8 Delicious and Functional Fall Foods

With Halloween right around the corner and Thanksgiving and Christmas following close behind it’s a great time to start thinking about the change of the season. The last 3 months of the year present a great time to come together with friends and loved ones. The pinnacle of these gatherings is often the food and treats that are shared.

For some folks, the buffet of rich foods and desserts can be a real challenge. Know that it’s okay to indulge in some of your favorite treats. Just focus on filling up with delicious foods that also have health benefits first and staying active. Let’s fork up 8 Delicious and Functional Fall Foods that you should focus on eating!

Turkey
Pumpkin
Squash
Apples
Cranberries
Pecans
Brussel Sprouts
Beets

Turkey
Turkey is a very rich source of protein, niacin, vitamin B6 and the amino acid tryptophan. It also contains zinc, selenium, and vitamin B12. The skinless white meat of turkey is low on fat and is an excellent source of protein. Don’t be afraid to double down on turkey if you’re missing out on other healthy options at the table.

Pumpkin
Pumpkin is rich in potassium and vitamins A, C, and E. A serving of pumpkin also contains more than 20% of your daily recommended intake of fiber. This fun fall food can be prepared in a variety of ways so try to keep this dish simple and not too sweet by doctoring it up with freshly ground cinnamon and a little sea salt. And no, a pumpkin spice latte does not count!

Squash
Squash a tremendous source of beta carotene, manganese, and antioxidants like vitamin C. It’s also a great source of potassium that is associated with lowering blood pressure. A roasted acorn squash with a little grass fed butter and some lean protein can be a simple and delicious harvest dinner!

Apples
Apples are a fan favorite when it comes to fall foods and a fun fall activity. They are a great source of Vitamin K, potassium and immune-boosting Vitamin C. “You also get plenty of dietary fiber (pectin) from this delicious fruit that can help you feel satiated. Eat this fruit whole, add it to a salad, or make it the foundation of a healthy dessert. Bonus points if you pick your own!

Cranberries
Cranberries are a fall superfood high in vitamins, fiber, minerals and antioxidants. They are also correlated with reducing the incidence of urinary tract infection and contain immune boosting properties to boot! Rather than buying pre packaged cranberry sauce try making your own with fresh squeezed orange juice for a healthier alternative.

Pecans
Pecans are a great source of Vitamin E (which is both immune-boosting and anti-inflammatory) as well as B-vitamins and magnesium which are essential for a healthy heart and muscle function. A handful of pecans make a great snack but some pecan themed desserts can be loaded with sugar so proceed with caution.

Brussel Sprouts
Brussel sprouts are a cruciferous vegetable that contain potassium, iron, and heart-protective B vitamins—including B6 and thiamin. Brussel sprouts also contain prebiotic which feed the healthy bacteria in your gut. You can’t get enough of this crispy crunchy veggie!

Beets
Beets are a go-to fall food when it comes to fiber, iron, potassium and folic acids. This superfood can be prepared in a variety of ways from roasted beets and beet chips to a nice cold glass of beet juice to help you detox.

There you have it. 8 delicious and functional fall foods that you should aim to incorporate into your diet this season. Have more questions on how to get in the groove with healthy dietary choices this fall? Get in touch with one of our coaches and we’d be happy to help!

Fruits and Vegetables


When did “Fruits and Vegetables” become 1 word?

Fruits and vegetables seems to have become one word when it comes to giving advice on a healthy diet. However these two different food groups must be approached with different strategies. When it comes to optimizing health you need to choose the foods that best support your health and training needs.

Fruits and vegetables have varying macronutrient and fiber contents and can also contain different types of vitamins, minerals, and other key micronutrients. They contain different types of carbohydrates that affect their digestion and effect on blood sugar.

“Don’t eat anything your great-grandmother wouldn’t recognize as food.” -Michael Pollan

In America most folks are still missing out on many essential nutrients and simply do not consume enough vegetables. In schools kids are encouraged to have either fruits or veggies. The fact is that 8oz of orange juice is not going to provide the same nutrients as 1 cup of broccoli. Whole fruits do contain fiber, vitamins, and minerals but when turned into concentrated juices they are not much different than drinking a soda.

Even as an athlete you may be guilty of eating 2 or 3 bananas in a day but neglected consuming foods like green cruciferous vegetables that have true health benefits.

