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Protein, Allergies And Vitamins

Friday is getting soooo close – I can’t wait! I have a fun weekend planned but I’ll tell you more about that later. I wanted to talk about a few health/nutrition-related things today.

First up, protein. 

For the past couple of weeks I have had this feeling tat I need to increase my protein intake. Over the past few months I have cut back on my meat intake pretty significantly and upped my strength training quite a bit. This combination has left me feeling a little depleted. While I am really good about getting protein from meatless sources (beans, tofu, tempeh, quinoa, Greek yogurt, etc.), I think it’s a pretty clear sign that my body needs more protein when I crave meat-based protein.

I have been making an effort to eat a bit more lean protein, eggs and fish and I’m feeling better and stronger already. Also, I ordered some protein powder today. We were placing an order for the club and I talked to the rep about a good protein powder for me that was pretty natural and didn’t contain artificial sweeteners. He recommended Metabolic Nutrition Protozyme and after some research I decided it was a good choice for me.

It’s a pharmaceutical-grade protein powder that was developed by a physician. It’s also fortified with 24 essential vitamins and minerals which I consider a plus because I stopped taking a daily vitamin about 6 months ago. We’ll talk more about that in a minute. I will let you know what I think about the protein powder once I try it!

Next up, allergies. 

You know how I have been commenting on how tired I have been recently? Well, a friend of mine sent me an email recommending that I try taking allergy medicine. Apparently, allergies don’t present the same way in everyone and while I do not have a stuffy nose and watery eyes, it doesn’t mean that my immune system isn’t working hard to fight off irritants. It makes total sense. Everything here is coated in yellow and I can feel myself inhaling it in when I run. My throat has also been scratchy. I did used to struggle with allergies in high school so I know that I do have a propensity towards it.

I picked up some Allegra a few days ago and I swear I have felt so much better since I started taking a daily dose. Generally, I try to take as little medicine as possible but if this helps my energy levels right now then I am all for it!

Finally, vitamin D…and vitamins in general. 

I have tested deficient in vitamin D for the past two years at my annual exam. My doctor wrote me a prescription for a weekly high-dose pill, I filled it but I haven’t taken it. Having an adequate vitamin D level is critical for calcium absorption and good bone health. I used to take a daily multivitamin but stopped in favor of trying to get my nutrients from food and not a pill.

Right now I am in maximum “take the best care of my body/want to feel good” zone so I am reconsidering my stance on vitamins. I think I’m going to start taking my D supplement and possibly add a multivitamin back in.

What are your thoughts on supplements/vitamins? Do you take them? 

I’ll finish up this post with a look at Wednesday eats for ya!

Apple cinnamon oatmeal.

Egg salad sandwich with sprouts, tomatoes and spinach. I have been craving egg salad for weeks and finally made some on Wednesday morning. I hard boiled some eggs and mixed them with light mayo, Greek yogurt, salt and pepper. Super simple. Super delicious.

Greek yogurt, granola and almond butter. For the record, I am not a fan of the new passion fruit Chobani. Ick.

A terrible picture of my delicious dinner. Barbecue chicken flatbread with caramelized onions, roasted peppers, lots of cheese and a cilantro sour cream sauce. I managed to polish this off leaving only one slice for a friend to take home! 😉

That’s all!

{ 35 comments… add one }
  • LeeAnn March 22, 2012, 5:19 pm

    Jen – I added protein powder to my diet within the last year and have noticed a huge difference in my energy levels, my muscle tone and also my sleep patterns (they have become better). I use a protein powder derived from brown rice. I will be interested in your review of the protein powder that you have ordered. I also started taking a multi-vitamin. Being tall, I worry a lot about calcium absorption and bone health. I regularly visit with a wonderful nutritionist (who also happens to be married to my chiropractor, which makes it very convenient) and have found that to be very helpful for me. I look forward to hearing about your fun weekend!

  • Krystina (Krystina Zena) March 22, 2012, 5:37 pm

    That protein powder sounds great, but boy is it expensive! I’m broke so I’ll be sticking to my chalky as hell brown rice protein for now. 😛

    I take a gummi multivitamin. It’s probably not the best, but I look forward to taking it every morning. I used to take a probiotic but stopped once my bottle expired and haven’t really looked for one since. I figure since I get good bacteria from Greek yogurt almost daily, the probiotic may be unnecessary.

