My Favorite Plant-Based Resources

***Just a little disclaimer: You do not have to be a vegan or plant-based to enroll in my online coaching program. The program is "diet agnostic" and focuses on helping you find the very best food that works for your body and your goals. I meet you where you are right now. You'll adopt a healthy set of habits with daily practice with nutritious food that you enjoy. If you have any specific questions, please feel free to ask!*** - Kali

My Absolute Favorite Plant-Based Cookbooks

(Recipes that actually have flavor without a million ingredients)

Thug Kitchen (Just watch out for the language)

Oh She Glows

The Plant-Power Way

AFRO-VEGAN

Supplements/Products

Blogs/Recipes

http://makingthymeforhealth.com/

https://minimalistbaker.com/

Documentaries

(Disclaimer- Many documentaries, like TV, are meant to SHOCK you. They're called "info-tainment". Yes, it is good to eat more plants, but make sure to read the science and make decisions that work best for your body. Don't know what to do? Email me).

http://www.whatthehealthfilm.com/

https://www.forksoverknives.com/

http://www.cowspiracy.com/

Books/Articles

All About Plant-Based Diets
Expert Q & A, Part 1

By Ryan Andrews

http://www.precisionnutrition.com/all-about-pbd

 

Regardless of how you define yourself, including more plants in your diet can make you healthier, provide important nutrients, and possibly help conserve environmental resources.

What are plant-based diets?

Plant-based diets, usually called “vegetarian” diets, consist of vegetables, fruits, beans/legumes, whole grains, nuts, seeds and sometimes animal products such as dairy and eggs. A total vegetarian, also known as a vegan, includes only foods from the plant/fungi kingdom without the addition of dairy or egg products.

“Vegetarianism” vs “vegetarians”

“Vegetarianism” is a set of choices; “vegetarian” is an identity or a label.

Most vegetarians do not eat animal flesh, although people’s actual diets vary. Some folks call themselves “vegetarian” but also incorporate some animal products, such as seafood or fish. A few vegetarians will even occasionally eat things like poultry or red meat. For most vegetarians, the conscious and purposeful choices they make about nutritional habits are what really define a vegetarian diet.

Thus, vegetarianism (as a collection of dietary choices) is mostly about what people eat (or don’t) but also about how they view and understand their eating habits.

 

“Vegetarian” vs “vegan”

In 1944, the first Vegan Society was created in England, and the name vegan (pronounced VEE-gan) was developed to differentiate vegans from vegetarians.

Vegans abstain from eating all meat, fish, or fowl, as well as any other foods of animal origin such as butter, milk, yogurt, honey, eggs, gelatin, or lard, and any prepared foods containing these ingredients. Vegans typically avoid animal products in other domains too (e.g. leather products).

The Vegan Society in England defines veganism as follows:

  • “Veganism is a way of living which excludes all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, the animal kingdom, and includes a reverence for life. It applies to the practice of living on the products of the plant kingdom to the exclusion of flesh, fish, fowl, eggs, honey, animal milk and its derivatives, and encourages the use of alternatives for all commodities derived wholly or in part from animals.”

As of 2011, about 2.5% of the population follows a vegan lifestyle, while 5% of the U.S. is vegetarian (see below).

 

“Plant-based” vs “vegetarian”

For our purposes, it’s more useful to talk about plant-based diets rather than “vegetarianism”.

The concept of “vegetarianism” has taken on a life of its own, and implies certain moral and/or philosophical beliefs, or dietary practices, that may not apply to everyone. The term “plant-based diet” doesn’t carry the same cultural baggage as “vegetarianism”.

And, after all, a proper vegetarian meal plan is based on eating mostly/only foods that come from plants — not meat-free processed junk foods, which is something many vegetarians do.

Why are plant-based diets so important?

To understand the importance of plant-based eating as a lifestyle and set of dietary choices, it’s helpful to understand why people choose this way of eating.

Why vegetarianism?

Just like there are many ways to be plant-based eaters, there are many reasons that people choose plant-based diets.

