What the heck are macros?

What Are Macros?

This is a common question with a simple answer that not everyone “gets”. IIFYM has been a phenomenon for ages however, until recently, it was typically only bodybuilders making the most of their macros. I wrote this post to help the beginner derive an understanding of what macros are, which should make choosing the right foods for your body a whole lot easier.

There are four macro nutrients.

Here they are in the same order you will find them on all packaged food nutrition labels.

  • Fat
  • Carbohydrates
  • Protein
  • Alcohol

These 4 macros are the sole origin of calories.

A calorie is a measurement for a unit of energy. That is the simple way to put it. Calories are not something you can touch or see or feel.  In order to measure a calorie you literally have to burn it or set it on fire in a lab. As they relate to macro nutrients, calories from the four above each have a specific value. Carbs and Protein each have 4 calories per gram, Fat has 9 calories per gram and Alcohol has 7 calories per gram. These numbers are what we pay attention to when calculating macros.

What is the argument for counting macros versus calories?

Calories dictate fat loss or gain. If you eat too many calories you store they are stored as fat at the body will use them later on to burn as fuel. Weight loss measurement = calories. Fat loss, hormone balance, muscle preservation = macros.

Focusing on macros as opposed to calories ensures that we can put a target on what the body needs to preserve muscle, burn fat, recover, maintain a healthy metabolism etc…calories can come from anything, say, bread for instance. So, 1200 calories from bread are entirely devoid of actual nutrients. This means that your body is not running optimally and you cannot manipulate it’s response to burning fat and storing muscle. This could add up to “skinny fat” syndrome aka “the kids who look thin but not so hot naked”. Conversely, a macro nutrient ratio of 150g Protein, 100g Carbs and 45g Fats will limit the speed at which we burn fat far less.

Finding out your macro target is my job, or you can choose to go it alone. You can find places online to help you out in this and they are generally free. If you’re looking for a bit more precision with items like carb cycling, refeeds, cardio & weight training etc…that will compliment your macros. Find a coach who’s good with this style of nutrition and get help.

Ideal nutrition

In the grand scheme of things, a food scale is the way to go in terms of accuracy. If you measure out a TBSP of nut butter with a regular spoon you can be far too generous with yourself. This could only be a few negligible calories however, over the span of a day, it could add up to a lot with all your other less accurate measurements. Over time, this will take away from your efforts. Accuracy is key. Intuitive eating can be great for some however, my intuition says “eat all the pizza all day”…..not what’s going to get me stage or beach ready.

There is no room for error with a digital scale and they are as cheap as $20 online. Invest in yourself and your goals and avoid “food failure”.

Staying on track

In order to maintain your goals you need to record your nutrition. Yes, it’s a lot of work at first however, once you become a pro you might actually be able to eyeball what 3 oz of tofu looks like. Programs like MyfitnessPal and Chronometer have free options and will help immensely. I recommend them to all my clients. If you’re recording 100% of the time you should have a high success rate. Less commitment, less success.

Hydration

Water is key to our survival and is key to keeping our systems running well. I cannot stress enough how important taking in the right amount of water is. Women should strive for 3 litres of water per day, Men 4. Thirst can feel like hunger and this is an area where a lot of people will choose to get snacky instead of slamming a glass of H20. Choose wisely.

Plateau

You have to know that after a period of eating a certain way you will no longer benefit from the effects of the diet that you so loved. Totally normal. If a plateau has been reached, track your macros for another week and see if you haven’t had some water retention or stress create a bump in the road. If you have in fact reached your maintenance calorie level, you will need to weigh in and readjust. Should progress still not move along, you need to consider if you’re putting in the work 100% or not or that your metabolism might need a reboot. I prefer to leave this tinkering to my coach!

Getting past the basics and moving on.

Now that you’ve got a grasp on macros you only need to remember a few things:

1 – Meal prep like a boss

2 – Eat out healthfully

3 – Move your body every day

4 – Sleep more

5 – Stress less

6 – Download my free macro cheat sheet HERE

The rest of these items will hinder your goals if you let them. If you have more questions or want your own customized plan, contact me.

To your health!

xx

S

 

Last Minute Vegan Shepards Pie

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After going back and forth between going out and making the cheaper & healthier decision to stay in, I brainstormed with what was left in the fridge and came up with this recipe. This is SUPER high in protein and great for those looking to keep carbs & fats down. Freezes well.

