Even if you’re on a restricted diet
I am not a nutritionist or a doctor, what I write is what I learn from my own experiences as well as independent research, and doctor’s suggestions. When you have special dietary needs like gastroparesis, celiac disease, a vegetarian or vegan diet amongst others, it can be challenging to get all the essential nutrients your body needs. For many of these conditions and modified diets, one food group that is often the first to be cut is red meat.
Although many people choose not to eat red meat for various reasons, one very important mineral it has is iron. The National Institute of Health (NIH) defines anemia as an iron deficiency where the body doesn’t have enough healthy red blood cells, which often results in chest pain, dizziness, and fatigue amongst others. According to the University Health Center of the University of Georgia, an average woman between the ages of 19 and 50 typically needs about 18 milligrams of iron daily. If you are avoiding red meat, there are still many ways to make sure you are getting enough iron. Lentils, beans, poultry, fish, chickpeas, and tofu are just a few foods that contain iron and are great alternatives to red meat. Iron supplements, in either pill or liquid form, also maintain healthy iron levels in your blood. One doctor explained to me that liquid iron is actually easier for your body to absorb so if absorption problems are an issue for you I would recommend Floradix, which surprisingly tastes better than you’d imagine!
Another important nutrient is protein. It is recommended that most women should get between 50 and 60 grams a day. Since many high protein foods such as meats and dairy, may be excluded due to dietary restrictions, there are other options to ensure you have energy and stay strong. Beans, nuts, and seeds are high in protein and there are so many different kinds you can always try something new! Organic peanut and almond butter are great, as well as black beans, soybeans, and tofu. If you want to take a protein supplement, I would recommend Designer Whey protein powder. Personally, I choose protein powder over protein bars because I think it tastes better and contains lower amounts of sugar and calories. In one scoop, Designer Whey has just 100 calories and 18 grams of protein. I usually use the chocolate flavor and make a shake with skim or soymilk, bananas, and peanut butter. If you’re more of a fruity person, I suggest the vanilla flavor with skim or soymilk, frozen strawberries, peaches, raspberries, and a dash of vanilla extract. I always add ice to make it refreshing.
Another important vitamin is vitamin C. The Journal of American Medicine suggests that women over the age of 19 take about 75 milligrams daily. The NIH also states that lack of vitamin C makes it harder to fight infections and contributes to weight gain, dry and splitting hair, and easy bruising. If you can’t eat acidic fruits because of a condition such as acid reflux, there are many vegetables that serve as a good source of vitamin C such as broccoli, Brussels sprouts, green and red peppers, spinach, and potatoes, both sweet and white. If you are going to take a vitamin C supplement, the NIH also warns not to take over 2,000 milligrams a day because high doses can lead to upset stomach and diarrhea.