Vitamins under the microscope- What are vitamins and what do they mean to you?

15 Sep 2014

GUEST POST

Vitamins are essential to good health but most of us know little, to nothing about what a vitamin deficiency can mean to our bodies. Until I started my nutritional journey I felt like I was bombarded with letters, A, B, C, D, E and K but, what do all of those little vitamin letters mean?

In this series of posts I want to give you some easy to follow facts to help you navigate the world of Vitamins so lets start with the basics…

apples

Vitamins occur naturally in all living things and so if you think about it that are therefore organic. (bonus!)

Their role within our bodies is:

*   To regulate certain bodily functions

*   Build healthy tissue and bones

*   Ensure our blood is in tip top condition

*   Help our bodies metabolise fats, carbs and proteins enabling us to get energy from the food we eat

Simple stuff when you break it down…

There are two main kinds of Vitamins, fat soluable and water soluable.

So now you are thinking, what the heck does fat soluble mean?
Fat soluble means that if for some reason your body has more of a fat soluble vitamin than it needs, the vitamin can be stored in your body fat or liver to use later when it is needed. Think of it as a back up charger almost….

tomatoes

Water soluble vitamins can’t be stored in the body and so as you can image, any excess in these vitamins leave your body carried off by water with more trips to the loo.

Where can you get vitamins from? Contrary to popular belief the best option IS NOT to teeter down to the local health food store in your new Louboutin’s and buy lots of individual vitamins by the tote load, costing yourself a pretty penny along the way. The best way to get all the vitamins you need on a daily basis, is to eat them!

Consuming individual vitamins can also be quiet harmful, as taking too much of a vitamin can be as bad for you, as taking too little.

Fat soluble vitamins are most dangerous when taken in large quantities as your body can’t get rid of the access. Some vitamins also work better in pairs, for example to help your body consume more iron, vitamin C is needed. So if you decide that you want to take a supplement, take a multi vitamin that will have been manufactured to give you optimum results and will be paired perfectly with a little vitamin buddy to keep it company (always read the labels and if in doubt, talk to your doctor!)

 Next up we’ll talk about specific vitamins and how they effect your body…

ABOUT ME…

Being intolerant to wheat, yeast, oats, eggs, ginger, onions, cows milk, and chocolate hasn’t been easy but becoming a nutritionist has helped me cook my way out of it. Join me on my journey and become a Fash Pack Foodie too!

In 2013 after suffering for a couple of years with severe stomach bloating that made me look pregnant every time I ate anything (not a good look in the current seasons HervéLéger) not to mention some other not so hot to talk about side effects, I decided to investigate my digestive health.

I was diagnosed as intolerant to pretty much everything that I ate on a daily basis! (not good!)

The list of things my body simply cannot tolerate is any quantities large or small includes:

– Wheat- Yeast- Oats- Eggs- Ginger- Onions- Cows milk- Chocolate (shock horror!)- and Polyester… (On my body, not in it obviously, but on so many other levels too!)

That’s your standard ‘healthy’ breakfast of granola, poached eggs on whole wheat toast with a cuppa screwed then…. or so I thought!

The initial two weeks after my diagnosis I pretty much ate nothing. Totally confused by the seemingly endless list of things I couldn’t eat, I just didn’t eat anything. My system went into cold turkey big time and all I could think about was eating a big slice of buttered toast! I was starving, grumpy and still bloated.

I took to my local supermarket (my least favourite place on earth) for inspiration but visit any ‘free from’ aisle and you’ll see my dilemma. ‘Free from’ bread is usually free of gluten and wheat but it isnt free of eggs or in some cases diary. ‘Free from’ chocolate for example isn’t free from chocolate and so on…

When you are intolerant to something (or in my case it feels like everything) you read food labels a lot more carefully. Where before I concentrated less on ingredients and more on fat content in any given dish, I had to re-educate myself to look more closely at what the dish is actually made from. 

Getting frustrated with the lack of choice covering my specific needs, I decided to get to work, after all I am a #GIRLBOSS in the making, I wasn’t going to be easily beaten! (excuse the egg pun)

There was only one solution to me at that stage, google! I searched online high and low and figured out the basic principle was that I needed to eat ingredients as close to their original state as possible, to feel better. I know its not rocket science but it was new to me. There was only one thing for it, I needed to get cooking (gulp). Don’t get me wrong I love they way kitchens look, all shiny finishes and full of gadgets, but getting me actually cooking in one was something very new.

Slowly but surely I started to research alternative ways to cook my favourite dishes. Cooking a cake without eggs isn’t easy BUT it can be done.  

I am constantly experimenting and looking for recipes that will fit into my busy lifestyle. I have my own business, some very demanding clients, a home to run and a time consuming fashion addiction, so my day to day life is already very full. It’s important to me that food is delicious, nourishing, and as easy to prepare as it is to cook.

My nutrition education hasn’t stopped there, earlier this year I became a newly qualified Registered Nutritionist, with the hope to help myself and others through the minefield of nutrition….

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Follow me on Instagram at @fashpackfoodie 

@nikkisharp
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