Food Matters

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Diet is such an ugly word – “DIE”ing is how people feel when they are doing it so why do we torcher ourselves? Restrict this, eat this, don’t eat that…. Truth is, we are our own little science experiment and until we take the time to figure out what our body runs the best on, it’s going to be a not so fun roller coaster.

DOES IT HAVE TO BE?

No, you can eat with flexibility understanding what the outcome of each food source you put into your body will be. The way your body processes a doughnut is much different than the way it processes a sweet potato. Although both carbohydrate sources, both broken down into sugar, only one is nutrient dense and only one will provide your body with good fuel. What about fat – isn’t it bad for you? NO! (I would love to extend these explanation points, but that may over do it so I’ll stop with one). Over consumption of unhealthy, processed, and oxidized fats will do bad things to your cholesterol and increase risk of disease (so will gluten!). There are plenty of fat sources out there that aren’t unhealthy, processed, and oxidized. There for, consuming fats is far from a bad thing. Oh, then there is protein… plant based, animal based – which one is better. How about both!

Most people’s goal in life is to live a long and healthy one. If this is the case, we have to look beyond calorie restriction, short term dieting plans, and aim for longevity. Sure, calorie restriction will provide you with short term weight loss results (it’s not sustainable) but eating more of nutrient dense foods and less processed foods will provide you with fat loss, muscle gain, bone health, energy, and so much more! So really, it’s learning what to eat and when to eat more than it is the number of calories to consume, because where those calories come from MATTER if your goal is to keep what you worked so hard for.

Food Choices – quick and easy guidelines: 

  1. Choose foods that give you energy, not foods that bog you down – Starchy carbs (they have their place – evenings/pre-workout/mid performance in small doses), junk food, doughnuts, potato chips…
  2. Meals are no longer breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Meal timing should be based on what fuels your brain and body best – workouts, work schedule, when you need energy, when you are legitimately starving (not just thirsty). At the end of the day it comes down to – Did you fulfill your energy needs via macros that fit your goals (see below)? Did you fuel your body pre, intra (if needed) and post workout for optimal performance?
  3. Foods that give you energy (various eating “styles” will have their own preference on what is “acceptable” or recommended what fits within their philosophies, but most listed below  (after #6) can be viewed as clean, digestible, and provide more than just food. They provide actual fuel.
  4. Eating until you are so full you can’t move is beneficial how? It’s not – 80% full is a good goal.
  5. REMEMBER – we are human, treats are ok (of course there are great ways to make dessert/treats “healthier” these days, but we aren’t going to get into that here). Just because you had a slip up with your macros or overate/under ate one day out of the week doesn’t mean it’s the end of the world and you have to start over. Re-group and get back to it.
  6. BONUS – healthy foods do not have to be bland/boring, there are so many recipes out there that make good food fun. Don’t be afraid to expand your horizons and try them out 🙂

Non – Starchy Carbohydrates

  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Spinach
  • Kale
  • Brussel Sprouts
  • Asparagus
  • Cabbage
  • Zucchini
  • Squash (All kinds)
  • Onions

Starchy Carbohydrates 

  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Quinoa
  • Rice
  • Beans
  • White Potatoes
  • Oats

 Fats

  • Grass Fed Butter
  • Avocados
  • Fish
  • Avocado Oil
  • Coconut Oil
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Nuts (Almonds, Cashews, Pecans, Pistachios, Hazelnuts)
  • Nut Butters
  • MTC Oil
  • Eggs
  • Cashew/Almond Milk

Protein Options:

  • Grass Fed Beef
  • Grass Fed Lamb
  • Pork (Loin/Chops/Ground)
  • Steak
  • Turkey
  • Chicken
  • Fish
  • Eggs

Macros:

I’m sure you have heard this term and if you are client of mine, you definitely have. Tracking your macros can make a difference in your performance, the rate at which you transform you body composition, sleep, energy, and mental capacity. Keep in mind that percentages are individualized based your goals. The great thing about tracking macros versus calories is the flexibility you have with your food choices. It’s all about awareness.

Ex. If within your daily intake, you are allotted 116 grams of Carbohydrates, 130 grams of Protein and 129 grams of Fat (this would be someone eating a higher fat diet like myself), and for your first meal, you decide you want 1/2 cup of oats (30ish grams of carbs), 1 banana (27-30 grams of carbs), and 1 tbsp of honey  (17 grams of carbs) for a total of  77 grams of carbs. That’s fine, but you better plan ahead for the rest of the day because carbs add up quick.

