Macro and Micro What??? What’s In Your Food

It is only until people remind you that sometimes you forget how back to basics things really need to go for far more than where we try to pretend we all are. We are bombarded with various complicated diets and training protocols. We are convinced that the only way to grow, lose or get faster are by taking various concoctions. At some level, at some point, the above may get you to that next level, First though is knowing, understanding and for a consistent period of time, application of the basics of training and food is where you need to be to get where you want to go. Things really are not, nor need to be so damn complicated,

I am going to take you back to something that you must first know and understand so you can better grasp on what the diets are all about right now if you choose to try them. I also aim to help you understand about what makes up your food as you find your fit. Why this “not flashy oooooh super new and exciting” post? Because during conversation, within the past week I have been asked by three different people (macro and micro what) what I am talking about when I say macro and micornutrients.

It is okay if you want to try new diets but without the actual meal plan given, can you pick up and do it on your own? That is why knowing the basics is so important. You need to be empowered with the knowledge to figure some things out on your own because meal plans are not always going to be there or go the way you want them to. Real life happens 😉 I keep getting reminded that on a much greater scale, what many of you need more of is basics education and empowerment and less complexity and flash.

Macronutrients:

Macro means large, big. Nutrient can be defined as substances that give nourishment that is essential for growth and maintenance of life. This basically means that these are the substances we need in “large” amounts in our diets. I use the term “large” loosely as it can be taken out of context and presumptions of oversized portions being given the ok can be made 😉

The macronutrients of our diets are the fats, proteins and carbohydrates that make up food. These can be further broken down into smaller and smaller divisions, but I think that is done a bit too much in our society and people get too confused and complicated too soon. Some macros deliver more micros and are better options. Some great examples of these macronutrients are:

Carbohydrates– rice, sweet potatoes, berries, apples, quinoa, broccoli, kale, squash, watermelon, peas, beets, oatmeal, whole grain bread, bananas, spinach and on it goes. Veggies, Fruits and Whole grains.

Proteins (the whole protein versions providing all of the amino acids)- eggs, fish, chicken, tofu/tempeh/edamame, whey protein, Greek yogurt, low fat cheese (I love Allegro), cottage cheese, extra lean beef, bison

Fats – coconut oil, olive oil, flax seed oil and flax seeds/meal, hemp seed oil and hemp seeds, butter, walnuts, almonds, rapeseed oil, pumpkin seeds

I also consider water to be a MAJOR macronutrient. You can go much longer without food than you can water and therefore it is far beyond essential in macro amounts for us to live!

Micronutrients:

Micro means little, small, lesser. These are the nutrients that are still essential to life, but that are parts of the whole above IN (and sometimes supplemented IF needed) our macronutrients. If we don’t eat enough food to fuel our bodies, minds and activities, if we are on a temporary calorically restricted diet, are an athlete, have a medical condition, or are not eating an overall varied diet, we may need these in those supplemental forms as directed 😉 The micronutrients act as catalysts in our bodies for many functions (energy, movement, mental function, breathing etc) as well as provide necessary structural components so to speak.

The micronutrients are for the most part things like vitamins and minerals. This can be further broken down, but again let’s not complicate until you actually need to worry about that mmmkay?

Vitamins – Fat soluble – These are typically found in fatty foods. They need fat to be absorbed and our bodies can have a harder time breaking these down and eliminating what we may not need, they don’t dissolve in water and get excreted “easily”. Fat soluble vitamins are A,D,E and K.

Water soluble – These are typically found in things like whole grains, veggies and fruits. They dissolve in watery substances and are easier to breakdown, use and/or excrete as needed. These are the B vitamins and C.

Minerals (can be further broken down to a more complex level than this but that’s not our goal here)– These  are your calcium, chromium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, selenium and zinc.

The cool thing and the not-so-cool thing about food and US in general, is that things are far more complex than the basics, than the surface. The cool part about that is just how much we all have to learn and discover, how diverse we are, how truly complex we and the substances we eat affect us. the not-so-cool thing about it is that we get too caught up in the complexities and forget to just enjoy and to be happy and healthy.

What makes up our foods on a basic level are the macro and micro nutrients but what we eat is food. While treats and extras are absolutely ok, if you just remember on the grand scheme of things to keep things simple and not try to break down everything you eat, you will enjoy yourself more and things will start to fall into place.

p.s. sometimes I forget things I want to say or sometimes there are just more questions from you, if so please hit me up and I will be more than happy to help you find your answer 🙂

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#MPOWERment Playlist #48

Again, for those who have followed my blog on the other site in the past, these #MPOWERment playlists are like the artist formerly known as Prince in that these are playlists formerly known as Melisscious’ Delicious Discography 😉 As per usual, you have your warmup and cooldown jams.