  • Sana March 22, 2012, 5:45 pm

    I have tested deficient in vitamin D as well and I stopped taking the pills. I just forget about them. Blah!

  • Mikella March 22, 2012, 5:55 pm

    I don’t know if you have already tried this but a much healthier and more natural solution for allergies is to purchase local honey (it’s very important that it is LOCAL!) and eat a tablespoon each morning. It contains the same allergens that are in the air and so it helps your body build immunities to it. I don’t suffer from allergies, but my aunt lives on a farm in south Georgia and does this daily in the springtime.

    On the vitamin front, I do take daily supplements. I, too, used to be hesitant about taking vitamins because I fully agree with you (and Hippocrates) —“Let thy food be thy medicine.” However, I watched a movie called “Food Matters”. It is a very interesting movie. I would recommend it for anyone who is interested in changing their diet for the better. Anyways, in the movie they make a strong case for vitamins and also run over some stats about how it’s really impossible for you to overdose or harm your body. Also they share some stories of people who have been cured of serious medical problems simply by upping their intakes of certain vitamins via supplement. Each day I take— a B-complex for energy/mental focus & cell health/repair, Lysine for aiding metabolism and because it helps with your skin (according to Dr. Oz!) and I have periodic hormonal acne, Vitamin C for immune system (sometimes 2 depending on my health), Fish Oil for healthy brain function and heart health, then a daily vitamin to get whatever else I am missing.

    I genuinely feel worse on days I don’t take my vitamins so I definitely advocate that they are good for me. I can’t take them all at once though because I get nauseaus. 🙁

    I have considered picking up an Iron supplement as I feel this is a place in which I am deficient (especially since I am vegetarian), but I am fearful because some people complain that it messes with their GI tract.

    Sorry for such a long comment, but you just happened to hit on several of my favorite topics. My major was family & consumer science so I spent about 1/4 of college in Food and Nutrition classes.

  • Paige March 22, 2012, 6:02 pm

    I’ve heard that some studies have shown that people who take multivitamins are healthier but that it’s likely just because they *type* of person who tends to take multivitamins tends to lead a healthier lifestyle in general, so it may not be the vitamin itself. The exception is with targeting specific deficiencies, like vitamin D for example. That’s definitely a good thing! I personally only take a D supplement at the moment.

  • Tina March 22, 2012, 6:06 pm

    I too have tested deficient in Vit D. I am taking a daily vitamin D supplement and a calcium supplement. I also drink almond milk every night before bed and orange juice fortified with calcium and Vit D in the mornings. I also try to get outside in the sun for 15 mins each day. the sun is a great source of vit D.

  • Tracy March 22, 2012, 6:13 pm

    I have been reading a bit lately about how women don’t need a multi when they have a strong and healthy diet. I do however take a daily vitamin. I take New Chapter Organics Vitamins and have for years. Here is the link to the actual vitamin that works for me. http://www.newchapter.com/multi-vitamins/every-womans-one-daily You can buy this vitamin at Berrybrook or A&S Natural Health. I think it is a fantastic company!

  • Kerry @ Totes My Oats March 22, 2012, 6:18 pm

    I know my father was deficient in vitamin D so he started supplementing and it brought his vitamin D levels up.

  • Rebekah March 22, 2012, 6:25 pm

    I take them when I remember! Any ideas about how to make it *easier* to remember? I know they’re important, especially for my kind of mileage (and I’m vegan).

  • Amy March 22, 2012, 6:27 pm

    I have to admit that I’m not great about taking vitamins. I used to take a Vitamin D pill but then got out of the habit of taking it. I do take an Omega 3 pill daily. I have a lot of allergy/sinus problems, so I do take Zyrtec daily. Mikella’s comment about the honey is very interesting…may have to give that a try.

    Sometimes I drink a protein shake after lifting weights. I recently bought Plantfusion protein powder and like it pretty well.

    Your dinner in that pic looks so good!

  • Rachel March 22, 2012, 6:54 pm

    Sunshine is great for increasing your Vitamin D levels 🙂

  • Eleanor March 22, 2012, 7:23 pm

    I’m pretty adamant about whole foods and natural sources for all my vitamin & mineral needs; I’ve been using an amaaazing line of supplements from Dr. Ben Kim (www.drbenkim.com) that are made from naturally occuring, whole, organic foods. I use his Green Foods complex, all natural Vitamin C supplement (made from 100% acerola cherries), vitamin D, and fish oil capsules. I feel like the supplements are extremely high quality and provide a robust boost to my health! There are a myriad of other highly recommended supplements on the site worth checking out as well. It’s definitely worth checking out – he is a complete wealth of knowledge towards holistic well-being, emotional and physical.

