Vitamin A

Let’s talk vitamins. There’s over a dozen of them, all having crucial roles in proper nutrition, but why not begin at the beginning with vitamin A. The term “vitamin A” actually refers to a group of compounds, known as retinoids, that all share similar biological activity and structure and thus are grouped together under the umbrella term of vitamin A.

Additionally, there exists a group of compounds called carotenoids, which are compounds that are precursors of Vitamin A. In other words, they aren’t vitamin A yet, but your body is capable of converting them into the vitamin. The three most important carotenoids are known as Beta-carotene, alpha-carotene, and beta-cryptoxanthin.

So where can I get Vitamin A?

Retinoids and carotenoids are both found naturally in foods. The difference is, that preformed vitamin A, the retinoids, are found mostly in foods of animal origin. Major sources of retinoids are liver, dairy products, eggs, and tuna. Additionally, vitamin A is often added to many breakfast cereals.

Vitamin A

Carotenoids, on the other hand, are found primarily in plant foods. The most important carotenoid nutritionally is beta-carotene, because it has the most potential to be converted to vitamin A. Generally, red, yellow, and orange fruits and vegetables are good sources of carotenoids. Examples of carotenoid rich foods, then, are things like carrots, watermelon, tomatoes, squash, and pumpkin. Don’t forget though, that green fruits and vegetables also have carotenoids, but the green chlorophyll hides the bright colors (Gropper and Smith 372).

Beta Carotene

Understanding absorption is very important when it comes to Vitamin A and carotenoids:

When you eat preformed vitamin A, from something like dairy or tuna, 70-90% of it will be absorbed by your body as long as your meal contains some fat. The reason that your meal needs to contain fat, is because vitamin A is one of the fat soluble vitamins, meaning the body needs fat in order to absorb it. When it comes to carotenoids, though, absorption by the body depends on processing. It’s very important to remember that when consuming carotenoids from raw produce, less than five percent will be absorbed (Gropper & Smith 375). We hear all the time that vegetables should be consumed raw, but in the case of vitamin A, your body will absorb more if the vegetables are cooked. It’s all about balance.

So what does Vitamin A actually do?

Vitamin A has many different functions in the body, including playing a role in helping cells grow and differentiate, bone development, growth, and immune system function. Perhaps the most well known function, though, is vitamin A’s role in eye health and vision. Because that’s the function that everyone seems to have heard of, that’s what I’ll focus on.

Your mom wasn’t kidding when she told you to eat your carrots so that your eyes worked better. This whole thing is kind of complicated, so I’m going to go over it very broadly. The human eye has many components that work together to allow you to see. Two of these components are different types of cells, known as rods and cones, respectively. Essentially, cones are the cells that help you see in the daytime and bright light, and rods are the cells that help you to see at night and in dim light. The body needs vitamin A to form a protein called rhodopsin that is found in the rods.

The protein rhodopsin is a critical component of the rods that is needed in the visual pathway in order for your brain to receive signals from the eyes involving vision. Thus, a vitamin A deficiency could cause a condition known as night blindness, or being unable to see well in the dark (Gropper & Smith 380).  Pretty cool, right?

So how much vitamin A do I need?

Because of the variability in the activity of the various forms of vitamin A, needs are expressed in “retinol activity equivalents” (RAE) which take into account this variability. It is recommended that adult men and women get 625 and 500 micrograms RAE per day, respectively (Gropper and Smith 388).

Should I take vitamin A supplements?

Because vitamin A is a fat soluble vitamin, your body is able to store it. That means that taking vitamin A supplements which often contain far more than the recommended amount of vitamin A in a single pill can cause your body to store the excess. Storing excess vitamin A can cause a number of problems, leading to a condition known as hypervitaminosis A. Symptoms of this condition include things like nausea, vomiting, and bone and muscle pain (Gropper and Smith 388). However, you cannot develop a vitamin A toxicity from carotenoids, the precursors of vitamin A. That’s right ladies and gentlemen, ANOTHER reason to eat your fruits and vegetables. 