  • Ethical – nonviolence: Some people may choose a plant-based diet because their ethical beliefs include a commitment to nonviolence — both towards the animal killed for food and the human responsible for killing it. (As you read above, this motivates many vegans.)
  • Ethical – food production: Many plant-based eaters have strong concerns about animal treatment within industrial food production systems such as factory farming.
  • Environmental: Evidence suggests that raising livestock (particularly factory farming) and industrial fishing has ecological impacts. For more on this, see:
  • Religious: Some world religions (such as some sects of Buddhism) forbid meat consumption and/or limit certain animal products (such as abstaining from pork and shellfish to keep kosher in Judaism), which adherents then develop further into plant-based eating.
  • Health: Evidence suggests that a diet high in plant products can help us get and stay healthier. We know that almost 70% of Americans are suffering from ailments associated with dietary intake — problems that can be improved by adding more plants.
  • Economic: For many folks, animal products (especially non-industrially produced animal products) are too expensive; plant-based protein sources (such as dried beans) are often cheaper.

What you should know

What to eat?

“Vegetarianism” only indicates what a person eliminates from their diet. It doesn’t indicate how much healthy food that person will consume. Nor does being a vegetarian automatically make you healthier. (After all, potato chips, candy apples, and soda are vegan!)

Just like an omnivorous diet, a plant-based diet should involve whole, unprocessed foods, and the bulk of a person’s intake should consist of:

  • vegetables
  • fruits
  • beans & legumes
  • whole grains
  • nuts & seeds

Plant-based eating and health

Regardless of why people follow a plant-based diet, it’s important to understand that plant-based eating carries important physiological implications.

Many individuals who choose a plant-based diet only plan their intake based on what they’re eliminating, which is animal products. But when people avoid or minimize animal products, it’s more difficult for them to get adequate amounts of certain dietary ingredients, including dietary protein and/or a host of other vitamins and minerals.

Luckily, eaters can make up common nutrient deficiencies with supplements and/or careful planning.

The American Dietetic Association concluded in 2009 that:

  • Well-planned vegetarian diets are appropriate for all individuals during all stages of the life cycle, including pregnancy, lactation, infancy, childhood and adolescence, and for athletes.
  • Plant-based diets tend to be lower in saturated fat and cholesterol, and have higher levels of dietary fiber, magnesium and potassium, vitamins C and E, folate, carotenoids, flavonoids and other phytochemicals.
  • Vegetarians and vegans, including those who are athletes, “meet and exceed requirements” for protein… if their diets are well-planned.

Plant-based eaters must be conscious of getting enough of the following nutrients.

NutrientSourceAmount

ProteinBest plant-based sources include beans & legumes, nuts, seeds, and high-protein whole grains such as quinoa; however, there are minimally processed veggie-based protein powders available tooIf you’re weight training and/or highly active, shoot for at least 0.75 to 0.8 g of protein per pound of body weight daily as a baseline (for most folks, this is around 1/3 of total caloric intake).

Vitamin B-12 This is only found in fortified products and nutritional yeasts. Aim for 3-5 mcg/day from food or 10-100 mcg/day from supplements.

Vitamin D Sunlight is the best source; supplementally, D2 is animal free, D3 is animal derived. Aim for 1000 IU to 4000 IU on days you don’t get any sun and during the winter months.

Calcium Dark leafy greens, beans, nuts, seeds, tofu (calcium set), fortified non-dairy milks. Aim for around 1000 mg per day.

Iodine Kelp, sea vegetables, asparagus, green leafy vegetables, iodized salt. Aim to consume 75 – 100 mcg every few days.

Omega-3 fats Include flax, hemp, walnuts, green leafy vegetables, algae supplements. Consume at least 2 grams of added ALA per day; add an EPA/DHA algae supplement if able.

 

Summary and recommendations

Regardless of how you define yourself, including more plants in your diet can make you healthier, provide important nutrients, and possibly help conserve environmental resources.

However, just being a self-described “vegetarian” or “vegan” does not mean that you will automatically eat a better diet. When following a plant-based diet, focus on whole foods including vegetables, fruits, legumes, whole grains, nuts and seeds. Avoid processed meat substitutes, refined carbohydrates, and other highly processed products. Don’t consume junk just because it’s labeled “vegetarian” or “vegan”.

Also be careful to consume enough vitamin B-12, calcium, iodine, omega-3 fatty acids, and vitamin D.

Near-vegetarians (those eating a largely plant-based diet while still including meat) can achieve similar health benefits as full vegetarians.

When making food choices, consider all of the implications and costs for the environment, animals, and economy.

