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Dietary Analysis and Reflection

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Published: Wed, 21 Mar 2018

Diet Analysis Summary Final

MyPlate.gov was very informative. It was nice to start the class out with a website that was very detailed but still interesting so you weren’t overwhelmed with the vast amount of information. It was easy to maneuver and find the information you needed. It is a very useful tool for an individual to use so they can learn the proper portions of a healthy diet. The individual plan you can receive from a licensed dietitian on the Super Tracker portion of MyPlate.gov is a wonderful feature. It can keep track and inform you if you have reached your goal for each food group, how many calories you’ve eaten per day, and the target amount of physical activity you should be doing per week. Each food group section under the MyPlan portion of the SuperTracker gives you the exact amount of ounces needed for your personal calorie goal. It breaks down how much an ounce is in popular foods, for example, 1 ounce of bread is 1 regular slice and 1 ounce of brown rice is ½ cup. The individualized sample meal plans take the guess work out of planning your weekly meals. It is designed to meet your individual nutritional needs and your personal calorie goals. Unfortunately, I haven’t used it since it was a part of the assignment many weeks ago. Since my diet isn’t well balanced and I need to add healthier selections off all the food groups into my diet MyPlate.gov is a great place for me to start. It can help me do some weekly meal planning since that is a huge weakness of mine. I can make healthier choices for myself and my family with the help of MyPlate.gov.

Carbohydrates are a huge weakness for me as I love sugary candies, breads, pastas, chips, and juices. Each one of my weaknesses has an excess amount of sugars. When I eat too many sugars my digestive tract delivers glucose to my bloodstream and that carries the glucose to my liver and body cells. However, my body cells do not need any additional glucose so it is stored as glycogen in the muscle and liver. Once those stores are full the body cells go from burning fat to burning the excess glucose which leaves excess fat floating in my bloodstream until it’s picked up by fatty tissues and stored. Unfortunately, the fatty tissues have an unlimited capacity to store fat. An excess of blood glucose can lead to type II diabetes which can lead to circulation problems and nerve damage. Low blood pressure and nerve damage can lead to loss of blood flow to the kidneys which damages them, increased likelihood of infections, and possible loss of limbs due to gangrene and amputation. How I can prevent type II diabetes is to reach a healthy body weight of 120 pounds. To do that I need to eat healthy meals that are moderate in calories low in saturated fat, high in vegetables, fruit, legumes, chicken, fish, and whole grains. I need to be physically active, and limit my alcohol intake. The best way for me to cut out the excess sugars in my diet is to switch the sugary candies and chips with fruit and vegetables. Change the breads and pastas I eat to 100% whole grain bread. Stop drinking fruit juices and replace them with water. Doing all this can also increase my soluble and insoluble fiber intake which can help reduce my risk if type II diabetes, alleviate or prevent constipation, and lower my risk for digestive tract cancers. The changes I have made this semester about my carbohydrate consumption are; I have replaced my breads and pastas with whole wheat breads and pastas. I’ve increased the amount of vegetables and fruits I’m eating daily. Unfortunately, I haven’t decreased the amount of chips and sugary candies. It has been and still is a very stressful time for me and when I’m stressed I eat and I prefer to eat chips and candies.

I have a great weakness for eating foods that are high in cholesterol and fat. I’ve enjoyed eating items like shrimp Alfredo and hamburgers and French fries. I have an elevated risk of developing heart disease because I am overweight, I eat high cholesterol and fatty foods, and I am physically inactive. The recommended daily amounts of fat for someone like Me Is 37 to 66 grams; whereas my average daily intake was 75grams. The recommended daily amount of cholesterol should be less than 300mg; whereas my average daily intake was 367mg. If I continue to eat this way I will develop heart issues like hypertension, atherosclerosis which can lead to coronary heart disease or stroke; I am also at high risk for developing cancer. I can lower my blood cholesterol by focusing on low cholesterol foods, low saturated fat foods, and Trans fat free foods like whole grains, fruits, soy, vegetables, fatty fish, oats, and beans. I need to become more physically active. Even doing simple things can impact my physical activity level like using the stairs instead of the elevator or I can wash my car instead of taking it to a car wash. One of the best changes I can make to improve my health is to start eating fatty fishes like sea bass, herring, trout, and salmon. These fish are an excellent source of omega-3. Omega-3’s can lower total cholesterol and LDL and can increase HDL. It can also lower the rates of some cancers by suppressing inflammation. Additional foods I can eat to fight cancer are crucifer vegetables like cabbage, cauliflower, and kale which boosts an enzyme in the body that fights cancer. All berries have a phytochemical that can slow down the growth of pre-malignant cells. Tomatoes have lycopene which can stop the growth of endometrial cancer. This semester I have decreased my red meat intake and have replaced it with chicken or turkey. When I cook at home I get a 3% fat ground turkey for our meals instead of ground beef. I have also changed the hamburgers I make at home for turkey burgers or veggie burgers, and my family loves them.

