I spent an entire post sharing my love for the Primal Blueprint, admitting that it is my preferred lifestyle diet and one I recommend again and again simply for its nutritional soundness and the fact that it’s easy to follow. But if you want to get into the nitty gritty of breaking down what’s on your plate into the proper macronutrient ratios (that’s carbs, protein, and fat) for optimal wellness, then this post is for you.
One of the first and most important things I teach my nutritional therapy clients is how to look at their plates and balance their portions. It was one of the simplest and most significant changes I made to my own eating habits when I learned, and the way we all should be eating for optimal wellness.*
It seems simple enough: 40% of each and every meal and/or snack should consist of carbohydrates, with the remaining 60% consisting of protein and fat. Easy, right?
But that brings up another question. What are the best, healthiest sources of each macronutrient so that we can make sure what we’re eating really IS nutrient-dense? (A plate of fried chicken wings and french fries may fit the 40/30/30 profile, but you can bet your behind it’s not the best option, friend. Hate to disappoint.)
Here’s what you need to know.
- The majority of carbohydrates should be low glycemic vegetables that are raw or lightly cooked
- Include two or three fresh, whole fruits (not juice) each day
- Occasionally, include starchy carbs (whole grains, potatoes, brown rice, etc.), but try to keep the starchy carb intake to less than 15%
- Select organic, local, and seasonal products whenever possible
- Pastured, grass-fed beef
- Wild meats
- Organic, free-range poultry
- Whole, raw, or cultured dairy products
- Organic lamb
- Organic, free-range eggs
- Low-toxicity seafood
- Raw, soaked nuts and seeds
- Raw, cold-pressed oils from nuts and seeds (flax, sesame, etc.)
- Cold-pressed, extra-virgin olive oil
- Saturated fats from healthy sources of animal fat and tropical oils
And, since I know this is going to be your next question…
What to Avoid
- Pasteurized, homogenized, skim, and low-fat milk
- Farmed seafood
- Hydrogenated and partially hydrogenated fats
- Highly processed vegetable oils like corn and canola
- Fried foods
- Refined sugar and corn syrup products
- White flour products
- Canned foods
- Artificial vitamins
- Toxic additives and colorings
- Refined, table salt
Overwhelmed? Don’t be. All you have to do is stop looking at the “Nutrition Facts” on the label of whatever you’re buying, and start paying more attention to the ingredients. If what’s in the package contains a bunch of stuff you can’t pronounce or anything on the “what to avoid” list above, put that bad boy back on the shelf and step away! Better yet (you’ve heard this a million times by now, but maybe it’s just starting to sink in), shop around the perimeter of the store, specifically for things that don’t have labels… produce, meat, fish, grass-fed butter… when’s the last time you saw a bag of organic apples with a list of ingredients? Nothing to worry about then, right? Eating right doesn’t have to be rocket science.
Stay tuned for an upcoming post with quick and easy meal options that follow the 40/30/30 guideline, and in the meantime, get started brainstorming some of your own!
*There is a degree of bioindividuality to consider when figuring out macronutrient ratios, meaning – we’re all different. Keep in mind that these are broad guidelines and some people may require more or less of a certain macronutrient in their diets to feel their best.
P.S. Bonus reads to check out:
- This article on saturated fats, by Dr. Mercola (and basically, that whole website)
- Food Rules, by Michael Pollan