I’ll leave it at that 🙂


Gropper, S. A., Smith, J. L., & Groff, J. L. (2009). Advanced nutrition and human metabolism. Australia: Wadsworth/Cengage Learning.



Hello Nutrition Nation! Please forgive me for the lack of posts the past few weeks- It’s been hectic! Not to worry, I’ve got some exciting content for this post, so let’s get right to it.



So I’m assuming you’ve all heard of Calcium, ya know, that stuff that’s in milk and yogurt. Well, there is definitely a lot more to know about this awesome mineral which really can benefit you down the road. To start with, Calcium is the most abundant mineral in the human body. It makes up as much as 2% of a person’s overall body weight, which is pretty incredible when you think about it. That means that a person who weighs 150 lbs has three pounds of calcium in their body! Cool stuff. It’s important to know that 99% of the Calcium in your body is found in the bones and teeth; it’s needed to maintain their structural integrity. The other 1% is found inside and outside of other body cells, and is used for a variety of different activities that I’ll get into later (Gropper & Smith 425-427).

In terms of sources of Calcium, it’s common knowledge that dairy foods are the gold standard. Things like milk, cheese, and yogurt contain the highest amounts of Calcium. But don’t forget that vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower and kale are also high in Calcium. So if you needed another reason to eat your vegetables, there’s one.  You can get Calcium from various supplements like Calcium Carbonate or Calcium Citrate, but these supplements often produce undesirable side effects like gas and bloating, so try and stick to food sources.

One important thing about Calcium, is that it’s absorption into the body is tied closely with Vitamin D. This is a very complicated relationship, but to sum it up, Vitamin D stimulates the body to absorb more Calcium. So, if you aren’t getting enough Vitamin D, it’s very possible that you could become Calcium deficient. Did you ever wonder why milk is often fortified with Vitamin D? There’s your answer. This is just one way that the nutrients in our body work together to produce an overall healthier you.

Besides being a crucial component of teeth and bones, Calcium has many other important roles in the body. Examples of these roles are nerve transmission, muscle contraction, and blood clot formation. To go into a bit of detail about muscle contraction, Calcium is needed in high concentration in your muscle cells to contract every type of muscle in your body. That’s right bros, it’s not just about protein (Gropper & Smith 433).

Many people have a perception that diary isn’t something that should be a component of a healthy diet. But, like I said, dairy is where we get most of our dietary Calcium, and so eliminating it can make it very difficult to get the amount that we need. This is because vegetable sources, for example, have to be eaten in much greater quantities to get the same amount. So if you don’t like dairy, stock up on the broccoli man, because you’ll need it.

If you do become Calcium deficient, a few not so good things happen in the body. The main issue is that when you’re Calcium deficient, the parathyroid gland (maybe you’ve heard of it) releases Parathyroid Hormone (PTH). PTH tells the body to take Calcium out of your bones, so that it can be used by the rest of the body. You can think of the bones as your body’s Calcium savings account- one that you don’t want to take money out of. Prolonged Calcium deficiency can lead to increased risk of developing osteoporosis, but it is also associated with high blood pressure and type two diabetes.

In terms of how much Calcium you should be consuming per day, like most nutrients, the amount varies based on things like age, gender, and pregnancy. It is recommended that men aged 19-70 and women aged 19-50 consume 1,000mg/day, with the amount increasing to 1,200mg/day for men over 70 and women over 50. It’s important to note that women who are pregnant or lactating need even higher amounts, up to 1,300mg/day if under the age of 18 (Gropper & Smith 435-436).

So there you have it, a brief overview of Calcium and some of it’s critical roles in the body. Now go have yourself some cheese or something. Maybe they should call it Calciyum!


Gropper, S. A., Smith, J. L., & Groff, J. L. (2009). Advanced nutrition and human metabolism. Australia: Wadsworth/Cengage Learning.

