Macros – What are they?

Macro-nutrients – What are they?

Macro-nutrients or macros for short, is essentially the bulk of what you eat. In our everyday diet, we mainly eat carbs, fats, and proteins and that is what macros are made of. When counting macros, we are counting the macros in grams.

 

What are macros?

Macros are carbs, fats, and proteins and they are the bulk of what we eat. Micronutrients are the vitamins and minerals and they don’t take up as much of our diet but they are still necessary for health. A carb, fat, and a protein all have different ways our body utilizes energy or rebuilds our system with.

 

Carbs – a carb or carbohydrate has 4 calories per gram.

Protein – protein has 4 calories per gram.

Fat – has 9 calories per gram.

 

Each macro is utilized in the body for a specific purpose

 

Today we will focus on carbohydrates and dive into them. Carbohydrates are probably one of the easiest macronutrient to consume. They are also the most hated macro.

Carbs are the body’s primary energy source. They are the easiest for the body to convert into energy for the body to use to help transport protein into the muscles, to help either with slow twitch (long endurance feats) or fast twitch (sprinting) muscle fiber actions.

 

Fast carbs VS slow carbs

Even within the class of carbohydrates, some are burned more quickly than others. Complex carbohydrates, such as starches, have a more complex structure than simple carbohydrates like sugar, so it takes a little longer for the body to break them down. Fiber, a third type of carbohydrate, isn’t broken down at all — it travels through the digestive tract mostly unchanged, adding bulk to waste and helping to move waste along to be excreted. Examples of complex-carbohydrate foods that digest more slowly are whole-grain breads, brown rice and vegetables. Examples of simple-carb foods that digest more quickly are refined-grain products, candy and cake.

 

Glucose and glycogen

Glycogen and Glucose are the two forms of sugar that your body employs to store and use as energy . Glucose is the sugar your body converts into energy. Glycogen is the sugar your body stores in both your liver and muscle cells. Your body can’t use glycogen directly as a source of energy, and cannot store glucose.

 

When you eat a well-balanced meal with both carbohydrates and protein, your body converts and absorbs the carbohydrates and part of the protein into glucose. It then attempts to maintain an even blood glucose level. When your blood glucose is too high, your pancreas produces insulin to convert some of that glucose into glycogen and then stores it for later use. When it is running low, it produces glucagon, a hormone secreted by the pancreas which stimulates your liver to convert some glycogen into glucose. Once converted, the glucose can be released into your bloodstream. (The glycogen stored in your muscles can’t be converted back into sugar, so it can only be used by your muscles.)

 

That is a simple bit of information about glucose and how our body uses it.

 

Realizing that all carbs essentially turn into sugar/glucose for the body to store and be used for energy. There are other things that could be going on if you have diabetes or other types of dis-ease but for the simplicity of it, we will leave the information about glucose, there.

 

For the first day of our tracking challenge, we will focus on tracking our food, whatever is going into our mouth we want to bring awareness too and owning it. What carbs do you notice you eat more? What do you like? What do you not like? Lets have that conversation!

 

Protein

Today we are going to go over the second of the three macronutrient, protein. For the average person, it is not the easiest macro to get into your diet without being intentional about it. Proteins are in –

  • Dairy, cottage cheese, cheese, milk, yogurt (especially greek yogurt)
  • Meats and fish
  • Beans and rice (a little, not sure good source but there is some) tofu, soy products, lentils

 

Protein is similar in calories as carbs, it has 4 calories per gram of protein.

Why is protein important? It is the building blocks for our muscles. The amino acids help heal and grow our muscles. Protein is an important component of every cell in the body. … Your body uses protein to build and repair tissues. You also use protein to make enzymes, hormones, and other body chemicals. Protein is an important building block of bones, muscles, cartilage, skin, and blood.

 

The majority of the “fun foods” are not usually good protein sources. It’s actually pretty hard to get good amounts of protein if you are not focused on that. Some people choose to not eat meat and that’s totally ok but I always just suggest they focus extra and should really know how many grams of protein they are getting to really make sure they are keeping and growing their muscle.

 

Why am i so obsessed with muscles? The more muscles you have the more calories you burn doing nothing at all. When you are dieting, it is easy to lose muscle over fat. Since muscle burns more calories (or energy), when you’re dieting and in a calorie deficit, your body wants to get rid of your muscle so that you can conserve your energy (or calories and fat). It is how we have evolved from back in the times where we had to hunt for our food. We didn’t just have a store we could go to, there were some days and weeks we as a species wouldn’t have food so our bodies had to preserve our fat so we could survive. We are really remarkable in that sense.