  • duffy March 22, 2012, 8:18 pm

    Oh my god, try the Apple and Cinnamon Chobani. It’s incredible. I’m not an apple and cinnamon kind of girl, but the flavor is amazing and it has a whole huge piece of apple in it. It’s ridiculously good. I never eat fruit yogurt – I always eat plain with my own fruit. But it’s SO GOOD.

  • Lindsey @ Cardio Pizza March 22, 2012, 9:17 pm

    I am low in iron and as much as I try to eat iron-rich foods, I still need to supplement. My energy is so low when I am low on iron and I am fatigued like no other. When I take my supplements (I take a multi with iron, vitamin D, fish oil, and superfood powder) I feel so much better. It’s really amazing what supplements can do when your body is deficient in certain nutrients. I think they are beneficial in that sense and that if your body needs something and it’s not getting it, you should ceratinly take them per your doctor’s advice. Plus, you are extremely active and you may need more than you think!

  • Heather @ girlyeverafter March 22, 2012, 9:32 pm

    I can totally feel a difference in how my body feels if I don’t get my multi-vitamin intake daily. Allergies in the Spring are my nemesis so I totally have to keep up with my supplements and water for sure.

  • Irene Smith March 22, 2012, 9:34 pm

    I’m anxious to hear about that protein powder! I’ve been using shakeology from beachbody but its so $$$$! I see the brand you are trying has peanut butter cookie flavor!!

  • Mary-Catherine March 22, 2012, 9:40 pm

    Such a great post!!! You brought up some questions I’ve actually been considering over the past few months. Like you, I’ve never been a huge medicine fan and believed I was getting adequate nutrients from the foods I daily consumed. While I still don’t really like to take medicine or pills, my attitudes towards vitamins have changed….

    All through college and graduate school, I took Vicativ calcium chews (never really liked the taste of Milk). However, after taking a nutrition class and learning that our bodies need adequate fat and Vitamin D to absorb calcium, I knew I needed to switch supplments. The whole bone health scares me becaue I do work out a lot, and I’ve had several young clients (e.g., 18 and 19) and also older clients (e.g., 40 and 60s) who already have osteopenia/osteoporsis. I’ve thought about getting a DEXA bone scan, but then I remember by age and think I’m so young , so just haven’t….

    So, now I’m taking 3 TBSP a day of BlueBonnet Calcium, Blueberry flavor (Includes Vitamin D and I can stir it in my blueberry yogurt), an adult multivitamin (e.g., Nature’s Plus, Apple Cinnamon Flavor) and Chewable Papaya Enzymes to ensure adequate absorpotion of nutrients 🙂

    What else would you suggest to increase Vitamin D intake? Have a wonderful weekend!!!! MC

  • Hollie March 22, 2012, 10:15 pm

    I take a plant based multi and Vit D- it is SO important! I am glad you had your levels checked. My mom is a breast cancer survivor, and some studies show low D may be linked to cancer risk.
    More out there.
    Glad you are feeling more energetic!

  • Ashley March 22, 2012, 10:37 pm

    The passion fruit Chobani is weird! The seeds were unexpected! Have you tried the apple cinnamon? SO GOOD!

  • Samantha @ The More I Run March 22, 2012, 10:38 pm

    I’m an avid Vitamin believer! I take several everyday including Vit B, Vit D and Glucosomine. Once the Summer gets here, I’ll substitute Vit E for the D. I can tell a *huge* difference in how I feel since I’ve been taking them regularly, and can also tell when I forget, too!

  • Kate @ get up and flow March 22, 2012, 11:15 pm

    I think it’s great that you’re really trying to “listen” to your body. I’m a firm believer that if you feel like you need more protein (or allergy medicine, for that matter!), it’s worth trying. I take a high-dose vitamin D supplement (based on advice from a non-Western but highly credible medical professional) and have found it’s done great things for me, especially cycle-wise (TMI?).