Fruits are higher in sugar and unless you are a high level athlete training multiple times per day you probably do not need to consume that many carbohydrates in your diet. A piece of fruit to fuel your workout and some fast digesting carbs post workout should be the majority of your “carb” intake. Fill the rest of your meals with vegetables that will make you feel full and contain an abundance of vitamins, minerals, and fiber.

A healthy diet should consist mostly of healthy fats, high quality proteins, and complex carbohydrates from vegetables which are nutrient dense and have a minimal effect on insulin.

If you are consuming fruits focus on fresh seasonal fruit that will have a low impact on blood sugar. Dark berries are one of the best fruits in this regard and contain high levels of antioxidants. Kiwis and pineapples are a great choice that is ideal for post workout recovery.

If you are looking for a more natural approach to eating, feeling better, and looking great then we can help you get there. Reach out to one of our friendly staff members today to see how!

Everything You Need To Know About Salt In Your Diet

Long touted as “the bad guy” when it comes to heart health and blood pressure, salt is starting to fight back with a different story.

There is more to salt than the seasoning and preservative uses we tend to associate with it. There is absolutely a place for salt in your diet. Oh and guess what else, not all salt is created equal….

To truly optimize your health you need to prioritize your salt intake, consume the right types of salt, and understand the relationship it has with potassium. When it comes to nutrition that can optimize your health and performance electrolytes are just one key to success. Adopting sound nutritional strategies will transform the way you feel but also the way you think and your mood.

The problem that arises with salt is has less to do with salt and actually stems from processed foods. These foods are bad for two main reasons.

One, they are almost entirely void of potassium which throws off the ratio of salt to potassium in the body.

Two, they contain 99% sodium chloride and anti-caking agents that often contain heavy metals that can do serious damage to your nervous system. Salt containing heavy metals actually lead to dehydration. They are toxic in the body so the body pulls water out of the cells to protect itself.

“At the end of the day, you can’t compete with Mother Nature. If you’ve got a great tomato, just a pinch of sea salt is all you need.” -Zac Posen

The solution to the problem is to eat the right types of salt. Himalayan salts, sea salts, and other high quality salt products contain lower levels of sodium chloride and instead have higher amounts of beneficial trace minerals. They are also unrefined which eliminates the risk of heavy metals.

It may be a tough mental block for you to overcome when it comes to adding salt to your diet. Feel free to use a healthy variety of salt liberally since evidence has shown no link between sea salt intake above dietary guidelines and adverse medical conditions.

Salt can improve athletic performance and energy levels through its hydrating effects. There are also tons of varieties that will absolutely revolutionize the taste of your food. The cells in our body maintain hydration through a sodium potassium pump. The body likes to maintain specific levels of each mineral in order to keep homeostasis. Along with salt make sure you consume foods high in sodium like potatoes and bananas, especially if you are training hard or sweating a lot.

Go find a high quality salt and sea for yourself.

If you have questions about nutrition for your sport, you want to have more energy, or make a positive choice for your body then we would love to talk about your goals and share some resources that can help!

Optimizing Nutrition For Recovery

There is a plethora of information on the interwebs when it comes to nutrition advice.

Everyone claims to have the secret tip or biohack that will make you bigger, smaller, or more of…well whatever it is your goal happens to be. The marketing gimmicks are endless.

Nutrition is a highly individualized journey. There are certainly some wrong answers out there but when it comes to what is right for you the answer could be totally unique. Finding an overall nutrition strategy that fits your goals and lifestyle is essential if you want to have success. If you’re not sure where to begin then start by finding a certified coach who can help guide you through the process toward healthy eating.

When it comes to post workout recovery there are a few key factors to keep in mind. For healthy individuals performing strength training or other forms of high intensity exercise it is imperative that you consume a healthy post workout meal to replenish glycogen in your muscles and provide ample amino acids for protein synthesis.

In one study at the Norwegian School of Sport Science made cyclists performing time trials to exhaustion (TTE). Immediately post workout the cyclists were given a carbohydrate drink, a carb and protein beverage, or a non caloric placebo. The group who consumed the carbohydrate plus protein beverage significantly outperformed the other two groups when performing a second cycling test just 18 hours after the first. The study suggests that if you train hard multiple days in a row then carbohydrate and protein intake post workout seems to boost subsequent performance.

