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March is National Nutrition Month

Posted on Wednesday, March 1, 2017
Why dedicate a month to nutrition? What we eat impacts our bodies, moods, and ability to perform in our daily lives.

Why dedicate a month to nutrition? What we eat impacts our bodies, moods, and ability to perform in our daily lives. Throughout the day, it impacts energy levels and overtime our nutritional habits impact out risk for chronic health conditions and play a key role in determining our quality of life, how we look and feel. Dedicating a month to your personal nutrition gives time to pay attention to your personal needs and what works for you when you’re ready to change something in your diet. Developing a healthier behavior over the course of a month can turn into a new healthy habit.

Getting Started

Start off by looking at what you currently eat and your living and exercise habits. How many times a day do you eat? Are you going long periods without food? Do you eat a lot of the same things? Are you drinking enough water? Do you have any points in the day that you feel especially tired or hungry? Consider keeping a journal for a few days to write down what you eat and when and how you feel.

Next, look at any health conditions or physical issues you currently have and ones you may be at risk for. Do you struggle from chronic pain? Do you get fatigued quickly? Are you overweight? Do issues like diabetes or heart disease run in your family? Do you notice you are cold more often than others? Have you noticed any digestive issues?

You may want to set up a consultation with a registered dietician to assess your needs and get you on the right track. If you are concerned that you are deficient in any vitamins or minerals, speak to your doctor. A simple blood test can show if you are low in any vitamins, minerals, or nutrients. Being low in potassium can cause muscle cramps; low in iron causes fatigue and feeling cold; low in vitamin B can reduce endurance. Nutrition is a huge factor in the prevention of conditions like type 2 diabetes and heart disease so act now, especially if you know these illnesses run in your family. Often, chronic digestive issues that have not lead to any other diagnoses, can be alleviated by eliminating certain trigger foods that are hard to identify when we mindlessly continue with our usual and most accessible diet. Elimination diets can help determine the culprit and should always be done under the supervision of a registered dietician. While challenging, the outcome can profoundly improve the life of someone with digestive problems.

Next Steps

There is no single strategy for eating “right.” Everyone has different needs, tastes, and activity levels. Instead of trying to stick to a prescribed and specific meal plan, use the information you gather by looking at your current health needs and diet to choose one or two changes that could address your biggest nutrition-related concern. It could be cutting out caffeine after 2 p.m. because you noticed you are not sleeping as well as you’d like, or another goal could be adding more leafy greens to increase the iron in your diet .

Making a habit

For the month of March, keep track of your goals. Create a checklist on your calendar or compete with family and friends. At the end of the month, try to notice how you feel. In many cases, after a month of change, it gets easier. You may automatically be reaching for the carrots instead of cookies at 3 p.m.