 

How much protein should you be eating? The best and most accurate way to know this is to know your lean body mass or to know how much muscle you have. There are different ways you can do this. There are machines that tell you your lean body mass. Otherwise the more generic answer to how much protein should you be eating is this:.

the American College of Sports Medicine recommends that to increase muscle mass in combination with physical activity, you need to consume between 1.2 and 1.7 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per day, or 0.5 to 0.8 grams per pound of body weight.

If you have any sort of questions, please feel free to share a comment or even just message me.

 

Motivation

Some days when you’re tracking food may be better than others. Some days will be easier than others. Whether it is an easier day or whether you only tracked once or not at all, give yourself some grace as tracking is only a tool to help you get to your goals. If you do it well or not does not define you as a person. Anything in life if we want to get good at something takes time, grace, practice, and consistency. So this is your reminder to take time and be kind to yourself. Figure out your goals, write them down, ask myself or a trusted friend to keep you accountable to those goals and/or help you create a plan of action with daily small steps. It is always in the small things. For they are really the big things.

 

Fats

Today we are going to go over fats! The either loved or hated macronutrient.

 

Fat per gram is a little higher in calories. Per gram, fat has 9 calories whereas carbs and proteins have 4 calories per gram. Fats will usually allow you to become fuller on less as they contain more “energy”. They are also digested a bit slower. Dietary fats are essential to give your body energy and to support cell growth. They also help protect your organs and help keep your body warm. Fats help your body absorb some nutrients and produce important hormones, too.

Sometimes when you go on low fat diets you may feel like your feelings are up and down as fat helps your hormones regulate. The key is to get a good balance of fats and other nutrients in your diet. Eat the healthiest kinds of fats, in the right amounts.Some types of fats are better for you than others.

 

Different types of fats – The difference between these fats lies in their chemical structure. All fats are made up of a chain of carbon atoms that are linked — or bonded — to hydrogen atoms.

 

Saturated fats

You’ll find saturated fat in foods like these:
Red meat — beef, lamb, pork
Skin-on chicken and other poultry
Whole-milk dairy products like milk, cheese, and ice cream
Butter, Eggs, Palm and coconut oils

Trans fats
French fries and other fried foods

Cakes, pies, biscuits, cookies crackers, donuts and other baked goods.

Stick or tub margarines

Microwave popcorn

Frozen pizza

Unsaturated fats

Unsaturated fats come mainly from vegetables, nuts, and fish. They’re liquid at room temperature. These fats are good for your heart, and the rest of your body. Within unsaturated fats are

Monounsaturated fats –

In foods like avocados, olive, canola, and peanut oil.

Polyunsaturated fats –

Flaxseed, corn, soybean, and sunflower oil, walnuts, flaxseeds, salmond, tuna, and other fatty fish.

 

There are two types of polyunsaturated fats: omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids.

Omega 3 fatty acids come in three forms:

Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) acid – found mainly in fish

Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) – also found mainly in fish

alpha- linolenic acid (ALA) – from plant sources like flaxseeds, vegetable oils, and nuts.

Omega 6 fatty acids are found in foods like leafy green vegetables, seeds, nuts and vegetable oils.

 

That is a lot a lot of information. There is neither good or bad fats, there are just some that if you choose elicit different outcomes. You get to choose those outcomes by what you decide to put into your mouth.

 

 

Meal prep

Today we are going to go over meal prep and the benefits that you could gain from preparing. There is a quote that states, “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail”. With any goal, having specific actions steps and then executing them with a plan is the best way to have success. For our weight loss and maintenance

 

Prepping food will look different for everyone. It really just depends on your lifestyle and what meals you want prepared. We have already gone over in the blog post I shared where we figure out one way to meal prep the proteins as that will help a lot. Now, we can figure out what other meals you may or want prepared.

 

It would be helpful to figure out how many times you want to eat. Some days are different too but become a little more consistent with your schedule and what you want that to look like will help you know what and when you want to eat.

 

To give some freedom, you are free to eat as many times or as few of times as long as you are hitting your calorie goals. With this challenge, we don’t necessarily have our macro goals as we are just getting into the rhythm of what tracking is and creating that habit. Eating six times per day is no better or worse than eating two times per day. We really just want to avoid crazy hunger as when hungry, we tend to not make the best food choices and don’t have as much willpower when it comes.

 

Usually picking one day per week to prepare some meals for the week is helpful. You can start with a few meals for the week. I know when i first started with meal prep i would prep a few meals that would last a few days. I would then prep again after three days. Really there is no wrong way to meal prep. There is only what is working for you and what is not working for you. But you do not know what that is until you start. You just got to start!

