High-Performance Vegan Letters

Master The 3 Key Macros and My Top 5+ Nutrition FAQ’s

letters Jul 08, 2024

If I could go back 10 years?

I would teach myself everything in today’s letter.

I wish I had a nutrition roadmap for the past decade.

But not finding one…

I decided to create one.

Let’s start off with the nutrition hierarchy.

The base of nutrition is understanding calories.

So what are calories?

A calorie is a unit of energy.

It’s how we measure energy, specifically when it comes to food.

Why are they important?

Because it lets us estimate how much energy is in a gram of food.

It’s a helpful tool (but not the only one) to sculpt and change your physique.

Calories are directed to energy balance, which I’ve discussed in prior letters (aka how much food you’re eating each day).

Regarding body composition - calories from tracking, recipes, internal regulation, etc, is how you create sustainable and permanent changes for your body.

There are also 3 main macronutrient groups:

Protein: Protein or amino acids are the building blocks of our body. Protein is how we repair our body and rebuild new muscle tissue. It’s important for body composition goals and overall health, especially as we age.

(4 calories per 1 gram of protein)

Carbohydrates: Carbs are often demonized in our protein and fat-heavy cultures, but carbs are an unsung hero. They help build muscle. They aid in recovery. They fuel our brain, liver, and other key organs.

Carbs also store 3 grams of water per 1 gram of carb, so most people who drop weight quickly from cutting carbs are just dropping water weight.

Carbs will be a BIG ally for your body to get stronger, leaner, and healthier, especially when eating clean, healthy carbs.

(4 calories per 1 gram of carb)

Fats: Fats help aid in the hormonal process. However, their importance is the least out of the Big 3 Macros.

Too much fat can harm your health & fitness because your liver is overloaded with trying to break down fat.

Ideally, fats should be kept to a minimum while the main bulk of calories comes from healthy carbs and lean protein.

(9 calories per 1 gram of fat)

So with that said, here’s the top nutrition questions I’ve received over the past 5 years of coaching 100’s of busy plant-based leaders:

What do you track when you can’t find food on the meal tracker?

If you can’t find the exact food on your meal tracker, add the second closest thing to it.

For example, you might go to a restaurant and be unsure how to track the vegan lasagna with plant-based cheese.

Find a vegan lasagna (eyeball how much you think you had in grams) and track it in.

Focus on progress over perfection every time you track.

Note: The more you do this over time, the better you’ll get at gauging and eyeballing your food quantities. 🙂

How to measure food to get the best results?

Ideally, using grams.

However, if you can’t use grams, use the SAME measuring system every time you track.

Grams will be the most accurate and help you keep things systemized over time since there are fewer errors for inaccuracies that come with cups and ounces.

I keep blowing my fats most days. How can I keep the intake lower?

Choose less fatty foods.

Unfortunately, we live in a culture that adds fat to EVERYTHING.

Be conscious that many of our carbs and proteins are laden with fat.

The goal with nutrition tracking is to first bring awareness.

It’s not about perfection.

The more you track, the faster you’ll see the truth about our food systems.

(hint: they’re not built for longevity or health).

But knowledge alone won’t change your life.

Realization and insights are where you can create lasting transformation when paired with consistent actions.

Learn this for yourself then start to choose whole foods from the planet and soil.

I keep exceeding my calories. How can I stay within the target without feeling hungry?

Focus on satiety and hydration.

Often, we confuse hunger with dehydration.

Ensure you’re getting at least ½ your body weight in ounces per day (often more when lifting and working out).

If you’re still hungry, aim to eat breakfast later in the day AND focus on low-calorie, higher-protein meals that can help keep you fuller.

Eating smaller meals more often can also help, so you’re not as hungry when you get to lunch or dinner.

Finally, aim to stay busy during the day and focus on your work and activities vs your next meal.

I eat way below my caloric recommendations, but I’m full. What can I do?

Eat earlier in the day and spread out your meals.

Eat more to rewire your metabolism.

You may need to consider adding in a few more palatable foods that are tastier and easier to eat more of.

Also, reduce satiety-filling foods so you can focus more on caloric volume while eating more.

For example, you might use more fruits and starchy vegetables and reduce slightly non-starchy veggies if you eat them a lot.

If you are undereating, your body is not getting enough minerals and vitamins to cover all your needs, so we want to focus on nutritious foods.

For example, bananas, dates, potatoes, sweet potatoes.

Aim to drink some of your calories in smoothies and mixed fruit & vegetable juices.

Some dry, unsweetened fruits without added oils can also help (e.g., dried mango, raisins, apricots, figs).

Eat a small meal/snack even if you don't feel too hungry so you can slowly adjust to higher calories.

I don’t know what to eat and what recipes to choose to fit my macros and get results?

That’s why you’re learning.

Test out new meals.

Create and track them in your nutrition tracker.

Collaborate with others (or work with a coach).

Tap into new recipes and meal templates.

This is a learning process and it will take time.

Be patient with your growth.

How do you hit caloric recommendations and macros?

Start with experimentation.

The first 2-4 weeks of focusing on your nutrition is all about awareness.

Awareness of where you are and what you need to improve.

As you start tracking, you’ll notice eating patterns within your meal cadence, which will start to highlight missing gaps in your food, whether it’s lower in protein or high in fats.

One of the easiest ways to reach your caloric and macro targets is to plan your meals and snacks and track them at the beginning of the day.

This way, if you need to, you can make necessary tweaks, such as increasing your protein intake and cutting on some extra fat.

How do I hit my proteins without exceeding fats?

Aim to get lean, minimally processed protein options.

When shopping, be aware that many protein options are HIGH in fat.

With this in mind, look for brands and products with minimal ingredients and less than 10g of fat per serving (ideally less if possible).

Options like soybeans (including tofu, tempeh) work well and if you don’t have gluten sensitivities, seitan is a powerhouse.

Protein powders should also be an option since you can add them to smoothies, oatmeal bowls, and homemade protein bars.

Nutrition is how you win in your fitness.

Your daily choices are how you win in life.

Make today matter.

To your health,

- Gabriel

Whenever you're ready, there are three ways I can help you:

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