Definitely could feed 8 average eaters if you serve it with a salad!

Ingredients: 

3 cloves garlic diced

1 tsp onion powder

1 cup chopped celery

1 cup chopped carrot

1 small potato cubed with skin

1 medium sweet potato/yam cubed with skin

3-4 cups “seasoned” riced cauliflower (2 small packs)

1 round Lightlife beef or any other beef type product

2 cups reconstituted TVP

1 can beans ( I used white kidneys)

3/4 cups frozen or fresh peas

1/2 – 3/4 cup veggie broth

Spray oil 0r oil IN a sprayer

1 tsp garlic powder

2 tbsp fresh rosemary chopped

2 tbsp fresh thyme chopped

salt & pepper to taste

Directions: 

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Chop potato and yam (leave skins on) and bring to low boil for 15 mins on stovetop.

Meanwhile chop carrots, celery and finely diced garlic. In pan on medium heat add 1/2 tsp oil (or used greased cast iron as I do) add veggies & cook for 4-5 minutes then turn down to medium low.

In separate bowl add TVP and 1-2 cups of hot water to reconstitute. Chop fresh rosemary & thyme.

Add herbs, onion powder, light life beef crumbles, tvp & beans to veggies and cook for 10 more minutes on stovetop. Add salt & pepper to taste. At the very end add frozen or fresh peas.

Strain potato/yam and add back to pot with veggie stock, garlic powder & pepper. Blend with hand blender – add 2 packs of seasoned riced cauliflower slowly, blending in about 3/4 cup at a time until entire mixture is smooth.

Transfer contents of frying pan to baking dish and evenly spread throughout, use a spatula to remove potato/cauliflower mixture from pot and spread evenly. Spray top with coconut, olive or avocado oil lightly. Salt & pepper if desired.

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Bake at 375 for 15 minutes. Switch to 425 broil & broil for approximately 5 minutes or until top browns to your liking.

Serve with a salad!

 

Nutrition Facts
Servings 8.0
Amount Per Serving
calories 294
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 5 g 7 %
Saturated Fat 0 g 2 %
Monounsaturated Fat 0 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0 g
Trans Fat 0 g
Cholesterol 0 mg 0 %
Sodium 960 mg 40 %
Potassium 875 mg 25 %
Total Carbohydrate 35 g 12 %
Dietary Fiber 13 g 54 %
Sugars 10 g
Protein 26 g 53 %
Vitamin A 91 %
Vitamin C 59 %
Calcium 19 %
Iron 31 %
* The Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet, so your values may change depending on your calorie needs. The values here may not be 100% accurate because the recipes have not been professionally evaluated nor have they been evaluated by the U.S. FDA.

High Protein, Vegan Cookie Dough

Almonds & Maple Syrup ~ Always a good idea.

 

Not everyone is a friend of eating cookie dough straight out of the bowl…however, when you make it high protein, vegan and deeeeeeelish….everyone is a convert.

This one is in honour of my friends & clients who just kicked ass on the FML Fat Fry ~ two weeks of torture to shred & kick off a new affirmation for healthy food and fitness.

Enjoy!

Ingredients: 

1.5 cups chickpeas without skins (soak and then remove) pat dry

1/4 cup almond butter

2 tsp vanilla extract – try my homemade recipe HERE

2.5 tbsp maple syrup

1/3 cup carob chips or other chips that are vegan

1 scoop About Time Vanilla Vegan Protein

1/8 cup water if needed

Method: 

With hand blender, food processor OR a fork, combine chickpeas, almond butter, vanilla extract & agave nectar.

Next, add in protein powder and mix. Add a few drops of water as you go along/as needed to blend in the powder nicely.

Remove dough from blender (if blender was used) and hand mix in chocolate chips by mixing with a spoon or by hand.

Roll into balls to make portable OR place in a 1 quart container to eat like dough.

Stores in the fridge for up to a week. Freeze if you wish!

