Protein, Fat and Carbs
There is so much confusion out there about macronutrients. Every time someone wants to write a new diet book they try to reinvent the wheel, and one of the key ways they do that is by playing with the macronutrient ratio of meals or cutting out a particular type of food. I know you know what I am talking about and I’m willing to bet you experimented with at least one of these diet fads, like low-carb or fat-free to name just a few.
Don’t cut out major food groups or macronutrients from healthy carbs, fats, or proteins. Each one of these macronutrients play necessary roles in the way our bodies function. We need them; yes, fat too. A fat-free diet can also increase your cravings. Fat is essential for optimal health and should make up 20 to 30 percent of your daily food intake.
Complex carbs are also a necessary source of essential vitamins and minerals needed by the body for normal hormonal balance, reproductive health, skin, nails, hair growth, and good eyesight. In addition, eating fewer than 130 grams of carbohydrate a day can lead to something called ketosis, which is a build up of ketones (partially broken-down fats) in your blood. Ketosis can cause your body to produce high levels of uric acid, which is a risk factor for gout (a painful swelling of the joints) and kidney stones. Remember, stored body fat comes from too many calories, not too many carbs.
Here are some great examples of how to consume each macro in its ideal form: Try substituting a high protein, high fiber grain like quinoa (pronounced KEEN-WAH) instead of white rice which is nutrient-empty; grab olive oil, which is a healthy fat, rather than hydrogenated trans fats. Reach for grass fed, natural beef, not corn-fed meat laden with hormones and antibiotics. And you should choose fats that support your health and immune system: like salmon, coconut oil, avocados, and nuts. Avoid fake fats like hydrogenated oils a.k.a trans fats.
Here are a few sample meals from my app’s Omnivore meal plan to help illustrate how best to incorporate a good blend of all three macros:
Oatmeal with crushed walnuts
Tomato, spinach, and mushroom omelet with whole grain toast
Low-fat Greek yogurt with fresh fruit
Grilled fish tacos with a corn tortilla and side of brown rice
BBQ chicken breast with a side of quinoa
Grass-fed burger on a whole-grain bun with a mixed green salad
Celery sticks with almond butter
Hummus with veggie sticks
Organic low-fat cheese stick and apple slices
Chicken Fajitas made with olive oil and a side of black beans
Pork Chop with baked brussels sprouts and beet salad
Grilled skirt steak with tomato and mozzarella salad