Do you mind your macros [too much]?

Macros, hm? A topic that is constantly present in my life yet not. Not in that I don’t care about my macro split in the least yet present still because macro talk is an everyday given in the media and on all social media platforms, particularly blogs and Instagram.

The other day, I saw a girl, no, woman state her insecurity about eating at work. Knowing her colleagues might comment on her choices [plenty of grain-based meals aka ‘carbs’] like they had in the past. So for fear of comments this grown-up woman and mum of a little one went through her work day not eating a single bite until she got home in the afternoon. Luckily, in her post she was opening up about these struggles and making the resolution to start bringing food to work again – a small success . What is making me very sad, though, is knowing she’s no exception.

Just a short time browsing blogs, not only WIAW posts, is enough to spy a lot of macronutrient-embracing language or ‘excuses’ for cosuming ‘too much’ of a particular macros..

“I love carbs!”

“Give me alllll the carbs!” vs. “Give me allll the fats!”

and on the guilty side

“Wow, I ate a lot of carbs today. Not enough protein in there.”

“Carbs on carbs on carbs – at least I had some vegetables on the side!”

*Protein never seems to require any further explanations because it’s the one ‘good guy’ everyone seems to agree on. Which is funny as it’s the one macronutrient that – when consumed in excess – may potentially lead to kidney diseases of some individuals so it’s not  a one-fits-all recommendation.

Onto the first category: Macro-embracing so: what’s wrong with that you ask? Nothing in general and I want to stress that I am not judging you or anybody who’s using this language. What I’m curious about is the reasoning behind these statements. Why do we feel the need to enthusiastically show our fondness of certain macronutrients? What I assume is that we – collectively as a generation; our grandparents sure didn’t count macros  – want to shout from the rooftops how unafraid of the ‘big bad’ carbs/fat we are. In some cases there’s what seems to be an added justification  [“eating all the carbs because: leg day!”].  Actually a sad fact. We should not be afraid because for heaven’s sake it’s all just food. Carbohydrates. Fats. Protein. Food. We do not need to earn food or explain our choices to anybody. Period.

Yes, by now the example is way overused but: look at the way children eat. Have you ever seen a toddler call for ‘more protein, hold the bread, please!”? Carefully shove aside the rice on his plate, eating only vegetables and protein? We’re not much different from toddlers when it comes to food. Grown-up, yes. Yet our minds have been manipulated by food companies, magazines and the likes to return to an almost infant-like state. Absorbing information that more confuses than empowers us or strengthens our intuitive knowledge of what’s good for us. The more often we’re told protein was key for saturation and carbs made us sluggish, the more likely we are to accept these statements as truths; no matter if they actually are for us personally.

A car isn’t proud to tout the fact it’s slurping up allll the gas. We know the fact of the latter being its prime [or in the machine’s case: only] source of fuel much like ours/our brain’s are carbohydrates [side note: yes, I’ve heard of the keto diet but don’t agree with its idea of ‘forcing’ our organism to use fat as its main fuel]. No need to explain, much less defend a natural inclination to eat these wonderful nutrients and plenty of them.

Nut butter drizzle

The average healthy person should give a flying fudge* about macronutrient amounts. Especially since no day is different – and no, this is not related to whatever kind of workout we do or don’t do – needs for certain macros vary. Trying to preplan and manage macros is a waste of time and revelry against our bodies’ intuitive wisdom.  Whether you are keen on carbs, fancying fat or partial to protein: it doesn’t change my view or opinion of you in the very least. In fact, an inclination to eat more of one macronutrient might very well be genetically predisposed. Trying to modify our genetic preferences a) doesn’t work, no matter how much we try to convince ourselves and b) ultimately leaves us constantly feeling unsatisifed. Athletes altering their macro intake for perfomance are an entirely different topic that would justify a post on its own so I didn’t include it here.

Quark_protein

I’m not saying we shouldn’t talk about food. Please, I’m a blogger after all, too. But I wish we would change the way we talk about food. Not seeing it as its macronutrients but: Colours. Visual appeal. Taste! We as a society are [mostly] in the lucky situation – different from our grandparents’ generation or the populations of other countries – to see food as far more than fuel [aka: macros or energy]. We eat for taste, pleasure, fun and all these require no explanation, no defenses. Just appreciation for good food.