 

How do you start? Well, finding some good recipes that you like and that help you hit your carbs, fats, and proteins for the day. Also, foods with good amounts of fiber help keep you full and regular.

 

Fiber.

Dietary fiber — found mainly in fruits, vegetables, whole grains and legumes — is probably best known for its ability to prevent or relieve constipation. But foods containing fiber can provide other health benefits as well, such as helping to maintain a healthy weight and lowering your risk of diabetes, heart disease and some types of cancer.

Selecting tasty foods that provide fiber isn’t difficult. Find out how much dietary fiber you need, the foods that contain it, and how to add them to meals and snacks.

 

Dietary fiber, also known as roughage or bulk, includes the parts of plant foods your body can’t digest or absorb. Unlike other food components, such as fats, proteins or carbohydrates — which your body breaks down and absorbs — fiber isn’t digested by your body. Instead, it passes relatively intact through your stomach, small intestine and colon and out of your body.

Fiber is commonly classified as soluble, which dissolves in water, or insoluble, which doesn’t dissolve.

Soluble fiber. This type of fiber dissolves in water to form a gel-like material. It can help lower blood cholesterol and glucose levels. Soluble fiber is found in oats, peas, beans, apples, citrus fruits, carrots, barley and psyllium.

Insoluble fiber. This type of fiber promotes the movement of material through your digestive system and increases stool bulk, so it can be of benefit to those who struggle with constipation or irregular stools. Whole-wheat flour, wheat bran, nuts, beans and vegetables, such as cauliflower, green beans and potatoes, are good sources of insoluble fiber.

The amount of soluble and insoluble fiber varies in different plant foods. To receive the greatest health benefit, eat a wide variety of high-fiber foods.

 

 

Meal Prep, Meat Production

The macronutrient I struggled the most to get enough of was protein. I decided find the most organized AF way to hit my minimums.

Below is the mass production of turkey taco meat. I will make 30 or more servings of a single protein. I make 1 type of protein each weekend. This allows me to rotating the meat, I don’t get bored and have variety to choose from.

Step 1: Invest in Tupperware. For protein I have about 60, 1 cup containers (I like the rectangle so they stack nice in the freezer) and I also have about 60, 1/2 cup containers (also a square so they stack on the door and in the freezer).

Step 2: Measure /Weigh ALL of the raw meat.

Step 3: Enter these into you fitness tracker as a recipe; I use MyFitnessPal.

Step 4: Add seasoning to the meat and add these to your recipe.

Step 5: Cook all of the protein.

Step 5a: My trick to get finely shredded ground turkey is while and after you are cooking each batch, mash it up with a whisk. That 99% ground turkey is stubborn and this helps a ton.

Step 6: Re-weigh all of the protein. Divide this number by the number of servings or containers you have available

Step 7: Portion and let cool.

Step 8: Freeze

Step 9: Pull them out of the freezer as needed. I use the ice cold meat as the ice pack in my cooler for work.

Chipotle Lime Coleslaw Turkey Rachel

Leftover thanksgiving turkey that you’re getting sick of? Here is a way to mix things up for a zesty open faced sandwich.

Macros

127cal (makes 2 servings)

3.5C | 8F | 17P | 1Fib

Bread & Cheese not included

Ingredients:

  • 85g raw coleslaw mix
  • 10g Horseradish brown mustard
  • 15g Primal Kitchen, chipotle lime mayo
  • 5g white wine vinegar
  • Celery salt – to taste
  • Black pepper – to taste
  • 140g roasted thanksgiving turkey

1. In a bowl mix together coleslaw, brown mustard, white wine vinegar, chipotle lime mayo, celery salt and pepper.

2. Layer coleslaw over turkey on top of your choice of bread. Open faced sandwiches cut your carbs but still allow you to enjoy the flavor of your favorite bread. Add Swiss cheese to make it an official “Rachel” sandwich. I am trying dairy free right now so I skipped that add-on.

2.5 Minute Chocolate Pumpkin Cake

I love cake.

Having minimal macros can make this difficult so i needed to write a recipe that was quick and delicious!

