Building Better Humans

The Project 13 Blog

Fats. Another macronutrient with another unfortunate history. Just like carbs, fats have gone through an unpopular phase at some point.

But the reality is that just like carbs, fats have an extremely vital role they play in our health and function.

There’s strong scientific evidence that suggest that fats are important for the following reasons:

  • Provides cardiovascular protection
  • Improves body composition
  • Alleviates depression
There’s also evidence to suggest that it:
  • Prevents Cancer
  • Preserves memory
  • Preserves eye health

As you can see, fats are pretty important for us to be our best selves. So what kind should you choose to eat?

There are three main types of fats that all have a place in our diet, even saturated fat. Below are some examples of different types of fats:

  • Saturated
    • Animal Fats
    • Tropical Oils like coconut and palm
  • Monounsaturated
    • Avocados
    • Tree Nuts (Almonds, Brazil Nuts, Pecans, Walnuts, Pistachios)
    • Olive Oil
  • Polyunsaturated
    • Omega-3
      • Fish Oils
      • Flax Seed Oil
    • Omega-6
      • Seed Oils (Canola, Safflower, Sunflower)

So if saturated fat is ok, what’s a “healthy” fat and what’s an “unhealthy” fat. Well you can think of a healthy fat as any fat that is basically in it’s whole unprocessed form.

Examples of healthy fats would be fattier cuts of meat, unrefined virgin coconut oil, cold pressed extra virgin olive oil, avocados, nuts or fatty fish.

Examples of unhealthy fats would be refined vegetable oils, margarine, refined oils like soybean, corn and safflower and any trans-fatty acids.

So, this week try to eat healthy fats with every meal and remember to try and aim to get whole, unprocessed forms when possible.

This week’s habit has to do with a nutrient that has often been demonized recently, Carbohydrates.

The reality is carbohydrates have a very important place in a healthy balanced diet and for most people it plays a role in their optimal function.

Along with providing energy, carbohydrates can:

  • Allow you to perform at your best
  • Improve energy levels and vitality
  • Help with hormone regulation
  • Improve sleep
  • Help control sugar cravings

Carbohydrates are our body’s, and specifically our brain’s, preferred source of energy.

More importantly it’s what our body likes to use for quick access to energy when completing for example an intense interval workout or physical efforts in the range of 1 second to 3 minutes.

This could be a max effort lift, a 30 second interval or a 400 m run.

As you can see, when it comes to performing our best, carbohydrates have been shown to be pretty important.

Always keep in mind that nutritional needs are individual and carbohydrate tolerance will differ from person to person. Listen to your body and pay attention to how you feel when making your carbohydrate choices.

Some general principles that you can keep in mind are:

  • Basic carbohydrate needs are ~ 130 grams per day
  • If you’re more sedentary your carbohydrate needs will generally be lower than someone who is very active
  • If you tend to have poor carbohydrate tolerance, aim to consume most of your daily carbohydrates around the time that you workout
  • Try to get most, if not all, of your carbohydrate intake from fruits and vegetables
  • Focus on fiber. Recommended intake for women is 25 g/day and for men 35g/day
  • Aim to get more complex carbohydrates in the form of unprocessed carbohydrates as opposed to refined and processed forms
  • Try to consume less carbohydrates in the evening, especially if you have a poor carbohydrate tolerance

Try to consume more of these:

  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Whole Rolled or Steel Cut Oats
  • Regular Potatoes
  • Quinoa
  • Brown/White Rice
  • Root Vegetables
  • Legumes
  • Other plain whole grains (Barley, Millet, Amaranth, Buckwheat)

Try to consume less of these:

  • Breads (Even “Whole Grain”)
  • Pastas
  • Baked goods
  • Pastries
  • Cookies
  • Muffins
  • Cereals (Even “Whole Grain”)
  • Refined sugars (High Fructose Corn Syrup, Brown Rice Syrup, cane sugar, fruit pectin)

Habit #3: Eat Colors

March 10, 2019

Oftentimes you’ll here the words restriction and diet used together. We typically
think of eating better for ourselves as restricting. At Project 13, we like to take the
opposite approach and think more about inclusion. This week’s habit is all about
adding some things in, trying new foods and exploring your palette.

Most of us will typically resort to foods that we like and that we’re comfortable with
and this week we encourage you to try more fruits and vegetables to get your colors in. Do your best to get different colors in as opposed to just one or two. The more colors, the better.

Below are some examples of the different colors that you can add to your food

  • Greens:
    • Spinach
    • Green Beans
    • Brussel sprouts
    • Broccoli
    • Chard
    • Kale
    • Green Peas
    • Green Tea
  • Reds
    • Tomato
    • Watermelon
    • Raspberries
    • Strawberries
    • Cherries
    • Pomegranates
    • Red Cabbage
  • Oranges/Yellows
    • Pineapple
    • Carrots
    • Oranges
    • Pumpkin
    • Mango
    • Cantaloupe
    • Corn
  • Purples/Blues
    • Blueberries
    • Beets
    • Eggplant
    • Cranberries
    • Grapes
    • Purple Potatoes
    • Blackberries
  • Whites
    • Garlic
    • Onion
    • Coconut
    • Parsnips
    • Apples

With this new habit being added to your toolbox, don’t forget the ones we’ve already covered. Make sure you eat slowly and continue to focus on eating until 80% full.

Here are some tips for easy addition of colors into your diet:

  1. Make Scrambles or one skillet meals: This is something I often like to do. It’s quick, easy and also makes it possible to include things you normally wouldn’t eat on there on. Making a scramble with seasoning you enjoy and some healthy oils is a great way to add flavor to the vegetables that you’re putting in.
  2. Go to a Local Farmers Market or Join a CSA: Generally a farmers market or CSA only provide produce based on what’s in season and what supply they have based on crop maturity and other factors. This will be a way to encourage you to step out of your comfort zone while also supporting local agriculture and eating high quality foods.
  3. Try different cooking methods: Sometimes it’s not a matter of us not liking a certain vegetables but more so the way it’s prepared. Try dipping veggies in hummus to add flavor to raw vegetables. Try roasting instead of steaming and add some olive oil or another healthy alternative to give it a good taste.
  4. Remain open: I live by the motto to try everything at least once. Ask your friends about some vegetables they enjoy and how they prep them. It’s easy for us to stick to what we’re used to but if we continue to do that we may miss out on things we actually really like.