This week, we’re moving over to self-care #nutritionnuggets, and we’re starting with the importance of macronutrients; specifically PROTEIN.
➡️WHY DO WE NEED PROTEIN?
Some of the reasons include…
* to create muscle mass
* to rebuild body tissues
* for proper brain chemistry
* to stimulate the thyroid
* to balance blood sugar levels
* to strengthen our immune system
* to recover from illness and/or injury
If you aren’t eating enough protein, your body will borrow protein from another source in order to continue its function.
And guess where it borrows from?
Aw, snap. We don’t want that.
The thing is, there’s no place to store protein in your body, like there is for fat and carbs. This is one reason why eating enough protein throughout the day on a daily basis is super duper important.
➡️HOW MUCH PROTEIN DO WE NEED?
In general, understand that you need quite a bit of daily protein. So much so that it should be included in every meal and snack you have throughout every day.
Your specific amount depends on things like your age, gender, activity level, and physique goals, as well as your overall health.
Making an appointment with a Nutrition Coach to find your exact macro requirements can be a fun way to deepen your understanding of how your body works and what it needs, so long as, like with any numbers related to food, you don’t get carried away, fixated, or obsessed.
➡️Macros are a tool, not a doctrine.
Check out the second slide for common sources of high-protein foods and then EAT SOME.
TL;DR: you need to eat carbs. They are an essential nutrient that we need to thrive in a lot of different ways.
Carbohydrates must be the most attacked macronutrient of the carb-fat-protein triad.
It’s important to understand that carbs are not the enemy.
🍎SO WHAT *ARE* CARBS?
Carbohydrates are made up of three components: fiber, starch, and sugar. (Fiber is especially important because it promotes bowel regularity and helps to control cholesterol.)
Carbs come in two blends -- simple and complex.
Fiber and starch are complex carbs, while sugar is a simple carb. Depending on how much of each of these is found in a food determines its nutrient quality.
🍎WHY DO WE NEED CARBS?
Your body likes to use them for energy fuel. What kind of energy you get depends on what kind of carb you consume.
The energy from, say, a bag of chips or a box of donuts is burned through quickly, and doesn’t come with many (if any) of the vitamins and minerals our bodies need to run properly, which leaves us unsatisfied, hungry again (already?!), and eating more (and more and more).
In contrast, complex carbs from whole grains, fruits, and vegetables pack a powerful, long-lasting punch of energy, PLUS they come with some badass nutritional passengers like fiber, vitamins, and minerals.
Since complex carbs take longer for the body to break down and absorb, we don’t spike energy, then crash. Plus, we feel satisfied because the vitamins and minerals our cells and hormones need to function normally and optimally are part of the package.
🍎Long story short (too late!), carbs help us stay full and satisfied longer, enable us to eat less with steadier energy levels, and consequently allow us to thrive in both physical and mental capacities.
Rounding out the macronutrients we need to survive are Healthy Fats.
💥WHAT ARE HEALTHY FATS?
Fat is a major source of energy that helps you absorb vitamins and minerals.
Healthy fats (monounsaturated and polyunsaturated) come mainly from vegetables, nuts, seeds, and fish.
There are two main types of polyunsaturated fats that your body needs to function normally, but does not make them on their own.
Omega-3 fatty acids
Omega-6 fatty acids
💥WHY DO WE NEED HEALTHY FATS?
For a lot of reasons, actually!
💫help the body absorb certain vitamins and minerals
💫give us energy (9 calories of energy vs. protein and carb’s 4)
💫allow blood clotting
💫produce important hormones production
💫act as messengers to help protein do its job
💫assist in the building of cell membranes
💫protect internal organs
💫keep up warm
💫allow proper brain function
💫give food flavor
Today, and going forward this month, pay attention to where you are adding healthy fats into your meals. Knowledge is power.
When you include enough healthy fats into your diet, your body, mind, and health will thank you, which means so will your soul.