“Exercise makes carbs your friend” -Charles Poliquin

Cyclists in the study consumed carbs and protein in a 2:1 ratio. This means they consumed twice as many carbs compared to protein. The amount given was based on the body weight of the individuals at a rate of 0.8 g carbohydrate per kilogram of body weight + 0.4 g protein per kilogram of body weight.

In a 175 lb. person this would look like:
0.8 g/kg x (175lb ÷ 2.2kg/lb.) = 64 g Carbohydrate
0.4 g/kg x (175lb ÷ 2.2kg/lb.) = 32 g Protein

In a 130 lb. person this would look like:
0.8 g/kg x (130lb ÷ 2.2kg/lb.) = 48 g Carbohydrate
0.4 g/kg x (130lb ÷ 2.2kg/lb.) = 24 g Protein

You can use this equation to calculate your ideal ratio of carbs and protein to optimize post workout recovery. If you don’t like math, understand the science, or are not a fan of measuring then let’s take a look at some quality food sources that would provide you with the desired amounts of protein and carbs. You can select the weight range you fall in and select the foods that best fit your tastes and lifestyle!

Food Grams Carbohydrate Food Grams Protein
Kiwi 10g/kiwi Chicken Breast 31g/4oz portion
Apricot 17g/cup Whey Protein 15g/tablespoon
Pineapple 22g/cup Greek Yogurt 25g/cup
White Rice 45g/cup Salmon Fillet 28g/4oz portion
Maple Syrup 13g/tablespoon Egg 6g/egg

 

Food 175 lb person needs Food 175 lb person needs
Kiwi 6 kiwi Chicken Breast 4 oz portion
Apricot 4 cups Whey Protein 2 tablespoons
Pineapple 3 cups Greek Yogurt 1.25 cups
White Rice 1.5 cups Salmon Fillet 4 oz portion
Maple Syrup 5 tablespoons Egg 5 eggs

 

Food 130 lb person needs Food 130 lb person needs
Kiwi 5 kiwi Chicken Breast 3 oz portion
Apricot 3 cups Whey Protein 1.5 tablespoons
Pineapple 2 cups Greek Yogurt 1 cup
White Rice 1 cup Salmon Fillet 3 oz portion
Maple Syrup 3.5 tablespoons Egg 4 eggs

Use this as a starting point to tackle your post workout recovery. The rest of your meals may look very different than this post workout recovery meal in terms of quantities of protein, fat, carbs as well as the sources you get them from. Working with an experienced nutrition coach is the best way to dial in a plan that works for you.

Eat This Not That!

Easy food swaps to keep you fit.

Is there anything like a piping hot slice of pizza sliding out of the oven? How about a heaping mountain of nachos in front of you during the game or a tall stack of pancakes for weekend brunch?

As you look to improve your diet you may have struggled to give up certain foods. Knowing how to make a few simple ingredient changes can have a major impact on your nutrition and health. The best part is that you don’t have to sacrifice any of the delicious foods you love. Whether you are an athlete, a mom, a busy working professional, or maybe even a combination of all three of those, making healthy diet choices easier is something you can benefit from. Try these a few of these easy switches to make any meal healthier!

“You are what what you eat eats.” -Michael Pollan

A twist on pasta

Spaghetti dinner is a staple in many American diets but if you are focused on eating healthy you have to tread lightly. The calories and carbohydrate content of pasta adds ups quick. Even alternative pastas that are gluten free are still calorie dense foods to keep an eye on. A better choice is to try veggies like spaghetti squash or spiralized zucchini. Combined with a low sugar tomato sauce and a healthy serving of lean protein pasta night can take on a whole new meaning of health.

A new slice on pizza

Pizza can be tough to navigate as your range of options is so vast. Some local joints may use great quality ingredients but still pack a caloric punch. National chains should be totally avoided with the processed ingredients and additives that make up their knock-off pies. Since most of us would love to keep pizza in our lives it is important to develop a system of eating it that supports your diet and lifestyle goals. Gluten free has become a buzzword and marketing tool used to attract new customers. I’m not here to have the GF debate about whether or not your body can digest it, I’m saying that a pizza crust made from processed starches that happen to not have gluten does not make them any healthier. Luckily you have a few options…

One method is to limit total intake, order a pizza with as many veggies and proteins on it as possible and limit yourself to one slice of the crust. Or you can try finding a restaurant that has or making your own cauliflower crust pizza. This is a great low carb alternative that lets you reach for another guilt-free slice.