 

Resistance Bands and Accessories for At-Home Workouts

Hey Guys!

These are the resistance bands, the foam roller, and the door-hanger that I recommend for using in your at-home workouts.

Looped Bands

41” Resistance Band and Bonus eBook
$16.99 $44.99
321 STRONG

Door Hanger for bands

Foam Roller

 

 

Plant-based Meatball Recipe

Credit: @celenakinsey

Credit: @celenakinsey

From Thug Kitchen.

Makes about 2 dozen 1½-inch meatballs, enough for 6 people

2 cups dry brown lentils

¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons olive oil

1 1/2 large yellow onions, chopped

3 carrots, chopped

3 celery stalks, chopped

1 garlic clove, minced

2 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

5 tablespoons tomato paste

10 ounces button mushrooms, wiped clean and sliced

½ cup bread crumbs

½ cup chopped fresh parsley

¼ cup finely chopped walnuts

Directions

1. Put the lentils and 2 quarts water in a medium stockpot and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to low and simmer until the lentils are soft but not falling apart, about 25 minutes. Drain the lentils and let them cool while you get to work on the rest.

2. Add the ¼ cup of olive oil to a large frying pan or wok and sauté the onions, carrots, celery, garlic, thyme, and salt over medium-high heat, stirring a bunch, for about 10 minutes or until the vegetables are tender and starting to brown. Add the tomato paste, stirring constantly, and cook for another 3 minutes. Add the mushrooms and cook for 15 more minutes, or until all the liquid is absorbed. Yeah, keep you gotta keep stirring to cook it all evenly. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl and let cool.

3. When the veggies are cool enough to mix with your hands add the lentils, breadcrumbs, parsley, and walnuts, mix it all up with until everything is incorporated. Taste and add more garlic, thyme, salt, tomato paste, or whatever you think it needs. Place the mix in the refrigerator for 25 minutes to let the flavors mix.

4. While the mix is chilling in the fridge, warm up the oven 400 degrees F. Drizzle the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil into a 9 x 13-inch baking dish and use your hand to evenly coat the entire surface. Set aside. 

5. And now it’s go-time. Again using your hands, roll the mixture into round, golf-sized meatballs (about 1½ inches), making sure to pack the vegetable mixture firmly. Place the balls in the prepared baking dish, allowing ¼-inch of space between the balls. Keep rolling until you run out of room, meatball mix, or patience. Place the tray in the oven and roast those balled up b's for 30 minutes, or until the meatballs are firm and cooked through.

6. Allow the meatballs to cool for 5 minutes on the baking dish before serving. Add them to pasta, a sandwich, or put them out for dipping with your favorite marinara (*COUGH* our House Marinara from Book 1 or Blender Red Sauce from Book 2 *COUGH*). YOUR BALLS. YOUR RULES.

Get Fit for Life, Not Just Summer.

kalistewartfitness_fit

👉🏼 I want to feel proud at the beach with my shirt off, but more importantly, I just want to feel comfortable being me. 🙋🏼

⚠️ When we focus on our bodies in negative ways, we lose the enjoyment of the moment. 


📿 gratitude = perspective.

✅ When we open up our eyes and see life from a wider perspective, we see beauty 🏔and appreciate ability 🏄🏽‍♀️

The other day I literally saw a 🐬 dolphin, a seal, and a pelican in those moments of focusing on my surroundings and what was in front of me instead of being in my own head about how white my legs looked, or how I wish my swimsuit fit differently. What else have I missed?! 🤔

👉🏼 The point is that when we focus on being fit so that we can enjoy life fully, instead of just for a few months, our perspective changes. We start to appreciate our body's amazing abilities 🚴‍♀️🏄🏽‍♀️🏊🏼‍♀️🏂🏋🤸🏽‍♀️ instead of the limitations or things we don't like about ourselves.

💜 As always, I hope that this helps. If you want to connect and chat about fitness, nutrition, surfing, tiny animals,🤷‍♀️ feel free to send me a message.

-Kali

The Power of Visualization

kalistewartfitnessabs

🤜🏼 Let's talk about the power of Visualization.

When you're picturing your goals, it's important to make sure that you are able to clearly visualize the outcome. 

If you want a six-pack, visualize yourself with a six-pack.

If you want to do a marathon, imagine yourself training, running through each mile, and crossing the finish line. 

