The Macro Nutrient Challenge–Finding the Perfect Groove

Most of you evolving health geeks know of My Fitness Pal. Love this app, because being a rabid experimenter, a super easy, right on my cell phone, type of food diary, which instantly calculates calories, macro and micro nutrients–simply fits. Type in your meal and voila you know what you just ate, down to the gram of protein! And it’s simpler than you think. Seriously, you don’t have to be a research scientist to keep a food diary.

I have been tweaking my daily “macros”, the protein-carbohydrate-fat ratios, in order to feel clear headed and energetic, as well as create a little more “cut”, lean out, show a little muscle, especially in the abs. The first thing fitness trainers and health gurus tell a client who wants to lose weight and build muscle: Decrease carbohydrates; Increase protein.

Coolio, I say. You’re the expert. So off I go. I switch from oats to beans for the morning meal, and add some nice hemp hearts for additional protein. I plug in all the ingredients into my new app and it the meal looks like it would get the trainer’s nod of approval! I’m well within the 60-20-20 ratio! Feeling pretty darned proud of my measurable experiment, I munch away.

You want to know what happened? Well that very fine spring-like winter afternoon here in the high desert I’m dragging booty with a mere three items in my grocery cart. I’m staring open-mouthed and glassy-eyed in the tea aisle, unable to decide between the anise chai tea and the yellow chai tea. A woman my age could always use more turmeric, yet I know the anise is perfect…

“I want to go home,” says my thirteen year-old, quite familiar with mom’s tea dilemmas. “I’ll meet you by the essential oils.”

“Oh yeah, okay,” I nod trying to shake myself out of the stupor. I grab the pretty purple can of anise chai and will myself to the register and dull-eyed pay for the handful of items. I drive down 27th towards home, humming childhood hymns to keep myself awake. When was the last time a sang that?

Later that evening.

“What’s wrong with me? I’m eating all the right things.” I ask my handsome guy, while sitting at our dining-coffee table munching green leaf lettuce.

“You need more carbs,” he says eyeing my lettuce. “I’ve watched you for five years now. You keep experimenting and crashing.” I nod, but say nothing, so he continues. “Brown rice. I keep telling you. Brown rice.”

“You do, don’t you?”

“And the brown rice has fewer calories and more nutrients than that giant gluten-free, high sugar, greasy cookie you’d end up buying at the coffee shop downstairs.”

“True.” I know he’s right, but I’ve been telling myself this lie for years now. Is now really the time to give it up?

So, the next morning my country kitchen is warm with sunshine and I decide to give the rice a whirl. What have I got to lose? So I trade out half of the beans for 3/4 of a cup of brown rice. I shake my head at the pile of pasty carbs, knowing the gurus would tell me I’ll never have a six pack with all that starch. A whopping 672 calories. But surprise! The bowl is in the range, macro percentage-wise. 61% carbs. 17% fat. 22% protein. I shrug and I go for it.

Result?

I FEEL FREAKING NORMAL! LIKE GOOD! Around the time of a regular person has lunch–my stomach growls. Hmm. Isn’t that quaint? And my head isn’t all wonky-spacey. I still have energy. Hmm.

All it took was 3/4 cup of brown frigging rice? Really?

Okay, now all I have to do is to keep doing what I started yesterday. But can I resist the urge to alter the recipe in some way? Can I really not “tweak?” I love my tweaking ways…my rabidly experimental ways…there’s always a better way…

Ah. Cheers lovelies, to finding the right mix; to staying with what works. At least for a week.

Love and lettuce,
Kathryn