these terms can feel overwhelming when you set out to eat clean and supply your body with the energy, vitamins and minerals it needs to be in top condition. with all the hype and conflicting information circulating, it can be nearly impossible to make the right choice for your health. should you be vegan or vegetarian? perhaps one of the low-carb diets would be a good idea, but do you jump into keto or start softer with something like paleo or south beach? what happened to the low-fat diets? maybe a low-sugar, fat free diet plan would actually be healthier. if it all feels like too much, then go back to the basics and count your macros, fats, carbohydrates and protein, like the classic weight watchers. every diet plan has a huge following with thousands saying they lost those pesky extra pounds, so how do you choose?
all of these diets are great options to slim down and fill your digestive system with wholesome, organic foods. yet, each diet will not deliver the same results for all people. we are different. our metabolisms, food preference and fundamental genetics are different. what works for your best friend or neighbor, may not be as successful for your own body. as we enter into the spring season and welcome new beginnings, it’s time to embrace the knowledge that each one of our bodies is different, and there simply is no one size fits all nutrition plan. when you understand what your body needs to thrive, then you can choose how to eat or what diet to follow. it’s not too late to refresh your food basics! let’s take a look.
your body needs fat! it is what fuels over half of your daily processes in your brain and your cells. fat stores energy for us and provides internal protective layers over our organs, and it facilitates protein by communicating with your cells. fat stores vitamins we need at later times and begins the chemical reactions our body needs for growth; it regulates reproductive and steroid hormones, builds healthy immune systems and much more. we need fat in our diet, but we need good fats.
monounsaturated fat is typically liquid at room temperature, so think oils. choose extra virgin olive or coconut oil or find alternative oils like flax seed and avocado. avoid vegetable oils, palm oil, peanut oil and canola oil which are often used for deep frying and fast food. if you want a buttery taste, choose ghee, which is easy enough to make or an organic butter, but do not use margarine.
polyunsaturated fat are your omega-3s and omega-6s. the trick here is to eat 2 to 4 times more omega-3s than 6s which are the common fat in the modern fast food diet. it doesn’t mean you can never have french fries, but you do want to balance those fries with extra portions of salmon, flax and chia.
saturated fat should be consumed in moderation and only from healthy sources like avocados, eggs, oily fish, seeds and nuts. trans fat should be avoided entirely.
your body needs these too! this is your body’s first source of energy and is not stored like fat. when you lower carbs, your body resorts to burning fat stores which is why it is a successful weight loss tool, but you still need around 50 grams a day. any lower and your body can enter ketosis which needs to be fully understood and cleared by your doctor before you begin. carbs help regulate blood glucose levels and feed cells. certain cells in the brain can only run on glucose derived from carbs and cannot use fat, so be sure to keep some carbs in your diet, no matter the plan. so why not eat high carb? if your body does not need all the energy created by the carbohydrates, the glucose is then converted into fat which is then stored. choose healthy carbs from fruits, vegetables, legumes and nuts while limiting your grains to only whole, unprocessed selections.
there are no low protein diets for a reason! our bodies love protein and use it for muscle development, immune system function, cellular production and communication, brain health, chemical reactions and so much more. in a pinch, the body can even pull on it for energy.
when considering your health, it’s imperative to choose clean sources of protein like organic, sprouted legumes, grass-fed beef, free-range chicken and wild-caught fish. when eating plant protein like nuts, seeds, legumes and certain vegetables, be sure to choose organic, non-gmo sources to get the highest nutrient value without chemicals or toxins. animal protein should always be from lean and clean sources. avoid processed, packaged meats of any type including jerky, bacon, lunch meats, ham, sausages and canned meat.
protein is huge right now. when choosing a packaged protein, read the ingredient label and pass on the products with words you can’t pronounce, don’t understand and know not to be from whole foods. protein powders and shakes should be from clear, organic sources whether they are plant or animal based. protein snacks should be the same. take a look at the IWON™ label! now this is a snack you can trust.
now you understand the fundamental macronutrients. knowing how many of each one you need during your day will be a trial and error process, but when you find your sweet spot, your body will run like a well-oiled machine and the extra weight will burn off, slowly, as it should. health is not a quick fix. it is a lifetime act of self-care.