Flip what you sip

It’s easy to forget the calories that are found in drinks. A study conducted by Harvard found that women who consumed sugar sweetened drinks daily tended to consume more calories daily and gained weight. Meanwhile women who eliminated sugar sweetened beverages tended to consume fewer calories and demonstrated better body composition. Scientists believe that drinking calories doesn’t provide the same signaling mechanisms in the body as food does. Basically our body doesn’t recognize it has consumed calories and the subsequent insulin spike can leave you feeling energy depleted and hungry.

Soda, juice, and alcohol don’t really belong in your diet if you are trying to build muscle or burn fat. If you are looking for a fun drink try reaching for a juice made from vegetables like kale and collard greens, powerful nutrients like ginger root, and maybe a dash of lemon or lime juice. Kombucha, a fermented tea beverage, can be a great option as well provided you find a low sugar variety (always read the label) and of course there are many great flavored sparkling and seltzer water options out there.

The Burger Swap

One of the toughest foods to give up can without a doubt be the hamburger. Before you part ways with this American classic let’s figure out a way for you to still enjoy your cheeseburger in paradise…

There are two ways to clean up this delicious food. One way is to eliminate the bun. Replace it with a collard greens wrap or two pieces of fresh romaine lettuce. Two large portobello mushrooms can also do the trick if you have them available (Pro tip: Grill the mushrooms for 2 minutes on each side with a little oil, salt, and pepper).

The second way to clean up your burger is to make sure you have a patty made from high quality grass fed beef or organic ground turkey. Balance the fats you use as topping and try swapping out the cheese for some fresh avocado slices.

Pancake, stacked to jacked

Fluffy buttermilk pancakes or belgian waffles are a staple of weekend brunch. Instead of shooting for the white flour varieties though try a cleaner approach next time. Start with the batter. Substituting bananas and ground flax meal, almond, or coconut flour are a much better alternative. Keep an eye on the fat content if using nut flours as they are very calorie dense. Make sure you have a ratio of at least one egg per pancake or add a scoop of protein powder to the mix to keep the macronutrients balanced. Top with fresh berries and grass fed butter and avoid the powdered sugar and whipped cream. Also be sure to spring for real maple syrup over any of the high fructose corn syrup versions. It is packed full of antioxidants and so sweet that just a teaspoon will go a long way in terms of flavor.

If you want to learn more about eating healthy and getting in shape then talk to a coach today.

We can develop a plan for you to help you achieve your goals!

What’s the deal with Intermittent Fasting?

You’ve probably heard of one of the most popular diets in the nutrition world right now, intermittent fasting (IF). Though this type of diet certainly isn’t new, the fad-ish uprising of it’s popularity have left a great deal of guru’s, buzz words, and misinformation floating around on the internet. However when celebrities like Beyonce, Terry Crews, and Hugh Jackman swear by a diet it is definitely worth giving a try. Today we’re going to break down some of the facts about intermittent fasting. You can decide if it’s right for you!

 

Before we get into the benefits of intermittent fasting it’s important to know how it works. There are many different protocols and standards that define the versions of this diet. The parameters that most people adjust include:

 

  • Time, when to eat and when not to. Most protocols recommend a ratio of 16 hour fast to 8 hours of eating. This could look like skipping breakfast and eating your first meal of the day at 12pm. You then have until 8 pm to eat.
  • What counts as fasting, if you’re in your fasting window are you allowed to consume anything? Most diets encourage water during the fast. Many also allow black coffee or tea (hold the cream and sugar) during the fast. Outside of these beverages, some people alse consume MCT or coconut oil, BCAA drinks, or ketone supplements. This will depend on your goals and the approach you take.
  • What to eat during meals. This is dependent on the types and frequency of foods that work best for you. If you practice intermittent fasting you will benefit the most by adhering to a diet that eliminates inflammatory foods and refined carbohydrates.  

 

Intermittent Fasting claims to have a great deal of benefits and many people have found it works great for them. There are also a great deal of myths or areas that still need to be verified by science. Most of the benefits of intermittent fasting seem to have more of a correlation with successful diets rather than to be the primary causal factor. As we work our way through the many claimed benefits of IF let’s address what benefits you can count on and which ones to put to the test.