Nutritional Information: 

Nutrition Facts
Servings 1.0
Amount Per Serving
calories 2086
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 74 g 114 %
Saturated Fat 22 g 111 %
Monounsaturated Fat 5 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 7 g
Trans Fat 0 g
Cholesterol 0 mg 0 %
Sodium 296 mg 12 %
Potassium 3194 mg 91 %
Total Carbohydrate 275 g 92 %
Dietary Fiber 61 g 243 %
Sugars 78 g
Protein 96 g 191 %
Vitamin A 0 %
Vitamin C 24 %
Calcium 63 %
Iron 136 %
* The Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet, so your values may change depending on your calorie needs. The values here may not be 100% accurate because the recipes have not been professionally evaluated nor have they been evaluated by the U.S. FDA

 

Vegan Lentil Stew – The Crockpot Chronicles

 

 

Perfect Winter Food
Perfect Winter Food

 

I couldn’t be more ecstatic to eat this dish than the night I created it on – minus 25, snowing, cold as &*(%. Slow cookers are my savior when life gets hectic. I don’t often use them in the summer but they ARE great for sauces, dips and even desserts….hint: I may be expanding my vegan cooking empire this winter.

Ingredients are few but tasty. You should all enjoy this on a cold winter night. Maybe paired up with some homemade sourdough toast?

Ingredients:

1 cup lentils

3 medium russet potatoes cubed

3 stalks celery diced

2 medium carrots diced

2 small yellow onions

4 cloves garlic

4 cups water/veggie stock  or 1 cube organic veggie stock dissolved in water

1 tbsp curry

1 tsp Himalayan sea salt

1 tsp pepper

 

Method:

Saute onions and garlic in oil for 5-7 minutes in crock pot if possible, if not in small pan….add celery and carrots and saute for additional 3-4 minutes.

Add potatoes and remaining ingredients.

Cook on high for 2 hours. Turn onto low for 7 hours. Add water if necessary / lentils expand more than you expected.

Serves 6

 

Food Medicine Tips:

*Stabilize blood sugar

*Packed with fiber

*Iron rich

 

Nutrition Facts
Servings 4.0
Amount Per Serving
calories 143 
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 1 g 1 %
Saturated Fat 0 g 0 %
Monounsaturated Fat 0 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0 g
Trans Fat 0 g
Cholesterol 0 mg 0 %
Sodium 894 mg 37 %
Potassium 1517 mg 43 %
Total Carbohydrate 29 g 10 %
Dietary Fiber 7 g 28 %
Sugars 3 g
Protein 8 g 16 %
Vitamin A  102 %
Vitamin C  7 %
Calcium  3 %
Iron  13 %
* The Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet, so your values may change depending on your calorie needs. The values here may not be 100% accurate because the recipes have not been professionally evaluated nor have they been evaluated by the U.S. FDA.

 

Vegan Rosemary Protein Flatbread

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I am always in the process of trying to get the cleanest, tastiest recipes developed to make my life (and hopefully yours) a little easier where nutrition planning is involved.

We have been working on a top secret product lately which has me in receipt of excess amounts of bulk protein. The ones I don’t like, end up in recipe testers like this!

IMG_2889

This week, I had enough time while packing to try out a reasonably tasty flatbread recipe. Because this is pretty much gluten free and totally vegan, it’s difficult to get the fluffy texture that glutenous & egg laden breads produce. However, it worked and is useable AND is protein packed.

Take that carb cravings.

Flavour it how you like or don’t flavour it at all ~ I tried Rosemary and Garlic Sea Salt for this batch – savoury with be the death of me.

Ingredients:

1 cup pea protein

1 tsp baking soda

1.5 cups quick oats

1/4 cup flaxseed meal

3 tbsp egg replacer

1 cup warm water

**dressed with Rosemary & Garlicky Salt

Method: 

Place all items into blender and blend thoroughly – this will be quite liquid as below.

Pour into cookie sheet that is preferably NOT bent – oy oy oy the issues when it isn’t level!

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Bake at 200 degrees for 1.5 hours checking every 30 minutes. I recommend either a) greasing with spray on coconut oil b) using parchment or c) use a silicone bread/cookie pan

Allow to cool for at least 10 minutes.

I cut this recipe into 12 pieces and here are the nutritional results: 

Nutrition Facts
Servings 12.0
Amount Per Serving
calories 74 
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 1 g 2 %
Saturated Fat 0 g 1 %
Monounsaturated Fat 0 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0 g
Trans Fat 0 g
Cholesterol 0 mg 0 %
Sodium 410 mg 17 %
Potassium 14 mg 0 %
Total Carbohydrate 6 g 2 %
Dietary Fiber 1 g 5 %
Sugars 0 g
Protein 12 g 24 %
Vitamin A  0 %
Vitamin C  1 %
Calcium  1 %
Iron  13 %
* The Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet, so your values may change depending on your calorie needs. The values here may not be 100% accurate because the recipes have not been professionally evaluated nor have they been evaluated by the U.S. FDA.

