And for the record, if it is a whole food, in its natural state (ie it didn't come in a package) than it is the right choice, always. You can never go wrong with, or eat too many, vegetables, fruits, whole grains, nuts, seeds, and legumes. There is a reason why Brussels sprouts fill you up and an entire bag of chips or crackers doesn't. Nutrient density vs empty calories.
Carbohydrates, fats, and proteins are our macronutrients. They are essential for the health of all bodily systems, give us energy to burn, facilitate proper digestion and absorption, and a create a sharp and steady mind. Without these, you will become fat, sick, and depressed. The best sources (you guessed it): real, whole, foods.
The most misunderstood word in our language, thanks to the media, book sales, food marketers, magazines, etc.
Everything is either a carb, a fat, or a protein. More specifically, most foods contain all three, just the ratio varies.
I met a woman who recently finished a nursing program. She was going to be giving out information at a health fair on diabetes and diet and did not know that broccoli was a carbohydrate (facepalm)!!!
Sure, some carbs are better than others (brown rice vs white), but listen to your gut. You are smart. If something says it is a "good source of whole grains", it probably is not. Read ingredient labels and ignore claims on the front of packaging. Better yet, stick to purchasing from bulk bins and the produce section. Broccoli, or any vegetable, is a better choice nutritionally than a low-carb snack bar or a burger without a bun. Oatmeal and quinoa take the place of sugary cereals. Bell peppers and hummus is greater than string cheese, pretzels, or a sugary yogurt. At every meal you have the opportunity to make a slightly better choice. Take ownership of your health and well-being.
The key to a healthy, happy life! Do not fear fat. It is necessary for most basic biological functions, cushions the organs, and is a fuel source. Much of the research that created the fear mongering around fat is now being refuted. Many people, including myself, have discovered that fat is the key to healthy weight, metabolism, mood, energy, and healthy skin and hair. The key is quality over quantity. I guarantee if you eat less sugar, and eat more plant-based fats, you will lose weight, have more energy, and be less anxious or stressed.
Hemp seeds, chia seeds, coconut oil, walnuts, avocado, sunflower seeds, and believe it or not, cacao nibs are the best sources of plant-based fat. High quality expeller/cold pressed olive oil (use as a dressing, not in high heat cooking) is a very easy way to add in more of the good stuff.
Aim to include one high quality fat at each meal to aid in vitamin and mineral absorption, as well as feel sated, look gorgeous (I am convinced fat cured my skin woes), and boost brain health.
Protein is a collection of amino acids. These are powerful catalysts in our cells. Think outside the cow/chicken/pig/fish on this one. Plant-based sources of protein are cleaner, more sustainable, have a greater concentration of vitamins and minerals, and are cheaper and easier to prepare.
Sources of protein include (highlighting the most concentrated sources):
Vegetables (avocado, broccoli, peas, dark leafy greens, sweet potato)
Legumes (soy (tofu, miso, tempeh), chickpeas, lentils, peanuts)
Nuts + Seeds (cashews, sesame seeds, pistachios, nut butters)
Non-dairy milks (hemp, almond, organic soy)
Unrefined Grains (quinoa, oats, sprouted grain breads, amaranth, brown rice)
We are led to believe "more is more" when it comes to protein. Excess protein is stored in fat cells, so unless you aren't eating enough whole foods, or are looking to gain serious muscle mass, protein powders are not necessary.
Is naturally found in plants (not in snack bars, added to yogurt, etc. That kind is processed and devoid of benefits.) It is what gives them shape and allows them to stand up tall. Fiber is what gives vegetables their satisfying crunch (an no, potato chips do not count), what helps to fill you up, and what makes for a happy and healthy digestive system.
Real sources of fiber include (highlighting the most concentrated sources):
Fruits (strawberries, apples, pears)
Vegetables (dark green leafy greens, squash, and the skins of root veggies)
Legumes (navy beans, lentils, black beans, etc.)
Nuts + Seeds (almonds, flax)
Whole Grains (oats, barley, brown rice, popcorn)
I included fiber in this post for its importance in the diet as well as its current trendy status (although protein is quickly becoming the new buzzword).
Whole grain base + protein + leafy green + colorful veggie(s) + healthy fat = sustained energy and a happy tummy!
Ex 1: Brown rice + black beans + kale + red bell pepper + olive oil = fiesta bowl
Ex 2: Sprouted bread + tempeh + spinach + tomato + avocado = super sandwich
Ex 3: Oatmeal + walnuts + apple + coconut yogurt = a great way to start the day
Have fun playing with this formula. If you follow me on Facebook, you will see this is how I eat (or try to eat) at every single meal. Spices, herbs, and most condiments (tahini, mustard, salsa, hummus, organic ketchup, sauerkraut, etc.) are a freebie, so get creative.
For more ideas visit my recipes page and sign-up for my newsletter.
What holds you back from eating more whole foods?
What are your limiting beliefs in the kitchen or around cooking?
How can you make meal prep a priority?
I want to know.
#marchon #letitbeeasy #giveyourselfpermission