 

Lower Insulin Resistance/Increase Insulin Sensitivity

If you hear insulin resistance I’m sure you’re thinking two things. One, I know that is important. Two, I don’t have diabetes so how does it apply to me?? Insulin is a hormone responsible for regulating the amount of energy (glucose) in the blood stream. By lowering insulin resistance the body improves its ability to store extra glucose as glycogen (ready to use energy) in the muscle rather than as fat. Intermittent fasting reduces the bodies exposure to energy fluxuations making it more sensitive when you do eat a meal.

 

You can burn fat while gaining muscle

This is one of those difficult to navigate situations. The fact is that going 16 hours or more without eating will make your body more reliant on fat as a fuel source. The major factor to consider is that the biggest player in gaining or losing both fat and muscle is energy balance. Intermittent fasting combined with healthy food choices and consistent exercise will produce the desired results, but if you’re consuming more calories than your body needs the calories will contribute to both muscle and fat gain.

 

Better dietary adherence

Many people love to use intermittent fasting simply because it is a great fit for their lifestyle.

Reasons for this vary from one person to another, but one of the key reasons seems to be that it reduces decision fatigue. Most people find themselves making poor dietary choices when they are either in a hurry or tired. By eliminating decision making around food it becomes easier to plan for one or two healthy meals in a day. Food becomes less of a focal point. You start eating to live, not living to eat.

 

Improve mental clarity

This ties into the powerful effects of insulin on the body. After a meal our body secretes insulin to maintain blood sugar levels in the body. When we are constantly eating we are dependent on a steady supply of glucose to feel energized and awake. Too long without food or an imbalanced meal causes the dreaded brain fog you’ve probably felt an hour or so after lunch. Many people report being more alert and focused when when adapted to an intermittent fasting diet.

 

Give your gut a rest

A continuous diet of hard to digest foods can leave our digestive tract operating at less than optimal capacity. This leads to low energy levels, poor digestion, and a general inflammatory state. Intermittent fasting gives digestive enzymes and the healthy bacteria in our gut to build up stabilize.

 

Save time

This benefit of IF is about as straightforward as it gets. Eating fewer meals and/or at fewer times of the day will save you time. Not only that but you’d be surprised how much time gets wasted on meals when you’re trying to fit in 5-6 small meals per day. Without the interruption of food you’ll have more time for other activities.

 

Save money

This goes hand in hand with saving time. Fewer meals means more money saved. Even if you are eating bigger portions for lunch and dinner it means a smaller grocery bill and fewer days of the month you have to eat out.

 

As we’ve addressed some of the benefits of intermittent fasting we also need to play devil’s advocate to why it might now be the right choice for you. Let’s take a look at why you should not try intermittent fasting…

 

Some populations that may want to avoid IF would be individuals who have had issues with yo-yo dieting, overeating, binge eating, or make poor dietary choices. Some practitioners of intermittent fasting have reported an obsession with food or constant daydreaming about eating during their restricted hours. It is important to consult with your doctor before making any major change to your health including a significant shift in your diet.

 

Other individuals who may want to steer clear of IF would be individuals who are not consuming sufficient nutrients to address a specific health condition or goal. These could include specific micronutrients like vitamins or minerals. Children, teenagers or anyone who needs more total calories to gain weight may not be able to consume enough food during the limited time window associated with intermittent fasting. If you are a hardgainer, increasing your training volume for a sport, have a job that requires intense physical activity, or are in pregnancy this may not be the diet for you.

 

Hopefully highlighting some of the benefits of intermittent fasting has given you the information to see if you want to explore it further or shut it down like your high school prom date.

 

If you have questions about diet or exercise guidelines lets start a conversation!

 

Maximize Your Macros

A Consumer’s guide to Fat, Carbs, and Protein…

 

Diet and nutrition are a highly individual journey and no one answer is true or right for everyone. The simple fact of the matter is that when it comes down to it, you have to figure out what works best for you. However there are some overarching philosophy that can channel your approach to healthy eating. When you figure out a style and frequency in your relationship with food that works well you will notice improvements in energy levels, focus, mood, and of course physical performance.

 

Fats

Paleo, Ketogenic, and Atkins diet have helped change many of the negative perceptions of fat in the diet. As Americans a far bigger threat to our health is a diet that contain high sugar and processed foods.Fats are not only not bad for you but are an essential source of fuel and micronutrients that make us healthy. It’s important to choose the right types and amounts of fats in your diet that let you operate at your best.

