Balance your Macro Nutrients to jump start your Health Goals
My husband just forwarded me an article from an outdoor adventure magazine he reads. I was pleasantly surprised that the health and nutrition information was thoroughly supported by quality research and the author was not afraid to go against the mainstream when the data supported his point. Thank you, sir, for your courage and clarity!
There is much confusion in the nutritional public forum. How do you know what to believe and follow? Next week’s article will cover some popular diet genres and break them into bite-sized pieces so you can make educated decisions for your own health journey.
In order to evaluate these diet genres you will need to understand some of the foundation stones that holistic nutrition is built upon. Before these stones can be laid we must, first, be mindful of the following key premise that conditions the ground beneath these stones. Always strive to eat a properly prepared, nutrient dense, whole foods diet.
This statement deserves its own article but if we take the statement in reverse it is asking you to eat only foods in their whole form. For example, eat chicken in its natural form not chicken nuggets. Eat the whole orange not the pasteurized enriched juice. The less it is processed, the better. Next, choose foods of high quality so their nutrients are as dense as possible. Best choices are locally grown produce from farmers markets or products certified organic. And finally, prepare these great foods in ways that preserve their vital nutrients. High heat can destroy nutrients. Strive for more fermented, raw, steamed or lightly sautéed foods.
Now that the ground is prepared let’s look at 3 of the main foundation stones also known as macro-nutrients: Protein, Fat and Carbohydrates.
Proteins are the building blocks of our tissue, muscle, organs and skin. Protein is essential in making enzymes, antibodies, hemoglobin and peptide hormones. Protein also provides amino acids which we need for many bodily functions. Healthy proteins can be found in farm fresh eggs, dairy, pasture raised/wild caught meats as well as quality nuts, seeds and legumes.
The second macronutrient, healthy fats, are not the bad guys they have been made out to be in past media but are necessary for hormone production, energy, vitamin absorption and taste. Healthy fats include both animal and plant sources such as butter, lard, avocado, coconut oil, and extra virgin olive oil. Do not be afraid of healthy fats. Fats do not make you fat – sugar and grains do.
Finally, we cover carbohydrates. Here we are NOT talking about breads and pastas. These macronutrient carbs are fruits and vegetables. They contain a myriad of vitamins, minerals, fiber and other vital nutrients needed for fuel, brain function, healthy intestinal microbiome and gut motility. You cannot go wrong adding more veggies to your diet.
Imagine a macronutrient pie chart of your daily calories. Ideally about 40% of the chart would show healthy carb calories, 30% protein calories and 30% fat calories. This pie chart is a good starting point. REMEMBER that every person is a little different in their needs. There is really no cookie cutter formula. The main goal is to focus on healthy macronutrients. Learn to listen to your body and adjust your needs.
If you can focus on finding your balance of healthy proteins, fats and carbs you will be miles ahead in your health quest. You will also experience so many great side effects such as balanced energy, lighter mood, better sleep, lower inflammation, and possibly weight loss. An easy way to track these nutrients is by using websites and apps like Fitness Pal or Cronometer. Give it a try. Eating this way will only benefit your overall health.