health nutrition

Switching the mindset from “cutting the carbs” to “protein + vegetables first”

Saturday, 10 January 2015

Since January 1st I’m back to staying away from sugar, gluten and dairy. It’s not a Detox / Diet /  Cleanse / New Year Resolution, my body just feels great eating that way and whereas December was fun with all its chocolate and mulled wine, my energy levels were not great and most of the time when I worked out I felt heavy, slow and sluggish.

Thankfully as soon as I switch my eating back to what is normal for me i.e. very little sugar/gluten/dairy, my body doesn’t rebel and after a day or two I already feel great again.

My favourite breakfast, 15 grams of protein but 43 grams of carbs.

My favourite breakfast with 15 grams of protein (but also 40g of carbs from the rice bread so often I skip the bread)

In general I’m happy to tick along like that, to eat a little bit of gluten-free grains like rice and quinoa, and to have a bit of milk in my afternoon macchiatos. Since I’ve been using my Jawbone fitness tracker though, I’ve been entering my nutrition into it and I’m seeing that it’s very easy to eat a ton of carbs every day but very hard to hit a decent amount of protein. I’m aiming for 100g of protein a day as a minimum and I’m realising that that’s a lot of protein just to get from a couple of eggs and some chicken. Camille LeBlanc-Bazinet eats twice as much protein a day, by the way. Think about that :)

I haven’t used protein powders in a long time. I stay away from dairy and most of them are whey based and most of them have lots of sugar as well. After my Crossfit workouts I use Genetics Vegan Recovery powder, which has 11g of protein per scoop (35g) but also 20g of carbs but those are all fine with me because muscles aren’t made from protein alone, carbs are important after work-outs.

The recommended serving size is two scoops but one is already really sweet for me, I cannot handle doubling it up. Maybe I can just add a scoop of pea or hemp protein powder, I’m considering this as I have some left.  These two have great ingredients, meaning just peas and just hemp, but they taste really gross on their own. The over sweetness of the recovery powder might just balance nicely with the grossness of plant-based protein powder. Something to try out.

Like I said though – most of the time I don’t track my nutrition or worry about macros. However, once in a while it’s fun to get into the numbers. I love treating food as fuel and have it all scientific in my head.

I’m probably not going to be weighing my food and logging it every day but I have decided that I will think “protein + vegetables first” with every meal. As long as these two are the largest portion of my meals, I should be ok.

I will not be thinking “I need to eat less carbs”, because my brain works when I focus on adding, not on taking away.

All in all my snacks and meals are very random – whatever’s in the fridge or in the cupboard, I’ll mix up and eat. I just make sure that I always have a gazillion eggs in the fridge and several cans of mackerel in the cupboard.

Meals

Berries + nuts + seeds | Eggs + kale | Salad bar items with tofu and quinoa | Popcorn with melted chocolate (everyone needs a treat once in a while)

Meals

Salad bar meal | Berries + hemp seeds | Salmon + Broccoli | Pumpkin + eggs + flax seeds as pancakes

I hope all of that made sense. If not, let me know! :)

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  • Muriel Wednesday, 14 January 2015 at 20:09

    Can I just say that you sound like a fitness pro? I just don’t do protein powders, I like real food. I can’t get my head around powders, shakes and the likes. That said, I totally agree with having more proteins, and as you know my trick is ‘protein first’. BTW I love your brekkie

    • MrsB Monday, 19 January 2015 at 09:53

      I just use a bit of vegan protein powder (pea and rice protein mostly) after my Crossfit sessions. I just don’t feel like eating eggs right after a hard workout. Other than that I eat real food.

  • Naomi Monday, 12 January 2015 at 19:24

    I love this attitude! I’m going to try and adopt the prioritising attitude too – I’ve not got a very healthy perspective with carbs, and find it really difficult to not get a bit crazy about it… But this way I think might work a lot better, thank you for a fab post!

    • MrsB Monday, 12 January 2015 at 20:48

      You’re welcome :) I’ve struggled with food for a long time (it started when I moved to the US at 17 and gained 15kg) but by now I know how my brain works and MOST of the time I do what’s best for my brain as that tends to be best for my body as well (although don’t remind me what December eating was like! ;).

    • MrsB Monday, 12 January 2015 at 20:50

      Vegetables, pulses and quinoa/hemp/etc. all have protein but you have to eat a lot of those to get the same amount of protein you get from meat or dairy. The good thing is that you can eat as much kale a day as you want and you won’t ever be ‘overdoing’ it or having TOO much :D

  • Switching the mindset from “cutting the carbs” to “protein + vegetables first” Sunday, 11 January 2015 at 16:27

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  • Cat Sunday, 11 January 2015 at 07:00

    I like what you said about adding, not taking away – I think this is something my brain would respond much better to too!

    • MrsB Monday, 12 January 2015 at 20:50

      Have you tried it out? Does your brain like? :)

  • Lauren (@PoweredbyPB) Saturday, 10 January 2015 at 22:00

    Have you tried Sunwarrior? They do a rice protein, or warrior blend which is pea/cranberry/hemp and come in natural or flavoured. Good ingredients, and I really like the taste. Think it’s around 17/18g of protein per scoop, around 80 cals, and little carbs.

    • MrsB Monday, 12 January 2015 at 20:52

      Thank you for reminding me. I bought some again, the natural kind this time. Although it does still taste sweet to me :| Plus it was brought to my attention that the gelatine flakes I take have loads of protein :)

  • Tess @ FitBits Saturday, 10 January 2015 at 17:38

    It’s soooo hard to up the protein! Carb cuddles are just so easy whereas for me, protein means effort. Cook chicken. Make a pancake. Boil an egg. I’m working on it though, and when I eat well I feel proper amazing. Let’s keep going!

    • MrsB Monday, 12 January 2015 at 20:55

      I know what you mean about effort. Tonight I came home from work hungry and wanted to grab some bread but remembered that I have some Quorn mince in the freezer and some broad beans – I cooked them up with coconut oil and voila!