Let's talk macronutrients... Macronutrients are nutrients that provide energy to the body and are needed in large amounts. There are three: carbohydrate, protein and fat.
As these are the foundation of your diet, we want to make sure you're getting them right! In today's post, I'm going to help with you to changing out your protein, fat and carb sources to decrease inflammation, reduce your toxic load and support your microbiome.
- Conventional protein powders (like the ones you'd get at GNC) - these are loaded with artificial sweeteners and denatured protein. The ingredients in these powders can destroy your gut microbiome and put a huge burden on your liver and kidneys.
- Non-organic sources of protein like grain-fed beef, conventional chicken/turkey and farmed fish. Grain-fed beef is high in omega-6 fatty acids which contribute to inflammation in the body. Conventionally raised cows are also injected with steroids, antibiotics and growth hormones. By consuming the flesh of these animals, you are ingesting these substances which kill off the good bacteria in your gut. Conventional chickens are injected with antibiotics and their feed is laced with pesticides. The pesticides and drugs the chickens get exposed to are stored in their fat. By eating chicken, you may be ingesting high amounts of toxins. Farm-raised fish don't have the same levels of omega-3 fats as wild caught. Toxic by-products and cancer-causing contaminants have been found in factory-farmed fish. Industrial salmon farms use artificial color to make farmed salmon, whose flesh is greyish white, appear a more appetizing "salmon pink."
- Bone broth
- Organic, grass-fed meat (beef, bison, lamb)
- Organic, free range chicken
- Sustainable, wild caught fish (such as sockeye and king salmon, cod, halibut, mackerel, sardines) - eat fish lower on the food chain to avoid heavy metals such as mercury and check out Seafood Watch for the most ocean-friendly seafood choices.
- Beans/lentils (i.e. chickpeas, black beans, pinto beans, kidney beans, mung beans, lentils, etc.) - best canned brand is Eden Organic as they cook the beans properly for digestibility
- Spirulina - 65-71% complete protein (compared to beef which is only 22%)! - great to add to smoothies or take as a supplement
- Vegetable oils (canola oil, soybean oil, cottonseed oil, corn oil, etc.) - these are partially hydrogenated oils that are typically GMO. We know genetically modified organisms have pesticides wired into their DNA. These oils are highly inflammatory and will damage the gut microbiome.
- Omega-3 fatty acids called EPA/DHA – best source is wild caught seafood and algae like spirulina. You can also take a omega-3 as a supplement.
- Nuts and seeds – nuts such as almonds, brazil nuts, walnuts, pecans, cashews, and seeds like flaxseeds, chia seeds, hemp seeds, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds.
- Nut and seed butters, such as almond butter, sunflower butter, tahini, etc. Check labels to make sure there is no sugar added!
- Coconut products, such as full fat coconut milk (from a can), coconut flakes, coconut butter, etc.
- Saturated fats (organic, raw extra virgin coconut oil, organic grass-fed ghee or butter, lard, tallow) - these are all great oils for cooking
- Organic, extra virgin olive oil - typically don't want to cook with this - better for cold applications such as drizzling on cooked veggies, grains, and salads, or using to make hummus, etc.
- Organic, grass-fed dairy products can be fine if you tolerate them. Dairy, in general, is hard to digest for people either because of the lactose (milk sugar) or the proteins (whey and casein). If you can tolerate dairy, ensure that you are getting organic, grass-fed dairy products. Ideally, you're having raw (unpasteurized) dairy – like raw milk, yogurt, kefir and cheese. The pasteurization process kills off the enzymes, like lactase, that help break down the lactose so raw dairy is less tampered with and easier to digest. If you don't want to do raw cow's milk dairy, sheep’s and goat’s milk products are generally easier to digest so you could try goat's milk kefir, sheep's milk yogurt and/or sheep or goat's milk cheese.
- Refined flour products - white and wheat flour, bagels, pasta, bread, baked goods, cookies, etc. DUH, right?
- Veggies!! Vegetables are the most nutrient-dense food on the planet. Most people are deficient in vitamins and minerals so veggies are the best way to start loading up. I recommend eating veggies at least 2x day, ideally 3x by adding some to your breakfast. Focus on eating low starch veggies (these are always unlimited in terms of quantity) and add in some starchy ones (like sweet potato, winter squash, pumpkin, beets, carrots, peas, corn) when you need more carbs. Aim for 5-9 servings of veggies every day!
- Fruit – low sugar fruits are best – aim for about 1-2 pieces a day. Low sugar fruits are berries, cranberries, citrus, and avocado.
- Pseudo-grains (like quinoa, millet, buckwheat), oats, and rice – grains contain phytic acid which binds up the minerals in them so your body can't absorb them. The sprouting process kills off the phytic acid, unlocks the nutrients and makes them easier to digest and absorb all the great vitamins and minerals in the grains.
Happy meal planning!