While flexible, this is where your food choices matter no matter which eating style you choose. Choosing nutrient dense foods (meaning getting the biggest bang for your buck, not just trying to fulfill calories with everything and anything) actually allows you to eat more not less, but it’s good to know that you can have the flexibility when adding up your macros, especially on cheat days or days where you are off a bit.

Side note:  if you are on point with your macros – your calories will add up since 1 gram equals a specified number of calories. See below.

Carbohydrates (1 gram = 4 calories), Proteins (1 gram = 4 calories), Fats (1 gram = 9 calories)

How do I figure out my macros:

1st – Calculate your caloric requirements using BMR (Basil Metabolic Rate) and TDEE (Total Daily Energy Expenditure):

Male Example:

TDEE: Total Daily Energy Expenditure (BMR X Activity Level)
BMR: The # of calories (energy expended) your body burns in 1 day by itself
Formula (13.7 X Weight(kg)) + (5 X Height(cm)) – (6.8 X Age) + 66.47
(13.7 X 86.36) + (5 X 176.53) – (6.8 X 31) + 66.47
1183.13 + 882.65 – 210.8 + 66.47
BMR: 1,921.45
TDEE: 1,921.45 X 1.5(3-5 days of exercise) – See TDEE #’s below to apply correctly.
Total: 2882.17
Deficit/Addition Deduction or addition of calories based on goal. If maintaining weight is your goal no deduction is needed. For this example, goal is to maintain. Deficits/Additions can range from 300-500 is a safe range for deductions in average populations. +500-1000 is a safe range for athletes and those trying to put on muscle mass.
New Total: 2882.17

 

Female Example:

TDEE: Total Daily Energy Expenditure (BMR X Activity Level)
BMR: The # of calories (energy expended) your body burns in 1 day by itself
Formula (9.56 X Weight (kg)) + (1.85 X Height(cm)) – (4.68 X Age) + 655
(9.56 X 57.5) + (1.85 X 156.21) – (4.68 X 28) + 655
549.7 + 288.98 – 131.04 + 655
BMR: 1,362.64
TDEE: 1,362.64 X 1.7(Activity Level) – See TDEE #’s below to apply correctly.
Total: 2316.48
Deficit/Addition Deduction or addition of calories based on goal. If maintaining weight is your goal no deduction is needed. For this example, goal is to maintain. Deficits/Additions can range from 300-500 is a safe range for deductions in average populations. +500-1000 is a safe range for athletes and those trying to put on muscle mass.
New Total: 2,316.48

TDEE –

  • Sedentary = BMR x 1.2 (little or no exercise, desk job)
  • Lightly active = BMR x 1.375 (light exercise/ sports 1-3 days/week)
  • Moderately active = BMR x 1.55 (moderate exercise/ sports 6-7 days/week)
  • Very active = BMR x 1.725 (hard exercise every day, or exercising 2X/day)

Now for the fun part – your macros:

First, figure out what percentage of each macronutrient you need to full fill your goal and meet your energy requirements. This is the experimental part. For someone who eats a bulletproof diet, they may consume 50-70% fat, 20-30 % protein, and 10-20% carbohydrates. For someone who is Paleo, they may consume 50% fat, 25% protein, and 25% carbs. At the end of the day, you have to consider the following: Do you have enough energy based on what you are eating, do you feel satisfied or are you starving at night, are you sleeping well, and do you have the ability to stay focused throughout the day? If you are starving all day long maybe you need to increase your fats and decrease your carbs (fats make you feel more satiated, as long as they are the right fats where carbs provide you with temporary fullness due to a spike in glucose. BUT when glucose goes up it has to come back down – sugar crash!). If you are starving at night and/or not sleeping, maybe you aren’t getting enough of something. My recommendation is to start with a conservative range in your macros (40% fat, 30% carbs, 30% protein – just an example) and adjust as needed until you feel that you are at your peak and seeing the results you want. Tip – give it some time, if you are used to eating high carbs and switch to high fats your body needs some time to adjust. After a week or two, something isn’t right – change it up!

Second, calculate your allotted grams. We will use the female example from above to complete the calculations.

  • New Total: 2,316.48
  • Carbohydrates (2,316.48 X 25%) = 579.12 calories/4 grams per calorie = 144 grams of Carbs
  • Protein (2,316.4 X 25%) = 579.12 calories/4 grams per calorie = 144 grams of Protein
  • Fats (2,316.4 X 50%) = 1,158.24 calories/9 grams per calorie = 128 grams of Fat

Below you will see a list of various eating styles. Again, as I said before, at the end of the day it’s about finding a plan that works for you. One that fits your goals and supports your daily needs. By taking the time to learn about the benefits of each, it may be worth experimenting with a few, tracking your progress and the variables that make a difference. From there, you can make a call on what is right. What works for one person doesn’t always work for another… The goal is to not think about it has “DIET” and more of an eating plan that supports your needs long term.