My biggest weakness with proteins is animal-derived proteins; I eat eggs almost every morning for breakfast and have an animal derived protein with almost every lunch and dinner. An excess amount of protein itself is not known to contribute to heart disease, but excess amount of animal-derived protein does. They add unnecessary fat calories and saturated fat to my diet. Eating all that animal-derived protein leaves out all the other sources of protein I can consume which are much healthier like whole grains, fruit, legumes, and vegetables. Since I eat a lot of animal-derived protein I have a higher risk in being obese, it causes adult bone loss, and I have a greater risk in heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. To lower my animal-deprived protein I can eliminate the eggs in my breakfast and eat oatmeal. For lunch I can have rice and beans instead of a lunch meat sandwich. For dinner I can make a tofu stir-fry instead of a grilled chicken breast. If I change at least one of my daily meals form animal-derived protein to vegetable-derived protein I can cut down the amount of cholesterol and saturated fat I consume. This semester I haven’t changed the types of proteins we consume. What I can do that wouldn’t change our routine to much is to switch out or eggs for egg beaters. For three tablespoons, which is the same as one egg, it has zero saturated fat and cholesterol but still has 5 grams of protein which is only 1 gram less than a normal egg but so much healthier.

My diet is low in folate, vitamin C, and potassium; and it is high in sodium. A diet low in folate can lead to many problems like anemia, fatigue, headache, weakness, irritability, and mental confusion. Most adults are to have 400mcg a day of folate; my average was 186mcg per day. So I definitely need to consume more foods rich in folate like asparagus, pinto beans, and lentils. A diet low in vitamin C can lead to fatigue, joint pain, bone fragility, bruises, frequent infections, bleeding gums, and poor wound healing. Most adults are to have 75mg a day of vitamin C; my average was 49mg per day. So I definitely need to consume more foods rich in vitamin C like sweet red peppers, strawberries, and broccoli. A diet low in potassium can lead to confusion, muscle weakness, and paralysis. Most adults are to have 4700mg a day of potassium; my average was 1050mg per day. So I definitely need to consume more foods rich in potassium like lima beans, baked potato, and a banana. I can pick out symptoms that I suffer from, out of each of those deficiencies. A diet high in sodium is also very bad for my health. Over time my high sodium diet may damage the linings of my blood vessels in ways that makes hypertension more likely to develop. A high sodium diet can also lead to heart disease and stroke. Some of the foods I eat regularly that are high in sodium are chips, microwave popcorn, turkey dogs, and macaroni and cheese. All that food can easily be replaced with healthier options. The chips and popcorn can be replaced with the strawberries and sweet red peppers so I can also get the vitamin C I need. The turkey dogs and macaroni and cheese can be replaced with a baked potato and pinto beans. This semester I have been eating more fruits and vegetables so I fell like my folate, vitamin C, and potassium will be better but my sodium intake hasn’t been decreased. I’m still eating my chips and convenient food.

My diet is low on both calcium and iron. The recommended daily amount of calcium is 1000mg a day. There were days when I was just under that amount, 750mg, because I would have milk and cereal sometime during the day. However, there were some days where I would only consume 200 mg of calcium. That fluctuation and having more days where I consumed less calcium I am at risk for osteoporosis. Since calcium supplements are less effective than the calcium found in food sources I should increase my consumption of calcium rich foods like tofu, milk, and broccoli. The recommended daily amount of iron is 18mg a day. The average amount of iron I consumed was 12mg. That’s only because one day I had consumed 21mg; that’s because 12 mg came from eating a fortified cereal. Other days ranged from 2-11mg. Having an iron deficiency I have a higher risk of becoming anemic, being weak and fatigued, having headaches, and impaired immunity. The best way for me to increase my iron consumption is to eat navy and black beans, spinach, and clams. I have tried to increase my calcium intake during this semester by eating more yogurt. I’m not a big milk drinker but I like soy milk and almond milk. When we can get back into our condo I plan on making smoothies for breakfast again. I made it with tofu, soy milk, yogurt, spinach, a banana, and frozen fruit. It was delicious and full of nutrients.

