The Vitamin B Complex is the complete family of B-Vitamins: 1 (Thiamine), 2 (Riboflavin), 3 (Niacin), 5 (Pantothenic Acid), 6, 7 (Biotin), 9 (Folate), and 12. Over the next few weeks we will be talking about the B Vitamins in numerical order.
Today I’m spotlighting Vitamin B1. On my Facebook page this week we are spotlighting green peas, which is a food source high in Vitamin B1. It’s an easy vegetable for most kids to eat, which is why we always have a bag of frozen peas in our freezer. Tuesday's test kitchen was a Peas and Pine Nuts spicy side dish (watch for the recipe post!) and Friday will be a recipe round up of other ways to use peas.
Vitamin B1 plays a role in keeping your nervous system running smoothly. It helps us to regulate our stress response and keep us on an even keel, preventing cortisol (the big stress hormone resulting from the “Flight or Fight” response) from running the show. Vitamin B1 also gives our digestive system a hand, keeping our muscles in the walls of our intestines strong. It helps us to convert carbohydrates into glucose, and is essential in breaking down fats and protein into the components our bodies use for health and energy.
The largest organ in a human is their skin, and Vitamin B1 helps to take care of that too. Its antioxidant properties help moderate the effects of sun damage, alcohol intake, and smoking.
You can get Vitamin B1 from many food sources, and there is no real excuse to be deficient in Vitamin B1. It’s literally almost everywhere. It works alongside folic acid, riboflavin, and niacin- if you are deficient in any of those vitamins, your body can’t use B1 effectively. This is why a balanced diet matters so much, and why I am writing these articles for you.
The B-Complex is water soluble. Our bodies can only hold on to so much of it, but different amounts are required at different times. For example, if you consume a lot of sugar, you need more Vitamin B1 to help your body metabolize it. It’s important to daily replenish your Vitamin B1 intake through your favourite foods, and to plan your meals accordingly.
To summarize, Vitamin B1 is important to:
You can find Vitamin B1 in these food sources:
Green peas, broccoli, onions, kale, carrots, tomatoes, and asparagus; oats, wheat germ, and brown rice. Pinto beans, kidney beans, lentils, sunflower seeds, raisins, pecans, and pistachios.
Adults need 1.1-1.4mg of Vitamin B1 daily, depending on their sex and whether or not they are pregnant or breastfeeding. There isn’t really an upper limit established. Supplements are unnecessary in most cases- consult with your health care provider if you have any questions and before self-medicating.
For more information on Vitamin B1 deficiency, please check here.
For general information on Vitamin B1, please check here.
A very in-depth look at this vitamin can be found here.
In nutrition, bioavailability means that nutrients are best absorbed from food sources rather than supplementation. This is why I am so convinced that a diet rich in variety is the best way to be as healthy as possible.
Of course, this is an oversimplification. There are always exceptions as there are often factors that prevent people from absorbing this nutrition or even being able to ingest it, such as celiac and other malabsorption disorders. For the most part, however, try to get your nutrition from food.
My husband and I were at a pharmacy not too long ago and he asked me if I wanted to pick up any supplements besides our Vitamin C and Vitamin D. As a general rule I’m against supplementation- our diet is rich enough and varied enough, in my opinion, to cover most of our nutritional bases. When the pharmacist heard me she piped up from behind the counter, “Yes, exactly!”
Today I’m spotlighting Vitamin A. On my Facebook page this week our general food theme is cherry tomatoes. We talked about their history, benefits, and what happens when you eat too many of them on Monday, and on Friday we’re going to do a recipe roundup that features cherry tomatoes. If you haven’t already “liked” and “followed” my Facebook page, I encourage you to do it today so that you don’t miss out!
Vitamin A is responsible for eye health, bone health, reproductive health, and cell division. It helps to regulate immune system function and more is needed when infections are present. It may also play a role in fighting cancer.
You can get Vitamin A from both animal and vegetable sources in the form of beta carotene. This is the precursor to Vitamin A- and this is what’s found in tomatoes. 1 cup of cherry tomatoes contains 1241 iU (international units) of Vitamin A. Not a small amount!
It's much harder to overdose on food sources of vitamins and minerals than it is on supplements. Too much of a good thing is still too much. You can overdose on Vitamin A supplements easily as it’s stored in the liver and not sent out of the body when not needed- it’s a fat-soluble vitamin rather than water soluble, such as vitamin C. Overdosing is a gradual event, and long term liver damage is not reversible.
Adults need between 2310 and 4300 iU of Vitamin A daily, depending on their age, sex, and whether or not they are pregnant or nursing. Children need between 1000 and 2000 iU per day, again depending on age and sex. Here is my source for this information.
To summarize, Vitamin A is important to:
-Support your immune system, eye health, bone health, reproductive health, and supports the body in fighting cancer.
