One of the questions I am often asked is whether I post the Nutritional Data for my recipes. You know what I’m talking about; the calories per serving, macronutrient breakdowns, and vitamin and mineral RDA percentages. As you may have noticed, I choose to NOT include that information with my recipes. Before I get into why I choose not to do so, I want to make perfectly clear that I AM NOT criticizing anyone else’s choice in posting that information on their recipes/blogs/instagram/whatever. If that’s your thing, go for it. Post away, and mazel t’ov.
My decision to not include that data with my recipes here on the blog was one I spent a lot of time considering. While I had to learn how to calculate all of the usual information the long way back in the dark ages of the 90s, now it’s easy enough to run a recipe through a software program and have it all calculated and formatted ready to pop into a blog post. Thus it would be very simple to include, but still I decided not to. Here’s why…
First, I think most people who want to eat healthier and be more nourished, are better served by concentrating their efforts on making simpler, healthier choices rather than worrying about calculating their daily/weekly/monthly macros. If your goal is to feel better, have more energy, and maybe look a little better naked, then you don’t really need to worry about hitting exact numbers of Protein, Carbs, and Fats. You'll be better off working on eliminating processed fake foods, and working on eating more fresh vegetables, fruits, healthy fats, and quality protein as well as adding in some daily stress management, and healthy movement practices. Once you have switched over to a Real Food diet, if you have further specific performance or body composition goals, you may find it useful to experiment with tweaking your macronutrient ratios to achieve those. But for most of us, we are going to fall within a healthy range just by virtue of making informed choices.
Secondly, when most people ask about the nutrition information, they really mean the calorie count. We have all been conditioned to think in terms of calories in vs calories out, and we make our decisions about what to eat when based on those little numbers. How many times have you mentally calculated how many calories you have ‘left’ for the day, and then made your dinner choice based on that? And an even better question—-what weird unsatisfying food choices did you end up making based on that number versus how hungry you were? It’s ok, we’ve all been there. I could pen an entire book on bizarre meals I’ve eaten to satisfy some arbitrary externally imposed quota of calories, fats, proteins, and carbs. But I can’t advocate that, and I won’t. You need to be eating to nourish yourself, and achieve your personal health goals. Random daily caloric limits are not a lot of help in losing weight or maintaining fat loss. The human body is complex and it really is not as simple as calories in < calories out = optimum body composition and health. If that were the case, we’d all be fabulously healthy all of the time.
Thirdly, and most important I think, is that I want you to start listening to your body and feeding it what it needs, not what a chart or graph tells you you should be feeding yourself. This can be a very difficult thing to do, and it’s easy to use an external quota of calories to hide from having to do the work of learning to really listen to what we want and need. If you are someone who struggles with emotional eating issues, this is especially important and it’s also very hard. I know exactly how hard it is, because I am someone who struggles with this same issue. I have had to work so diligently to recognize when I am letting my stress or emotions start to negatively affect my eating behaviors, and have had to learn how to use other methods to manage my stress and feelings. Walking, yoga, and meditation are huge for me. But everyone needs to find what works for them, and you can’t do that if you don’t give yourself the freedom to really work on it, without worrying about the numbers!
And finally, if you really, really, really just HAVE to have those numbers, there are a plethora of Apps available where you can scan UPC codes, search foods, add recipes, make favorite meal lists, etc and have everything calculated for you. You can pick out your favorite and have at it….but I hope you don’t.
If you need healthy recipes, this blog has a bunch for you…click on the word RECIPE in the tag cloud, and they should all pop up, or just browse through the previous posts. I love sharing this information with you here on the blog, and all the other places you can find me—twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and Pericope. You can tweet me questions any time, or email me through the contact form here on the website. If you are interested in one-on-one coaching, check out my coaching services page, and we can talk about getting you started on your personal path to achieving your goals.