If you want to get started on your fitness journey and don't know where to start, that's ok too. The following will still help you find your path.

These THREE STEPS enhance the POWER of visualization, according to research:

1. Make sure that your mental video has a purpose (cross the finish line) 🥇

2. Use all the senses (what does your dream look, feel, smell, taste, and sound like). What emotions do you experience? 

3. What is the concrete, real step-by-step process that will take you there? Imagine these steps every day.

⭐️ You can even use this visualization technique to work through situations that are holding you back from your goals. ⭐️. 

⭐️Work through the "trigger" situations before they happen. Feel the emotions. Evaluate what happened in that scenario and play it out. And then create the outcome you want, playing it out until it feels possible⭐️

⚡️What does your "successful self" look like? 

 I hope this helps! As always, feel free to ask me questions.  - Kali

Consistency > Perfection

The very first action I teach my clients is: MAKE TIME⏱ 

🔹 Make time for exercise

🔹 Make time for meals 🥙

🔹 Make time to chill

🔹 Make time for you

We literally get their calendar out and block out when they're going to the gym or on a hike when they are going to grocery shop🥒 and cook or order food online, and make time to chill and do what they need to feel recharged⚡️

⭐️ CONSISTENCY starts with making the TIME for your values, priorities, and your goals ⭐️

Today: Pick one aspect that you want to make time for (even if it is just 10 minutes, one day) and put it in your calendar for the week ahead! You got this! you're worth it!

 I hope this helps! As always feel free to ask any questions! - Kali

The Kitchen Makeover: 10 Steps to a Healthier Home

crate&barrel glass canisters

So you want to get healthy, maybe lose some weight, or feel better in your swimsuit this summer? You already know what's coming. 

The food. 

You've heard all of the trite sayings. "You can't out-train a bad diet." "Six-packs are made in the kitchen."Losing weight is 80% diet, 20% exercise."

And it's true.

A good diet is a foundation for health, let alone a lean physique, and one of the most important parts of getting healthy is to ensure that your environment supports your goals. 

So it is time to get focused, and the best place to start is in your kitchen. 

Here are 10 steps to Getting Better Health with a Kitchen Makeover:

The Following is adapted from Precision Nutrition with some additions.

 

Step 1: Decide that you're ready to make some changes

Sick and tired of feeling sick and tired? Good. Let's start.

Step 2: Prepare the Mindset

Decide in advance:

Which food will stay (and why)?

What foods will go (and why)?

What foods/kitchen appliances will need to be added (and why)?

The kitchen makeover should be a family/house decision. All members deserve to have a say. So hear them out and come up with what works best for everyone. Don't forget to explain why your goals are important and how your family/household members can support you in your healthy journey. 

Step 3: Prepare the Tools

Grab a few garbage bags, a compost bin (if you have one), and a recycling bin.

Step 4: Take before pictures of your kitchen.

Cabinets, fridge, pantry, etc. 

Step 5: Red Light/Expired Foods- Terminate

Terminate the foods that aren't in alignment with your goals. And trash any food that is expired, fury, or weird colors. Ew.

A quick word on the Red, Yellow, and Green-light Food Philosophy:
 
Red-light foods are often described as people's "trigger foods." They're the ones that you know you can't have in the house because you'll eat the whole sleeve, bag, box, or pint, etc.. 

Yellow-light foods are those that you should go slow with. They can be part of your meals in moderation, like butter and bacon. 

Green-light foods are health and goal-supportive and make you feel great. These foods should make up the majority of what's in your kitchen.

Alcohol is up to you. Think about and decide how much drinking is right for you and what you're prepared to trade-off. For example, "I won't keep wine in my house, but I'll go out a get a glass with my friends on Friday." 

Remember that this is not about "good or bad" foods, but about consciously creating an environment that supports you and your goals to get healthy/healthier. 

Step 6: Read ALL Labels Carefully

Once you have dumped the obvious red-light foods, start reading the labels on what foods are left. Read them carefully and critically. 

As my coaching company, Precision Nutrition states, "Never assume any product is "healthy" or "natural" or “crap-free.” Manufacturers are sneaky!"

Based on your findings, decide whether these foods you’ve evaluated are worth keeping, and why or why not.