  • Ali March 22, 2012, 11:23 pm

    I tried the passion fruit chobani and had to throw out most of the cup because I was so grossed out– the combo of the seeds and the extra sweet jelly from the fruit was NOT doing it for me! Glad I’m not the only one 🙂


  • Mary-Heather March 22, 2012, 11:58 pm

    Wow, this post is relevant to my interests. ha. Over the past year and a half (since I started focusing on my wellness more – health, fitness, food) I’ve also begun paying much more attention to my protein intake (I’m a carbs/veggies/cheese kinda gal and the protein sources are the last thing I think about). I used to not want to take any protein powders, multivitamins, etc. – but I find when I lift weights in particular I find I *really* need protein supplements or I’m just exhausted and hungry all the time.

    I’d love to know what you think of the taste of this powder – the only one I’ve ever found that I liked is the GNC Wheybolic vanilla powder. To me, it doesn’t taste like chemicals or chalk – but to be honest, I haven’t checked out the ingredients or sugar since the taste is really key. (Also, my fella buys the protein powder so I slack off in the research department there.) I’m definitely curious about this one though, after you’ve tried it! 🙂

    I also used to not want to take vitamins at all – I eat a pretty darn well-rounded, whole foods diet and live in a very sunny place so I just assume I am covered, but lately I’ve been thinking that wow, what could it hurt? I’m pretty crunchy, but still – better living through science, you know? Maybe it’s because I’m 30+ and want to be sure I’m doing everything I can to keep my body healthy – especially when it comes to bone health which I know is an issue for us women as we age! I bought a multivitamin the other day but I keep forgetting to take it. (Um, I should get on that.)

  • Tiffany March 23, 2012, 12:26 am

    Thank you so much for this post! I’ve been paying close attention to my protein intake as I am vegetarian and want to make sure I incorporate beans, nuts and greek yogurt into my meals to get adequate protein.

    I used to not take a multi-vitamin but then my doctor suggested I take one because I am vegetarian and most days I strive to be vegan so my concern was making sure I get B12. I do eats lots of leafy greens, veggies, and fruits so I know my vitamin levels are good but just incase its nice to know I also took my vitamin. Recently I’ve been looking for a good vegan/vegetarian supplement because I’ve heard some multi-vitamins use a gelatin made from animals 🙁

    Hope you have a great Friday and weekend 🙂

  • Lindsey March 23, 2012, 12:29 am

    I try my best to eat a well balanced diet, but I still take a Multi, C, and E. I don’t know why, but I never thought about taking vitamin D supplements. That would be great for the short, winter days.

    And have you tried a Netti Pot for your allergies? I know you’re not congested, but it would still help rinse out the irritants you breathe in.

  • Stacy @ Say It With Sprinkles March 23, 2012, 5:46 am

    I’m low on vitamin D as well…it’s so critical for so many different processes within the body, too, since it’s more of a hormone than an actual “vitamin.” When I found out, I started taking a supplement right away! So glad to hear you’re on the right track to feeling better, Jen!

  • Ruby March 23, 2012, 8:59 am

    First time commenter 🙂 I have had experience with the vit D question/dilemma, because I qondered if I really needed to give my baby the sugary syrup every day, whilst she wasn’t supposed to have solids till 6 months. Also the whole “is this information based on formula fed babies and/or lack of knowledge on how awesome breastmilk is”-question. SO. The conclusion is that Vit D is QUITE a different animal than your regular vitamins, in the sense that it is a pre-hormone, and that you’d need 15-20 minute full body sun exposure in say, July sun, to get your daily needed dose of Vit D. Here’s a link to the article: http://www.bestforbabes.org/vitamin-d-and-breastmilk-whats-a-babe-to-do

    The information is relevant to people who are neither babies nor mothers, too 😉

    As for other vitamins, I think you need to do what feels right to you. I agree with some people who say it is not worth the money if you buy only the cheapest vitamins, as they probably lack quality & bio-availability, and sometimes have pretty chemical fillers. But I also know I ask a lot from my body & mind, and also that our current agriculture & food situation means we’re not getting the most nutritious produce due to soil depletion etc. So I tend to opt for a multi with vit D & iron (I sometimes get anemic) & folate and check for weird fillers. Any extra vitamins in there I consider a bonus, though i stay away from vitiamins that have like, 10000% of the daily thing-a–ma-jig.

    Oh and I am SO with you on the meat craving & being low on protein. Awesome how our bodies tell us what we need!

