The Maple Pass Loop / Need for a Varied Diet11th October 2018
A pilgrimage to the Maple Pass Loop in the north Cascades is an autumnal tradition of mine. The larch tree needles turn a brilliant gold (see above), and on a clear day you can see into Canada. The snow-capped peaks and fall foliage certainly make an appealing composition. Combine stunning views with a short hike and a gradual incline, and it's no wonder that parking routinely spills onto the North Cascade Highway shoulder.
In my last article I briefly mentioned my daily routine. To recap: I sit in front of the computer for most of my day and work on my software design portfolio and computer science fundamentals (e.g. coding challenges). It can be very mentally taxing and, just like physical exercise, requires proper nutrition and hydration for good performance. When I started this routine, I looked for cheap ways to get the right proportion of macro-nutrients (protein, fat, and carbs) I needed for a day. I read that finding a few meals and eating them over and over is a good way to stick to a healthy eating regimen. I took this idea to the extreme, though: once I found a couple meals I could make and that fit my requirements, I made them in bulk and ate them every day.
This strategy worked well...until recently, when I began having some minor health problems. After doing some research and asking around, I came to the realization that not only should a diet be balanced; it should also be varied. I learned that different foods contain different micro-nutrients. This is the stuff that doesn't show up on the Nutrition Facts, like copper, magnesium, and zinc. If you eat a food over and over again that doesn't contain copper, for example, your body depletes its stores of copper. Once the stockpile is gone, your body starts misbehaving, which is what happened to me.
To prevent this from happening again, I'm starting to switch out ingredients in my daily meals in a cycle. For example, cooking with coconut oil on Monday, avocado oil on Tuesday, macadamia oil on Thursday, etc. I guess the moral of the story is: don't eat the same thing every day. Or, at the very least, take a good multi-vitamin in the morning.