I like to think I am pretty in tune with my body. I know that if I don’t get enough sleep, I will have the urge to eat everything put in front of me the following day like I have Prader-Willi Syndrome. I know that I can keep mood swings (caused by PMS, stress or general craziness) in check by eating a blend of whole grains, healthy fats and protein. And, as a vegan, I know that I have to monitor my diet to make sure I am getting enough nutrients to avoid health problems like vitamin deficiencies! A blood test every now and then helps to make sure I am getting what I need.
The last round of blood work I did showed that my cholesterol is way too low. Embarrassingly enough, this excited me a wee bit as it gives me an excuse to eat more yummy heart healthy fats–I already believed I was getting enough, but apparently I was wrong. Healthy fat and a normal cholesterol level is important–it gives you glowing skin, healthy nails and hair, stabilizes moods, regulates your metabolism, increases your energy and (most importantly!) revs your libido! Vroom, vroom!
I went out and got some flax oil which I have been putting in my breakfast bowl of oatmeal, my smoothies and on top of salads and grains. It has an amazing nutty flavor and delivers tons of omega-3s! I have also been trying to eat more avocados and several different types of nuts and seeds daily. Anyone from my office will confirm that at least once daily between 3 and 5 pm, I can be found in the office kitchen, sucking on a spoonful of nut-butter like it’s going to return the favor.
If you’re eating a vegan diet, it’s a good idea to get some blood work done several times a year. Be sure to tell your doctor to ask that the test checks your cholesterol and vitamin levels like folate, iron, b12 and zinc.