  • Courtney March 23, 2012, 9:43 am

    I started taking vitamin D back in November because I thought it might help with my SAD (I’m prone to depression and anxiety anyway) and I could not believe the difference it made. And I regularly get outside each day for about 2 hours all year round while exercising my dogs, so part of me thought I must have been getting enough vit D with sun exposure. I also eat a very whole foods, plant-based diet and thought surely that must be providing me with the right amount of vitamins. Guess I was wrong!

    As for protein, I was a vegetarian for 7 years and 5 of those years, I didn’t want a thing to do with meat. Somewhere around year 6, I started to crave meat and finally gave it and started eating it again in very moderate amounts (red meat once a week, fish 1-2 times a week, chicken 1-2 times a week, all sustainable and humanely raised) and that has also made a big difference in my overall health. I did consider adding more vegetarian proteins or protein powder to my diet before going back to meat, but I just don’t like the idea of stuff made in a lab when I can get protein the way nature intended for me to, you know? Anyway, I have more energy, a better disposition, less sugar cravings, less tendency to overeat, and healthier skin and hair.

  • Tiff @ Love Sweat and Beers March 23, 2012, 10:05 am

    Allergies affect me similarly. I’m really groggy now. I don’t have a stuffy nose, but my eyes are a little bit itchy. No fun! I’m going to have to find some medicine soon. I need to start taking vitamins too. I have some at home, but lately I’ve been forgetting to take them. Doh!

  • Jen@FoodFamilyFitness March 23, 2012, 10:27 am

    I have been having mad cravings for egg salad lately, I think I’ll be making some for lunch today!!! Good to know I’m not alone in disliking the passion fruit Chobani, it was so gross!!!

  • Chelsea March 23, 2012, 3:18 pm

    All of the new chobani flavors are terrible! Peach is still my favorite.

  • Michelle D March 24, 2012, 9:31 am

    If the body is mineral deficient the vitamin supplement is not too successful. From a holistic approach I have heard many say that Vitamin D is much more important than once thought. If your D levels are where they should be you will not get sick, no colds, no bugs, etc. As far as finding the right supplement for you, that is a tough one. As we can see there is big money to be made in the vitamin industry, just look at all the stores popping up. So, how do we know its good? I, personally, have found the company Isagenix with the help of my chiropractor/wellness doctors. In 15 years they have only recommended 2 brands, Ortho Molecular and Isagenix. I switched to Isagenix protein powder one year ago March and have never gone back. It is grade 7 protein from New Zealand, hormone free, antibiotic free happy cows, milked at a young age. When you look on the label of a protein powder and the ingredient list is a paragraph long, it concerns me. My whey protein says, undenatured whey protein, ionic alfalfa. No compromise nutrition. And then there’s the goal of getting nutrition from our food, but our food is not the same as our ancestors. Oh, boy, You’ve hit my passion/hot button but I will stop here. Please check out my website. If you have any questions, email me. http://www.michellederry.isagenix.com

  • April Handy March 24, 2012, 7:38 pm

    I was worried about the Vit D issue too. I take an isotonic version of a D supplement. My most recent bloodwork showed my levels were great so my doctor told me to keep doing whatever it was I was doing. I think a whole foods base is very important, but sometimes supplementation is needed too.

  • Kristyn April 8, 2012, 4:47 pm

    I also feel that it is better to get my vitamins from the real food vs. taking a multivitamin – that way you get the other vitamins that are in the food as well as fibre, protien, etc. However, I live in Saskatchewan, Canada, and because of where we are on the globe it doesnt matter how much time I spend out in the sun, it is impossible to get enough vitamin D that way. So, every morning I take my vitamin D tablet (that sits on a shelf in my kitchen that is in clear view so I dont forget!). This has become a huge topic where I live, and has become very well known that it is recommended that we get our vitamin D from a pill form, so most of my friends and family take it too (that may also be related to the fact that I am a nurse and always spread the word to my family and friends when I hear something health related that they might benefit from).

  • Jessica April 9, 2012, 2:16 pm

    Your pics are making me hungry! I’m new to being a vegetarian and have been surprised at how much Greek yogurt can stave off my meat craving. Seemed strange at first but it makes sense! I’ve also added a Omega-3 supplement to my diet and that has helped. I looked at a lot and really like the one’s from NuTru http://www.nutru.com since they are vegan. Cheers to living a healthy lifestyle!

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