healthy vegan

Are You a Micro-Macro-Manager?

We’ve all been there: standing confused in the grocery store reading ingredient labels on the packaged food we think we need. Protein, fiber, and carbohydrates in grams-per-serving trick us into thinking there’s not enough or too much as we decide, “to buy or not to buy?” That is the real question.

You don’t see me in the grocery store confused if veggies are good for me…

You don’t see me in the grocery store confused if veggies are good for me…

For years, diet-culture has trained us to look at macro-nutrients as the next big thing we should consume (or avoid) in order to host a leaner figure. Advertisers over sell audiences in outrageous proportions and have confused the modern consumer about what is healthy and how much of what we should be eating. When did it become so complicated? Another real question.

[In Usher Voice] These are my confessions of a former “Micro-Macro-Manger:”

Calories. For some, these are numbers to live by, and for others they’re the bane of our existence. While science will forever remain true to “calories-in-calories-out,” the types of calories we actually need to thrive are hardly emphasized.

Since my later college years, it seemed that I was rotating through diets emphasizing different nutrients that were supposedly “good & bad” for me. One day, I’m not allowing myself potatoes and the next week I eating lots of potatoes. One month I’m giving up all sugar, and the next month I’m adding tons of protein. It seems like a 100-yard dash to the next faddy food craze these days, if you ask me.

Even though I’ve gone yo-yo for fad-diets in the past, I’ve learned more about the food I’m consuming and have switched over to a more intuitive & sustainable way of living allowing me to have what I’ve always wanted:
Freedom from Food.

The start of something tasty.

The start of something tasty.

A calorie is not JUST a calorie.

“Calories in, calories out,” they say, but counting a perfect amount of calories doesn’t make that idea a true assessment of healthy gains. Just focusing on the calorie content of foods and disregarding the metabolic effects they have is a highly flawed way of thinking. (HealthLine.com) All calories are not created equal, in fact there are many different factors to health other than your consumption of a certain amount of calories.

No food label, no problem.

You know that one area of the grocery store called the “produce section?” Most of the food you’ll find in that area doesn’t even have a food label. That’s because it doesn’t need one. An apple is simply an apple, but contains all the macro & micro-nutrients in order for the body to process it thoroughly. When eating whole food sources, there’s no need to count exactly what you’re eating because plant synergy works together and your body knows what to do with it.

Bell Peppers are easy whole foods to add to any veggie-heavy dish!

Bell Peppers are easy whole foods to add to any veggie-heavy dish!

Let go of that stressful thinking.

Does counting your food intake give you hives? Are you worried about what your next meal will look like? Is going out to social gatherings something you have to strategically plan for? Then you might be a micro-macro-manager. While there are exceptions to precise eating (i.e. body building), I don’t believe that we were created to count calories and macro-nutrients as a lifestyle. For some people, the simple diligence of counting your intake can encourage eating disorders & obsessive behavior. Been there, done that, and it’s kinda stressful. Your mental health is vital for body changes. Don’t take your intake TOO seriously.

A real life picture of me NOT counting calories or macros.

A real life picture of me NOT counting calories or macros.

So what should you be looking for on packaged food labels? First of all, stick with whole foods as much as possible. If you must get something packaged (like pasta, plant-based milk, and vegan-extras), instead of counting the grams of proteins & carbs, make sure the ingredients are what they say they are, and avoid overly processed ingredients like high-fructose corn syrup, enriched flour, MSG, and make sure to buy the non-GMO stuff.

Still deciding if you need to continue Micro-Macro-Managing as a daily practice?

Check out these three questions from FitnessBlender.com:

  • Is it sustainable?

  • Does it make you feel good; energetic and healthy and like your best self?

  • Does it interfere with your quality of life or cause you stress? For instance, during a dinner out with friends, would you find yourself stressing out while eating foods that you haven't had a chance to calculate values for, or don't know the macro breakdown of?

Mindfulness matters.

XO,

Amy Beth

**Professional side note: I know there is a lot to cover on the topic of nutrients and how food affects our bodies. Not only does each food interact with our bodies differently, each of our bodies interacts with food differently. Hormone levels, genetics, and environment play a big factor into how are bodies interact with food. So if you’re at your wits end of “healthy solutions,” please see a super-duper professional who can help you get educated on your own body. Physical awareness is a big step in the right direction.

Schedule a FREE consultation with me if you need a place to start.

How to Be a Pura Vida Vegan

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What is Pura Vida? Literal translation means “Pure Life,” but when this is said down in Costa Rica, the phrase usually implies a relaxed attitude & simplicity towards life in that moment.

The car breaks down. Pura Vida.

Can’t find the umbrella. Pura Vida.

Plans are changing... again. Pura Vida.