Step 7: Trade-Offs

Once you’ve eliminated some obvious triggers and foods full of industrial chemicals, now you get to the negotiation stage.

1. What are you willing to keep… with modifications?

2. What is an effective compromise for others in your household?

3. Is there a way to arrange things, so everyone wins?

Step 8: Restock the Kitchen

Now you get to re-stock your kitchen with "Green-light/Wanted" foods and any other easily accessible, convenient, and nutritious foods. 

Here is a list of 21 Superfoods from Precision Nutrition for some ideas:

21 SUPERFOODS REFERENCE GUIDE
PROTEINS

 1. Lean red meat (grass-fed preferred)
 2. Salmon (wild caught preferred)
 3. Eggs (omega-3 and cage free preferred)
 4. Plain Greek yogurt, cottage cheese, or coconut milk yogurt
 5. Protein supplements (whey, milk or plant protein sources)
VEGETABLES AND FRUITS
 6. Spinach
 7. Tomatoes
 8. Cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower)
 9. Mixed berries
 10. Oranges
OTHER CARBOHYDRATES
 11. Mixed beans
 12. Quinoa
 13. Whole oats
GOOD FATS
 14. Raw, unsalted mixed nuts
 15. Avocados
 16. Extra virgin olive oil
 17. Fish oil (or algae oil)
 18. Flax seeds (ground)
DRINKS / OTHER
 19. Green tea
 20. Liquid exercise drinks (or branched-chain amino acids)
 21. greens+® (vegetable concentrate)

* These are just some examples. Feel free to explore new veggies, fruits, nuts, seeds, grains, legumes, high-quality proteins, etc. 

[Here is a link to a free downloadable version of this list]

This is also when you can decide what kitchen upgrades you might need such as a good knife or two, a cutting board, a slow cooker, a blender/food processor, and some small containers for storage. 

*I personally love the tall, glass storage containers we bought for our pantry from Crate & Barrel for $7.95 each. We keep dried goods like beans, rice, quinoa, and walnuts in these durable, twist-top canisters. I appreciate the aesthetic uniformity and knowing that I always have food that I can make. Also, We have saved money because we buy more food in bulk now! Score!

Step 9: The After Photos.

Take pictures of your kitchen and all the junk you tossed out after you have restocked with healthy foods. That is a makeover you can be proud of!

Step 10: Check-in

Set a reminder on your phone or in your calendar for one month from your makeover date to check in and see how things are going. 

Did any red-light foods sneak back in?

Do you have a rhythm with healthy green-light meals or do you need some new ideas? Perhaps you check out blogs for healthy recipes that work with the List you created.

How do you feel overall? How do the other members of your house feel? Are things going smoothly or do you need to check in with everyone again to recommit?

And those are the 10 Steps to the Kitchen Makeover! Your future self will thank you!

Happy Cleaning!

- Coach Kali

 

*This Kitchen Makeover Method is adapted from the Level 2 Coaching Certification through Precision Nutrition. 

Why do I coach?

Photo courtesy of: Outside Magazine

Photo courtesy of: Outside Magazine

I want to be better. I want to help people reach their goals and live happier lives. To do this, I read and study and try new things. I never want to stop learning. A recent series of questions came up in the nutrition coaching master class I started: 

1) What is a coach?

- Helps guide you towards your fitness and nutrition goals

- Helps you create and execute a plan

- Helps keep you on track when life happens

- Continues to learn and synthesize information to make it easier for the busy client to access knowledge and information

- Sets an example through their actions


2) Why do you want to be a coach?

- To help people create healthy, thriving bodies so that they can pursue their goals and dream, eventually leading to greater happiness for that individual.

- Because it brings me satisfaction. It is my dharma, or that which guides me to greater Self-realization. In other words, helping others live healthfully feels like my purpose.

- To help people overcome physical and mental limitations about their health and fitness.

3) What does it feel like to be coached by you?

- I am going to ask my clients, but my hope is that they feel understood, supported, confident in my knowledge and plan for them, and happy to be around me! My hope is that they feel like they have developed a relationship with someone who deeply cares about their wellbeing. 

4) How do you define and measure success?

- When clients text, email, or call me to say that they have hit their weight loss goal, were able to do seemingly impossible physical feats like heli-ski down a mountain or win a surf contest, or say that they feel happier and more in control of their life.

