Some of those following the blog are interested in taking steps toward improving their nutritional habits, but do not know where to start. Some of you fear that the cost or effort will be too great, while others just do not think that there will be enough benefit for what they put in. Proper nutrition and eating habits are more important to a person’s overall health than exercise alone. Pairing good nutrition with ample exercise is the ultimate way to reduce many of the health risks prevalent in our society such as heart disease, cancers, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and a great deal of other diseases and conditions. In a previous article I talked about the importance of making nutritional habits part of your lifestyle, and we continue today with some tips on the 3 macronutrients.
Carbohydrates, fats, and proteins are the 3 macronutrients that comprise your body’s internal systems and structure, and provide fuel for daily activities. Each one has its own specific use in the body, and is essential for proper bodily function. They each also have high quality and low quality sources that I shall elaborate on.
Carbohydrates are causing the most controversy these days with many people adopting a low carb diet in hopes of reducing their body fat stores. Others are living off fruit alone, the most carb-available whole foods in existence. The problem is not so much the carbohydrates, but the source through which most individuals obtain their daily carb totals. Good choices for carbs come from foods in their natural, or whole, unprocessed state. Whole fruits and vegetables, beans, yams, and natural/sprouted grain products are the best choices since each of these come directly from nature and contain a plethora of micronutrients and antioxidants. Poor choices occur when people mess around with the original food to make it more attractive or lengthen shelf-life. Refined, processed, packaged, preserved, or juiced foods are stripped of much of the original nutrients, loaded with unnatural chemicals, and are harder for the body to absorb and use. Refined and enriched foods such as white bread have almost no nutritional value, and contain far too much sugar and carbohydrate that acts exactly like sugar.
Fats have always had a bad reputation, but they are essential to your body as they comprise the linings of cell walls, protect organs, and supply fuel for low intensity activities and day-to-day metabolism. Healthy fats actually make you lean and healthy. Healthy sources include cold water fish, olive oil, nuts, avocado, hemp, seeds, and coconut oil and even butter in small amounts. Unhealthy sources that clog arteries and add pounds to the waistline include hydrogenated vegetable oil, processed oils, shortening, deep fried foods, and animal fats. The all time worst on this list is hydrogenated vegetable oil, which is found in almost anything creamy and processed, with a variety of names.
Protein has had the least debate among the 3 macronutrients, and is consumed in very high amounts in North American culture. This should raise concern, since our culture finds itself in a swift decline in public health. Protein assists with recovery, tissue repair, the production of enzymes for almost every function in the body, fat loss, satiety (feeling full), carb control, and has a thermogenic effect that raises the body’s metabolism during digestion. Healthy choices for protein include poultry, fish, eggs, cottage cheese, Greek yogurt, lentils, beans, quinoa, quality protein powders, and lean meats such as grass fed beef, bison, and turkey. Unhealthy choices still provide protein, but have a lot of excess fat and can be very acidic. These include processed/smoked/cured/deep fried meats, pork, shellfish, and highly processed soy products.
As you can see, a lot of the poor nutritional choices come from people doctoring food in order to make it last longer, cook faster, or be tastier to the untrained tongue. Making a few changes in each of these categories will be greatly beneficial to your overall health, and can provide you with more vitality throughout each day. Not only do you improve the quality of the macronutrients, but you get with them all the benefits of the original foods.
By Coach Kevin Hehr
As founder of Ivanco Fitness, my promise is to ensure your journey in fitness is unlocked and uplifted. It was the summer of 2012 and I was burnt out - I had spent over 10,000 hours personally training clients through rehabilitation to health, and from health to strength. Young and old and in between, I worked with these individuals to help them create their best version of themselves. While this brought me much joy, I was stressed, tired, and knew I was limited to only a small group of people I could help in this way. I had worked with other coaches along the way, and realized it was time to build a team and create a system that would allow talented coaches to create meaningful connections with those who seek to uplift their lives through physical training. Having brought the right people on board, Ivanco now works as a team of trainers, kinesiologists, holistic nutritionists and administrative staff to provide a more streamlined and versatile experience than an independent trainer could offer. Yours in health, Ivan.