Posted in Nutrition

What is Macro Counting & Should You be Doing It?

Oh macro counting, my arch nemesis!

Sorry guys, had to get it right out there. This being said I still want to bring you through what macro counting is, give you a little background and allow you to decide for yourself the best path to take. Here at BL I don’t promote macro counting, rather whole foods and balanced {sane} choices that will allow you to achieve your goals whatever they may be. But lets get right to it and explain the ins and outs of macro counting.

What is Macro Counting?

Macro counting is essentially counting the caloric content of your food, primarily carbs, fats & protein so you can gauge how much of each you have had throughout the day allowing you to “stay on track” to reaching your muscle building / weight loss goals. People who count macros {body builders primarily use the method and if you are into body building and are counting with whole foods, count on friends, this post is directed at regular Joes who have taken up macro counting} have a set number of grams of carbs, fat & protein they can eat throughout their day, no more. They break down these numbers into 3 or some 5 meals a day, allowing carbs, fats and proteins to be equally divided into each meal. People who count their macros portion out food, maybe even going as far as weighing it on a scale to calculate the nutritional content to the very decimal.

The Problem

1. Stressful/restrictive and 2. Not all carbs, fat & protein are created equal.

The carbs that you consume from housing Lays chips is not the same as the carbs that you get from eating a serving of quinoa even though the count might be the same. One is a whole food option that will nourish the body and the other, well…you get the point! {a processed oily, bag of junk with no nutrients}.

Simply counting macros doesn’t mean your proteins, fats, & carb options are health promoting or nutrient dense. People think because they are counting their macros they can make food choices that are poor quality, low fat, sugar free options because they are less points, such as “I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter” spray instead of real butter, Low cal ice cream sandwiches instead of ice cream, and processed junk because they are meeting their macros, and shaving some numbers off by doing so. BUT

Blissfully Lively Macro Counting

My question is even if you’re within your macro totals, and you have shaved off some grams of carbs by having low fat ice cream sandwiches rather than regular {side note they’re still ice cream sandwiches, not good for you so why not just eat the regular ones???} are a majority of the foods you are choosing whole unprocessed nutrient dense foods?

If the answer is yes and you are a macro counting genius that just likes to control your numbers but are choosing healthy options then count on my friend, but if the answer is no and you have been meeting your macros with pints of ice cream and chips all the while feeling hungry after every meal…THEN WE HAVE A PROBLEMO…no worries, it can be fixed :).

The Fix

Get real with yourself and ask yourself these questions below to figure out your goals!

  1. Am I looking to get healthier, build muscle, lose fat, what is my goal?
  2. Am I truly nourishing my body with whole real foods?
  3. Does the macro counting cause me stress, tracking every food I eat?
  4. Do I understand my bodies signals of hunger and am I fueling it?

If you are interested in more info, or are wondering how to get off the counting train but don’t know what to do next send me an email @ blissfullylively@gmail.com and we can chat options!

xo,

Lauren

Starving after that restrictive chat? Check out the Oatmeal Superfood Breakfast Bars to have on hand when hunger strikes!


BL Weekly Dinner Menu & Meal Prepping

Happy Sunday, I hope your weekend has been as relaxing and enjoyable as it could possibly be! I whipped up a few dinner recipes for you guys so when you head out to the grocery store today you have a few healthy options to choose from. Going into the grocery store with no plans of what to make for dinner can lead to bad choices {frozen pizza, precooked chicken, & boring old pasta with sauce} so I hope these PDFs are helping you plan out your meals and stick to healthier options.

While I was creating this weeks menu I thought about how much meal prepping has saved me time and energy during the week, and since it is a new year and I know a lot of you are trying to get on a healthier track I thought why not give you a little meal prep 101. So below as always there is the Dinner PDF for this week, but also a few tips to meal prepping {what to prep, how, when, how much}. Enjoy!

