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Is my diet OK ?

Posted: Sun Sep 11, 2011 9:52 am
by cashew
Hi Tom and hi everyone,

I've always had terrible eating habits and decided to change that some time ago. I just wanted to know if I'm doing it right or if there are still some bad foods in my diet.

So basically I eat cooked starchy vegetables ( lentils, beans, peas etc ), raw greens ( mainly cucumber, pepperbells, carrots and tomatoes ) , raw garlic and onion, fish, some poultry, raw almonds ( I soak them ) and roasted cashews, potatoes, fruit. I also have some bread, and once in a while I still have some junk food like a chocolate bar or something. I try to get my beans dried and raw and not in a tin.

Is this ok ? I hear starchy food isn't great for hair health, is that true ?

Re: Is my diet OK ?

Posted: Mon Sep 12, 2011 6:44 am
by Tom Hagerty
Your diet looks fine. The kind of starchy foods that you are eating are healthful. But in your diet I see no food that will give you the iron you need. Do you eat lean beef at all? If you are a premenopausal woman and are not getting the iron you need, your serum ferritin level might be low. This could be a problem for your hair, even a cause of hair loss. Even though there is iron in some of the vegetables you eat, this iron is poorly assimilated. It is not bioavailable.

Re: Is my diet OK ?

Posted: Mon Sep 12, 2011 6:12 pm
by cashew
Thank you for your response Tom,

I don't eat beef at all, I was under the impression that eggs and fish contained a lot of iron. But it is true that I have an iron deficiency. I will buy a big beef steak first thing tomorrow, what do you think is the best way to cook it ?

Also do you think cooking destroys nutrients ( in vegetables, seeds and nuts for instance ) ?

Re: Is my diet OK ?

Posted: Wed Sep 14, 2011 4:09 pm
by Tom Hagerty
Egg yolks and fish have a little iron but if you want to build up your iron stores (serum ferritin) you should eat lean meat. The iron in beef is absorbed much better than the iron you get in vegetables. The iron in meat is called heme; the iron found in plant foods is nonheme. Nonheme iron has a low level of bioavailability.

Cooking doesn't cause the loss of vitamins unless you overcook the foods. (Cooking does not have any effect on iron.) I prefer to steam vegetables. Very few nutrients are lost this way. I eat roasted nuts - they taste better. There are many gurus that claim raw food is best because our ancestors back in primative times ate food raw. How can you argue with this. I just don't like the taste of raw food.

By the way, don't try to build up your iron reserves with iron pills. Lean meat is the way to go.

Re: Is my diet OK ?

Posted: Tue Sep 27, 2011 11:56 am
by Loulou
Dear Tom,
I spent many years not eating red meat and it took a toll on my ferritin stores and started to have many symptoms of low iron: dizzy, tired, cold, and ofcourse hair loss. I started taking iron supllements two months ago and most of symptoms are gone- even my hair loss. I loss less than half the amount of hair that i lost two months ago especially on the top and front of my scalp. Why do you not recommend taking iron pills? Sometimes it is crucial because you can only eat so much red meat.....

Re: Is my diet OK ?

Posted: Thu Sep 29, 2011 8:55 am
by Tom Hagerty
Why do you not recommend taking iron pills?
My concern about taking iron pills over a long period of time is iron toxicity. You can never get an overload of iron from real food but there is the possibility of an overload if you depend on the pills. The symptoms of iron toxicity are headaches, nausea, dizziness, shortness of breath, and sometimes a grayish color of the skin.

Once you build up your serum ferritin level with pills, perhaps you can dispense with them and eat foods that will give you all the organic iron you need. It's a safer way to get this trace mineral, and really meat does not taste all that bad if you prepare it right.