The 3 Pillars of Macronutrition…part 1

Screen Shot 2015-02-28 at 4.29.15 PMSound familiar?

December 1st:  month long eating frenzy….

January 1st: sign up at the gym and resolutions of healthy eating….

February 1st:  get on the scale and wonder why your weight hasn’t budged, you have been going to the gym after all …

March 1st: you’re in a panic because you don’t know how you are going to get into a bathing suit for Spring Break to the Caribbean and instead you book a trip skiing because you can hide your gut better in a snow jacket…

April 1st:  the fool in you thought January 1st was when it was going to change….

May 1st:  you realize that summer is 1 month away and you go so full force into the gym that you injure yourself from repetitive strain and you’ve slid back to feeling like you did in December during your gluttonous days of eating.

June 1st: the BBQs begin and then the rest of the summer you spend wearing big t-shirts into the pool.

Why are there a gazillion diet books on the market and we just keep getting fatter and sicker? Why can’t we break the cycle and find an individualized plan of nutrition that can both nourish and satiate us at the same time? What if we told you that there is a way of eating that can take into account the occasional bagel, donut or cheat meal? Don’t get us wrong, eating too many muffins will ensure that cupcake top waist line but why follow a way of eating that makes you focus on lack and scarcity? You know what it feels like when you tell yourself that you aren’t allowed to have something….you want that very thing MORE! So much more that you think about it, obsess about it, dream about, salivate about it and downright NEED to have it. What if we told you that if you combine your foods the right way, you could fill up, fuel up and feel satisfied? If you pieced together the right nutrients and your body got what it needed, you wouldn’t crave the very things that deplete you.

Food combinations create chemical reactions that can either give you a boost, sustain you or suck the life energy out of you. Every time you put something to your lips, you have a choice of these three possibilities. Which do you choose? Food combining doesn’t have to be complicated, it just needs to be understood in a simple way.

You’ve heard the words proteins, fats and carbohydrates…diet fads over the past four decades have bastardized each of these macronutrients (macro = large; meaning a lot of these nutrients are necessary for life) and made them all out to be villainous at one time or another. You can undoubtedly find books that say too much protein can cause kidney disorders, too many fats can cause cardiovascular disease and too many carbohydrates turn to sugar which make you fat. Too much of one thing can for sure create an imbalance but lets not play the blame game on any one of these without understanding why each macronutrient is imperative to your health and proper weight.

Proteins play an important functional role in our health. They can create antibodies to stave off harmful bacteria and viruses. They can help us maintain a neutral pH by picking up or releasing hydrogen ions in the blood when our pH gets too high or low. Protein is a primary component of collagen, the connective matrix that keeps our skin looking young, our hair vibrant, our joints flexible and our nails strong. Proteins carry sodium and potassium into and out of cells to balance our electrolytes. They carry oxygen into our cells from respiration by way of hemoglobin.

Fats are energy powerhouses. Each 1 gram of fat provides us with 9 g of energy! Fats give you sustained energy and allow you to “go the distance”. Many hormones are derived from fats including those that help to create muscle! So, how would anyone think it would make sense to deprive themselves of fat when we need it to build muscle??? Let us be clear here: stay away from “trans fats” (big box packaged goods, fried foods, fast food chain eating) and eat more “good” fats (avocados, flax, walnuts, wild salmon, oily small fish).

Carbohydrates are THE MOST IMPORTANT QUICK ENERGY SOURCE of fuel for  your body. It is quick acting as it changes to sugar in the blood to energize cells, muscles and organs. Carbs, when digested, causes the pancreas to secrete insulin which triggers the release of blood sugar to be used as energy. Physiologically, when  too much insulin rushes through your body it will cause an “insulin spike” which is detrimental to losing weight. Carbs are pretty misunderstood by most and they aren’t all evil! Understanding the two types of carbohydrates (simple vs complex) might make you feel a little better about this macronutrient overall.

Simple carbs are small chain molecules that can be broken down very quickly for fast energy however they also tend to spike more insulin.

(examples of simple carbs: white sugar, corn syrup, honey, fruit juices, cola, candy) 

Complex carbs are made up of many molecules of sugar and it takes longer to break these bonds so it takes more time for insulin to extract energy from them

(examples of complex carbs: yogurt, beans, buckwheat, brown rice, carrots, yams, strawberries). 

Here is a great chart for you to print out and keep on you so you understand what macronutrient choices you have!

macronutrient-chart-round

Read part 2 on how to properly put these 3 macronutrients to use for you individually….

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