Firstly what is a calorie? A calorie is a metric unit of heat, and the calorie remains in use as a unit of food energy. Or, the energy required to increase the temperature of one gram of water by 1 °C.
Now that you understand the science, forget it and understand that not all calories are created equally!
A Calorie is not a Calorie
What do I mean by that? The quality of calories that we get from different foods affects us differently. It is possible for someone to gain more weight on fewer calories than someone consuming more. This may sound a little counterintuitive. After all 100 calories is the same unit of food energy regardless of the food source. When it comes to weight loss the difference is how you metabolize these calories. 100 calories from a a can of soda is digested and metabolized very differently than the same amount of calories from an avocado. The calories from soda spike blood sugar levels, and trigger a metabolic reaction that results in excess fat.
Here are three reasons to quit counting calories and start focusing on quality.
1. Count the nutrients, not calories
Keeping track of every morsel of food that you eat doesn't mean your fueling your body with the nutrients it needs to keep you healthy. Take for example those who eat 100-calorie pack cookies and cakes.
Aside from being loaded with chemicals you probably can't pronounce, these pseudo-foods won't provide you with enough protein, fiber, good fats or even the volume to make you feel full. Instead of feeling energized and healthy, your left with an immediate sugar-rush, followed quickly by a crash leaving you're hungry again 20 minutes later.
2. You are what you eat.
Calories from nutrient-rich, healthy foods versus overly-processed junk food will have different effects on the body. Healthy food will help you to maintain stable blood sugar levels, reduce cravings, and leave you feeling satiated. Junk food will leave you feeling like junk and encouraging overeating. Real foods will help keep weight in check naturally, no counting necessary.
3. Ditch the Diet
Diets flat-out don't work, and crash dieting will actually slow your metabolism, as your body adjusts to conserve energy and avoid starvation. So what's the solution?
Swap calorie-counting for quality, nutrient-dense foods. Eat these real foods until you are full. And when it comes to finding real food, become a qualitarian and look for organic produce, pasture-raised and wild-caught meats and eggs from grass-fed chickens. Load up on all the filling fiberous veggies you can and enjoy the freedom that comes with eating real food and ditching the diet and calorie counting for good.
Become a qualitarian and ditch the diet
With this new knowledge, let me leave you with a Lemon Poppy Seed Muffin recipe to add a little zest to your day!
Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins
Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins
- 2 scant cups gluten free oat flour
- 1/3 cup MorningPep Xylitol
- 1 T baking powder
- pinch of pink himalayan sea salt
- 5 Tablespoons raw, creamy almond butter
- 1 cup full-fat coconut milk
- 1/2 a lemon; plus the zest!
- One flax egg
- 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 350° fahrenheit. In a large mixing bowl, stir together dry ingredients (oat flour, xylitol, baking powder, poppy seeds, lemon zest and the pinch of pink Himalayan salt).
Stir in the liquid ingredients beginning with coconut milk, juice of the half lemon, and flax egg. Finally, stir in creamy almond butter.
Scoop batter into a lightly, coconut oil greased cupcake pan. Fill holes approximately 3/4 full. Bake 14 minutes. The recipe yields 11 muffins, so I add a tablespoon or two of water to the remaining cavity to ensure even baking.
Allow the muffins to cool before removing them from the baking pan.