You’re Only Human

For this post I thought I would take a step back from the normal flow of nutrition content and talk about something much more important, something that’s often forgotten about.

As we approach the warm summer months, millions of people around the country are starting to really get serious about their health and nutrition related goals, maybe to lose weight, eat more veggies, or stop drinking soda. That’s awesome. Maybe your’re in a similar situation, and have a plan to get where you want to be. Perhaps it’s hitting the gym Monday Wednesday and Friday for an hour, or tracking your calorie intake. Whatever your plan of action, I’m sure you can agree that it isn’t always easy to stick to. Life gets in the way. If you’re a student, your’re probably approaching finals, have a million and one things to do, and can’t seem to find time to get everything done, let alone prepare yourself well balanced meals throughout the day.


While health is a component of life that is absolutely crucial, just like anything else, it is most certainly not good to stress yourself out over it. Don’t put yourself down if you didn’t make it to the gym this week, or you overslept and had a PopTart for breakfast instead of a bowl of oatmeal. Remember that you aren’t failing, you’re just human. No one is taking notes on your diet and exercise and wagging a finger for the whole world to see. Getting sidetracked today doesn’t mean it was useless!

What has really worked for me in relation to all of this, is remembering that I have a life to live. While nutrition and health are incredibly important to me, If it’s Friday night and I want a few pieces of pizza, damnit I’ll have some pizza. Doing so doesn’t make me any less focused on my health, it just makes me flexible. Be cognizant of your health related decisions, but don’t hate yourself for the less than ideal ones.  If you’re driving from Columbus to Sacramento, you can still get there if you take a few rest stops on the way.

To sum it up, give yourself some credit. Keep focused on your health related goals, but don’t let them dictate your life, or let them discourage you if some days things just don’t go to plan. After all, I think that if every day consisted of kale, the gym and quinoa we would miss out on a whole lot, like chocolate covered oreos, for example.

“Water You Mean” I’m Not Drinking Enough??

Front Page 5

Alright, not the most exciting title, I know. But I thought it would be a good idea to talk about the most important substance on the planet that we all know and hopefully love, water.

Most of you probably know that the human body is made mostly of water, roughly 60%. This of course makes water the primary component of the body and it shouldn’t come as a surprise that it is incredibly important (Gropper & Smith 455). We use water for literally everything in the body. Just to name a few functions, it’s involved in converting the food you eat into energy that you can use, and is the primary component of all bodily fluids like blood, urine, and tears.

It is common knowledge that it is important to stay hydrated, but in terms of how much water we should drink every day, the recommendations are all over the map when you’re looking at the wrong sources.  The actual recommended amount of water intake is about 125 oz/day for men aged 19 and older, and about 91 ounces a day for women aged 19 and older, with increased need for women who are pregnant or lactating (DRI National Academy of Sciences).

These intakes, though, don’t take into account many factors that affect most people during the day. Namely, water intake should vary depending upon physical activity level, temperature, and diet composition, as well as other factors. Within reason, when it comes to water, the more the better. That doesn’t mean that you should ever chug a gallon of water, but having a water bottle with you at all times during the day isn’t a bad idea!

More than 90% of water available in the body comes from direct consumption with a very small amount made as a byproduct of reactions in the body. In terms of how the body gets rid of water, a major route is through the urine and sweat, but we also lose water in the feces as well as though indispensable water loss, which is water loss that we can’t feel or aren’t consciously aware of (Gropper & Smith 455). With the ease at which water leaves the body, I want to stress again how important it is to stay hydrated; it’s all too easy to go through the day and simply forget to drink water. It can be tough to commit to hydration but it is incredibly important.


