I was trying to think of some catchy blog worthy title for this post, but ended up just naming it what it is LOL! Lately I have had a few more emails and a couple comments about exactly how I eat and why I eat the way I do. You might want to get a cup of coffee, because this will probably be somewhat long and rambling.
I basically count calories, but I am more concerned with getting proper nutrient macros. I’m not a low carb follower per se, but I do watch my carbs. I eat 5 times a day. 3 meals and 2 snacks. I strive to have protein/carbs and fat every time I eat. I don’t really eat a lot of sweet stuff anymore. I don’t use artificial sweeteners, if I want something sweet – I have the real thing. That way I have learned that I don’t need that stuff on a daily basis, but it really is a treat. So I am not wasting my calories on 100 calorie packs, or junk like that. A book that had a huge influence on me was The Sugar Addict’s Total Recovery Program, and that was kind of a catalyst for me in changing how I ate.
I wanted a little more accountability, so I joined WW online a few years ago – and while WW is a good program to a degree – I have always gotten stuck at some point, and the last time was no different. I realized that I was just not eating enough, and not eating enough protein and not enough fat. I was afraid of calories and afraid of fat.
In learning more about nutrition and macronutrients, more and more information has been coming out that fat is not the enemy. Just as a point, your body needs 10 grams of fat a day alone just for your gallbladder to function properly.
Now this is not me saying go out and lick a stick of butter, but fat is very important in a diet and really will allow you to eat healthier (in my opinion) and have a lot more options.
For a lot of people, when they are losing weight or watching calories, what ends up in the grocery cart? Lean cuisines, Smart Ones, 100 calorie snack packs, lite this, sucralose there, and fat free that. If you look at this list – all of this stuff is processed foods. Yes, lower in calories, but also not very high in protein or fat. This stuff doesn’t keep you full.
If you look at good whole foods, the fat content is naturally higher. Whole grains are higher in fat than processed grains, so yes – the calorie count is higher, but the nutritional benefits outweigh all that (haha). Plus, it really does help you stay full. Whole grain products also have more protein in them, another plus.
I eat more protein because I strength train pretty hard. I shoot for 100 grams a day or so, and usually don’t have a problem getting that in. To do this, something else has to shift, which is usually a lower portion of carbs in my day. That’s why you see so many adapted low carb recipes on my site – not that I follow low carb, but if I can find ways to get in more protein, I will go for it. That’s also why you see protein powder end up in my baked stuff, or my oatmeal. This keeps me full, and I can enjoy a muffin or cookie and know that I am getting what my body needs, and don’t worry about a sugar crash.
My main focus at any given meal is the protein base, whether that is meat, eggs, vegetarian option, or dairy. Then I add in the carbs, always with fiber – so that means fruits and veggies, or occasionally brown rice or whole grain bread type of thing. Then I think about the fat. I can either cook with it, like coconut oil or sunflower oil, or I can add it on top of something (bleu cheese dressing on a wrap with chicken and hot sauce!!), or sometimes just straight up like nuts or a spoon of peanut butter.
My ideal would be to get my macro ratios at 40% carbs, 30% protein, 30% fat (ala The Zone) and 25 grams of fiber, but as long as I am at least 50/25/25 I am fine, and normally I am somewhere between those ratios. Since I do work out a lot, I have no problems with higher carbs. The brain needs a certain amount of carbs to function, and I am all about using my brain LOL! Plus, I don’t see the point in going into ketosis and have the body burn protein to make the glucose your body would get naturally from carbs. To me, that is not efficient for the body – and I want my body to operate like a well-oiled machine, which means efficiency.
I really enjoy the foods I eat, and I like playing with my foods to make them in new and interesting ways so that I can enjoy them and get the nutritional benefits that I want to see without the frankenchemicals. Seems like a company could be started that caters to people like me 😀