the balancing acts of healthy eating.

I have just been to the doctor’s to get some test results. I went at the start of the month for a routine visit and ended up realising I actually had a few questions about the increase in heart palpitations I’d been having. I used to have them very rarely- maybe once every couple of months – but over the pervious week I’d had them daily and sometimes a few times daily. So my GP ordered blood tests and a 24 hour Holtor Monitor test to check out my heart. She said that sometimes increased palpitations can indicate thyroid issues and it would help to narrow down the possible causes. Of course, after experiencing them for a week then speaking to the GP about it, they settled down again and I didn’t have one while the monitor was on. I’ve only had a few since then too.

I got the results today – everything is ok. The monitor test showed some minor fluctuations but nothing to be concerned about.

The blood tests were good. As seems to be normal for me, my Haemoglobin is is the lower end, but still within healthy range. There were no concerns about liver or kidney function.

She did, however, ask me about how much water I drink as my sodium levels are a bit low. Not low enough to say I have a deficiency, but clearly it was low enough for her to point it out, and it’s something I apparently need to keep an eye on. So I’m either not taking in enough salt or drinking too much water. Either way it’s another balancing act.

However, as I cook most food from scratch with mostly fresh whole food and never used to add salt to my cooking or my food, maybe I need to increase my intake. So I’m looking at finding out what foods contain a bit more natural salts and using those more, as I don’t want to just throw more salt into my meals and think everything will be fine.

Anyway, back to the palpitations. Having ruled out any issues with my thyroid or blood, and having the monitor test showing nothing concerning, it was concluded that they may have been brought on by either caffine, energy drinks, or stress. Since I rarely drink coffee (once a week or so) and never drink energy drinks, it was most likely caused by stress. I asked if it may have been caused by cutting out dairy and meat, and she said it was possible, but unlikely.

She suggested to me that if it comes back again, and it is causing problems AND I can’t manage with them, she can give me medication. I’m reluctant to take medication for something that is not a danger to me, and does not cause pain but only temporary uncomfortableness. So for the time being I’m going to keep focussing on being healthy and as suggested by my GP, noting down when I get palpitations and what might have changed during the day to trigger them.

What all this brings me to is the complicated thinking that can go into eating healthy. At it’s core it’s pretty easy – eat wholesome fresh foods and eat a variety and you’ll be fine. But when you get into the nitty gritty, it can easily be overthought. Drinking water is recommended, decreasing salt is also recommended because a lot of our processed foods are quite high in salt. But then you end up like me, with a Doctor questioning why your salt levels are low.

I’ve also been struggling for a bit with the different requirements for Gary and myself. Me, I am reducing my weight to get back down to a healthy weight (And I’ve dropped 10kgs so I’m on my way!). Gary has lost a fair bit without trying and is actually wanting to put it back on. So how do you balance out a meal for two people with completely different metabolisms and different intake requirements? Thats when it comes to portion sizes.

It’s easy to get caught up in diets, as well. I refuse to “go on a diet”, just like I’m cautious of any health product with the word “miracle” in the tagline, and I’m wary of fitness routines that promise results within a week with “just 10 minutes a day”. (I’m a bit cynical at times, aren’t I?). What I am doing is ensuring I shift everything for the long term. I’m not interested in dropping 20 kgs then going back to the way I used to eat. I’m interested in being healthy 20 years from now (and 20 after that, and so on).

I believe health is not just about balancing your intake of food for optimal nutrition. It’s about balancing everything – food, exercise, work, play, sleep, companionship, family. After all, the healthiest diet in the world is no good to someone who is so stressed they can’t sleep.

I have rambled on for long enough. I’m hoping to post a few recipes later so stay tuned!

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