While those are loose examples of Pura Vida, the concept is simple. Things don’t have to go always as planned and the little things we worry about aren’t worth the stress. However, I want to take it a step further but shedding light on what ‘Pura Vida’ could mean for your health.

Living a simple lifestyle here in the States seems impossible to achieve, and now that I’ve seen different, nothing angers me more than when someone tries to over complicate an individual's health. Health products sold by commercial companies & networking marketers with no reputable research backing up their products, paired with a lack of expertise in the health field, are confusing consumers about “what is healthy.”

I see this all the time. In fact, I was once ‘that person’ selling the idea of “fit” to my friends on Facebook because someone told me it was okay. Been there, done that, got selfies in the t-shirt; but oh how I wish that mistake didn’t take a toll on my body. While I usually live a life of ‘no regrets,’ I do regret my lack of personal research into the things I used & promoted in the past in order to make myself lose weight. My lack of research and full trust in my friends’ opinions caused chaos inside & out. You can read my story from my previous blog post.


So, how do we take control of our health in a way that’s not complicated?

How do we get our Pura Vida back?

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Start with whole foods.

You cannot get any simpler than something grown out of the ground, washed, cooked, then eaten. We have these things called, “convenience stores” which have stripped away the connection between the consumer and the producer, leaving us disconnected from where our food comes from, and this mindset can be dangerous. Having thousands of options in one store has spoiled our ideas of buying fresh or local. The convenience of being able to “go by the store real quick” doesn’t take much thought. That mindset then translates into the way we eat our convenient food without experiencing gratefulness of the person who picked that produce. I see that this is a problem, and I’m guilty of being a part of this system. It’s easy to pick up the frozen & packaged because all we have to do is open a bag/box/packaging, heat, and eat.

Eating whole foods is not only important to the growers, but it’s vitally important to our health. Tell me the difference between eating a piece of fried chicken and eating a whole orange. Yeah, the chicken probably appeals to your tastes more, but that whole fruit has more nutrients and energy your body knows how to digest than the overly processed piece of chicken will provide for you.

Simply put, our bodies respond better to whole food nutrition more than anything else. Within a whole piece of fruit is the energy and sustainability we need to make healthy jumps forward throughout the day.

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Start with small habits.

Health does NOT have to be complicated. You do not need supplements, wraps, teas, pink-drinks, and intense workout routines to be healthy. While the convenience with these products is…. Well, convenient… most of these options have proven to an unsustainable long term solution for your well being. It’s crap that these companies are pressuring potential consumers to buy their convenient product without regards to the long-term health of the general public. It’s definitely not right or fair to the people spending their money, and you have a right to know what you’re investing in.

Simply, you can start with whole foods, start with walking 30 minutes 3 times a week, and start with not buying junk food and buying lots of whole food. Start with trying a new plant-based recipes once a week for your family. Then once your foundation is built, add on from there.

Start limiting tech-time & start connecting IRL.

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This is the hardest one for me. I absolutely love connecting with people online and it is invigorating to respond to someone’s need for my advice… but these social media apps are tricky. They’re just as addicting in the same way as gambling and a whole generation has been trained to live distracted from what’s right in front of them.

Taking intentional breaks for longer periods of time may sound daunting at first, but I promise: it’s worth the time you’ll get back. Being disconnected due to the elements in Costa Rica required me to get back into things that I had been putting off and allowed me to form new habits.

Things I’ve started doing more of since cutting down on screen time:

  • Housework

  • Journaling

  • Talking to friends on the phone/facetime

  • Working on creative content

  • Reading

  • and Exercise

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Start analyzing your emotional & mental health.

Do you often, “just react” to things and feel out of control about certain tasks or taboo topics? Does your chest get tight when you’re feeling stressed? Does your health suffer because of everything you have going on in your life? Do you feel hopeless about your body’s response to food or lifestyle choices your choosing to hold on to?

Now is the time to look at your mental health. While I’m currently in the middle of a mental health healing journey (which I will share more in the future about), I can say that feeling bad all the time got my attention. If it’s getting your attention, treat yourself well by evaluating your mental health. My friends, if you don’t have this part of health in check first, you probably won’t accomplish the rest. It’s worth the journey.


Start with these mindful practices and I promise you (with help beside you), your choices will start to add up to better health. Please remember, there are many aspects to health and we DON’T have to complicate them.

Need some extra help in making realistic holistic choices? Check out the Realistic Holistic 6 Week Course on ThatVeganWife.com and about Why I Created this Course for you.

Until Next Time--

TVW

Watch the video I created of Highlights from my trip to Costa Rica!

Hey you. It's been a while. Welcome back to my channel. I have loads to catch you up on, but wanted to share some highlights from my latest trip to Costa Rica.