*purty expression borrowed from a British friend of mine

Happiness-inducing today: A client bringing in a little food gift for me specifically in addition to cake for the whole team [which has become a regular whenever she visits]. It wasn’t so much about the food but the thoughtfulness and unexpected appreciation.

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It might not surprise you when I say I could have gone on and on about the topic. Yet this post is long enough as is already and I only spontaneously decided to join Amanda’s Thursday thinking party so I’ll hand the mic over to you. Let me know your thoughts in the comments! If you have talked about macros in similar ways as mentoned here: was there a reason? I might be wrong with my assumptions on the ‘why’ and would happily find out people’s reasons.

Merken

Merken

Merken

Merken

Embracing the fats [Spill it Sunday]

When Arman announced the topic for this week’s Spill It Sunday I knew I wanted to chime in again. From enemy during my deepest ED days to multiple nut butters in the same meal these days I’m a fan of this little macronutrient. And you should be, too, because else Arman might have to come over all the way from Australia to bring you to senses.

Spill-it-Sunday-option-2-1

1. What is your favourite fat source? Okay, I might not like playing favourites but when we’re facing the facts here:

Almond butter

Well, that and just about every other nut or almond butter. And that would basically answer the second question[s] already …

2. What is your favourite nut? What is your favourite nut butter?  … but to be more creative here I’ll say that my favourite nuts to eat as is are cashews. My mum used to buy those little cans of salted cashews and I’d hide them from my dad to make sure I’d get my fair share. Why, yes, it was necessary.

3. What fat is receives unfair flack? What fat is most overrated? Most overrated? By now I think just about every fat that was once bashed has been reestablished. Maybe the paleo lifestyle with its focus on fats is to thank for this one. Butter had a negative image for years but during the past months I’ve noticed more and more health magazines and ‘experts’ promote its benefits again. In case it seems weird for me as a vegan with benefits to say this: I might not use butter one the regular when cooking – actually don’t even stock any – but when we have potatoes at my parents’ just a smidgen of butter can make them taste so much better. If you haven’t tried it yet: white [yes, that’s how we roll over here] potatoes + butter + salt = perfection.

As for the most overrated I’m sorry to say it but for me that’s still …

Avocado

avocado. Yes, I know. Others are eating half of one just as is as part of a meal but I just can’t get quite that excited about it. In my defense, though, I don’t plan on giving up here just yet. Does anybody want to come over and prepare authentic guacamole for me 🙂 ? If anything the tortilla chips involved for dipping action might be enough to convince me already.

4. Link up a favourite recipe embracing fats (it can be your own or another bloggers!)

Again, it’s way too hard to choose so I’m going with one that has been on many blogs and is a simple everyday staple food for me: coconut butter. It matches with everything but tastes just as good on its own. Throw some shredded coconut in a food processor or blender, turn it on and watch it process into amazing drippy deliciousness – can this even be called a recipe?

Coconut butter

5. What is YOUR perception of this macronutrient?

Embrace it! I turn my eyes up at any article in health and fitness magazines claiming x grams of fat as a daily maximum for best health. Best health is not stressing about fat grams but enjoying the foods we like. And as Robyn said there’s no such  thing as too much fat. Go and dip your spoon into the nut butter jar – unless you’re not living on your own. Then please pour a generous amount into a bowl before scooping it up 😉 . Not that anybody knew, though …

6. What benefits do FATS play in YOUR personal eating habits?

Actual satisfaction after eating. Rich taste. Being able to focus. Fooling myself for years by eating low-fat foods in huge quantities only to never feel satisfied I’ve noticed a profound difference since being less strict when it comes to adding fat. From those first awkward teaspoons of nut butter for “dipping” next to a giant apple to going through the 1 lb+ jars of almond butter in a little over a week these days. It’s safe to say fat has been playing – and still does – a decided role in my recovery.

Thanks to Arman for hosting this fat event today – maybe Lurpak can honour this by finally making you their poster boy 😉 ?!

Happiness inducing today: Just to match the theme: a new nut butter in my collection. Any guesses?!

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What’s your ‘history’ with fats? Did you ever fear them?

Which one’s your favourite nut butter [if you’re able to pick one]?