 

IMG_2895
Added sliced “chicken”, Walden Farms Hickory BBQ sauce & some grilled yellow peppers which hit the spot!

 

Baked Beans – Vegan Bodybuilding Series

There’s nothing I love more than a simple recipe during a week full of the hustle and bustle of life. I’ve chosen to add this quick and easy recipe to the bodybuilding roster because I’ve been using beans as pre-workout for about a year.

Most recently I’ve found that I personally do not get enough energy from them on my highest carb cycling/hardest workout days so I have chosen to use them in the off season or on a “cheat” day instead of as a strategy for more energy.

I used a slow cooker here to try and get as many farts cooked out of the beans as I could – this recipe was still a bit gassy….no funzo at the gym. Try soaking your beans over night before you undertake this one especially if you’re sensitive. Otherwise, be diligent to rinse the beans before you cook with them.

This is a clean recipe, I’ve included the nutritional information for you below as well. I’ve used all organic ingredients for this recipe.

Ingredients: 

1 can navy beans

1 can chick peas

1 can pinto beans

1 can white beans

1 large onion diced

5 cloves garlic diced

2.5 cups veggie broth

1 tsp coconut oil

1/2 tsp cumin

1/2 tsp rosemary

1/2 tsp oregano

Salt & Pepper to taste

Method: 

Using the saute or simmer setting on your slow cooker melt coconut oil and add garlic and onions. Cook until translucent.

Modification note* if you do not have a slow cooker use a deep sauce pan or frying pan to create the same recipe – you must be at home to monitor this process*

Next, add spices other than salt and pepper to mixture. Stir in and allow to simmer for about 30 seconds.

Finally, add all your beans and veggie broth mix well with all ingredients. Turn setting to hi slow cook for 1 hour, reduce to low for 2-3 hours. Once this is completed the slow cooker should switch to warm and you are ready to eat or prep.

This recipe would do fine on slow cook all day if you would like to put it on before you leave for work – I prefer to leave it on over night in that case in the event the recipe dries out and could potentially start burning.

Nutritional Info: 

Nutrition Facts
Servings 8.0
Amount Per Serving
calories 552
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 3 g 5 %
Saturated Fat 1 g 3 %
Monounsaturated Fat 0 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0 g
Trans Fat 0 g
Cholesterol 0 mg 0 %
Sodium 880 mg 37 %
Potassium 1091 mg 31 %
Total Carbohydrate 106 g 35 %
Dietary Fiber 20 g 82 %
Sugars 4 g
Protein 28 g 56 %
Vitamin A 0 %
Vitamin C 100 %
Calcium 45 %
Iron 34 %
* The Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet, so your values may change depending on your calorie needs. The values here may not be 100% accurate because the recipes have not been professionally evaluated nor have they been evaluated by the U.S. FDA.

Low-cal “Stir-fry” – Vegan bodybuilding Series

Spring is {nearly} here and I am back on the training machine getting ready for 3 competitions in May! Yep, 3. I’m totally mental…but so hungry for the gold. 🙂

This recipe is simple and is great if you’re about my size and need a no-carb meal in your daily regime. This is my “Meal 2” right now. Breakfast was a protein shake. After this, will be my pre-workout which changes at the moment because I’m carb cycling actively.

10 minutes of your time is all it takes.

Ingredients: 

4 oz plain Tempeh

2 cups green beans

1/2 small ripe tomato diced

1 clove garlic

1 tbsp slivered yellow onion

1/8 tsp coconut oil

Himalayan salt to taste

Method: 

Over medium heat cook onion and garlic until slightly translucent.

Add beans and tempeh and cook for another 5 minutes.

Add tomato last and cook for one more minute just to add flavour.

Top with a bit of salt if needed and serve hot!

Nutritional Information: 

 

Nutrition Facts
Servings 1.0
Amount Per Serving
calories 363
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 13 g 20 %
Saturated Fat 2 g 11 %
Monounsaturated Fat 0 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0 g
Trans Fat 0 g
Cholesterol 0 mg 0 %
Sodium 3073 mg 128 %
Potassium 596 mg 17 %
Total Carbohydrate 39 g 13 %
Dietary Fiber 11 g 46 %
Sugars 13 g
Protein 29 g 58 %
Vitamin A 45 %
Vitamin C 72 %
Calcium 23 %
Iron 30 %
* The Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet, so your values may change depending on your calorie needs. The values here may not be 100% accurate because the recipes have not been professionally evaluated nor have they been evaluated by the U.S. FDA.

