Diet culture can make eating a really stressful experience.
From keto, plant based, mediterranean, pescatarian, meat-only, intermittent fasting, OMAD (one meal a day) etc how do you know what diet to choose.
Let me break it down for you, STOP LISTENING TO THE NEWEST, TRENDIEST FAD THAT COMES INTO THE MARKET!
Another concept we hear so much about is balance, but think about it like this... Is the concept of balance associated with a diet that restricts a macronutrient group?
Answer... No, just no....
Before I get into the importance of balanced meals and macros, lets review what they are...
Macros are nutrients that your body requires in large amounts, which include protein, carbohydrates and fats. Water is considered another macronutrient, but we will table that for another post.
Protein is the building block of all the tissues in your body. Think collagen ladies and guys think muscle! And the more muscle you have, the more calories you burn at a rested state. It also composes all enzymes in the body which are the catalysts for EVERY SINGLE metabolic reaction that occurs.
Fat is another key player. Along with protein, it is a building block of all hormones, cells and organs. Your brain is made up of 60% fat btw...
Fat also offers protection to all your vital organs and is a regulator of body temperature. And yes, it can be used as an ALTERNATE energy source for the body, when carbohydrate isn't available.
Carbohydrates are the preferred source of energy for the body. This means that when you consume both fat and carbohydrate, your body will use the the carbs to produce energy and save the fat as a back up source. What does this tell us? The human body is designed to utilize carbohydrates. We have systems in place that do this very efficiently, so a diet that restricts carbohydrates exclusively seems counterintuitive.
Aside from being our primary energy source, carbs also play a role in metabolism and hormonal health. When you restrict carbohydrate, your body perceives that you are in a stressful environment and your adrenal glands start producing adrenaline and cortisol (stress hormone). This is something you want to avoid because chronically elevated cortisol can cause chronic inflammation and disrupt sleep, digestion, learning, memory, mood etc. Your adrenal glands also have a role in producing progesterone, which is key in balancing estrogen levels.
So ladies, cutting carbohydrates long term can lead to hormonal imbalance and estrogen dominance due to the decreased production of progesterone!
And guys, chronically elevated cortisol isn't good for you either. Think low testosterone, which can lead to loss of muscle, lower metabolic function and lower sex drive.
To summarize, please stop restricting one or multiple macronutrient groups. With each meal have a balance of protein, carbohydrates and fats.
An ideal day would look something like this....
1/2 cup oat meal w. chia seeds, 1 scoop protein powder mixed in and topped with berries
3 egg omelette with spinach/mushrooms/tomatoes with 2 slices sprouted grain toast
Big salad with grilled chicken, chickpeas, peppers, onions, cucumber, dressed with 2 Tbsp. EVOO and balsamic
Salmon with a medium sweet potato and asparagus (any green veggie would work)
Grilled cod with zoodles/peas/carrots/EVOO in a marinara sauce, side of broccoli
Steak with quinoa salad (spinach, tomato, EVOO, garlic), side of brussel sprouts
Now you're probably asking, why haven't I heard this before and why isn't the newest diet guru on the diet scene promoting this?
Because its not sexy...
Balance doesn't sell books or programs and doesn't give you excuses to eat foods in excess that you should have in moderation.
I hope you can use this as a tool to find some dietary and lifestyle balance.