- When clients no longer feel limited by their body and pursue the deeper aspects of their lives. This is usually confirmed verbally and through their actions.

- When new moms have healthy babies and easier recoveries from childbirth and thank me (as if I was the one that fed them salmon and did their lunges!)

 

Priorities

kalistewartfitness_priorities

 

It’s 7am and I am running up the stairs at the beach. It’s the beginning of the week during a late September “Indian summer” and already 85 degrees. Hot, gusty winds, called Santa Anas, are blowing in from the desert. As sweat pours down my face from my forehead, I quickly wipe it off before it stings my eyes. In front of me I hear my panting client sneak the words out, “Wow, look at this! Aren’t we lucky?” He’s looking at the Pacific Ocean and the distant peninsula called Dana Point. On a clear day like this in San Diego, you can see the detailed outline of the mountainside 45 miles away. Yes, we are very lucky.

Does this scene of the blue ocean and clear horizon make it “easier” to work out first thing in the morning? This view has no doubt been an incentive numerous times to get me out of bed earlier than I prefer. But for me, waking up to work out isn’t dependent on the location. Even during my college years in Chico, California where it is 105 degrees and sunny or pelting rain, with a few blissful weeks in the Fall and Spring, I would ride my mountain bike, run in Bidwell Park, or go hiking in the local mountains, most days of the week. I adapted to my environment to suit my priority of working out and being healthy. The location didn’t change my commitment, only the type of movement I performed. 

As I started to think about exercise and health on this hot, windy morning I realized that this is my lifestyle. This is the life I have created. At that moment I realized that movement is one of my top priorities. So I wrote it in the sand, “Priorities,” to talk about it with my client. He agreed, and reminded me that "the habit is more important than the intensity”, a statement that has become a mantra for us both. And he told me that his success with health, fitness, and life is dependent on his daily habit of working out, something that he too has made one of his top priorities. I can relate.

The reason I have devoted my life to helping people get fit is because I have experienced the joy that an active lifestyle brings to all of the other aspects of life. That one hour of concentrated movement at 7am fills me with the motivation to live a healthy life for the other 23 hours of the day. It spills over into the decisions I make with nutrition, sleep, meditation, and in the ways I connect with other people. This daily ritual of movement actually happens because it is a habit that I have made a priority. What you value is how you’ll make your decisions and ultimately how you’ll live your life. Of course I would have loved to sit in a coffee shop that morning sipping an iced latte while I worked. That coffee-shop scenario almost always sounds better to me than making myself sweat in the heat, but it is the feeling of being done, the experience of having accomplished something, and the resolve it gives me to live a healthy life (for myself and others), which makes it worth it every time.

Questions to ask yourself:

1. What am I doing right now to live the life I want? How is that working out for me?

2. Is health a priority to me? Why?

3. What can I do today to be a little bit better?

 

Sending Health and Love,

Kali

 

 

 

Macronutrients: What are “macros” and how can knowing yours help you get the body you want?

Macronutrient Guidelines:

There has been some buzz, and INCREDIBLE results, around the idea of counting macronutrients or #macros for weight loss or to gain lean muscle. Actually, if you do a quick google search for macros, you might find that the search results pop up with terms like “if it fits your macros” (IIFYM), “flexible dieting”, or “macro counting” with pictures of some very ripped guys and gals. So what are macros and why is it important for you to know about them?

Macronutrients are simply the three building blocks of our diet: carbohydrate, protein, and fat. These are the three types of calories, or energy, contained in all food (we can talk about calories from alcohol another day). In the fitness world, people refer to these building blocks as "macros". When you look at a nutrition label and see calories of protein or fat, you're looking at that food's macros. Comparatively, micronutrients are the vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients (plant nutrients) in our food. These are equally important to consider for good health and living optimally. For now let’s focus on how adjusting your macros can help you get SHREDDED! (Toned, lean, ripped, whatever you prefer).

The lovely world of sports science has been able to give us very specific formulas to calculate how many grams of protein, carbs, and fat we need based on how active we are and what our goals might be. The optimal macronutrient amounts will be different for someone trying to lose weight than for someone trying to gain muscle, for example. This goes beyond just counting calories.