According to my BMI I am considered obese our book even calls me extremely obese. I absolutely, with every fiber in my being, hate that word. That one word can just get under my skin and make me so angry. I understand I’m overweight and I need to lose all the excess pounds I’m carrying, but don’t degrade me! That word has such negative connotations that it only makes you feel even worse about yourself. Is that what that word is meant to do? Is it meant to humiliate you into losing weight? If so it doesn’t work on me, it does the exact opposite. I get so angry and defensive, but inside I’m embarrassed so I eat more and become unhappy. I already have such prejudices for being overweight that I don’t need a book to call me names. I can’t go to the grocery store and buy healthy food because I get comments from people asking if I’m on a diet and getting a “good for you for trying to be healthy”. Or if I go to the store to buy any type of junk food I always get the nasty stares or the comments of “are you sure you should be eating this”. So either way if you’re fat you can’t win. Never mind about going to the gym; if you want to find the most stuck up nasty people be an overweight person at a gym and they’ll find you. I understand that one of the best things I can do to live longer and healthier is to lose weight, but I feel like if I do that then I’m agreeing with society that I’m not good enough for them just the way I am, and I’m not ok with that.

Finding out all the information about nutrition, and my specific diet, throughout this semester has made me realize I do need to make some changes. I have come up with 5 SMART goals to accomplish during the summer. My first goal is to make my meals more balanced with healthier selections. Starting Monday I will follow the MyPlate.org guidelines by adding more vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and dairy to my diet. I will do this by adding a fruit and vegetable to each meal and snack; having some type of dairy with each meal like low-fat cheese or yogurt; and changing all my carbohydrates to 100% whole grains. I will reassess my progress in 4 weeks. My second goal is to lower my daily sodium intake by 1000mg by the end of June. I will actively look for low sodium food to replace the high sodium food I’m currently eating. Instead of having chips with my lunch Ill have carrots or celery. I will not sprinkle additional salt on to my food during meals. My average daily sodium intake is at 3600mg so by the end of June I will have it to 2600mg or less and then reassess my sodium intake. Since a lot of my protein intake is from animals I would like to change that. My third goal is by the end of June one meal each day will be vegetarian. I will do this by substituting my animal protein with plant based protein. Instead of a turkey sandwich for lunch I can make a bowl of brown rice and beans; or for breakfast I can have oatmeal. Dinner I can make a tofu stir-fry with fresh vegetables. My fourth goal is to decrease the amount of sugary candies and chips I eat. My go to food when I’m stressed, feeling sad or lonely is candies and chips. By the end of July I will be able to switch my dependence on candies and chips to exercise and eating healthier. When I’m craving a candy I’ll go and drink a glass of water and eat an apple. Instead of sitting on the couch and feeling sorry for myself I’ll get up and go for a walk. My fifth and final goal is to be more active. By the end of July I will walk for 30 min on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, and lift weights beginning with 3 reps of 25 on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday. By the end of July I will reassess my physical abilities to see if I can increase my routine.

My feeling on this assignment was that it was interesting and eye opening. The only complaint I have is with the 7 paragraphs, at least for myself it wasn’t that clear on what you were wanting for each paragraph. The 4 bullet points you wanted added to each paragraph didn’t fit in with all the paragraphs. One of the bullet points asked for you to discuss your successful strategies; what if you haven’t changed any part of your diet to have any strategies. With the paragraph about MyPlate the 4 bullet points were hard to incorporate into it. I did somewhat enjoy the class; I was getting tired of every chapter telling me I was going to die of heart disease and cancer. I need to teach myself to not be so defensive about this subject and to stop thinking that trying to improve myself doesn’t mean the person who I was wasn’t good enough.

Works Cited

“ChooseMyPlate.gov.”ChooseMyPlate.gov. USDA, 2014. Web. 09 May. 2014.

“Heartorg Home Page.”Heart.org. American Heart Association, 2014. Web. 09 May. 2014.

“Learn About Cancer.”Cancer.org. American Cancer Society, 2014. Web. 09 May. 2014.

“Supertracker.”Supertracker.usda.gov. USDA, 2014. Web. 09 May. 2014.

Webb, Frances Sizer., and Eleanor Noss. Whitney.Nutrition: Concepts & Controversies. 13th ed. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Cengage Learning, 2013. Print.


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