Chocolate & AB protein pudding – Vegan Bodybuilding Series

What real guilt should look like. Me on reload day at Millennium, Oakland. Le sigh.

I have to admit, I’ve sinned. Knowing that peak week was coming and my diet would be ultra boring, I decided to have one final “hurrah” (if you could call it that) and made up a pudding fit for a body building queen.

There is no real picture of this recipe because it’s frankly, not that appetizing to look at…I’m also not going to set up lighting and the camera for the equivalent of brown poi. Sorry babes.

You’ll be seeing this recipe just days after my show….I’ll be looking at this recipe and laughing like “ha ha GIRL, you think THAT was a sin? Watch THIS!”. Really, the day after this post I’m jetting off to Cabo where I will have my first drink in over 4 months. I’m kind of scared.

Enjoy this one, I’ve added some nutritional information as well. I really intended on doing nutritional info on a lot more of my recipes but since I’ve been really dry on the cooking front, I’ll be saving all that new info and excitement for the off season!

Enjoy these, and don’t feel too guilty – you’ll be running your ass off at some point today and it won’t matter. 🙂

Ingredients: 

1 heaping scoop Iron Vegan Chocolate

1 big tablespoon organic smooth almond butter

1 tsp chia seed

Cinnamon or my homemade pumpkin spice to taste

Hot water as desired

Method: 

While you are boiling some hot water on the stove-top put all dry ingredients in a bowl. Slowly add hot water so as not to spill out chia or powder. Mix thoroughly or until paste-like.

Next, add your almond butter and use the spoon you scooped it out with to slowly stir while adding more hot water until desired pudding consistency is found.

I usually let mine sit for about 3-5 minutes to allow the chia to puff up, then stir again and make sure I don’t need any more water.

Eat warm! Serves 1…but honestly, I could eat a quadruple batch of this without batting an eye.

Nutritional information: 

238 Calories

13.4g fat

12.2g carbs

24.5g protein

Asparagus soup with tempeh croutons – Vegan bodybuilding Series

Aaaah the inflexible diet of the bodybuilding competitor. I have to admit at the point of 2 months of dieting I’m ready to cry at some of the ingredients – spices or not – it’s tough.

This quick recipe came about as a way to combat my boredom with food and to help me be able to choke down pounds of asparagus every week without throwing it back up.

What this IS missing is fat content so if you are NOT bodybuilding or uber restricted, please add an avocado to this recipe.

Ingredients

1 clove garlic

2 cups asparagus

1 pinch cayenne

2.5 cups hot water (2.5 cups veggie broth if unrestricted)

3 oz tempeh – for croutons

Sriracha salt

Pepper

Method

Over medium heat in skillet with a teensy amount of coconut oil, fry up tempeh until it begins to harden – about 8-10 minutes.

Meanwhile add all other ingredients to your blender (ADD AVOCADO HERE IF YOU ARE UNRESTRICTED) and blend until smooth and creamy.

Serve in bowl, top with croutons, salt and cracked pepper. Again if you are unrestricted add some Daiya shavings as well.

Savory chickpea crunch


The flu has managed to make its way to the house, so today is chilled out movie and snack occasion. 

The recipe below is awesome for munching if you like savory treats but want to avoid things like chips and genetically modified popcorn.

You can also toss a handful of these on a salad instead of croutons.
Ingredients:

1 tbsp garlic powder

1/2 tbsp cumin
1/2 tsp chili powder
Pinch salt
1/2 tsp Himalayan rock salt
Juice of 1/2 lemon
Pinch pepper
Pinch chili flakes
2 tbsp oil
2 cans chickpeas 
Method:
Preheat oven to 350.
Drain & rinse chickpeas. Combine all ingredients except for rock salt and lemon juice and in bowl and coat thoroughly.
Place on baking sheet & bake for 50 dependent on your oven or until the chickpeas have become crunchy.
Remove from oven every 15 minutes or  to stir and test crunch.
Remove from oven, coat with lemon juice and rocksalt toss in bowl ~ enjoy.