 

The chemical structure of a fat or fatty acid determines what role it will play in our bodies. Based on this structure we are able to classify fats in certain classes that share similar characteristics.

Fats can be divided into saturated, monounsaturated, and polyunsaturated fats.

 

Saturated fats are found in red meat and coconuts and up until recently have gotten a bad rap as culprits of heart disease. Monounsaturated fats are found in plant foods like nuts, avocado, and olive oil. Polyunsaturated fats include Omega-3’s and Omega-6’s which can be found in fatty fish, flax seeds, and walnuts and are associated with a variety of health benefits.

 

Fats are essential for energy requirements, hormone production, and make up the wall of every cell in your body. They are also directly related to our immune system and having the right ratio of fats is very important for a healthy inflammation response.

 

Carbohydrates

Carbohydrates are found across a wide variety of foods and depending on the structure of the molecule our body will respond to eating carbs in very different ways. Carbohydrates have a direct relationship with the glucose levels or blood sugar in our bodies. When our blood glucose levels become elevated our body releases a hormone called insulin to store this extra energy for later when we might have a greater need for it. This glucose is stored in the muscle and liver in long chains known as glycogen or the glucose can be stored in adipose tissue to be utilized later (aka fat storage).

 

Your goal should be to optimize the amount of carbs that are being stored as glycogen and minimizing excess carbs that would contribute to fat stores. Selecting the right types of foods like vegetables are beneficial because they contain fiber, vitamins, minerals and have a low glycemic index. The glycemic index measures how much a food increases our bodies glucose after consumption. High GI foods include white bread, white rice, and cereals. These foods can be very bad for your waistline, because if your body is not prepared to receive fuel and store it as glycogen they will immediately be stored as fat.

Our bodies can become insulin resistant and requires higher and higher amounts of insulin to store the glucose. Resistance training however, can increase our insulin sensitivity. That means that our cells are highly responsive to storing glucose when insulin is present. Focus on consuming low glycemic carbohydrates that provide key nutrients and avoid high sugar or refined ingredients.

 

Protein

Protein is found in and comprises most of the cells in our body. It is found in a variety of animal and plant sources. Protein is important because it contains amino acids, tiny molecules that are the building blocks of muscle and also used for the synthesis of hormones and neurotransmitters. Some of these amino acids are considered essential meaning they must be provided from a dietary source. Without these essential amino acids we will not be able to repair our tissues and certain vital processes will cease to happen.

 

Since protein helps us recover from and perform optimally during our workouts it is important to consume after a workout for muscle repair. Real food sources of protein include beef, chicken, eggs, and fish. Try to include these foods as staples in your diet. These foods have amino acid content that is similar to what our human body requires for repair. This is also known as the biological value of the protein. Vegetable sources of protein have a lower biological value and may lack one of the essential amino acids needed by humans. These foods must be strategically combined by vegans or vegetarians so they consume all the amino acids needed for tissue repair. As a vegan athlete it can be challenging to meet your needs without supplementation and can be difficult to get a full spectrum of key micronutrients.

 

Try to consume 1.0 to 1.5 grams of protein for every kilogram of body weight. For a 200 pound man (90 kg) that means 90 grams to 135 grams of protein per day. This will provide enough amino acids for your bodies daily needs. Unfortunately eating more protein doesn’t mean it  automatically turns into muscle. Unused protein will be broken down and utilized as a fuel source by the body.

 

Hopefully knowing a little bit more about each of the macronutrients and how they act in your body will help you to make informed decisions.

 

If you have more questions around a healthy diet give us a call today!

 

8175876665

Maximize Your Macros:

A Consumer’s guide to Fat, Carbs, and Protein…

Diet and nutrition are a highly individual journey and no one answer is true or right for everyone. The simple fact of the matter is that when it comes down to it, you have to figure out what works best for you. However there are some overarching philosophy that can channel your approach to healthy eating. When you figure out a style and frequency in your relationship with food that works well you will notice improvements in energy levels, focus, mood, and of course physical performance.

Fats

Paleo, Ketogenic, and Atkins diet have helped change many of the negative perceptions of fat in the diet. As Americans a far bigger threat to our health is a diet that contain high sugar and processed foods.Fats are not only not bad for you but are an essential source of fuel and micronutrients that make us healthy. It’s important to choose the right types and amounts of fats in your diet that let you operate at your best.

