A Day In My Kitchen: Why Taking A Relaxed Approach to Nutrition Works Best For ME

Recently, I was asked to give a detailed example of what I eat each day, so I picked o day and put together the following.

I’m going be upfront, I don’t count Calories or track macros. I don’t log every meal. I don’t measure portions or weigh my food. I don’t cycle carbs or fast intermittently. I don’t spend each day thinking about what I “can” or “can’t” have…

I just eat.

The following shows my meals from one day. Though I don’t eat the same foods everyday, this is how I eat about 80% of the time. I don’t know how many Calories/macros I take in. I only know that at the end of the day, I’m full, satisfied, and energized.

Tuesday, August 7, 2018:

  • 5:45 a.m. – 20oz water (not pictured) before I get out of bed
  • 5;50ish a.m. – dry shot of pre workout, coffee and BCAAs in 24oz water (to be sipped during workouts)
  • 6:10 a.m. – HIIT Cardio & Core
  • 7:20 a.m. – “spicy” ACV/lemon water “cocktail” (2 T fresh lemon juice, 2 T raw, unfiltered ACV, 1 t cinnamon, 1/4 t cayenne, 4oz water)
  • 7:35 a.m. – KIND granola breakfast squares, 10oz water w/ creatine, biotin, B12
  • 8:05 a.m. – strength (upper body)
  • 9:25 a.m. – “Mexican Hot Chocolate” protein shake (8oz Unsweetened cashew milk, 6 T liquid egg whites, 100% Dark Chocolate Cocoa, cayenne, cinnamon, 1 Scoop chocolate protein powder)
  • 10:45 a.m. – Sweet Potato Protein Pancakes (My newest recipe), omega-3, D3 capsules
  • 2:45 p.m. – Chicken Bacon Ranch Salad
  • 3:45 p.m. – KIND Protein Bar
  • 5:45 p.m. – grilled top sirloin, green beans, and sweet potato w/ a dash of Pumpkin Pie Spice.
  • 8:00 p.m. – probiotic

(I also want to add, other than my morning coffee, which I drink black, I drink water with all of my meals, as well as throughout the day)

Now for the question:

Why don’t I track nutrition?

Because it doesn’t make me happy.

I used to track diligently. I counted EVERY macronutrient and Calorie right down to the last stick of gum. I was constantly looking up nutrition information, weighing and measuring portions to get the EXACT amount, because Heaven forbid my numbers be even slightly off, stressing because no two labels for the same food item gave the same values (that’s a whole other post, lol), obsessing over what I “couldn’t” have, and constantly thinking about what I “could”. Food was controlling my life, and I was starting to dread mealtimes.

In the past, I had been in a really dark place with food, and I was starting to see some of that previously disordered mindset trying to creep back in, so a little over a year ago, I decided to conduct a little self-experiment. I was going to not track my nutrition for one weekend, just to see how things would go. I knew if if got overwhelming, I could easily go back to daily Calorie math…Nothing lost, nothing gained…That first weekend turned into a week, that week turned into a month, and that month has turned into a year and almost two months.

Today, I have a really good relationship with food. I no longer label it as “healthy” or “unhealthy”. There is no ”good” or “bad”, there’s only food. I don’t worry about what I “can” or “can’t” have, I just eat! Giving myself the freedom to choose has made me less likely to overindulge when I do eat a less than wholesome meal or snack.

I know what you must be thinking, but I don’t just mindlessly eat, I’m 100% aware of everything I put into my body. Whether it be 10 Double Stuffed Oreos or grilled salmon with broccoli and quinoa, I am always mindful, but never regretful.

So…

Is my approach right for everyone?

No!

See, I’m not trying to discredit or downplay tracking in any way. Using macros IS a great nutrition strategy, one that I always teach my clients (among others), because many do benefit…

1. It’s good for those just starting out, those who are learning the ins and outs of nutrition.

2. It’s good to use for reference.

3. It’s good for those who need a little extra accountability.

4. It’s good for those who enjoy structure.

5. It’s good for those who may have frequent/uncontrollable sweet/salty cravings. Tracking can allow people to have something sweet/salty daily workout sabotaging their fitness goals by allowing them to “factor in” their favorite indulgence.

6. It’s good when total nutrition compliance is absolutely necessary (I.e. for those prepping for a competition or professional athletes during in-season training…etc.).

All I’m trying to express here is, the key to success isn’t doing what everyone else is doing, it’s finding what works best for you, specifically. There is no right or wrong approach. It’s all about individual difference.

Note:

Drinking ACV/lemon water in no way aids in weigh/fat loss. My morning “cocktail” isn’t a “detox”, “cleanse”, or otherwise “miracle elixir”, although many websites/health enthusiasts market it that way. It does, however, have other potential health benefits that, I feel, make it worth drinking.

Here are some of the Individual benefits of each ingredient of my morning “cocktail”:

Lemon Water:

  1. Aides in digestion
  1. Boosts Vitamin C
  1. Rejuvenate skin (fights damage caused by free radicals and boost collagen production)
  1. Promotes satiety (contains pectin, which is a type of fiber that helps you stay full)
  1. Boosts energy levels and mood
  1. Naturally helps regulate the body‘s pH

Raw, Unfiltered Apple Cider Vinegar

  1. Good source of potassium
  1. Also aids in digestion
  1. Helps lower cholesterol
  1. Regulates the blood sugar
  1. Helps boost immunity
  1. Improve stamina and energy levels

Cayenne Pepper

  1. Anti-fungal protection
  1. Increase is cardiovascular health
  1. Helps relieve joint pain
  1. Fights inflammation
  1. Helps prevent blood clots
  1. Fights off cold
  1. Naturally increases metabolic rate

Cinnamon

  1. Natural diuretic
  1. Lowers cholesterol
  1. Reduce his A1C levels
  1. Good source of minerals
  1. Increases circulation and protects against heart disease
  1. Anti-inflammatory
  1. Boosts memory

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