On Tuesday, I shared the behavioral lessons I learned in fifteen days of logging my food intake.  Yesterday, I shared some of the nutritional lessons.  Today, I am going to dig deeper into vitamins which is the area where I got the biggest surprises.

I Met 100% of the DRI for All Vitamins, With Two Notable Exceptions 

Fat-Soluble Vitamins

In retrospect, I shouldn’t be surprised that I didn’t meet the DRI for Vitamin E.  I knocked the other fat-solubles … A, D and K … out of the park.  But I only averaged 52% for Vitamin E.  As I have discussed in my posts about why I eat what I eat and acne, nuts break me out so I avoid them.  Nuts, especially almonds, are rich sources of Vitamin E.  For digestive reasons, I have also limited my seed intake and seeds are also a decent source of Vitamin E.

Another key source for Vitamin E is swiss chard, which I eat regularly, but let’s hold off on the leafy greens discussion for now.

Since my logging effort, I have been more intentional about including sources of Vitamin E in my diet.  Given the role it likely plays in skin health, it’s not a nutrient I want to miss.

Water-Soluble Vitamins

Again, I met all my DRI numbers for water-soluble vitamins with a notable exception – folate.

This one kicked me in the gut.

I mean, I eat leafy greens for breakfast, lunch and dinner.  I eat kale like some people eat popcorn.  How could I be deficient in folate? (82%)

A likely response to this finding might be, “Hello … you don’t eat grains and grains are a good source of folate.”

Actually, grains are a source of fortified folic acid which is not the same as the naturally occurring folate.  Chris Kresser has written a terrific, brief piece on the differences and the potential danger in excessive folic acid supplementation.  I can’t recommend it enough.

Speaking of Chris Kresser, about a year ago he ran a Metrametrix organic acid test on me.  The results indicated that my body is not properly metabolizing folate (B9).  I was pregnant at the time, so he immediately recommended a change in prenatal vitamins to one with Metafolin, which is L-methylfolate  and not the folic acid which predominates the prenatal vitamin market.  He also had me take additional sublingual folate for the duration of my pregnancy.

All of this is to say that folate is a vitamin that, for some reason or another, I already do not process well.  Because of my aforementioned leafy greens habit, I assumed I was getting enough.  But the food log suggests otherwise.  That 82% coupled with the organic acids test findings have me on something of a folate mission.

First of all, I have stopped consuming green tea.  There is some evidence in the literature that green tea can impact serum folate levels, so I am not going to take the risk that that is the case.

Second, I have become something of a madwoman with the leafy greens.  I ate them a lot before, and now I am consuming larger portions at my meals.

I am also going to be increasingly intentional about my liver consumption.  Liver is a fantastic food, and I’ve been playing with it and other organ meats for awhile now.  I am going to be very disciplined in the next few months and include liver regularly in my diet.  I have some Dr. Ron’s freeze-dried liver capsules on hand for when I run out or don’t have control over my diet.

This knowledge about my folate consumption is by far the most valuable piece of information I learned through the process, and was worth teetering on the precipice of neuroticism during the exercise.

* * * * * * *

I didn’t get to the minerals discussion today, but I think it deserves its own post anyway.  Look for it next week, plus that ham hock soup recipe that I promised on Facebook.  (And which I am polishing off at this very moment!)

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