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Category: Clean Eating

Clean Eating

Fuel your run: Everything you need to know about Macronutrients

The most common question I get asked as a rural healthcare provider is, “Why am I gaining so much weight?”. This question is then followed by their definition of their ‘healthy lifestyle’. Unsurprisingly, this definition differs greatly between each individual and is often accompanied with a high total cholesterol level. These two topics- gaining weight and high cholesterol- sought me to dive deep into research of nutrition and macronutrients; so here’s my Nurse Practitioner spiel. Let’s start at the core of nutrition, macronutrients.

What is a healthy diet?

You may have heard people “counting macros” before for weight loss, but what is a macro? Macronutrients are the three components consumed daily in our diet to provide us energy. There. That wasn’t so hard 🙂 I’ll bet you can even name a couple of these macros. Some of you may have guessed protein, as you should. Protein serves a vital role in strength and structure. Most people think of the bodybuilder image, but we all consume protein daily for vital functions. Another macronutrient is carbohydrates. “Carbs” are the most easily converted source of energy consumed in our diet. Then of course, there’s the final third macronutrient, the ‘dreaded’, Fat. By the end of this discussion I hope to provide the knowledge you deserve to no longer dread fat! But how?! Hear me out.

healthy fats including Avocado and eggs

Fat

I’m an 80’s baby, so growing up I’ve been bred on the ‘All-American-Healthy-Low-Fat-diet.’ I’ve been taught from an early age to seek out non-fat milk or low-fat cheese. It made theoretical sense, right? If you want to lose weight (fat), then consume less fat. By the 1980’s low fat diets became mainstream; recommended by doctors, supported by the federal government and heavily advertised by the media and food industries. But think of that year, 1980- in reference to how many hundred of thousands of years humans have been around, we’ve only been consuming ‘low-fat diets’ for 40 years.

Let’s look back a bit further to the 1960’s when the leading cause of mortality in the United States was Coronary artery disease- a heart attack. Many studies were performed to analyze what was putting us Americans at risk for a heart attack, and strong correlation (as in the Framingham study) related cardiovascular risk to cholesterol and saturated fats. Notice that emphasized word, Saturated. There are many “good for you” fats. In fact, Fat is ESSENTIAL to include in your diet to be broken down into fatty acids that make cell linings and hormones. Our body requires twenty amino acids, and although our bodies can make amino acids, NINE essential amino acids need to be consumed daily. So let’s explain this easily,

Your body is either ‘Fat-Storing’ or ‘Fat-Burning’ at all times.

Now let’s get back to this new 1980’s philosophy of a ‘healthy American low-fat diet’. If we are consuming a low-fat diet, (Fat being essential for amino acids improving memory storage, controlling inflammation and regulating hormones) do you think our bodies are going to use that fat for energy or store it? Ding, ding, ding! That’s right, our bodies have been storing the limited amount of fat we’ve allowed it as a mechanism of survival. unsurprisingly, the prevalence of obesity from the 1980’s being about 8% of the population to today 42.4% of Americans are obese! Geez that’s 530% fold increase in obesity!

There are four types of fat, and they all relate to the length of carbon atoms or associated hydrogen atoms attached; in other words, just a bunch of science-y stuff. I’ll make it easy to remember, GOOD FAT: monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fat. BAD FAT: Trans fat (now illegial in the US). FAT TO ENJOY IN MODERATION: Saturated fat. Take away point: eat high ‘good fat’ often. Two essential sources of essential fatty acids are Omega 3 and Omega 6. Food examples include nuts, flax seed, whole grains, legumes, dark green leafy vegetables, eggs and FATTY FISH- salmon, mackerel, tuna.

Protein

This macronutrient serves a vital role in many functions in our body, there’s only one catch: we don’t store protein for energy like we can with Fat and carbohydrates. Protein gives our tissues strength and structure with collagen, elastin, actin and myosin. Think beautiful, firm skin with strong muscles to run with… yep, I’ll take some of that! Protein also synthesizes enzymes and hormones, transport substances across cell membranes and defends against foreign pathogens. So eat your protein!

Carbohydrates

Carbs are the easiest source of energy for our bodies to convert to glucose. In fact, The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends that carbohydrates should make up 45 to 65 percent of your total daily calories. This is based on the minimum amount of glucose utilized by the brain being about 130 grams. Here’s the page turner, In the absence of carbohydrates the body will use fat as a source of energy. Yup, mind=blown. Here Americans are trying to sustain a ‘low-fat diet’ for weight loss when we’ve had it backwards the past forty years. Eat high (good for you) fats, minimize your carbs and our bodies will use our own stored energy! As you may have also noticed in the diagram above, we get 9 kcals of energy for every gram of fat we consume as opposed to 4 kcal of energy per gram for protein and carbs. That’s double the amount of energy!

