Today I’m going to discuss a scary word that most of us fear. The one word that we wish that we could just snap our fingers and it would already be done for us. The one subject that most experts and scientists around the world cannot agree on – Nutrition.
Where do I start? There’s protein, there’s fat there’s the most dreaded word…..CARBS ahhhhhhhhhhh I don’t want to, they make me fat!!!!
I know, I know everything is complex, like who should I listen to, what nutrition plan is best for me? Can I count ice cream as a post-workout meal? You need carbs, right?
I’m going to try to simplify this as much as possible for this conversation to help get you started. Do you remember your old Life Management Skills class in high school? Well I’m going to try my best to not drag you back there. I just want to give you some tools to get you started.
Let’s talk macros… A Macronutrient is a substance such as a protein, carbohydrate, or fat required in relatively large quantities for growth, energy, and health.
We’ve all heard of protein, right? The Webster dictionary definition of protein is: any of various naturally occurring extremely complex substances that consist of amino-acid residues joined by peptide bonds, contain the elements carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, oxygen, usually sulfur, and occasionally other elements (such as phosphorus or iron), and include many essential biological compounds (such as enzymes, hormones, or antibodies.)
Huh? All you need to know is what it does for you. When you are active in your lifestyle and you exercise, you will break down your muscles from a workload. Exercise, some sort of strenuous activity or trying to survive a wild animal attack. Your muscles break down during this process and what protein does is help rebuild and repair the muscles that you have broken down due to the activity.
Any of the various compounds of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen that are glycerides of fatty acids, are the chief constituents of plant and animal fat, are a major class of energy-rich food.
Let me address this first…No fat doesn’t make you fatter! Sugars, aka simple carbs, make you fatter. We’ll save that for the end.
You need fat in your diet because of the benefits that it can give you. Now…there are several types of fat. They are like two groups of people that are battling over you. One wants to hurt you, while one wants to help you. Whoa!!!!!! Hurt me?!?! Oh yeah, Bad fat is not your friend. Well which one is it? The ones that lie to us and say they taste the best. These are Trans fat and Saturated fats.
You will find trans fat in things such as pizza, french fries, fried chicken and hamburgers…. And saturated fats are found in things like- whole milk and whole milk dairy foods. So milk shakes are out of the equation. : (
It turns out that even though we might be saving money off the dollar menu at McDonald’s, you are not saving the valves and arteries in your heart. But wait, where is the good?
We have an answer! As it turns out there are natural selections that we can find to get the good fat. The good fats are Monounsaturated and Polyunsaturated fats.
These fats can be found in things like: olive oil, peanut oil, canola oil, avocados, most nuts, as well as high-oleic safflower and sunflower oils, fatty fish such as salmon, mackerel, and sardines, flaxseeds, walnuts, canola oil, and un-hydrogenated soybean oil. Other omega-6 fatty acids include vegetable oils such as safflower, soybean, sunflower, walnut, and corn oils.
Errrrrrrrrrrr…..Now hold on did you just say corn oil? Yes some corn oils. I will save this for another discussion this is just to give you an overview and some basic information. So, let’s move forward.
Any of various neutral compounds of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen (as sugars, starches, and celluloses) most of which are formed by green plants and which constitute a major class of animal foods.
As it turns out there are two different types of carbs, and again, we are facing a good vs bad situation.
Let’s discuss the bad first. Bad carbs are found in things like bread, pasta, rice, donuts, soda, cereal, juice and refined sugar. When you hear your friends or people in the gym say things like, I’m on a low carb diet or I’m eating no carbs. What they are really saying is I’m no longer eating bread or pasta (hopefully).
Whaaattt?! So, you’re saying all that’s left to eat is cardboard???
Well no, again as it turns out Mother Nature has helped us out and there are options out there other than cardboard. There are things like fruits and vegetables that grow from the ground. OMG what a novel concept! Actually eating things that Mother Nature provides for us.
So, what’s the difference and how does it affect me? Well in short bad carbs cause something in your body called insulin to spike rapidly as your body tries to break down those carbs. What it can’t break down, it stores as excess fat around the most common places like the waist, buttocks, and the neck. These are called simple carbs.
Example: Ever feel really groggy after eating a big lunch of pasta or hamburgers and fries, and all of a sudden you’re sitting at your desk and you feel like you are about to pass out? You then try to combat that with a triple espresso from Starbucks to help you get through the afternoon. That is what’s called an insulin crash, and it happens to your body on a daily basis.
Good carbs are called complex carbs and they are found in things like broccoli, green beans, carrots, apples, bananas and other various forms of fruit and vegetables. What these foods do is cause the insulin to rise slowly and give you sustained energy over a long period of time.
Now my goal here was to give you a quick rundown on the macronutrients of your diet, not to debate or try to convince you to eat a certain way. This is just a general message to educate you. We can save the debate for another time. This is an effort to get you started thinking about nutrition differently and hopefully help you make some informative decisions when it comes to eating, as well as help you achieve your exercise, health and fitness goals quickly and safely.
I really hope that you found this helpful and informative. If you have any more questions or would like to go deeper into details about nutrition, then please contact me or a nutritionist.
Everyone’s dietary wants and needs are going to change according to their goals so you will need to seek more information on what is going to work exactly for you. Please don’t just take your friend’s advice on this matter if they are not a nutritionist.
As always, train hard, be a beast!