Diet culture can make eating a really stressful experience.
From keto, plant based, Mediterranean, pescatarian, carnivore, intermittent fasting, OMAD (one meal a day), etc how are you supposed to know what diet is right for you?
Quick tip - fads are short lived, trends fade and diets, ultimately, do not work.
Individualized balance is key when choosing a style of eating that aligns with your schedule. Lets face it, a stay at home mom is going to be eating much differently than someone who works a 9 to 5. No matter what your schedule, each macronutrient has its place on your plate. But what are macronutrients aka macros?
Macronutrients 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 carbohydrates to produce energy and store fat as a backup source.
Aside from being our primary energy source, carbohydrates 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, with each meal have a balance of protein, carbohydrates and fats.
An ideal day could look something like this....
Breakfast: 1 cup cooked oatmeal with chia seeds, 1 scoop protein powder mixed in and topped with berries (Click here for my plant based protein powder recommendation) OR 3 egg omelette with spinach/ mushrooms/ tomatoes with 2 slices sprouted grain toast.
Lunch: Big salad with grilled chicken, chickpeas, peppers, onions, cucumber, dressed with 2 Tbsp. EVOO and balsamic OR Salmon with a medium sweet potato and asparagus (any green veggie would work).
Dinner: Grilled cod with zoodles/ peas/ carrots/ EVOO in a marinara sauce, side of broccoli OR Steak with quinoa salad (spinach, tomato, EVOO, garlic), side of brussel sprouts.
Looking for more meal ideas? Check out my ebook, Glow: Simple Plant Based Meals