The chemical structure of a fat or fatty acid determines what role it will play in our bodies. Based on this structure we are able to classify fats in certain classes that share similar characteristics.
Fats can be divided into saturated, monounsaturated, and polyunsaturated fats.

Saturated fats are found in red meat and coconuts and up until recently have gotten a bad rap as culprits of heart disease. Monounsaturated fats are found in plant foods like nuts, avocado, and olive oil. Polyunsaturated fats include Omega-3’s and Omega-6’s which can be found in fatty fish, flax seeds, and walnuts and are associated with a variety of health benefits.

Fats are essential for energy requirements, hormone production, and make up the wall of every cell in your body. They are also directly related to our immune system and having the right ratio of fats is very important for a healthy inflammation response.

Carbohydrates

Carbohydrates are found across a wide variety of foods and depending on the structure of the molecule our body will respond to eating carbs in very different ways. Carbohydrates have a direct relationship with the glucose levels or blood sugar in our bodies. When our blood glucose levels become elevated our body releases a hormone called insulin to store this extra energy for later when we might have a greater need for it. This glucose is stored in the muscle and liver in long chains known as glycogen or the glucose can be stored in adipose tissue to be utilized later (aka fat storage).

Your goal should be to optimize the amount of carbs that are being stored as glycogen and minimizing excess carbs that would contribute to fat stores. Selecting the right types of foods like vegetables are beneficial because they contain fiber, vitamins, minerals and have a low glycemic index. The glycemic index measures how much a food increases our bodies glucose after consumption. High GI foods include white bread, white rice, and cereals. These foods can be very bad for your waistline, because if your body is not prepared to receive fuel and store it as glycogen they will immediately be stored as fat.
Our bodies can become insulin resistant and requires higher and higher amounts of insulin to store the glucose. Resistance training however, can increase our insulin sensitivity. That means that our cells are highly responsive to storing glucose when insulin is present. Focus on consuming low glycemic carbohydrates that provide key nutrients and avoid high sugar or refined ingredients.

Protein

Protein is found in and comprises most of the cells in our body. It is found in a variety of animal and plant sources. Protein is important because it contains amino acids, tiny molecules that are the building blocks of muscle and also used for the synthesis of hormones and neurotransmitters. Some of these amino acids are considered essential meaning they must be provided from a dietary source. Without these essential amino acids we will not be able to repair our tissues and certain vital processes will cease to happen.

Since protein helps us recover from and perform optimally during our workouts it is important to consume after a workout for muscle repair. Real food sources of protein include beef, chicken, eggs, and fish. Try to include these foods as staples in your diet. These foods have amino acid content that is similar to what our human body requires for repair. This is also known as the biological value of the protein. Vegetable sources of protein have a lower biological value and may lack one of the essential amino acids needed by humans. These foods must be strategically combined by vegans or vegetarians so they consume all the amino acids needed for tissue repair. As a vegan athlete it can be challenging to meet your needs without supplementation and can be difficult to get a full spectrum of key micronutrients.

Try to consume 1.0 to 1.5 grams of protein for every kilogram of body weight. For a 200 pound man (90 kg) that means 90 grams to 135 grams of protein per day. This will provide enough amino acids for your bodies daily needs. Unfortunately eating more protein doesn’t mean it automatically turns into muscle. Unused protein will be broken down and utilized as a fuel source by the body.

It’s important to remember that if you’re not tracking what you eat then I can’t make great recommendations for you. There is not one size fits all and each person reacts to food differently. Don’t be afraid to experiment.

Hopefully knowing a little bit more about each of the macronutrients and how they act in your body will help you to make informed decisions. If you have more questions around a healthy diet let me know i’m here for ya.

-Grant

4 Ingredient Protein Pancakes

4 Ingredient Protein Pancakes
This is one of our favorite recipes! Quick, easy and delicious! One servings is equal to 3 pancakes. Looking for a good snack? Only have 2 pancakes.
Servings Prep Time
2servings 10minutes
Cook Time
5minutes
Instructions
  1. Beat Eggs and Egg whites
  2. Mix in applesauce, cinnamon, vanilla, oats and protein powder
  3. Place skillet on LOW heat
  4. Makes about 5 protein pancakes
  5. Optional: top with 1 tsp almond butter (not included in nutrition facts label)
  6. Enjoy!