Download & print off HERE

Download & print off HERE

 

Meal Prepping 101
  1. Buy & cook in bulk: On a normal week I buy 2 lbs of chicken, 1 bag of carrots, 1 bag of brussel sprouts and 1 carton of eggs {just for hard boiling}. I then cook all these up on a Sunday so I have them on hand for the rest of the week. So now I know throughout the week I have chicken for salads, veggies to add to any recipe & hard boiled eggs if I’m feeling lazy in the morning. I buy in bulk so I know I won’t run out of staples throughout the week.
  2. Make it meal staples: When I think about my week ahead {in meals} I know that I will need the necessary nutrients to get me through each day, but when I think about meal prepping I think about what are the necessary nutrient dense foods that take me the longest to make. Think Chicken, eggs, veggies etc. What are the things you want to have on hand to add to or base any meal around but don’t want to wait to cook up every night/ meal. Chicken is easy to add to a salad, burrito bowl, sandwich, etc. Roasted veggies you can eat by themselves or add to a rice bowl, salad, on the side with dinner. I also am a huge lover of eggs in the morning because of the nice amount of protein they offer but sometimes and am too lazy to cook them. These are breakfast staples for me and if I already have some hardboiled cooked, I know I will choose healthy over a lame bowl of cereal that doesn’t really offer me much in the nutrients department.
  3. Prep it all on one day: I usually make Sunday my prepping day because I don’t want to fuss with any prepping throughout the week. Take this last week for example, I prepped on Sunday and then on Wednesday when Chris and I both had crazy schedules we knew there was Chicken all ready for dinner and all we had to do was cook some rice and throw together a quick salad. Meal prepping makes life so much easier!
  4. Start small: I know I said buy in bulk above but if you aren’t sure of your schedule one week, or are just starting out meal prepping take one food group and prep all of those ingredients you would want for the week. Example: buy your fruits and veggies for the week. Cut up your fruits and store them in a tupperware and cut and roast your veggies so you know you have those.

Happy meal prepping!

xo,

Lauren


BL Weekly Dinner Menu Crockpot Edition

Hi guys! Happy Holidays! I just wanted to check in real quick from Chris and I’s ski trip with my family to give you guys  2 post holiday dinner PDFs that will make this weeks dinners as painless and delicious as possible. I know the last thing we all want to do is cook after the holiday feasts we prepared for family/ friends so I have added 3 dinners that use my favorite time saver, the crockpot!

These dinners take under 10 minutes to assemble & are done in 3-6 hrs of cook time while you enjoy a ski day with friends or an afternoon of returning christmas gifts that weren’t the right size 😑 {So annoying when you just want to throw on your new threads, I feel you!}. As always enjoy your week and let me know how your dinners come out by tagging me on Instagram @blissfullylively. I love seeing when you guys utilize the recipes & PDFs.

Bl Crockpot dinner ingredients

{Click HERE to download the Ingredients PDF}

BL Crockpot Dinner Directions PDF

{Click HERE to download the Directions PDF}

Below I have added a large & small crockpot and a few of my favorite cookbooks. I currently have the small crockpot & I wish I had bought the larger one so I could make leftovers. The size of the crockpot basically just depends on how much food you can fit into it. I normally can get 4 servings out of whatever I am making in the small crockpot. I added Chrissy Teigen’s new cookbook because I have heard amazing things about it, & Taylor Riggs fellow wellness blogger & delicious recipe creators new cookbook “Real Food, Real Simple” I preordered it back in August and it is out for shipment. I can’t wait to get it and start cooking up a storm.


xo,

Lauren

These recipes aren’t what you’re looking for? Take a peek at last weeks BL Dinner Menu.

 


Why I Call A “Cheat Meal” An Indulgence & How This Will Better Your Health Journey

I can’t stand the term “cheat meal” I know thats a bit crazy but I really can’t stand it one bit. Before you even do anything the term already gives off a negative connotation, basically before you pick up one piece of food you have already told yourself you’re doing something bad, breaking a promise, falling off track, cracking, ETC!

How are you supposed to keep on a positive sustainable health journey when every weekend or specified day of the week you’re “falling off the wagon”, “Cheating”?? How is your mind not supposed to think this is bad or negative when you call it a “cheat meal”? Which normally turns into peoples “cheat day”!