Nutrition science has now given us a way to know the types of calories that help us get leaner, have better health, become stronger, and recover faster. Additionally, we can know when the best time is to eat those calories. In other words, nutrient density, quality, and timing can be manipulated in our favor. In fact, if you have ever been on myfitnesspal and put in your goal and activity level, you might have noticed that the app generates macronutrient and calorie recommendations for you. The same is true for IIFYM (a web-based macro calculator). Listed below are the same formulas that these websites and apps use to create macro plans for their clients.

Calculating Macros

We need to know how many total calories to take in before we can decide on what ratio of protein, carbs, and fat those calories should be. Don’t worry, we are getting to YOUR numbers in a second.

The energy/calories we need is based on our:

1. Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR)

2. Thermic Effect of Feeding (TEF)

3. Exercise Activity

4. Non-exercise Activity Thermogenesis (NEAT)

No need to get overwhelmed here. Basically, this is the amount of energy our bodies need to function and move, plus the energy it takes to digest food. Yes, it takes some calories to digest calories. Protein requires the most work to assimilate, which is why one might get “meat sweats” after eating a big hunk of steak! However, don’t run out and eat only protein thinking it will make you burn enough calories to be skinnier, as it is not that big of an effect.

Step 1: Determine Calorie Needs

I know, ew, Math!

Example 1: A 140lb, moderately active woman interested in fat loss would begin by taking in 1680 (140 lb x 12) and 1960 (140lb x 14) kcal/calories per day.

For the record, kcal or kilocalorie is the appropriate abbreviation here, but we use cal or calories on the labels in the U.S., so that is what I will use to keep things familiar.

Example 2: A 190 lb, moderately active man interested in muscle mass gain would begin by taking in between 3420 (190lb x 18) and 3800 (190lb x 20) calories per day.

Step 2: Determine Macronutrient Split

Once we know how many total calories we need in a day, we can start to break down that number into percentages of protein, carbs, and fat. Again, this is based on how much we move, our weight, our gender, our age, our goals, and of course genetics or body-type.

Before you get too excited here, these are just general somatotype or body type recommendations. You might fall somewhere in the middle and that is just fine. Or you might just be looking to get healthier, in which case you're good to go with the middle block. You can use these percentages as a base for a trial period of one month. If you start moving in the direction of your goal and feel good, you’re golden. If you’re low energy or not seeing any results, then you can change the percentages slightly and try again. Increase or decrease by 5% and see how you feel. Since everyone's bodies are so unique (which is a big part of why cookie-cutter diets don't work for everyone), it's a great idea to treat this as an experiment!

 

So let’s put this together in an our example from before:

 

Example 1: 140lb moderately active woman

Step 1: Determine body type and goals: she is naturally broad and thick and wants to lose fat.

Step 2: Calculate her specific energy/calorie needs: 1680 and 1960 cals/day (average = 1750 cals/day).

Step 3: Identify macro ratio from the chart above: 35% protein, 25% carbohydrate, 40% fat.

Step 4: Convert to grams of macros from percentages:

- 35% of 1750 cals/day = 612 cals should come from protein

- 25% of 1750 cals/day = 437 cals should come from carbs

- 40% of 1750 cals/day = 700 cals should come from fat

 

Translated in grams this looks like:

-153 g of protein(612 calories/4 calories per gram of protein)

-109 g of carbs (437/4 calories per gram of carbohydrates)

- 77g of fat (700/9 calories per gram of fat)

 

So there you have it! Macros! This woman will need to eat the following macros per day to get to her weight loss goal:

 

153 g of protein

109 g of carbs

77 g of fat

 

Yes, there are calculators for this, but be careful that the macro splits provided are for YOUR body-type and goal.

 

The PROS of Counting Macros

- You know the specific amounts of protein, carbs, and fat for your goal, making the process of getting to your goal potentially faster and more efficient than simply guessing.

- You will likely have better recovery from your workouts and energy throughout your day (if you’re eating foods that are also high in micronutrients. This is a post for another day).

- You get to see your body change in ways you never thought possible potentially resulting in more instagram followers from the awesome pictures of your quads and abs you’ll be posting (As an aside, I’m in the process of writing another blog post on how “comparison kills the spirit” in regards to social media).