Plug in or Play it Loud and Go Get it!

1. Punjabi MC feat Jay Z and Pharrell – Beware of the Boyz

2. Die Mannequin – Sucker Punch

3. Fito Blanko feat Fat Joe and Sophia Del Carmen – Take Over

4. Calvin Harris and R3Hab – Burnin

5. Jessie J feat 2 Chainz – Burnin’ Up

6. Travis Barker feat Busta Rhymes, Lil Jon, Yelawolf & Twista – Let’s Go

7. Fergie – A Little Party Never Hurt Nobody

8. Showtek – We Like to Party

9. Shaggy Mohambi Faydee Costi – Habibi

10. Ed Sheeran – Thinking Out Loud

Tips to Prevent Holiday Weight Gain

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I do believe I had previously posted something on the topic of preventing holiday health havoc and holiday weight gain (weight is irrelevant but it gets people to pay attention unfortunately) or for a client whaaaatever, but here you go again! This was requested by someone new so a new post and new add ons it is. (Sorry for the different text but I copied and pasted part of this from my clients sheet to here and wrote the rest ON here :p)

At the end of the day, it is your overall regime that matters not just a day or two or even maybe a week :p so don’t stress about it and do enjoy because the benefits of laughing, fun and friends/family time, will far outweigh “damage” I promise you 😉 Balance and moderation sure, but if you have a goal, some sacrifices you just choose to make and that’s ok too!

Since the holidays are here again, here are some basic tips and GUIDElines that might help you maintain your goals while still enjoying your holiday festivities:

1. Look for grilled, baked, broiled or steamed avoid creamed, glazed, often sautéed

2. Tell them you are gluten intolerant/have gluten allergies so you would just like salad, various veggies and some unbreaded meat with any sauces just on the side to be safe. Always get sauces on the side so you can control the portion ie. 1-2 tbsp. and ideally avoid creamy sauces. I am not pushing the whole glute-free thing it is just easier to get less overall calories in this way.

3. Avoid the bread basket. Not because bread is “bad” but it is far to easy to overeat it because let’s face it, those bread baskets they bring are delicious! Than you might feel bloated and lethargic which really sucks 😦

4. Soups and salads are great starters as they fill you up so you eat a bit less at dinner. Avoid creamy soups and sauces.

5. If at a “burger joint”, just ask for the burger on a lettuce bun (many places do this) or just ask for it without a bun and with a salad/veggies. 

6. Don’t order caloric drinks. Have spa water or water with lemon or Perrier, teas, coffee but juices and such are just sugar in a glass that you don’t need and other drinks are just empty calories.

7. Ask how the food is prepared and again you can just say it is due to allergies or just a taste aversion/dislike. If it is prepared in heavy oil and salt just ask them for a lighter option by using words like those above.

8. For meats look for salmon, skinless chicken breast, turkey, flank steak or filet mignon.

9. For starchy carbs if you have them, look for baked potato, sweet potato, squash, steamed rice or quinoa, keep portions small ie. just eat half of what they serve and double up on the meat and veggies. A good guide for portions for women is two open hands for veggies, 1 fist size for starchy carbs (potatoe, rice etc), and a palm size for protein (fish, steak, tofu, chicken etc). Ideally when you are eating out it is best to just stick with a protein source and veggies especially if you have already had 2-3 carb servings already during the day. Just GUIDELINES 😉

10. If you are ravenous going in to the place, order an appetizer like a plate of grilled veggies or a chef salad (if you can get a little bit of protein and fat added to it like a hard boiled egg or small piece of chicken with a tsp of vinaigrette awesome!) to help subdue your hunger before you meal comes and your hunger hormones really tell you to devour your meal and than some.

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When alcoholic drinks are in your plans, here are some tips:

1. Avoid fancy drinks and cocktails and go with basics like vodka and water, rum and diet coke, red wine (wine is high in health promoting flavanols and antioxidants which if you drink TOO much will eliminate that benefit but I digress) and don’t go overboard. If you do, just own it and get over it the next day by hitting the gym for some moderate cardio, hydrating yourself, and sticking to healthy nutrient dense eating. Because you are testing the gluten-free thing, avoiding beer and sticking with the basics above will help too 😉

2. Alcohol is basically 7 calories of emptiness and can negatively affect your muscle building, strength, fat loss and performance long term for many reasons. Just know that and also know that moderation in life is key so don’t stress too much about it but keep the above in mind and don’t get discouraged or down on yourself if you feel heavier, slower. Fat loss, muscle building, any of this all, is a life long thing so one weekend or even two out of a month, is not going to permanently destroy your goals. Just keep your eating in check and stay on top of your workouts. It is also a good idea if you know you are going to be drinking, to be more mindful on the surrounding days of keeping your carb intake to maybe 1 fistful of starch/fruit in the am or pre-workout. This may help to minimize your overall caloric intake without having to think about it. Focus on protein, veggies and a bit of healthy fats the rest of the time.