BL Cheat Meal

I truthfully believe what you say and think alters your life decisions and what you put out into the world is what you will get back. So for instance if you eat clean all week long depriving yourself of any cravings and waiting for you cheat meal/ day and then binge your face off in any sweet, salty, greasy meal on say Sunday then when Monday comes around your mouth is legit salivating and your brain is triggering all of these crazy binge thoughts from yesterdays gross feast. Which you then have to ward off and be miserable for the rest of the week just waiting for your cheat day to come around again and {sadly} you will most likely cheat again throughout that week while waiting for Sunday to come around because who wouldn’t want another piece of loaded pizza from Sunday nights binge fest.

AM I RIGHT?

So now on to the little fix I have for you all…

STOP CALLING IT A CHEAT MEAL.

Instead refer to it as indulging you’re indulging in a christmas cookie after dinner, or splitting a waffle at brunch with all the toppings because you simply want to indulge on the side of your omelette w/ all the veggies. You’re allowing yourself a small indulgence daily, you’re allowing yourself to “enjoy the pleasure of” a snack or treat every day because as I always say “slow and steady wins the race”. If you give in to your cravings in small manageable ways you are more likely to continue on a healthy track, than binging your weekends away only to “have to” get back on your healthy eating schedule on Monday.

You are treating your healthy eating as a lifestyle as a way of nourishing your body with the best nutrients and foods possible because you think it is best for yourself not because you have to in order to have a cheat meal! Everything in moderation is always better than a binge meal or day! Try flipping this thought in your brain and working on more moderation and let me know how it goes!

xo,

Lauren

Looking for a little indulgence? Check out the Champagne Cupcake Recipe!

 

 

 


Blissfully Lively Weekly Dinner Menu

Oh my goodness I have been working on these PDF’s for so long that I can’t even believe they are done {I thought they would never look right}! When I say I am not a graphic designer I WHOLE HEARTEDLY MEAN THAT! Holy smokes it’s so time consuming when you don’t know what you’re doing. So shout out to any graphic designers you’re killing it!

I hope you all are excited for todays post because I sure know I am excited to launch this new blog section for you guys. So this is the BL Weekly Dinner menu section where every Sunday at 7am EST I will update the menu PDF’s to read new dinner recipes that you can choose from for the week.

Starting out I only created 3 recipes because I felt like 5 was overboard, and people don’t normally cook dinner every night because some nights they eat leftovers! So every week there will be two different PDF’s one called “the Menu”which is a PDF outlining the 3 recipes for the week and their ingredients. I created this one specifically for people to print off and take with them to the grocery store so they can check the items for the 3 dinners off their list. The second PDF is “the directions” or the step by step process you will take to create said recipe. This was created to as well print off and keep in a binder, or back of a cook book you use!

My goal with these PDF’s is to update them weekly giving you guys 3 different recipes for every week allowing you to build up your healthy dinner recipes and have many options to choose from on any given night. My hope one day is that this will turn into a full fledged cookbook but i’m leaving that in the goals category for now :).

Let me know what you guys think! {If you click on the PDF it will bring you to a separate screen to print from}. Print these guys off and stash away in a binder, cookbook or car so you don’t forget to bring them to the grocery store with you {like I always do}!

Happy cooking!

Click here to print off the first PDF 🙂

Click here to download 2nd PDF 🙂

xo,

Lauren


How to Properly Fuel Before & After a Workout

I recently was chatting with one of my friends and she started talking about pre workouts, supplements, aka workout fuel & {if you guys know me you know I don’t love supplements so I began tuning this out a bit} I snapped back to reality when I heard her say “Yea he doesn’t eat after his workout because he thinks that will burn more calories & make him lose weight”. I literally said outloud at a coffee shop for all to hear WHAT THE ACTUAL FUCK? 😬🙊

WHOOPS!!

BL Workout Fuel

I did not mean that in a mean way by any stretch of the imagination, I was just so blown away that her friend actually thought this that I couldn’t control my thoughts! That there are people out there that still think that depriving your body of nutrients, the fuel that it needs to run means that you will lose weight?! After this conversation I knew immediately that I needed to bring this topic to the blog to give you ladies a hopefully helpful rundown on what you should be eating before and after a workout & WHY!