- It gives you more freedom and flexibility to choose the foods that you LIKE to eat, instead of a fixed meal plan

 

The CONS of Counting Macros

- It requires time, effort and energy for meal prep, planning, weighing, and measuring to be done perfectly

- You will still need to record your food intake in an app or website like myfitnesspal to know your macro count

- It encourages eating foods with labels (often the least healthy for us) because the grams of protein, carbs, and fat are easy to find. Side note: you can find all your produce and bulk goods in myfitnesspal, I promise.

- It doesn’t focus on the quality of foods, which could potentially lead to worse health (Twinkie diet, anyone?)

- Knowing your macros doesn't mean you know when to eat them (i.e.- Should I have carbs or protein after my workout? How many grams of each? What about for each meal?)

- It fails to address one’s habits around eating, like listening to natural hunger cues, and the relationship one has with food

All in all, macro counting can be a great method for getting to your body composition goal. For those that want to give it a shot and need some more assistance, please feel free to connect with me!

 

So, Is there another way to get fit, lean, and healthy without counting macros?

 

Yes!

After trying out the macro counting/flexible dieting with some of my very willing and ambitious clients, and of course with myself first, I realized that it wasn't for everyone. Additionally, it was tough to try to teach nutrition in this way because it didn't address individual behaviors, patterns, or emotions. The idea of counting macros made my already BUSY, working professionals even more stressed out to have to weigh out their food and log their numbers in an app. And most of them didn’t last with the process. It was just too unrealistic and while I appreciated that it was more specific than calorie counting, it still required the adherence of logging food. Boo! Was this sustainable for the long-term? Not really.

After sifting through different coaching methods, I found and tested a curriculum that actually worked for changing people’s body composition without overwhelming them. And because of the slow, steady changes, my clients started to feel better, become healthier, and feel more in control of their eating. The refreshing part was that this method of changing one habit at a time didn’t require counting calories, measuring ounces, or following some crazy meal plan with supplements. 

Why I love habit-based coaching and how it can help you get leaner…

One of the biggest cons about only counting macros and calories is that it doesn’t address the fact that we are talking about a real person, with real emotions, and really ingrained habits. Research has consistently shown that our habits dictate our actions, and not just with eating. We are essentially a product of our habits, both good and bad. Additionally, macro counting doesn’t address our emotions around eating and dealing with everyday stresses that affect our body composition, nor does it change our habits. Tell me to eat 50 more grams of protein and steamed broccoli and log it in an app after a long, stressful day when all I want is to mow down a bag of cookies. Yeah, right! There has to be a better approach.

Long-term weight loss and living healthier is about changing the deep-seated habits that have been learned over years. This takes some effort, but it can be done, with one, small habit at a time, practiced consistently.

In my first group that used habit-based coaching, I was hoping for wide-spread change, but wasn't sure what to expect. 

After 11 weeks, the average weight loss was around 8 pounds, with 10 being the biggest loss. The average inches lost were 5, with one person losing 22 inches!

And the feedback brought tears to my eyes:

"I am more conscious about what I am eating and being more aware helps me to be more in control. At the end of most days prior to a few months ago I was eating fast food at least once a day and my habits felt out of control and almost compulsive. I am planning better, having healthy food around the house, and even when I don’t have a great option I am making reasonable choices. I am also eating less processed food than I have in years." — E.G.

“Over the last few weeks:
-I’ve lost weight
-I have more energy
-My core is starting to feel stronger
-I’m making healthier choices and exercising more frequently".

“Precision Nutrition dives deeper than anything I’ve tried before by looking at what behavior drives our food decisions. It has empowered me to be more mindful in my eating. Additionally, Kali’s experience as a personal trainer and individualized exercises combined with her continual feedback have already enabled me to feel stronger and see results." — A.F.

While I have had success in the past helping people to achieve their fitness goals, the process often lacked the structure and support that daily nutritional coaching provides. This system that clients will get to experience now, works better than I could have imagined and I am so excited to help more people reach their health and fitness goals.

If you’re ready to change your health and your life, I’m here to help! The next group of coaching clients is starting January 9, 2017. If you’re interested, I highly suggest saving a spot on the pre-sale list. I am only going to take a small number of people to be able to continue to give the highest level of coaching and attention to each person. As always, feel free to connect with me if you have any questions!

Best in Health,

Kali Stewart

 

References

Berardi, J., & Andrews, R. (2015). The essentials of sport and exercise nutrition: Certification Manual (2nd ed.). Precision Nutrition, Inc.