  • Fun Fact! Our bodies have stored fat, and for many of us in excess abundance. One pound of fat equates to about 3,600 calories of energy! When I run a half marathon my Runkeeper app says I burn about 1,000 calories, which means I theoretically could run 45 miles on just one pound of fat, and I have a few to spare! 😉

So that’s my spiel. I hope you join me in eating Clean food to fuel your run!

As always- Run strong, Travel and Eat. Real. Food. -We Run the States

The Content is not intended to be a substitute for your professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

Fresh farm eggs to enhance running performance

Ok, you may be wondering why the heck am I writing about building a chicken coop on a running blog. I promise there’s a reason. I dove deep into nutrition this year, to really understand the concepts of using food to fuel my runs. I’ve learn a LOT that I am excited to share with you soon! Overall, I highly recommend to eat. real. food. One way I’ve incorporated that into my daily diet is EGGS! Guess who lays eggs? 🙂 That’s right, my brand new chickens! (We also dove really deep into the country life this year too).

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Why you should add eggs to your daily diet for improved running performance

Eggs have amazing health benefits, however they commonly get a bad rep as ‘high in fat’ and ‘things to avoid’ if you have high cholesterol. When actually a diet that includes eggs actually can increase your HDL, or “H for Happy” cholesterol. These high density lipoproteins actually help facilitate bringing your LDL, or “L for lousy” low density lipoproteins to the liver where it can be excreted. Benefit number two- Eggs are high in polyunsaturated fat, or as most of us know them: Omega-3’s. These amino acids are ESSENTIAL in our diet as our bodies cannot produce them. Another source of Omega-3’s are fatty fish such as salmon, mackerel and tuna; however if you’re anything like me, I definitely don’t intake enough fish to get my essential fatty acids, so I’m all about the egg. There are many many more benefits of eating eggs daily including nutrient rich in vitamins, choline and antioxidants. Plus they’re rich in protein which increases satiety- or makes you feel full longer! Now I definitely enjoy that perk on my long runs.

We got the plans for building a chicken coop from the Home Depot https://blog-stage.homedepot.com/free-plans-for-an-awesome-chicken-coop/

Also I just LOVED building this coop, so I thought I’d share with you too 🙂 If you’re interested in how to incorporate eggs into your daily diet, Here’s a complete Whole 30 meal plan I followed last year before my Atlanta Half marathon where I got my PR of 2:02!

Whole 30 Sweet and spicy tea with a twist!

I know. You’re thinking, “how can she write a whole post on tea?” This Whole 30 sweet and spicy tea is SOOOO good, it’s worth sharing. It took me 34 years to find, so you’re welcome, I’ll make this post short and sweet (see what I did there :). First off, Coffee is not my thing. I’ll admit, coffee smells delightful being brewed in the early morning by my husband, but drinking a cup has just never been my thing. I may be the only ‘non-coffee drinker’ out there, but I imagine I’m not alone. I’ve spent much of my adult life searching for an alternative “grown up drink” and have experimented a lot with Tea. Whole 30 sweet and spicy tea is the answer we’ve all been looking for.

There are so many great options of tea out there, earl grey tea, green tea, sweet iced tea, chai, herbal, matcha; the list goes on and on! Although each one of these teas are satisfying in their own unique ways, there was always something missing. The tea seemed almost bland, until I experimented a bit out of the norm. So what’s the secret recipe?

Secret #1) Steep your Tea in milk

I know, shocking secret! But it makes all the difference in the world. I first used regular dairy milk and it was delectable and sweet! But to make this recipe Whole 30 compliant, I’ve switched to unsweetened almond milk. Almond milk is remarkably sweet on it’s own without any added sweeteners, which makes my morning routine even healthier. The key to this delicious tea is by using “>Good Earth sweet and spicy tea. There are no artificial colors, flavors or ingredients and they’re sustainably sourced. Plus they come with little words of encouragement on each bag.

Secret #2) add some “>Vital Protein Collagen

These Collagen peptides add no flavor to your tea, just a whole lot of benefits. Packed with 20g collagen and 100% daily Vitamin C, “>Vital protein collagen peptides add glow and shine to your skin, hair and nails. In order to steep your tea in milk, I use this milk ""“>frother. It’s warm within minutes and very easy to clean up. You can also pour your Whole 30 sweet and spicy tea over ice for an iced version, (which basically tastes like a glorified chocolate milk!) I told you I’d make it short and sweet. Now go conquer that Whole 30!!

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