Macros

509 cal /cake

55C | 10F | 54P | 13Fib

Topping not included

Ingredients:

  • 60g pumpkin purée
  • 22g chocolate protein powder
  • 138g liquid egg whites
  • 1tsp baking powder
  • 2g stevia
  • 70g Dark Chocolate Kodiak Cake Power Pancake and Waffle Mix
  • 1 second spray of cooking spray

How to

  1. In a mixing bowl mix Kodiak Cake mix, pumpkin, protein, powder, stevia, and egg whites.
  2. Spray microwave safe bowl with cooking spray.
  3. Scoop cake batter into bowl.
  4. Microwave 2.5 minutes or until the center is stiff.
    • The bowl will be hot.
  5. Flop onto plate immediately exiting the microwave.
  6. Top with available macros. Pictured is Walden Farms Chocolate Syrup mixed with PB2

Spaghetti Squash How To

Step 1: Stab with knife

Step 2: Place on microwave safe plate or bowl

Step 3: Cover with plastic wrap

Step 4: Microwave 12 minutes

Step 5: Split open and scoop out seeds

Step 6: Scoop flesh into strainer

Step 7: Forget while you do 10 other things in the kitchen (about 10 mins)

Step 8: Serve

Flexible Dieting

What is “Flexible Dieting”?

Flexible dieting is a style of dieting that is based around counting the three main macro-nutrients that you consume daily (carbohydrates, protein and fat). This style of diet can lead to long term success because of its ability to be less strict. You are able to choose the foods you want to eat and when you want to eat them.

The word gets a bad reputation because 95% of them fail. The reason they fail is because they are a short term solution, are unrealistic and unsustainable. Most dieters attempt to lose weight and reach goals by making radical changes and completely restrict themselves from eating a certain foods or entire groups all together. Going between the extremes often results in a failed diet attempt. Flexible dieting allows you to find balance.

For this style of calorie restriction these are a few of my recommendations:

  1. Body Weight Scale: I recommend that you weight yourself daily. Weigh yourself naked, every morning when you wake up and after using the restroom. Your weight will fluctuate week to week and using the same scale every day over the week you can see you average change over weeks’ time. Many things will fluctuate your weight: water intake, hormone levels, exercise intensity, travel, salt, large meals etc.
  2. Food Scale: a food scale will allow you to be as precise as possible. The size of cups can be deceiving and 1 table spoon could turn into 2 very quickly. The most accurate way to work flexible dieting is to weigh everything.
  3. Calorie Tracking App: this will be essential so you can track what you are eating each day. I recommend MyFitnessPal, MyMacros, and LifeSum. For the foods without labels, a helpful website to find accurate macro-nutrient is: www.calorieking.com .
  4. Weekly progress photos: this will help you monitor changes in your body composition that will help me make custom macro-nutrient breakdowns.

Info:

  • Carbohydrates – 4 calories per gram of carbohydrate
    • The primary role of carbohydrates is to provide energy for the body.  We store energy from carbohydrates in the form of glycogen in our liver and muscles.
  • Protein – 4 calories per gram of protein
    • Protein is a well-known macronutrient for it’s role in muscle recovery from exercise. Protein is are the ‘the building blocks of life’. Unlike carbohydrate and fat, there is no way for our bodies to store excess protein for further use, so it is important to have an adequate amount of protein on a daily basis for health and recovery.
  • Fat – 9 calories per gram of fat
    • Dietary fat plays a crucial role in hormone balance.
  • Alcohol – 7 calories per gram
    • Does not provide any nutritional value other than calories.
    • Here is how you can calculate it:
      • Take the total amount of calories in your alcoholic beverage and divide it by 4 if you would like to track your beverage as carbohydrates. Take the total amount of calories in your alcoholic beverage and divide it by 9 if you would like to track your beverage as fats. You can do a mix between carbohydrates and fat if you prefer.

Meal frequency:

Feel free to eat as many or few meals as you desire. The most important factor is total daily calories. As long as you hit your target macro-nutrients goal for the day, it doesn’t matter if you have 2 meals or 10 meals.

Meal Timing:

To optimize performance and recovery around exercise, I recommend a higher amount of quick digesting carbs before and after a workout with a lower amount of protein and low fat.

Other Terms or things to know:

  • RFFYM – real food fits your macros, this will be used in different recipes
  • Macros – short term for flexible dieting macronutrients
  • IIFYM- if it fits your macros, commonly referred to when looking at different recipes because a lot of things will fit your macros
  • Cook in bulk, it makes life easy
  • Carbs – a “5 point variance” once you determine the number of carbs you are eating try to stay within 5 above or 5 below.
  • Fats- a “2 point variance” once you determine the number of fats you are eating try to stay within 2 above or 2 below.
  • Fiber – try to remain above 25 grams.
  • Water: half your body weigh in ounces, +4 oz or every 15 mins you workout and +8 for every cup of coffee you consume.

Chocolate Coffee Sea Salt Cookies

These high fiber chocolatey goodness are a quick snack at the end of a day and great with a cup of real coffee.

