Well, have no fear! It may sound like a fancy new diet, but it’s actually the nutrients we eat every day.
“Macro” means large. Macro-nutrients are the nutrients that provide calories (energy) that the body needs in large amounts for growth, metabolism and many other body functions.
There are 3 macro-nutrients: Carbohydrates, Protein and Fat.
The amount of calories, or energy, that each one provides varies. Carbohydrates provide 4 calories per gram, Protein provides 4 calories per gram and Fat provides 9 calories per gram. The only other substance that provides calories is Alcohol at 7 calories per gram. Sorry folks, it’s not considered a macro-nutrient because we don’t need it for survival; according to some witty, stress-free, amazing dancer with perfectly normal relatives. However, let’s be real here and sort out our troubled relationship with these essential nutrients (and that supposed non-essential one).
Seriously, why do we keep pitting these two against each other?!? Is it because we are scared that fat will make us fat? Is it the immediate gratification that packaged carbohydrates with their “low fat” promise provide? Probably. Guess what? Fats and Carbs are not your enemy. The real devil is in the details, so let’s take a look at the details…
- HIGH QUALITY FATS play a key role in your brain development and health. 60% of your brain is composed of fat. 60% PEOPLE! It is necessary (are you catching on to its importance here?) for brain function, heart health, regulation of hormones, absorption of Vitamins A,D,E and K, decreasing inflammation throughout the body, growing muscle and even burning fat!
- LOW QUALITY FATS play the opposite role. Basically what constitutes this category are man-made fats (think hydrogenated and partially hydrogenated oils) and refined seed oils. Think margarine, canola oil, safflower oil and sunflower oil. They aren’t just used to make french fries. You’ll find them in nearly every crispy, crunchy packaged food on the market.
Fats in their most real form. Some of the best sources are avocado, coconut oil, almond butter, wild caught fish, raw almonds and walnuts, ghee, and organic, cold-pressed olive and nut oils.
The truth is, these high quality fats are so nutrient dense that it doesn’t take much to fill you up! Even better is that they metabolize slowly, keeping you full longer.
Now let’s look at carbohydrates.
- HIGH QUALITY CARBS are complex carbohydrates. They are the most nutrient dense foods you can eat as they are loaded up with vitamins, minerals, fiber and antioxidants that protect you from sickness and chronic disease. Just like the high quality fats, they take longer for the body to digest, keeping you full longer. The best complex carbs are organic, color rich vegetables and fruits such as berries, oranges, spinach, carrots beets, and cauliflower.
- LOW QUALITY CARBS are simple carbohydrates: Breads, pastas, cereals, sweet snacks, soda and alcohol and good ‘ol sugar. Also known as instant gratification. We all know this, but the pull of these carbohydrates is so strong, isn’t it? This is because their simple chemical structure enables them to so quickly be utilized for energy by the body, leading to a faster rise in blood sugar. Then comes an increased demand for insulin leading to all the stuff we hate: weight gain, low energy, digestive disruption, bloating and inflammatory disease. So much for that instant gratification. Obviously, refined sugar is by far the most nutrient void of them all and avoiding it is easier said than done!
“So, for real…. How do you expect me to avoid eating sugar? It’s everywhere!
It’s a no-brainer as to why you want to avoid sugar and it’s plague of problems. There are as many ways to avoid it as there are products containing it. Let’s narrow it down to a some easy strategies to avoid sugar:
- Crowd it out! Don’t think, “I’m avoiding… or I have to take away…”. Instead, crowd your plate with vibrant, nutrient-rich greens mixed in with your eggs, toss a handful into your smoothie, and blend plenty into your sauces and soups. Crowd your salad with colorful vegetables, half an avocado and some nuts or seeds tossed on top for extra protein. All those nutrient rich extras won’t leave room for sugar later. Why? Because your blood sugar levels will be running so steady, you won’t have that crazy 3 pm sugar crash.
- Eat Real, Be Real. As real as sugar is with it’s sweet talkin’ taste, it’s promised satisfaction is fake. The food market doesn’t make it any easier as almost 75% of all packaged foods contain some form of sugar. That’s a lot of label reading. Pick food in it’s most natural form and you know exactly what you are eating and what you are not.
- Be Intentional. Why are YOU avoiding sugar? Why did you join T School? Why do you want to be healthier? Don’t just think about what you want. Know WHY you want it. Write it out and read it out loud every day. It’s not that you can’t ever enjoy sugar, but deciding when to allow it and how it plays into your goals is essential to your health goals!
While alcohol does provide energy at 7 calories per gram, there’s plenty of debate about whether it’s truly useful for bodily functions. But we’re not debating here. We can all testify to it’s anxiety reducing, confidence boosting, dance producing effects. We also know it’s negative health consequences and after effects of getting smashed.
Again, what’s your intention? One drink a day for women and 1-2 drinks a day for men is a typical recommendation. But, what works best for you? Does that align with your goals or is it more of a slippery slope? Are you actually enjoying yourself or avoiding your true self?
We can talk about macro-nutrients and plans and recommendations but the reality is we all get to choose the foods we put into our bodies. the way we move and the priorities we make important. Until we decide how to live from our deepest desires, all the information, education and suggestions are just words.
We all define our lives by our choices and our job as your T School coaches is to inspire you to live your lives according to the story you want to create with your life.
If you need help aligning your nutritional plan with your health and life goals, we are here for you.
Ask for more specific help from your accountability partner or one of our health coaches. This is what community is all about- improving the lives of all through the shared vision of all. And all of us want to live fully, healthfully and without regrets.
Thank you for joining us on this journey.