3. Doing a little extra activity when you know you are going to be adding extra empty calories can help to minimize fat loss damage. You may have some extra time right now so take advantage and try some new classes while also maintaining your lifting schedule. A lot of people like to do a pre-drinking-going-out-wanna-look-good workout, and that is an awesome idea. You will feel better and probably want to keep that feeling aka not drink too much because how good you look and feel from your workout, is far better than the feeling of getting sh*t faced 😉 You may just be so confident from your workout too that you pick up and get some action that night too and therefore are, without even thinking about it, doing even MORE extra activity 😉

4. Have only one drink per hour, for every drink you have have some water, and be sure to eat before going out not only to help decrease your chances of drunken stupordom, but also to help you from being ridiculously hungry and doing what just about everyone does after a night of drinking, eat a bunch of high fat, high sugar, high calorie foods. Even better is to stick a snack like a bar in your purse/jacket pocket (or fannypack, hey I don’t judge ;D ) to help manage your hunger for better decision making until you get home and can eat something better suited for your goals.

5. Sleep! The combination of alcohol and no sleep from a late night will whack out your hormones and will make you want to binge or just make poor decisions. Don’t over plan so you can chill out. You are on holidays so take advantage and catch up on sleep.

Again, I want to reiterate that these are just tips and guidelines. Do what is best for you and your goals whatever that means and while you can indulge here and there, your body, your life and your goals are ultimately up to you. Feel free to enjoy and just own it, or use some of these tips to help you on you quest. Regardless of the option, just be happy 🙂

 

Fitness Trends for 2015

I always love when the Fitness Trend reports come out. If you are a fitness professional or involved in the industry, you can actually contribute to these by signing up with the ACSM. Regardless of the population reading this post, what you must understand is that just because the order of the TREND (trends can vary in length from short, to intermediate, to long term) does not mean that it is best for YOU or YOUR goals. These trends may be something to consider trying to add in to proven long term, sustainable methods. It is also always great to try new things and to add to your repertoire regardless of your background, goals and so forth to keep you motivated and seeing progress.

Since I have learned, which is an extremely unfortunate statistic, that most prefer not to read, check out the infographic below to see the predicted fitness trends for 2015.

2015 Fitness Trends1

Beginner Nutrition Tips to Look, Feel and Be Better

When it comes to eating, maybe you often get bored of what you’re eating and than revert to more palatable yet not-so-healthy foods. On occasion this is ok if you have hit that mark on your journey, but too often and that is just a recipe for disaster. If you’re always on the lookout for new recipes or ways to change up some of your faves, or for easy shortcuts to prevent boredom, here are some tips to get you started:

1. Add Art to Your Meals – Colorful fruits and vegetables (just like a beautiful painting yes) quickly decorate your favourite recipes and make your food appear much more appetizing. Look for deep greens in spinach, vibrant reds in tomatoes and a rainbow of colors in peppers to add to your favourite home-cooked dishes.

2. Swap Schtuff  – It may surprise you to learn serving meals on smaller plates (or in smaller bowls) encourages people to eat less food. So downsize what you serve your meals on, and you might find your family eating the proper portions.  Eating with smaller utensils can help too as you will be forced to slow down your eating and thus will likely trigger your “I’m full” hormones sooner.

3. Change Your Take-Out and Delivery Menus- If you have a stack of take-out/delivery menus in your home, replace them with meal planner services. Having a planner will help you arrange a weekly grocery shopping list and save you time and money by limiting the number of nights you eat out. There are so many options as far as being able to get these delivered, daily, weekly or monthly as well as the option of buying pre-cooked healthy portioned meals to pick up. The number of healthy “fast-food” joint nowadays too removes major barriers as well.

4. Flip Off the TV and Couch – No I am not advising you to take gymnastics, or wait, maybe I AM! Instead of plopping on the couch in front of the tv after dinner, go for a walk and help shuttle the nutrients from the foods you just ate into the right places 😉

5. Vary the Ingredients – If you already have family-favorite recipes, look them over to see if there are ways to swap healthier ingredients in place of others. Varying your foods, ingredients and so forth is actually a great way to prevent food aversions, ensure you get a wide spectrum of micronutrients that are essential for health, fat loss, muscle building, performance, mental health….are you getting the picture 😉 Variety also helps to prevent certain intolerances and allergies too.

