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If you were to train here for 10 years and only learned one thing about Nutrition, I would want you to have a rudimentary understanding of the Macronutrients- be able to identify Protein, Fat, and Carbohydrate. Here is just a really basic, but important break down to help you out in identifying these macronutrients. BUT I'm going to use words like "best" or "lacking" or "insufficent" and it'll be easy to equate those words with "most nutritious" or "most beneficial". We're just identifying these macronutrients, but we can sit down and debate and research and discuss what is most nutritious for what purpose for infinity.

Protein- The best protein source is lean meat and eggs- lean cuts of Poultry, Beef, Pork, Game, Fish. What I mean about 'best' though is that lean meat is really mostly protein. There's protein in lots of foods, which may or may not be the best option for eating protein. Dairy like milk, cheese, yogurt, all have significant protein. Depending on the type, they could be high in protein, they could also be higher in fat or sugar, so depending on what the source has the most of, you might call it a fat source. Legumes and lentils- beans, peas etc, also have protein. Like dairy, they are certainly to be considered if you're looking for protein, but they are more of a carbohydrate source. There is also protein in grains. For example, gluten is a protein and there are plenty of cereals that boast higher protein, but like legumes they are mainly carbohydrate. 

Carbohydrate- Fruit, Gourds, Starchy vegetables like potatoes or other roots, Legumes, and Grains. Most people can get sufficient carbohydrate from fruit, gourds, starchy veg, and roots. Depending on your activity, or digestion, or food tolerances though, grains and legumes are really easy carbohydrate sources. Sugars like fructose, sucrose, lactose, ends in "ose" are carbohydrates too. 

Fat- Nuts, seeds, nut-like legumes (peanuts, cashews), avocado, olive, fatty cuts of animal. Full fat dairy like butter, cream, and cheeses. Oils. 

Someone reading this is going to say to themselves, "oh that's what carbohydrate is?" which is awesome. A lot of people may not have even read this far because they know the difference, also awesome. You can see though that there are plenty of things that aren't so easily classified. Take bacon for example- comes from an animal. I love it, but in order for me to call it a protein source and to get the amount of protein I want from it, that's like 50g of fat. I don't need 450 calories from fat that I would rather have from carbohydrate. Same with beans. I love beans, but if I want say 40g of protein at a certain meal, to eat that many beans could be like 110g of carb. 110g of carb in one sitting does not feel very good. 

This is all just scratching the surface of nutrition, but it's a good starting point. It could also be a good exercise for you and your kids. We teach kids to read and do math and "tell-me-what-a-dog-says" so they're probably capable of knowing the difference between chicken and rice and maybe why their meal should have both rather than just cheez-its or a pancake. 

Start by classifying the whole foods you come across. Processed foods, at least tasty ones, have all three macro-nutrients but in amounts that just make them taste good. A girl scout cookie is mainly carbohydrate, but there's also probably a significant amount of fat. if it's hard to classify, don't even try and if you eat it don't try to justify it, just enjoy it.   

Devin JonesComment