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Nutrition 101

DINING

Does nutrition overwhelm you? Are you paralyzed by the constant overflow of articles, diets and posts about what you should and shouldn't eat? This post will share all beginners need to know about the basics of macros (what the heck are they?!) and nutrition!

There is SO much information and continuing research on nutrition, specialty diets and food production. So much so that sometimes it feels PARALYZING to make any one decision about your health and wellness. When I first delved into the fitness industry, I was a dedicated Crossfitter obsessed with only consuming “paleo” foods. While I’m grateful for the understanding of a nutrient dense diet- I’m pretty bummed that peers and professionals let me carry on happily blending butter in my coffee without informing me of the BASICS of nutrition. So, after years of exploration, self education and SO many failures- I found a system that works for me, for now.
 
 This blog should give your the essential information needed to read diet plans, articles, instagram posts or any other “CURE ALL” that the industry tries to sell you. Step one, SELF EMPOWERMENT comes through education. Let’s dive into the basics of Nutrition.
Each food product you consume can be broken down into the 3 main macronutrients: carbohydrates, fat and protein. These macronutrients provide energy for cells throughout your body. They are fuel and ATP (energy production) is the product. Just as a machine uses fuel to function properly, your body oxidizes carbohydrates, protein and fats to create energy for you to think, daydream, contract muscles… function!
You’ve probably seen the phrase “counting your macros” all over the inter webs. No, the concept isn’t just for influencers wearing matching bra and legging outfits, it’s a totally approach to understanding how YOUR body prefers to be fueled.
Macronutrients are the building blocks of each food item we consume. Carbohydrates, fats and proteins are broken down, absorbed and used for tissue repair, cell fuel amongst many other important tasks! Carbohydrates and proteins are 4 calories for every gram. Meanwhile, fats are 9 calories.
Aim for quality macros, diversifying your choices with fresh options. If you’re an athlete, breastfeeding mother or participating in intense exercise, you’ll need to consume slightly more carbohydrates than the average person.

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Stepping away from macronutrients, if we further investigate what works best for your body, we need to greatly consider MICRONUTRIENTS. Micronutrients act as manuals dictating how carbohydrates, fat and protein are digested, absorbed, transported and oxidized for energy. The devil is in the details. 
When people throw the term “micronutrient” density around, they’re not doing it JUST to impress you with their wildly scientific vocabulary… it also contains some serious important for health longevity!
We’re going to focus on antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and fiber.
Antioxidants. The soldiers that lend out electrons to free radicals (compounds missing electrons) and ultimately extend cell life! Now, what the hell is a free radical? GOOD QUESTION. They are unstable molecules generated by exercise, stress, environment, alcohol, breathing, sun exposure and sugar consumption. They bombard your DNA and create incredibly extensive cellular damage. NO BUENO CITY. Antioxidants donate electrons to free radicals therefore stabilizing your cells and preventing disease for another day. FREE RADICALS SOUND TERRIFYING, HOW DO I EAT ANTIOXIDANTS AND THEREFOR SUCKER PUNCH FREE RADICALS? Another great question, you’re on a roll.
Antioxidants are commonly found in whole plant foods. They’re most commonly recognized as colors in your food. The more diverse the colors of your food, the more soldiers (antioxidants) you’re consuming.
Vitamins. Essential compound serving as cofactor in all biochemical reactions! Vitamins are broken into fat (A, D, K & E) and water soluble ( mainly B & C). They are VITAL for almost every important process in your body.
Now, let’s talk about poop. Just kidding, but really, FIBER is actually relevant to the quality of your poop!
Fiber. Fiber serves as food for the microbiome in your gut. Bacteria in your large intestine derive energy from fiber to produce fatty acids that help with immune support. Ultimately, studies show that if you eat foods high in fiber, you’re increasing the likelihood of healthy gut which helps literally everything in your body. Gut health is an incredibly trendy field but its research is SO NEW that we are merely scraping the tip of the iceberg. Stay tuned for WAY more information on this subject.
Okay, we’re almost there, y’all. Imagine if I didn’t give you the unabridged version.
Minerals. Just like their micronutrient siblings, vitamins, minerals also serve key roles in most major chemical reactions throughout our body. Iron, sodium, potassium and calcium help transport oxygen, optimize bone/skin health, regulate water balance JUST TO NAME A FEW!
Water. While definitely NOT a nutrient, water is necessary for proper digestion and nutrient absorption. You can maintain proper hydration levels through normal fluid consumption as well as eating water-dense foods such as most whole plant foods: vegetables and fruits!
Quality micro and macro nutrients is the goal! EMPOWERMENT IS IN EDUCATION. The more you learn about your body, the healthier you will be. Download my ‘Nutrition 101’ infographic to keep the basics by your side!