, it assumes that we might lose LOTS of blood every month and possibly get pregnant at any time, both of which increase the need for iron. If you don't have super heavy periods and are not getting pregnant any time soon, you're probably good.

Also clams, oysters & other shellfish are usually a good source without increasing your red meat intake. Or just eat a little liver now and then instead of muscle meats.
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From:tatjna
Date:November 15th, 2012 07:08 pm (UTC)
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Good to know. I have wondered about that 'blood loss means you need LOADS of iron' thing. I normally lose maybe 1/4 cup, and that just doesn't seem enough to be a problem. I haven't been told I'm anaemic for over 10 years, so I guess as long as I keep an eye on it and keep on eating the dead things, we should be all good.
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