Follow Up on Protein/Carbs/Fats
Just a quick wrap-up on last week’s lesson. Every nutrition class will offer up formulas for you to determine what percentage of each meal should be protein vs. carbs vs. fat depending on your body type. This is certainly helpful information, but on a practical level, we don’t eat protein, fat and carbs. We eat food. And, keeping track of percentages can be a big struggle. (This mentality is also perpetuated by the food industry to keep us confused.)
The beautiful thing about basing your ‘diet’ on whole foods is that nature takes care of that measuring for you. The more you eat a diverse, whole foods, plant-strong diet (full of organic veggies, nuts, seeds, whole grains, etc.), the less you have to concern yourself with percentages and measuring.
Nature put all of the things we need into our foods. Sometimes we forget this because we hear messages out there to ‘eat more protein’ or ‘eat less carbs’ or ‘eat less fat’, but the semantics of this messaging gets confusing because for most of us the word ‘protein’ means meat/eggs and the word ‘carbs’ means processed foods.
Where do you get your protein?
When people hear I don’t eat meat, eggs or dairy, they always ask, “Where do you get your protein?” That’s because the average person doesn’t realize that protein is in lots of foods, not just those ones.
My bowl of oatmeal in the morning has 26 grams of protein. My green smoothie has 24 grams. TK’s Mason Jar lunch has 32 grams of protein. The nuts I snack on are 15 grams. Most of our dinners are around that amount as well. So, I get more than enough protein every day.
There are lots of sites you can use to figure out how much protein/carbs/fat/calories are in any given food. Myfitnesspal.com is a easy one to use. Just like you monitored your sugar for a while, start looking at the make-up of your favorite foods. Just like we added nuts and seeds to the oatmeal to make it a nutrient-dense meal, you can do the same with your salads by adding pepitas or hemp seeds or beans, etc.
Just know that when we get rid of the processed foods, cut back on eating out, and try to stick with good, whole foods that have been grown sustainably, life gets a lot easier.
Nature packages things up in the perfect balance. We just have to feed ourselves and pay attention to where our food is coming from.
Which leads to the next topic…
Don’t Go Overboard
As much as we have focused on food logs, meal plans, ounces of water, nutrient-dense foods, grams of added sugar, etc. these are just the framework. Remember Week 1? Guidelines, not regulations!
By doing these things and going through these exercises, we are increasing our awareness and cleaning out our system so that we can hear the internal queues. Because it is that messaging from our own bodies that is most important.
With those signals working better for you now, you can begin to recognize what works best for you and where you need to make some tweaks.
The goal is not to follow a rigid plan of eating a certain way. The goal is to find a way of eating that you enjoy and that makes you truly thrive.
Your body knows exactly what it needs, it’s our job to translate that message into action. Maybe it’s food, but maybe it’s rest or love or a big hug.
Just remember to always check in with how you feel. Take care of your animal. And, rather than relying on all of the crazy ‘fixes’ out in the world around you, allow nature to feed you.
And, when life gets so crazy that you can’t take care of yourself the way you want to, stop and make some adjustments.
Tis the Season
It’s hard for us in San Diego to really feel the seasons, but they are there. You will notice your energy shifts, your sleeping patterns, and so will the types of food you want to eat. Nature intended for this and in spite of our ‘24/7, year-round’ lifestyle, there are cycles that we can’t ignore. (Okay, we can ignore them…but that doesn’t lessen their impact on us. Lol.)
But, this week I challenge you to honor the changing of the seasons. Recognize that your body will start to crave different foods as the fall season kicks in. You may want less salads and more root vegetables. More soups and casseroles and less wraps.
You have probably heard the benefits of eating seasonally and locally. This is another thing that is hard to do in today’s world because you can buy a tomato or apple pretty much any day of the year. It’s hard for us to recognize what is seasonal.
If you want to know more about what foods are in season, Eat the Seasons is a useful site to reference. You might think about joining a CSA or adding a stop at a farmers’ market into your grocery shopping because that’s the easiest way to see what’s currently in season here in our backyard.
Of course, as with all things, don’t be rigid with yourself. If your doctor said ‘eat more leafy greens and they are out of season, but available, by all means enjoy them! I’m just suggesting that you add a layer of health benefits when you start to become aware of the patterns in nature and how they align with our lives and our nutritional needs.
Routines are important for helping us automate those things in life that we want to habituate, but food and nutrition are about a lot more than just routine habits. There’s a flow and the more you learn to hear your own internal signals, the more you will be able to go with that flow instead of struggling against it.
Don’t ever get so rigid with your diet that you don’t allow for discovery. And pleasure. And change.
This week I challenge you to practice this by applying a little ‘fall’ to your current routine. Find some seasonal foods that you can play with and incorporate into your meal plan this week. See how that feels for you.
Here are some ideas to get started:
- Brussels Sprouts
- Sweet Potatoes