There are many worthwhile pastimes.
Coloring, journaling, masturbating, meditation, yoga, knitting, reading, golf, batch cooking, watching House of Cards, picking your nose – lots of things.
Counting calories isn’t one of them.
Dieting is an abusive cycle and counting calories is a mind fuck that fuels that cycle. It isn’t helpful, it isn’t healthy, and you deserve WAY better. Handcuffs might be fun in the bedroom, but not so much when it comes to our food.
When you count calories you deprive your body of food. When you deprive your body of food you get hungry. When you’re hungry and you don’t eat enough, you feel like shit. And prolonged hunger and feeling like shit will lead to scarfing down 6 egg rolls and an entire fucking chocolate cake because HANGRY.
There goes losing those pounds – the very thing you were trying to do in the first place. If you’ve been on that ride, you know how it goes and you know it doesn’t end with yoga or meditation. It ends with beating yourself up. It ends with restricting even more calories the next day. It ends with obsessing over the scale. It can also end with your finger down your throat.
The fact is, the body wants, needs and craves calories and nutrients. If we take off the handcuffs, get out of our own way, and eat the right stuff, the body will tell us exactly how many calories we need each day based on its changing needs.
In order for this to happen we have to focus on the quality of the calories we eat and not on the quantity of the calories we eat. From a nutrition standpoint, one of the problems with counting calories is that it doesn’t take into account that all calories ARE NOT created equal.
Allow me to demonstrate.
Can you tell me what these two meals have in common?
1) One Big Mac and three Oreo cookies.
2) Two cups of steamed broccoli, one cup of brown rice, one cup of pinto beans, one sprouted grain tortilla and a quarter of an avocado.
From a nutrition and health perspective these two meals are nowhere near equal. One is fake processed food, lacking fiber and nutrients, and the other is a fiber rich, nutrient dense wonderland, packed with vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals.
But to someone counting calories, these two meals are identical because they have the same exact number of calories.
This demonstrates perfectly why healthy, balanced eating has nothing to do with the quantity of the calories you consume and everything to do with the quality of the calories you consume.
Sure – you could eat the first meal and get the same amount of calories as the second meal.
But the first meal will spike your blood sugar, it will be hard as shit to digest, it will make you constipated, it will slow down your metabolism, and it will lead to high blood pressure, high cholesterol and insulin resistance.
The second meal is easy to digest, it will protect your cells from disease, it will keep your blood sugar nice and even, it won’t raise your blood pressure or your cholesterol, it will make you poop like a champion, it will kick up your metabolic rate, and it will fill you up for longer.
Oh, and you would likely have leftovers with the second meal because it’s so much food. So you would actually be eating less calories but yet you would feel full for longer.
This is exactly why people easily lose weight when they switch to a Whole Food Plant Based diet.
You can eat until you’re full and totally satisfied at every meal and you will be eating fewer calories as a result. You don’t have to try. You don’t have to think about it. You just eat the right shit and it’s worked out for you.
This is an easy enough concept to grasp, but the topic of counting calories is kind of like when my 7 year old niece asked me to explain why my girlfriend is considered her aunt – it’s part of a bigger discussion.
When our purpose for eating goes from losing weight to eating for our health, a huge shift takes place and we end up redefining our entire relationship with food and what it means to be hungry and full.
- We get in tune with our body and we trust ourselves to eat when we’re hungry and stop when we’re full based on the signals the body gives us.
- We start to love and respect our beautiful body exactly how it is. If we lose weight, fine. If we don’t, it’s just as fine. That’s not the point anymore. This is about feeling really fucking good for as long as we possibly can and being totally happy and satisfied in our body. This is about putting an end to beating ourselves up for not being perfect. We will lose weight as a result, but that becomes secondary – an after thought.
- We crave flooding the body with healing and protective nutrients, not starving it or depriving it.
- We start to feel connected to the bigger picture of life, instead of staying stuck, head down in our calorie counting app.
- We become truly satisfied when we eat. We don’t want more. We don’t want less. And we are thankful for every nutrient dense bite and how it makes us feel.
- Food becomes a non-issue and we stop obsessing over it. We throw away our scale, because it finally clicks in that the number on the scale means absolutely nothing.
- We stop turning to food for entertainment, comfort and emotional support and start seeing it for what it really is; fuel for the body.
Food shouldn’t be a mind fuck and it doesn’t have to be a constant struggle. If you’re willing to let go, hand over a little bit of control, and trust the process, the rest will fall perfectly and easily into place.
Changing how, what and why you eat has the power to change your entire life. And you can’t say THAT about counting calories.
Our weekly Plant Fueled Meal Plans are nearing the finish line. These suckers will give you everything you need to eat for your health on a consistent basis. These plans focus on the quality of your calories and not on the quantity. You don’t need me to tell you how much to eat in one day. You are fully capable of doing that yourself, my dear.
Each week I will give you a meal plan, a grocery list, a list of batch cooking recipes with the best order to make them, and instructions for 5 dinners to make with your batched items. All you have to do is follow along and feed your beautiful bod exactly what it so desperately needs and wants. A new plan will come out every Friday.
Today’s recipe will flood your perfect body with protective nutrients aplenty. Here’s what my recipe tester had to say about it.
“Molly – my fellas who “HATE” Brussels sprouts totally ate this up …. they even had seconds.”
Toasted Cumin Orange Brussels Sprouts
If you’re cooking for one you can cut this recipe in half. It will easily feed up to 4 people.
Two pounds Brussels sprouts (before being trimmed)
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/4 cup tahini (55g)
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon water
Juice from 1 orange
2 garlic cloves
1 dried date, pit taken out and simmered in water for 10 minutes
1/4 teaspoon salt
Garnish with red pepper flakes, raisins and chopped almonds.
- Trim off the bottom of all the brussels and discard the outer layer. Place the trimmed brussels in a large bowl and run some water over them to rinse. Discard the water.
- Use the slicing attachment of your food processor and slice all of the brussels. This will have to be done in two batches unless you have a huge food processor.
- Place the sliced brussels into a large mixing bowl.
- You will use the food processor to make the dressing so leave it out and don’t bother washing it yet.
- Make the dressing by first toasting the cumin seeds in a dry skillet over low heat for about a minute until they are fragrant but not burnt.
- Place the toasted cumin seeds into the food processor along with the tahini, soy sauce, apple cider vinegar, lemon juice, water, orange juice, garlic, date (discard water first) and salt.
- Process the ingredients for about a minute, stopping the food processor and scraping down the sides as needed. It’s okay if there are bits of garlic that don’t get totally blended up.
- Pour the dressing over the brussels and massage with your clean hands until the dressings is thoroughly incorporated and the brussels have shrunk in bulk.
- Heat a large skillet or a wok over medium heat for about a minute and then add the dressing soaked brussels. Cook for about 3 minutes, stirring frequently so they don’t stick to the bottom of the pan.
Serve with red pepper flakes, raisins and chopped almonds.
Wishing you a happy week. May it be filled with letting go of shit that isn’t serving you.