In a nutshell, the more you chew, the better your digestion; the better your digestion, the happier your body.
On average, food gets chewed about 3-5 times before it gets swallowed, which is significantly less than the 20 or so it actually takes to properly get the digestive process working optimally.
Once food is swallowed, the stomach and the small intestine bear the brunt of the digestive process, and they both have to work overtime to compensate for food that’s barely chewed.
Basically, chewing your food more is an easy way to vastly improve working conditions for your entire internal system.
Chewing also makes it easier for your intestines to absorb nutrients and energy from the food particles as they pass through, while preventing improperly digested food from entering your blood (which would cause a wide range of adverse effects to your health).
Today, and moving forward through the rest of the month, do your digestion a favor and chew each bite of food 15-20 times before swallowing it. It might take some getting used to, but as with most forms of self-care, it’s worth it.
Planning your menus helps you create balanced meals and make healthier choices, and saves you time and money at the grocery store.
(It also dismisses the tedious repetition of the “What do you want to have for dinner tonight?” conversation.)
On top of all that, planning also reduces food waste.
At our house, we plan dinners anywhere from a week to a month ahead, with a few openings to account for last minute plans or changes in our schedule - rigidity doesn’t belong in an eating plan, IMHO.
I always start with proteins and go from there. And because I grocery shop on Monday mornings, part of my Sunday routine is cross-checking our menu plan against our grocery list.
Today, take a few moments to do Future You a solid favor and think about what your dinners will look like this week, then bask in all the extra time you get by not having to think about it over and over and over again.
If you still make trips to the grocery store yourself these days (raises hand), use these guidelines to set yourself up for health/budget success. If you get your groceries delivered (such a smart way to save time, especially if you work full time and/or have kiddos to raise!), most of them are still applicable when making your choices.
S: Stay primarily around the perimeter of the store, where fresh foods like fruits, vegetables, dairy, meat, and fish are usually located; be super selective with the center aisles you visit; this is where packaged, over-processed foods lurk.
H: Handle marketing ploys by steering clear of foods with cartoons on the label that are targeted to children. (Pro Tip: If you don't want your kids eating over-processed foods, don't bring them in the house.)
O: Opt out of foods that contain more than five ingredients, artificial ingredients, or ingredients you can't pronounce.
P: Plan ahead and take a list - know what you are actually NEED for the week rather than relying on what looks good to you in the moment.
L: Labels are important! They give you valuable information you can use to determine what kinds of packaged food you will allow into your body.
O: Opt for real food whenever possible, with as little processing and as few additives as possible. If you want more salt or sugar, add it yourself.
V: Voice your desires to management…sometimes all a grocery store needs to start carrying a product is the indication that their customers are looking for it!
E: Educate yourself on food safety; google for fast refreshers:
-Dirty Dozen (buy these organic if/when you can)
-Clean 15 (least amount of pesticides found)
Our final #nutritionnugget of Self-care September is super simple and super effective, just the way we like our self-care!
Make each meal you eat last as long as you can, aiming for an eventual goal of 20 minutes per meal.
The benefits of slow eating include:
😘 better digestion
😘 better hydration
😘 easier weight loss or maintenance
😘 greater satisfaction with our meals
Conversely, if you rush your meals, your digestion suffers, meals are stressful, and it might seem like each meal is over too soon, which often makes you want to eat more.
A few reasons why the 20-minute Meal is such a nifty trick to have in your self-care toolbox.
😘No one will know you’re doing it (love that - you can compete for the “slowest eater at the table” title anytime with anyone, and they don’t even have to know all y’all are playing!)
😘You don’t have to miss out on parties or dinners with friends or sweethearts.
😘You don’t have to postpone joy to accommodate a “diet,” because that’s definitely not what this is.
😘You don’t have to restrict the kinds of foods you eat.
😘Another opportunity to practice is always right around the corner.
Schedule a Free Session to see if a Soul Fitness Coaching program is the right fit for you and your goals.