If you are a newbie, and even if you’re not, these little changes can make a big difference and when they do, please share them! You can, and totally SHOULD, keep adding to your toolbox. Start with small habits and changes each week. Add more nutrient dense foods, and a whole buttload of variety of them, instead of always “taking away” and you will no doubt look, feel and perform better in all aspects of life.

No Brainer Gluten-Free Pre-Workout Meals

One of my clients, neh, several peeps in general, are always asking for what to eat pre-workout. This particular one was directly geared to someone needing some gluten free ideas. In general, the no-time, I hate to prep and cook and live in the kitchen thing, is an issue for many. That is to whom this is geared to.

You will ultimately need to find the proper calorie, macronutrient balance that works best for you, but below are 10 samples of around 400 calories with enough phytonutrient promoting,energy from carbs to fuel your workout, enough protein to help the repair process and to stabilize your blood sugar and satiety, and in most of these, just enough fat to help with the energy balance, hormones, as well as to help keep your joints healthy and reduce inflammation. (Not to get complicated as it is a separate article all together, but reducing inflammation before training is ok but right after you actually want to hold off on high doses of fats and antioxidants.)

There are a ton of bars that you can make as well as that are on the market, but those listed here are simply ones that I chose because they are so easy to find here. Accessibilty means a greater likelihood of these options over other less than stellar options.

In a perfect world we would all have pre-prepped magically delicious meals of THE best nutrient density but these are easy peasy and take little to no time:

  1. Quest Bars (get the ones without sucralose)

  2. Purefit Bars

  3. Clif Builder’s Bar

  4. Protein shake – (I have various recipes if you want but to keep it simple for your immediate needs) one scoop with 1 cup of mixed berries, 1 tsp of Udo’s Oil, pinch of cinnamon, ¼ cup of unflavoured kefir

  5. 1 tsp of honey mixed in ¾ cup of Oikos plain greek yogurt with a small apple

  6. 2 plain rice cakes with a total of 1 tbsp of almond butter and 1 tbsp of jam, 1 inch (about the size of your pinky) of Allegro cheese

  7. ½ cup of cooked quinoa or rice with mixed veggies, spices, salsa for taste, 10 walnuts

  8. ½ cup of greek yogurt mixed with 1 tsp of peanut butter, pinch of cinnamon, dip apple slices in it

  9. 1.5 tbsp of low fat (no sugar added if possible) peanut butter mixed with one scoop of protein powder and ¼ cup of chocolate chips and a sprinkle of dried cherries (ball these babies up or just eat as a pile of yummy mush with a spoon

  10. 10 almonds, six dried NATURAL apricots cut up, ¼ cup of uncooked oats (most oats gluten free like Red Hill but not sure how sensitive you are) and ¼ cup of fat free cottage cheese

    Nothing fancy but these are some easy options for you to test out. Most people I deal with are either professional bachelor/bachelorettes, single parent super busy peeps, or those who are not foodies and don’t care to be. There is a separate more elaborate side but this is the majority so I hope this helps you even a little 🙂

THE Strength, Performance, Fat Loss and Health Tool

Even if I was the inventor of this piece of equipment, I would still never tell you it was the only training tool you will ever need to reach your goals (although I do feel it could be ;D) Yes, you could only use it and excel at superhuman levels but I prefer to look at things in a complimentary fashion vs an either or.

The barbell. Definitely my favorite piece of equipment and whether you are a newbie or a seasoned vet, the barbell is hands down one of the best tools for any and all goals.

Barbell training is a great way to get a lot of work done in a short amount of time. There are a ton of exercises you can do that will hit just about every muscle in your body, from the superficial to the stabilizers and if you move the bar at a faster pace, you will work your heart muscle pretty darn effectively too!

Want to be faster, have a firm round booty, jump higher, throw powerful punches, be able to LIVE a long life, not be on a medication timeline, look great nekked from head to toe etcetera etcetera (did I spell that right :p) ? You can do some of the following barbell exercises:

Back Squatsdownload

Deadlifts images

Push Press images (1)

Rows download (1)

Angled Barbell Press

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Glute Bridge

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I could seriously go on forever on not only the variations of these particular exercises, but the countless other exercises and ways to use barbells for any training goal. Maybe these are not fancy new age moves, (and I could show you some in person if you’d like and have some training behind you) but these basics just freaking work. The entertainment exercises are great for just that as well as for advanced peeps.

With even just the above exercises you are going to build fat burning, performance enhancing muscle mass and strength from head to toe, literally.

With the above, you will be preventing a whole host of diseases (and while I guess I am not really supposed to say this but you will most certainly treat or fix some you may already have) and other misfortunes that come from NOT training.

More work done in less time with barbell training no matter your goal, your age or your training background, sounds pretty kick ass to me!