I think the why is important because a lot of websites I check out or {Pinterest, where I know a lot of us ladies go for info} give you the recipes to create but never the why or the knowledge/ info behind explain it.

So here we go.

Before After Workout Fuel

Why Should We Fuel Before/ After a Workout

It is very important to eat a little something 45 minutes to an hour before a workout, why? Because your body needs energy to exert energy. This energy comes from sugar which comes from the foods that you eat. If you don’t provide your body with the necessary fuel and decide to workout hungry your body will begin to use your own muscle tissue as fuel, you won’t be shedding fat and gaining muscle you will just be eating away at the muscle already there. GROSS. Think of it this way it’s like your body is a car. You wouldn’t ever try to gun it and drive 90 MPH to work on empty would you? With this being said you also don’t need to eat a large meal before working out. A quick little snack of carbs & protein is best {I will give you a few ideas below}.

After a workout is also extremely important to fuel your body up! When you workout you essentially break down your muscles so they can repair and grow stronger, also during this workout you deplete your body of electrolytes, fluid & glycogen {which is basically the energy your body runs off of}. So eating after a workout basically helps repair the muscle tissue and build new tissue! After a workout protein, good fats & carbs are key!

What We Should Be Eating Before/ After A Workout

Before a workout snacks that are high in carbs & protein are what you need such as an apple or banana with almond butter/ PB, yogurt w/ berries, or some PB Protein Energy Bites.

After a workout foods that are high in protein, good fats & carbs are just what you need to refuel. If you workout in the morning a veggie omelet with a side slice of avocado toast is perfect, or my all time favorite Banana Coconut Overnight Oats! Or if you find yourself working out before lunch/ dinner something such as tuna salad on whole wheat bread, or grilled chicken with sweet potatoes works perfectly.

Xo,

Lauren


Why Pre-made Shakes Will Never Be as Good as Homemade

We all know them…The infamous shake that will make you lose 5 lbs, become your meal replacement or even AMP you up before a workout. The crazy ass tag lines that people throw on these things with words like “probiotics”, “daily vitamins”, “protein”! Makes us think that we have to be consuming one of these pre made, store bought {not to mention outrageously expensive} shakes because hello they’re the holy grail, the full package…spoiler alert NOPE. When something seems too good to be true, it is.

Now don’t feel discouraged or down if you have tried these type of shakes, used them, or even replaced meals with them because we only learn by doing! But be thankful you’re here now reading up on what you should be eating instead of that store bought “just add water” junk.

BL Shakes

Two words…WHOLE FOODS

Foods that will give you all of your necessary macro and micro nutrients. Foods that include proteins, carbs, veggies & fruits. Foods that will nourish the body straight from the source. Eating whole foods will always be better than a meal replacement whether it’s a shake, bar, or other supplement because many of the popular ones contain added sugars, preservatives and other gross shit that you simply don’t need.

This being said…of course we don’t always have time to prepare or eat whole foods and sometimes we just need something a little more convenient…enter the homemade shake! If you are pinched for time and need to make something quick to take with you out the door a HOMEMADE shake is a great option. This should be made from foods you would normally consume such as peanut butter, greek yogurt, banana, frozen fruit, etc.! You can throw in whatever ingredients you want as long as it’s real food. My personal favorites are:

  1. Frozen Berries, a handful or 2 of spinach, a banana, greek yogurt, a splash of OJ and a scoop of protein powder.
  2. Banana, scoop of PB, Ice, Almond/ milk, scoop of protein powder, half avocado, carton of plain greek yogurt.

The goal is to give your body a healthy mix of proteins, carbs & fats to refuel and recover.

At the end of the day, we should begin to look at shakes as a snack between meals when we’re on the go to keep our bodies running, but they should never take the place of a whole meal! If you have the choice always choose real foods in their whole form over shakes!

xo,

Lauren

— In need of more nutrition info? Stick around & take a peek at the Blissfully Lively Nutrition Philosophy.


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