Eating Styles:

Image result for Paleo

 

 

Paleo – A whole food eating plan that promotes the consumption of foods that go through minimal processes from the time it is created to the time it is consumed. Paleo, like bulletproof, also promotes a higher consumption of fats versus carbs; 50% Fats, 30% Protein, 20% Carbs. Check out a few resources from the original  – Paleo Solution by Robb Wolfe. Another great resource is “It Starts with Food” written by Melissa and Dallas Hartwig, creators of the Whole30.

Resources: 

https://robbwolf.com/what-is-the-paleo-diet/

https://paleoleap.com/published-research-health-benefits-of-paleo/

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Keto – An eating plan that helps your body burn fat as your primary fuel source while consuming higher percentages of the “good fats”, moderate protein, and low carbohydrates (70% fat, 20% protein, 10% fat).  In combination with intermittent fasting and Carb cycling, this eating style can be very effective for both performance and body transformation. On it’s own, it may not be sustainable for most people but in cycles, can be highly beneficial.

Resources: 

https://blog.bulletproof.com/ketosis-helps-lose-weight-suppressed-appetite/

https://draxe.com/truth-about-the-controversial-ketogenic-diet/

http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/85/1/238.full

Image result for bulletproof diet

Bulletproof – Dave Asprey created the bulletproof diet to enhance his biological system and live life more efficiently. While the bulletproof diet takes time and research before fully understanding all of it’s benefits, I highly recommend exploring his philosophy. The bulletproof diet encompasses keto, intermittent fasting, explores various ways to prepare food to get the most out of each nutrient, provides supplementation to better the processes inside the body/mind, and teaches you how to enhance quality of life in its entirety. Is it the be all end all, NO – but he makes a ton of great points. From the effects of mold susceptible  and toxic foods to how light changes your ability to sleep, worth skimming if not diving in.

Resources: 

https://blog.bulletproof.com/bulletproof-for-beginners/

Image result for intermittent fasting

 

Intermittent Fasting – There are multiple versions of intermittent fasting. Check out the following resources to learn more and potentially find one that works for you. I prefer the “Lean Gains” method as it better supports my training schedule in combination with carbohydrate cycling as needed.

Resources: 

https://sciencebasedmedicine.org/intermittent-fasting/

http://easacademy.org/trainer-resources/article/intermittent-fasting

https://blog.bulletproof.com/bulletproof-intermittent-fasting-the-definitive-guide/

http://jamesclear.com/good-bad-intermittent-fasting

Carb Cycling  – An eating style that allows you to be a bit flexible with your macros through making weekly adjustments to support your goals. I include carb cycling as a part of my High Fat/Low Carb eating plan to re-feed my body with glucose and build muscle while maintaining lean body mass. (Good carbs do build muscle, doesn’t mean you need to go crazy with them)

Resources: 

Check out the  video above from Amanda Bucci explaining what Carb cycling looks like and of course there are many ways to implement this for performance/body comp transformation.

Image result for Vegan Diet

Vegan – An eating plan that allows for no animal product to be consumed or used. To make this eating style beneficial, food choices are extremely important. Just because cheetos are technically “vegan” doesn’t make them healthy. Concerns with vegan and vegetarian diets are lack of protein and specific vitamins.

Resources: 

https://authoritynutrition.com/vegan-diet-benefits/

https://draxe.com/vegan-diet/

Image result for Vegetarian Diet

Vegetarian – An eating plan that allows for no meat and/or sometimes other animal products to be consumed, whether it be by choice or for health/religious reasons.

Resources: 

http://www.pcrm.org/health/diets/vegdiets/vegetarian-foods-powerful-for-health

https://vegetarian-nutrition.info/health-benefits-of-vegetarian-diets/

Is there more to it than that, of course – it’s science. But does there have to be, no! Navigate through (do your research), track your progress, and find what works for you. The goal is to keep it simple and attainable. When we are talking performance versus weight loss or a combination, we can dig a little deeper into the nitty gritty. At the end of the day, the point here is to stay on top of what you are eating, make solid choices, and stay within your macros allotted for your goals. I can almost guarantee, energy levels will increase, sleep will improve, exercise capacity and mental focus will increase. Keep in mind –we are human, we are not perfect. Allow for SOME mess ups, some flexibility and keep on rolling!

RTBP – Where Strength Builds Confidence

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