I'm fairly sure you've all heard that you are supposed to check the colour of your urine to know how hydrated you are.
How the hell am I supposed to know if I'm hydrated enough when my pee is bright yellow from the multivitamin I took this morning?
There is a certain comfort on the days when I don't take my vitamins because I get to watch the colour fade with each trip to the ladies. By early afternoon, it's pretty much clear with just a faint yellow tinge. Not today. Today it looks like Big Bird melted in my toilet.
I've heard all the jokes and comments already. When you take vitamins, all you're doing is spending money to create really expensive urine. Just eat a healthy diet and you'll be fine.
Follow Canada's Food Guide.
DON'T follow Canada's Food Guide.
I actually had one person tell me that the daily requirements in the food guide are those that pig farmers follow when feeding their pigs. They warned me not to follow it because humans aren't pigs. Seriously?!?
I would love to be able to meet all of my nutritional needs in the healthiest way possible. Trust me, I try hard. But I have learned some lessons along the way about my body and about eating.
Lesson one - I cannot for the life of me keep my iron levels up through diet alone. I've tried all the iron rich foods, made sure I had vitamin C at the same time to help with absorption etc etc but if I slack off even for a few days I can feel it dropping again. I have learned to recognize the signs - dark circles under my eyes, no energy during runs and a hard time trying to catch my breath when running.
Lesson two - I don't get enough calcium. I have yogurt and soy milk for breakfast, yogurt at lunch and often nibble on cheese before dinner. After runs, I'll have a glass of chocolate milk (my favourite post run treat). Add that all up and I get about half of my daily requirement of calcium. Osteoporosis is pretty common on my mother's side so I need to be extra careful about keeping my bones strong and healthy.
Lesson three - diabetes can affect how I absorb nutrients from the food that I do eat. Over time, that absorption will probably deteriorate. So I have to be extra vigilant.
Lesson four - I honestly don't think that there are enough meals in the week to eat all of the foods we're supposed to eat. I exercise a fair amount and have a healthy appetite. I don't skip meals (ever!) and I'm pretty fond of snacks too. We don't eat fast food and cook 95% of our meals at home. Every meal has carbs, veggies and protein and snacks are usually fruit and yogurt. And yet I cannot get manage to get all the servings of fish, multi-coloured veggies, dairy and healthy grains that are recommended.
So I take vitamins.
I take a multivitamin, calcium supplement and a fish oil capsule most days of the week. When my iron drops to the point of affecting my life, I take an iron supplement too.
So my pee is bright yellow. Apparently it's from the B12 or B-complex in the multivitamin. The body absorbs what it needs and expels the rest as Big Bird.
I may be throwing my money away. Or I may be really really grateful when I'm 75 years old and still standing tall and straight.
It's hard to know.
Just like it's hard to know if I'm hydrated enough today.
One thing is certain - Big Bird is my bff.