Nutrition Guide

Nutrition Guide

Understanding metabolism

Think of your metabolism like a fire. When you fuel the fire with a log (i.e. wholesome foods like healthy protein, carbohydrates and fat), the fire burns hot for a longer period of time. When you don’t fuel the fire enough, or you fuel it with paper or twigs (refined carbohydrates and sugar), it dies down.

Macronutrient basics

Let’s get back to calories. A calorie is not an entity unto itself. Calories come from the three building blocks of food: protein, fat and carbohydrates. These three important nutrients are called macronutrients, and your body needs each of them to function properly.
If you balance macronutrients the right way with the right combination of foods, your body will metabolize fat, be able to build muscle (with exercise) and feel energized for prolonged periods of time.
Here’s how we craft the perfect meal: we start with protein and ensure that each meal has enough. This gives your muscles the nutrients they need to grow. Then, we add carbohydrates to help you feel satisfied and energized. The remainder of your meal calories come from healthy fat. Remember, eating fat will not make you fat. In fact, it can help you feel more satisfied and maintain steady blood sugar levels.

Foods to limit

Limiting the foods below will set you up for success and achieve long-term health.

  • Refined carbohydrates: Refined carbs like white bread, pasta, rice, cereal, and snack foods on their own will result in high blood sugar levels and insulin peak. This spike in sugar will stop your body from burning fat and make you crave more food.
  • Too much fruit: Fruit is nature’s candy, and the fructose found in it can make you feel hungrier, so aim for no more than 2-3 pieces a day. Limit dehydrated fruit, which has water removed, and avoid fruit juices, which have the fiber removed.
  • Added sugar: Be mindful of sugar and all its derivatives (e.g. table sugar, honey, agave nectar, molasses, maple syrup). Enjoy them in moderation and pair them with some protein.
  • Sugary beverages: Aim to cut out soda and drinks with added sugar completely, including fruit juice. Try sparkling water with a slice of lemon or lime to satisfy your need for bubbles and flavor.
  • Processed oils: Avoid processed and heat-treated oils like refined corn, canola, cottonseed, safflower and sunflower oils. Also, steer clear of anything containing refined, hydrogenated and trans fats (e.g. packaged and fried foods). Your body doesn’t know how to digest these kinds of fats, plus they increase inflammation and your risk for heart disease.
  • Processed and packaged foods: Manufacturers generally add salt, sugar and fat to processed and packaged foods to keep us coming back for more.

Food to enjoy

 Do your best to buy organic ingredients from sustainable sources when possible.
Great whole sources of protein include:

  • Fish (white fish, salmon, tuna, mackerel, trout, sardines, anchovies, tilapia, catfish, swordfish, halibut, herring)
  • Shellfish (shrimps, prawns, crab, lobster, oysters, mussels)
  • Poultry (chicken, turkey)
  • Lean or organic meat (beef, pork, goat, lamb, veal, rabbit, deer)
  • Eggs (preferably organic)
  • Dairy (minimally processed cheese, cottage cheese, unsweetened yogurt and non-dairy alternatives)
  • Tofu and soy products (minimally processed)

Why aren’t legumes on that list? Legumes offer lots of protein, but they are also high in carbohydrates. What’s good is that the glycemic load of legumes is rather low, meaning that blood sugar stays more constant.

Great sources of fat include:

  • Fatty fish (salmon, herring, trout, mackerel, anchovies)
  • Avocado
  • Coconut oil and extra virgin olive oil
  • Dairy and butter from organic, grass-fed animals
  • Olives
  • Nuts (almonds, walnuts, macadamia nuts, peanuts*)
  • Seeds (pumpkin, sesame, chia, flaxseed)

If you don’t like fish, consider either eating more chia seeds, walnuts, flaxseed or taking a fish oil supplement to ensure you get enough omega-3 fatty acids (which our bodies require).

Great sources of carbohydrates include:

  • Whole grains (amaranth, brown and wild rice, millet, quinoa**)
  • Starchy vegetables (sweet potatoes, potatoes, yams, corn)
  • Legumes (lentils, beans, chickpeas)
  • Fruits (apples, pears, oranges and berries)

*peanuts are technically a legume
**quinoa is technically a seed

Setting yourself up for success

Follow these tips every day to feel satisfied and energized while you work towards your wellness goal. The bottom line philosophy is that if you balance complex carbohydrates with a protein and fat, you’ll feel satisfied for longer periods, cravings will decrease and you’ll avoid dangerous insulin spikes and crashes. To make your meal plan fun, incorporate flavors that you enjoy (i.e. herbs and spices, citrus, hot sauce, soy sauce, etc.).