One pretty cool thing about water, is that when we’re adequately hydrated, we feel and look our best. I don’t have specific references or scientific research to cite here (although it’s around), but I think that most of us can attest to the impact that hydration has on our energy levels, mood, and overall feelings during the day. One example of this involves headaches. A huge percentage of headaches that people experience every day are simply a result of dehydration. Think about that groggy 2:30 feeling that often comes with a headache. Often times by this point in the day we’ve been hard at work for awhile, and have perhaps not had a glass of water in a few hours. Well guess what, that headache is most likely your dehydrated brain asking for some water! So before you pop a pill to kill the headache, try having a few glasses of water instead.

Here’s a challenge: Try replacing one of your beverages each day with a big glass of water. Do something your body will thank you for; we’ve only got one.

You can’t have health without hydration!


Gropper, S. A., Smith, J. L., & Groff, J. L. (2009). Advanced nutrition and human metabolism. Australia: Wadsworth/Cengage Learning.


“Clean” Eating

A lot of you are probably familiar with the term “Clean Eating”. It’s thrown around all the time in many different contexts related to nutrition, weight loss, and fitness. While at first glance it appears to be a harmless way of describing healthy eating, I’m going to tell you why I, along with many actual nutrition professionals, don’t like the term very much.

First of all, simply by the name, clean eating implies that there are foods that are clean and those that aren’t. Aside from dropping an apple in the dirt, I don’t think that it is appropriate to call some foods clean and others, well, not clean. After all, how do you define a “clean” food? Are clean foods only fruits and vegetables? Whole grain products? What about whole wheat? Eggs are a healthy food, but they have saturated fat in them, so are they clean or unclean?

It becomes very easy to see that this whole idea of clean eating doesn’t really make much sense. Sometimes clean eating is defined as eating only foods that have undergone zero processing, but you have to understand that virtually everything you eat undergoes processing. The only way to be sure that what you just ate was free of processing is if you planted the seed yourself, and watched it grow in the back yard without the use of chemicals/pesticides, and you  picked it off the plant and put it on the kitchen counter.

Many times clean eating is used as a strategy to achieve weight loss. Well, okay. But when fat loss/weight loss stalls or stops, what do you do? Eat cleaner foods??  Instead of clean eating, I think that it’s better to focus on eating nutrient dense foods. That’s because there is actually a way to know if a food is nutrient dense; it’s measurable. Nutrient density is simply the ratio of nutrients provided by a food compared to its total calories. A can of coke, for example, has virtually zero nutrient density. It’s a whole lot of calories providing little or no nutrients. A cup of beans, though, is few calories providing a heck of a lot of nutrients.

When we start centering our diet around nutrient dense foods, we’re giving the body the pieces and parts it needs to run at optimal levels. If we had stuck with the clean eating approach, we would likely be missing out on key nutrients. For example, maybe you like Cheerios for breakfast. A clean eater would scoff at the idea of eating Cheerios because after all, they come in a box, and you can’t pull Cheerios out of the ground. But the clean eater doesn’t realize that cheerios contain many nutrients like B Vitamins, Iron, and Folate.

To reiterate, It’s time to stop thinking of foods as good and bad. Food is food. Yes some provide more nutritional value and should be the basis of our everyday diet. But the body doesn’t care whether the B Vitamin you ate came from the box of Honey Bunches of Oats or steel cut oatmeal, because in the end we get the same molecule.

Food is Food.


Aaaand Drumroll Please……..Let’s Talk About



Ah yes, here we are on the tail end of winter, getting ready for warm weather, beach season, bro tanks and bikinis. That means I can’t eat fat right? Because I mean everyone knows that fat will make me fat, right?? WRONG. Don’t forget that fat, (sometimes called lipid) is a macronutrient just like carbohydrate and protein, and is absolutely essential for health.

Dietary fat (the kind you eat) is really just one of many types of a broader category of substances called lipids. For the purposes of this post, though, I’ll just stick to calling it fat, as well as Triacylglycerol, aka TAG. Triacylglycerol is the major form in which the body stores fat, and it accounts for 95% of the fat that is consumed in the diet.

