So….for the last 51 years, I’ve been guessing my macros and calories, based on, well, nothing actually (??). maybe a hunch.
I kept thinking: “oh, who needs to count calories or track macros anyway, I ‘m no elite athlete, ( frankly, not even close), I stopped participating in races ( introvert, told you, why are all these people there? why don’t they go home and let me run quietly?)so I thought there was no need to get worked up about the exact components of my diet.
I decided that since I was eating a healthy, balanced, nutrient-packed diet, that, to my best judgment, (again- based on guessing, basically) supplied me with all the vitamins I needed, and all the protein I needed for my activity level.
Everything was working really well too, until a month ago I decided that it is time to up my exercise level, and, at last, incorporate some weight lifting and strength exercises, side by side with my running, swimming, and yoga.
I did quite a bit of reading and researching (online and in books), and found out that there is inconsistent information concerning many of the topics, and, as usual, one needs to use his/her brain to decide what works for them.
How much protein do you need to consume each day, if, for instance, you are a 51-year-old woman, quite active, and wishing to gain more muscle?
The book I read “Vegan for life”, said that based on my weight, (137 pounds that’s 62.2 kilos) I should eat 54 grams of protein a day.
And yet, when I started researching online, many sites concluded that if your goal is to gain muscle, and you lead an active lifestyle, you should aim for at least double the daily amount (!!!)
So, I downloaded an app called “myfitnesspal”, ( This is a free app, I get nothing from them, they don’t even know who I am, besides the valuable information they gather on my eating habits, they are surely very excited).
This app seems like a lot of fuss- seeing that you need to log in everything you eat (+ how much you exercise and how much water you drank), and at first I was intimidated by it, but, apparently, as much as we would like to think that we are exciting revolutionary people, we are, at the end of the day, creatures of pure and plain habit.
I now understand I basically eat the same breakfast every day ( banana smoothy, with protein powder, chia seeds, flax seeds, carob powder, and berries, and then an oatmeal porridge with hemp and date syrup (homemade).
(Yes, I am aware this is quite a lot of food, but I usually fast between 15:00 the previous day and 09:00 am and get my workout completed before I eat, so I am really hungry by the time I eat. not that there is any need to make excuses here, just saying).
The app can gather all those foods to be kept under the category “meals”- and under any name you decide to call it ( yummy breakfast, naturally), so it takes basically a split second to log my breakfast on.
This is the information I received when logging in my 2 tbsp of flax seeds.(6grams of protein!).
As for lunch- apparently, I move around a few basic staples here too- and once you wrote down “lentil soup, homemade” once- it will take a second to find it the next time you eat it.
By the way- the app has many varieties of foods logged in- lentil soup bought from different brands, have, apparently, different macro value, and since I make everything from scratch, I basically break the meal to its ingredients ( for example- my homemade Thai spelt noodle mushroom vegetable soup will be logged in as “homemade vegetable soup””shiitake mushrooms”,”spelt noodles”, “coconut cream”, etc.
I know, I know- but I am retired, I have the time to bother. if you don’t- just look at the brand that makes the food that is closest to your cooking style.
When I checked my macro and nutrient count, I found out that I ate 70-80 grams of protein a day max, my protein never gets to the desired percentage it should in my meals according to the app (30% ), I apparently eat a lot of carbs -although I eat 1 piece of bread a day, and rarely eat pasta, and, again, to my utter surprise, I consume a lot of fiber ( around 70 grams daily), and a lot of iron and vitamins a +c.
More to my surprise- I apparently consume quite a lot of sugar- that is when I do not use sugar at all (!!) only 2 tbsp of date syrup a day.
I haven’t gone premium, so I am gathering my information on the information the app gives on every food I log in, and it is my understanding that the fruit I eat is a good source of many things- sugar included,
Rest assured -I will not stop eating my beloved fruit, but I am more aware now than before of the macro breakdown of my meals.
I am not concerned about those 100 grams of protein either-
I believe in taking the middle way -between those 54 grams recommended by Joel Fuhrman in his book, and the online sites, and getting 70 grams of protein a day seems really good in my humble opinion.
Making the switch to fact-based evidence is quite interesting,
In some ways- it resembles gathering accurate information about your monetary situation, as opposed to the lovely guessing game.
You can be an optimistic hopeful person and believe in your willpower and the money fairy to keep you on track with your finances and be under the impression that you need not check your accounts to see what is hiding there, but then, at the end of the day- facts remain facts, as opposed to fairies and optimistic points of view.
Get yourself an app and learn your eating and exercise patterns. it is your health after all.
enjoy- the cooliflower.