MACROS vs MICROS: are you setting yourself up for failure?
To all my plant-based or plant-curious friends!
(meat-eaters, don't go away! There are helpful tips in here for you as well, my friends!) Below you will find some FANTASTIC resources to learn the ins and outs of designing a protein-rich diet while sticking to your plant-based goals.
As plant-based peoples (PBP's!), we really want to make sure that we are getting a full spectrum of micronutrients, as well as hitting our macros. Actually, everyone could benefit from looking at their micros a little harder, but being plant-based, it can be a little trickier.
So, what do I mean when I say micros? Vitamins and Minerals, yo.
While hitting your macronutrients (protein, carbohydrates and fats) are important in achieving fat loss (or maintaining or gaining weight), hitting your micronutrients are essential to healthy bodily functions like metabolism, endocrine system (hormones), energy levels, hair and skin quality, organ health, and longevity.
Do you know what's really in your food?
I've been plant-based (ranging from vegetarian to vegan to pescatarian) since January 2018. Recently had to sit down and look long and hard at my super "healthy" diet. From the naked eye, it was beautifully well versed, full of what anyone would deem fresh, healthy foods. And it was. But it was lacking. And my body knew it. I started experiencing extreme bloating, nausea, headaches, dizziness, rapid heart rate, etc.
It wasn't until I took a step back to look at the big picture from a micro standpoint that I realized: I was living a plant based life, I was eating healthily, and yet still sorely missing the mark in terms of a full spectrum of micronutrients, what my body needs to operate day to day.
I have since downloaded the app Cronometer (no affiliation, recommended by a dietician!), and while it was at first a little hard to learn, I have gotten the hang of it in under a week. It works just like My Fitness Pal, but provides WAY more nuance in terms of micronutrients. For a nutrition geek like me, I love seeing creative ways I can diversify and hit my micronutrient goals through whole food choices! This way, if I'm lacking in, let's say, "folate", I now have a better idea of foods I should reach for to help me hit that goal.
If this sounds far too overwhelming, no stress.
Here are some AMAZING articles that help explain (with pictures!) how to create complete proteins by combining certain plant-based foods, which is something every PBP needs to be mindful of. I highly recommend reading all three of these, for anyone who is plant-based or plant-curious!
Should I take a multivitamin? Does it work the same?
I strongly recommend getting a great multivitamin, calcium and omega-3 supplement to make sure you can fill in the gaps. It's always best to aim to get your micros from whole foods, but taking a multi is a wonderfully helpful tool to help support an already diverse, healthy diet. I enter my supplements into Cronometer as well, to make sure I'm not overdoing it on anything either! :) Cronometer gives you the standard RDA for every micro to give you a goal to hit, as well as tracking your macros too!
What supplements do I take daily?
Here are the vegan supplements I take: Deva Vegan Multivitamin Deva Cal-Mag Plus (calcium, magnesium, Vit C, D2, K, Zinc <-- all important for PBP's!) Deva Omega-3 You can purchase all of these through Thrive Market, an amazing way to shop awesome products online. You can even filter your search for products by clicking things like "cruelty-free", "paleo" or "female-owned"! How cool is that?! No pressure at all, but if you use my affiliate link (http://thrv.me/upstrengthfitness) you will automatically get 25% off of your first order! I get a little kickback, too! Not trying to get salesy, it's just a service I really, really believe in. I hope this helps you zoom in a little closer on your nutrition, and hit some micro goals as well!