When you’re planning a meal, there are really only three guidelines to keep in mind:
Eat real food
Go for quality (meaning: local, seasonal, organic, grass-finished, wild, etc.)
Protein + vegetables + healthy fats = wonderfulness meal
Look at that last one again. That’s the equation you need to create a nutrient-rich plate that will energize and satiate you.
Of course, the devil is in the details, right? You’ve been told you need to have a certain percentage of macronutrients--fat, protein, and carbohydrates. One of the problems is that everyone seems to recommend a different set of percentages. Another problem is--well, it actually isn’t a problem...The other thing is calculating your macros is an unnecessary step.
Why? Because your needs will change regularly and what is ideal at one time won’t be another. Because you shouldn’t have to do math for your meals. Because you want to build effective and efficient habits--and figuring out your macros simply is neither of those.
Oh, but there are other devilish details to consider!
What to focus on instead of macros
What’s a good protein source? And how much?
Animal-based is ideal. It has all of the amino acids your body needs, as well as other quality nutrients--as long as you ‘re going for pastured, grass-finished, or wild sources.
Two to six ounces is a good range. This doesn’t mean you have to weigh your food (ugh). At first you can familiarize with various sizes/weights until you develop an eye for it. When you buy a piece of fish or meat to cook, the weight will be on the package. When you order at a restaurant, they’ll often note how large it is, especially if it’s red meat. Your actual hunger is the best gauge, though.
What vegetables are best? And how much?
Favor non-starchy vegetables and eat as much as your heart and stomach desires. Think leafy greens, cruciferous vegetables, mushrooms, and “fruits” that we consider veggies (tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, eggplant).
(A quick note on adding more vegetables to your diet: Start slowly. They provide a lot of fiber which can lead to gas and bloating while your body adjusts.)
Eat smaller amounts of starchy vegetables (roots and tubers, for the most part). You don’t have to weigh or measure them. Just think of them as a bonus, and not your main, vegetable.
What does healthy fat mean? And how much?
Healthy fats are those that don’t easily oxidize, causing inflammation in your body. Some good sources include nuts, seeds, avocados, extra-virgin olive oil, coconut oil, and even butter (if it’s from pastured cows).
Once again your hunger is the best gauge for how much fat to add to your meal. But don’t be afraid of it. Fat helps your body metabolize many of the nutrients found in your vegetables and it’s also incredibly satiating, so you may find you don’t need as much food to feel full--and stay full.
I create these blog posts so you can learn the most effective, simple, and efficient Paleo-based practices that counter the effects of aging. You deserve to love the way you look and feel throughout your entire wonderful life. But sometimes knowledge isn’t enough. If you need help figuring out how to actually incorporate these practices into your life, please reach out!