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THE BALANCED MEAL: BREAKING IT DOWN

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Balance. We hear this word all the time – from nutritionists to wellness experts to our mothers  “eat a balanced diet, live a balanced lifestyle, it’s all about balance.” But what does this actually mean in terms of the foods we eat every day? How does it actually affect our energy, our minds and our bodies?

We were asking ourselves the same questions – which is what prompted months of asking the experts, researching gut-health and narrowing down the foundation of our recipes. We wanted to find balance in our every day nutrition (even when we didn’t have the time to think about it).

In a nutshell, the American Dietary Guidelines recommends the following for EACH MEAL (protein 10-35%, carbs 45-65% and fat 20-35%).  For mēle, we opted for a slightly higher level of protein and carbs in this range – with busy schedules, long work hours and a passion for fitness, we wanted more energy and more endurance with our food.

But let’s take it a step further and break down WHY this balance of macronutrients (carbs, fats, proteins) matters so much for our digestion, our focus and our overall well-being.

BALANCED MEALS

It’s scientifically proven that the most efficient and beneficial way to eat is to combine lean protein, healthy fats and complex carbohydrates (includes fiber) TOGETHER.

For example, a balanced (and delicious) dinner could include roasted chicken (protein and fat), a salad with olive oil dressing (carbohydrates with fiber and fat), and wild rice (carbohydrates and fiber).  Do you see the “balance” of these macronutrients we are getting?

By combining these “building block” nutrients, you are physically slowing down the digestion process in your body – making you fuller longer, with sustained energy and a better focus and efficiency.  Your body will take it’s time absorbing the nutrients, converting the carbohydrates to energy, using the healthy fats for brain power, and providing the protein to sustain our muscles.

A stark contrast would be eating a pasta dish for lunch (all quick-absorbing simple carbohydrates) and feeling fatigued almost immediately after a surge of energy.  Without the fats, protein, and fiber, your body has to quickly digest the carbs, giving you a surge of energy (glucose) with a crash to follow.

When you’re deciding on your meals and snacks for the day our best advice is to:

(1) – pick natural, real foods that are unprocessed
(2) – aim for a balance of these nutrients:
 
Lean Proteins
Grass-Fed Whey Isolate Protein
Brown Rice and Pea Proteins
Organic, free-range chicken
Eggs
Fish (added omegas benefit)
   
Healthy Fats
Nuts & Seeds
Olive Oil
Avocado
Coconut Milk
    Complex Carbohydrates
    ANY and ALL fruits and veggies
    Sweet Potatoes
    Wild Rice
    Lentils
    Beans
     

    COMPLEX VS QUICK-ABSORBING CARBS

    ALL carbohydrates are converted to SUGAR. [read that again]. Yes, that means that even if you eat a piece of spinach, your body will process this into glucose.

    Whenever you eat any form of a carbohydrate – carrots, apples, sweet potatoes, pasta, chips, etc. – your body will use those carbs and convert it to a primary form of sugar (glucose) to give you energy.

    But what’s most important to understand here is HOW different types carbohydrates are processed in your system.

    Complex carbohydrates include the added bonus of fibers and nutrients, which helps the food break down slowly in bodies.  Slower digestion = a slow trickle of glucose into your system.

    Not only do we get the benefit of better energy and focus, but most complex carbs also give us a boost of vitamins, minerals and fiber.

    Quick-Absorbing Carbs, potato chips, white bread, cookies, pasta, etc are delicious and are okay to enjoy in moderation, but will always process quickly to glucose.  

    This gives us a rush of energy with a crash to follow. Excessive fast-carbs can also lead to weight gain – with an overload of glucose, the body can’t use it all and will convert and store it as fat.

    By combining slow-to-convert carbohydrates with lean proteins, healthy fats and fibers, we give our bodies the best ability to do what they are meant to.  And with that, we will think, feel and act our best.

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