You can find Vitamin A in these food sources:
-Eggs, liver, fatty fish (such as salmon and steelhead trout) and beta carotene (which the body converts) from tomatoes, dark leafy greens (such as kale), mangoes, carrots, and so on.
I had the pleasure of sitting next to an author at Staples on #IWD2017 and we spent some time talking about what goes into publishing a book, because I've got a cookbook going in the back of my mind. It's going to take some time and dedication. I think there's a pretty steep learning curve, too. But I'm excited to take that step down the road.
These pictured cookbooks are two of my favourites, most loved, and well-used out of all my books. But to tell you the truth, I have only used a few recipes out of each of them. Most of the recipes don't suit my family- in either taste or preparation- or I just can't be bothered to try a new recipe when we have the ones we love already, or when recipe development is such a large part of the food my family eats.
Recipe Development is the kind of work that cookbook authors put into publishing their cookbooks. It's taking raw ingredients in their basic form and creating a dish around them. It's deciding to put together certain foods with certain spices or herbs and cooking them a certain way. It's testing the recipe, altering or changing it, and testing again. It's writing everything you did from start to finish, then reading and rereading to make sure you didn't skip any steps, that people can recreate your recipe even if they've never done it before. It's starting from scratch.
I met with someone last week who was a little shocked at the price I currently charge for personalized recipe development. But I stand by my pricing- if anything, I think I still undercharge. When my clients fill out their survey, I take their likes, dislikes, nutritional needs, medication profile, the kind of time they have to work with, how likely they are to try new foods, and so on into consideration. Each recipe I develop for them starts with those basic questions. I purchase the food, come up with an idea, mix random spices or herbs together with ingredients I think will pair well, and cook them in a way they are able to recreate in their home on their schedule.
Purchasing custom-tailored recipes from me is sort of like buying a cookbook full of your favourite foods. You may not know if you like the recipes yet, but there's a better chance you will like them much more than a random cookbook purchase- because it's built specifically for you.
For a list of all my services beyond nutritional coaching, look here.
All the best today, friends. I will you a wonderful first day of spring!
I was privileged to take a mini weekend vacation with a friend visiting from Minnesota this past weekend. We explored some of Fort Saskatchewan's eateries, I cooked some of my favourite dinners for her and taught her a thing or two, and she and I got to have a grown-up girls sleepover weekend at a local inn. In a word, it was epic. I'm recovering from a significant lack of sleep, and back to regular working hours. It was a wonderful break from reality. Hurray for old friends!
Last week I was interviewed as part of my #IWD2017 at Staples, and here is the link for that story. I found it interesting what parts were cut and transcribed, so if you'd like to listen to the whole short interview, here's the raw recording! It was about 2 minutes long, and completely unexpected. It was pretty fun.
A few weeks ago I was honoured to participate in an ambitious project by Shonda Holt of Nourishing Everyday. She has made it her goal to interview 1000 experts in 2017! In her own words:
"I started this project to showcase amazing people in our world that have a vision/mission or passion to improve people's physical, emotional, mental &/or spiritual health. Or, they have a mission/vision to improve the state of those things I believe we were given to care for such as the environment &/or animals.
My goal is to show you that there is hope. If you are struggling or find that some days the world feels dark and negative know that there are at least 1000 people who are spending their lives to make it a better place."
You can check out the rest of interviews here.
And my 20 minutes...right here. I'm also placing it on my home page so if you don't have time now, you can find it later.
I wish you a wonderful week. I hope with that last blast of winter on the weekend we are able to finally find not only a spring in our step but also outside!
All the best,
Wednesday is International Women's Day, and our local Staples store is showcasing some female entrepreneurs- come on out and visit me! I was lucky enough to get a table, and I'll be there between 10 and 2. In the spirit of meal planning and home cooking, I've got a draw set up to win those goodies and that gorgeous pot. If you can't come to my table, I'll be drawing my online guests a gift card for Walmart- so you can update your kitchen too :) Follow me on Twitter to attend virtually, ask questions, and enter the draw. I haven't done a twitter party before, but I'm excited to try! I'll be using #themealsmavenstaplesparty.
Elsewhere in the news this week, food prices are increasing...which isn't surprising to me, and has long been a driving force in why I so strongly encourage meal planning. Registered Dietitian Heidi Bates was on global news this morning, discussing some ways to eat well and save money on groceries. Here's the video.
As #themealsmaven, I'm excited to finally articulate my business as what it has always been, and expand what I love to do to include more of it. Client-centered nutritional coaching services with an emphasis on personalized meal planning and custom recipe development. I love watching people light up and reach their goals regarding food and nutrition, and offering a coaching dimension gives my clients the opportunity to really make long lasting and positive changes to their relationship with food. It's complicated, and different for everyone. That's why I am so excited to work one on one with each of my clients. We all eat, but it's a different path for everyone.
If you're ready to partner with food and change your relationship with nutrition but aren't sure where to start, it's time to ask for help.
Email me today to set up a free confidence call. Let's talk.