The importance of enjoyment

Back at the gym today to lift weights with J for the first time in a couple weeks. Instead of lifting at my previous weight and reps (15) I only did 10 reps. It was still hard… it’s sad how quickly that strength goes away if I don’t keep it up. Then I went and did a bit of stretching and some yoga-type things, pigeon and a couple of down dog-plank-cobra-superman-table-child progressions. (Does that have a name? All I know is that it kicks my butt…) I like doing the yoga stuff at my own pace; I can make it as hard as I want to.

My friend and I always have a discussion about the best way to encourage people to eat vegetables– she favors a “make yourself eat it plain until you like it” approach, while I think it’s fine to add oil/spices/salt to make things more palatable. There’s a middle path here, I think, but it’s important to enjoy your food– you’ll absorb nutrients better. National Geographic has an article about Linda Bacon and HAES this month with a neat quote:

“In one interesting study, researchers fed a traditional Thai meal of rice and vegetables spiked with chili paste, fish sauce, and coconut cream to two groups of women, one Swedish and one Thai. The Thai women, who presumably liked the meal better than the Swedish women, absorbed 50 percent more iron from the same food than the Swedish women. And when the meal was blended together and turned to an unfamiliar and unpalatable paste, the Thai women’s absorption of iron from the meal decreased by 70 percent! So choking down the plate of steamed broccoli (if you hate steamed broccoli) is not likely to do you as much good as you think. Enjoying your food is an important nutritional practice.”

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2 Responses to The importance of enjoyment

  1. Tori says:

    So choking down the plate of steamed broccoli (if you hate steamed broccoli) is not likely to do you as much good as you think.

    As someone who’s chronically significantly anemic, I’m amazed that this is the first time I’ve read this finding. I’ve had so much trouble keeping my hemoglobin numbers up (to be fair, that is partially correlated to bleeding) and also so much trouble finding truly pleasurable iron-rich foods. I’ve been bouncing around among vegan sources of iron, non-dairy (but not necessarily vegan) sources of iron, and excellent sources of heme-iron (like animal livers). So I’ve been looking for the sources with the most iron-per-serving, the most heme-iron-per-serving, the most friendly to the rest of my GI system… but not the sources that I actually most want to eat.

    Burgers, anyone? :D

    • G says:

      I’m not sure of the provenance of the study or any of the details, but it’s certainly an interesting idea.

      That must be frustrating! It seems like a lot of iron-rich foods are very strongly flavored, love-or-hate-type foods and it would be hard to deal if you didn’t really like any of them. But burgers definitely sound like a doable option. :)

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