Macros

56 cal /cookie

9C | 1.9F | 3.5P | 2.2Fib

Ingredients (24 servings):

    266g Dark Chocolate Kodiak Cake Waffle Mix (1/2 a box)
    18g Raw Oat Bran
    4g Stevia
    70g Lily’s Chocolate Chips
    0.75 cup of chilled coffee

Preheat the oven to 350

Measure chocolate waffle mix.

Mix in stevia.

Mix in bran.

Mix in chocolate chips.

Mix in coffee.

Portion onto parchment paper.

Squish flat with a spoon.

Sprinkle sea salt.

Bake 9-10 minutes until crisp on the edge.

Coconut Cajun Shrimp w. Zoodles

This recipe takes under 15 minutes and it’s fantastic. The extra broth gives it a Pho-flare.

Macros

388 cal /serving

12C | 18F | 46P | 3Fib

Ingredients (2 servings):

    15g minced garlic
    1/3 cup bone broth
    1/2 lemon juice yield
    525g zucchini sliced/ spiraled into zoodles
    375g shrimp raw
    2tbsp coconut oil
    Old Bay seasoning 1/2 tsp
    Black pepper 1/4 tsp
    Seafood seasoning of personal preference

Start by making your zoodles. My mom bought me this contraption for my birthday and it makes straight spaghetti out of my zucchini. I peel as much as I can to make zoodles and then I shred the middle with a grater and use it in my pancakes.

I then sauté the shrimp in garlic until they are pink/cooked.

I then add my zoodles.

As soon as the zoodles are on the heat, I add my liquids and seasonings (bone broth, lemon juice, and coconut oil, Old Bay, black pepper and seafood seasoning). Stir occasionally until the zoodles are the right texture. There will be extra liquid, which makes it pho-like.

Pancakes!!!

Anyone that knows me, knows that I love Pancakes!!! When I was growing up EVERY Saturday my dad would make pancakes from scratch.

Now, I still love pancakes but have found ways to expand the volume and fill them with protein.

Macros

340cal

34C | 3F | 40P | 6Fib

Ingredients (per serving):

    53g Kodiak Cakes, protein packed buttermilk flapjack and waffle mix
    100g shredded zucchini
    1g stevia
    138g egg whites
    1 second spray oil
    Toppings of choice

I use the shredded zucchini to double the volume but it still keeps the same flavor of the pancakes. I also use the egg whites instead of water as my mixing agent. This increases the protein. I like a sweeter pancake so the stevia takes it from a waffle flavor to a pancake.

Costco carries these giant boxes of pancake mix! It’s the best price I have found!!!

Step 1: Shred zucchini

Step 2: Add stevia to zucchini. I put the zucchini in first so that the pancake mix doesn’t stick to my bowl. I also love this 4 cup mixing cup. It allows me to just pour right into the pan.

Step 3: Add pancake mix

Step 4: Add egg whites

Step 5: mix with a fork

Step 6: Spray pan and cook pancakes, I find that I have to use a rubber scraper to get them to flatten out and become round… that pesky zucchini makes them weird shapes

Step 7: Stack and enjoy

I get pretty creative with my toppings, this particular day I used the Walden Farms chocolate syrup and raw unsweetened coconut to make “German Chocolate Cake – Pancakes”

Vegan “Cheese” Sauce

I bought nutritional yeast flakes and so I’m writing a series of recipes that use them up. I am loving it!

This was an easy recipe that adds a lot of flavor to basically anything you want to put it on.

Makes 6 servings of sauce

119 Calories | 6.2C, 6.4F, 9.2P, 4.9Fib (Macros for just for the sauce)

Ingredients

  • 28g coconut oil
  • 320g unsweetened almond milk
  • 2g ground cumin
  • 2g ground paprika
  • 2g chili powder
  • 1g black pepper
  • Lemon juice
  • 100g nutritional yeast flakes (adds the nutty/cheesy flavor)
  • Salt to taste at time of serving
  • How to:
    1. In a pot, measure out oil.

    1. In the same pot, add almond milk or milk of choice.

    1. Place on stove and begin to simmer.

    1. Once at a simmer, add spices and lemon juice.

    Simmer for about 2 mins (enough time to wash a few dishes or begin to cook a spaghetti squash).
    1. Add nutritional yeast flakes.

    1. Whisk the mixture so there are no chunks of yeast.

    Let thicken for about 1-3 minutes.
    1. Portion or serve.

I added this to spaghetti squash (still vegan) and then I added ground turkey (not vegan but delicious!)