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What if I told you a handful of potato chips and a handful of carrots had the same amount of calories, which one would you choose? Probably the first option, right? To most people, the chips taste better and if they contain the same amount of calories, why go with carrots!?

Calories are simply an indicator of the amount of energy within a certain food. They don’t tell us anything about the overall quality or the nutritional properties of that food. Calories from nutrient-rich foods versus foods that have no nutritional value will all have different effects on the body. Nutritionally dense foods will keep hunger at bay, minimize cravings, help stablise blood sugar levels and enable your brain to signal your stomach that it is satisfied and full. Nutrient-poor foods will have the opposite effect, causing hormonal imbalances, spiking insulin, triggering cravings and those satiety signals go out the window, causing possible overeating. Nutrient dense foods allow you to keep your health in check naturally, no number crunching required. When looking at calories, many people assume they are all created equal, but that is not how it works. Eating 500 calories of fast food is not the same as eating 500 calories of salad, and those calories from that takeaway burger are not the same as the calories you’d get from making your own homemade burger.

Not only this, but counting calories erases all the pleasure of enjoying a meal. It becomes exhausting and unrealistic as it’s hard to know the exact calorie content of every single thing you consume, especially when dining out. Eventually, it can lead to having an unhealthy relationship with food. Just like the age old saying, food is our friend, not our enemy! Caloric restriction may work for a time, but it is not recommended. It is not sustainable in the long-term because you’re not supporting your body with enough essential nutrients.

Counting calories usually leads to consuming processed foods. Have you ever noticed that whole foods such as your fresh fruit, vegetables, eggs and meat don’t come with nutrition panels? Unpackaged, unprocessed foods such as these, that are single ingredient foods, do not require nutrition panels. They don’t contain additives, they are natural and exactly what our body’s require. Speaking of what our body needs, it is important we understand that consuming the exact amount of calories needed does not guarantee that you are going to get all the nutrients your body requires. Many people fall into the common trap of making food choices based on its number of calories rather than concentrating on its nutritional value. A can of diet coke has 0 calories and a banana smoothie made with almond milk and a dollop of natural peanut butter has over 200 calories. Which of these would be more beneficial? If calorie counting is part of an attempt to lose weight, the trick is to gain an understanding on what foods are good for your body, are packed with nutrients and are maintainable for a healthy life. Learning how to have a balanced diet including both nutrient-dense and some nutrient-poor foods, along with accepting the fact that we're only human and we all deserve a treat here and there, will help anyone establish a great relationship with food.

Now, moving on from calorie counting, we want to discuss macronutrients. You’ve probably heard of people "counting macros" but why are they so important to a healthy, balanced diet? Well, here’s your answer! The foods we eat are comprised of two types of nutrients: micronutrients (vitamins and minerals) and macronutrients (protein, fats and carbohydrates). These three little guys that make up macros play a major role in the way the body repairs, develops and grows. Protein is the main building block for our muscles and should account for 10-35% of our daily macronutrient intake. It also assists the body in hormone production and balance, provides structure to bones, teeth and skin, strengthen immune system, transport nutrients around the body… the list goes on and on!

Carbohydrates are used predominantly as fuel, with complex carbs such as dark leafy greens, brown rice, nuts and beans all assisting the body in acting as a source of energy, providing nutrients for the body’s good bacteria, helping digest food and protect muscles from being used as an energy source. They also provide you with necessary fibre intake and help you feel fuller for longer. They should account for 45-60% of our daily macronutrient intake.

Unsaturated fats or “good fats” such as seeds, nuts, avocado and oily fish all help the body absorb vitamins and supply the body with fatty acids that the body cannot produce itself. Fat also acts as a backup energy source as well as helping with brain development, protects your bones and organs and should account for 20-35% of our daily macronutrient intake.

You may have noticed on our recent recipe cards we have began incorporating the macros for each meal in our Wholesome and Vegan box. For a while now we have had endless requests for us to calculate the macros for our dishes and share them with you all. At first we were a little hesitant, not for any other reason other than the fact that we believe our meals speak for themselves. There are no hidden nasties. You know exactly what you're putting into your bodies as you are the chef! We didn't feel it was necessary, however, we understand that those who are purchasing a Wholesome or Vegan box, are usually on a different kind of nutrition journey and that this would be a good way for us to show them just how much nutrients they are really consuming.

It is important we are getting our energy intake from nutrient dense foods such as lean meat and seafood (or alternatives), fruit and vegetables, nuts and beans, grains and dairy products (or alternatives). Obtaining your energy from discretionary foods that are high in kilojoules (energy), tend to be lower in essential nutrients and are referred to as “nutrient-poor” foods are not recommended food sources when working to consume each essential macronutrient.

We believe in obtaining a diet rich in whole foods that fill our body with natural goodness and offer us the necessary nutrients our body’s deserve in order to be healthy and happy.

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