One of the reasons that fat has such a bad reputation is because of its caloric value. One gram of fat carries 9 calories, which is more than double the amount provided by carbohydrate and protein, being 4 calories. Because of this, people often try to limit fat intake to reduce their total calorie intake. While this can be fine and healthy thing to do, we can’t forget that the body absolutely needs fat to work properly.

Fat can be found in various forms in different foods, but primary sources of fat in the diet are oils, cheese, fatty protein, butters, nuts, and eggs. All of these sources have differing types of fat, and I’ll talk more about those in a bit.

Fat serves many functions in the body, including energy storage, protection, and a critical role as a precursor for many other molecules in the body. We eat fat primarily to get what are called fatty acids. Fatty acids are basically long chains of carbon and hydrogen that can be used to build other substances that the body needs, or be broken down to give us energy. Just like with protein, certain fatty acids are called essential fatty acids. These fatty acids are essential because the body can’t make them, so they have to be consumed (Gropper & Smith, 138).

The two essential fatty acids are called Linoleic Acid (aka Omega 6), and Linolenic Acid (Omega 3). These fatty acids are unique because all other fatty acids that the body needs can be synthesized with these two as a starting point. In the United States, we tend to over consume Omega 6, and under consume Omega 3, hence the popularization of Omega 3 supplements. Omega 3 is most commonly found and consumed in fish oil, and its primary health benefits involve reducing inflammation,  lowering the amount of lipids in the blood, as well as helping prevent blood clot formation (Gropper & Smith, 139).

So I’ve heard about saturated fat, unsaturated fat, and trans fat..what are those?

Bare with me here, I’m going to have to talk about a little bit of chemistry to explain this to you. Remember how I said that fatty acids are long strings of carbon and hydrogen? Well, a saturated fat is one that has the maximum number of hydrogens that it can. These hydrogens take up space, so the fatty acid is very rigid and orderly. Consequently, it doesn’t flow well and is solid at room temperature. We get these fats mostly from animal products, processed foods, and butter. There is debate about whether or not saturated fat is quite as bad as everyone seems to think it is, but throughout the nutrition community it is still commonly accepted that saturated fat should be limited in the diet.

Fat 2

Unsaturated fat, on the other hand, does not have the maximum number of hydrogens that it can. Because of this, the fatty acid is more fluid and is liquid at room temperature. We get these fats mostly from plant oils like canola oil and olive oil.

Finally, trans fat is a kind of fat that is man made. I’ll spare you the chemistry, but basically trans fat is the product of a process called partial hydrogenation, where hydrogen is added to a fatty acid to make it more solid (Gropper & Smith, 138). Trans fat has been associated with heart disease risk, and as a result, trans fat is on its way out of food. The FDA recently announced that trans fat is not “generally recognized as safe” and will be removed from the United States food supply in the near future.

It is recommended that one consume 10%-35% of their calories per day from fat, with most of these fats being unsaturated fats. Good sources of these unsaturated fats are vegetable oil, canola oil, olive oil, almonds, and avocados.

Fat Avocado

Here’s a quick summary of basic fat knowledge:


  • Very important for body protection, insulation and building blocks
  • Can be saturated (solid at room temperature) or unsaturated (liquid at room temperature)
  • 2 essential fatty acids are linoleic acid (Omega 6) and linolenic acid (Omega 3)
  • 9 calories per gram
  • Should be 10% – 35% of daily calorie intake
  • Eat more unsaturated fats from plant oils, almonds, avocados


Gropper, S. A., Smith, J. L., & Groff, J. L. (2009). Advanced nutrition and human metabolism. Australia: Wadsworth/Cengage Learning.



Now we’re getting to the meat and potatoes. Well, maybe just the meat. The second macronutrient that I want to talk about is protein. It’s the one that never seems to get a bad rap. We hear all the time, incorrectly by the way, that carbohydrates are bad, or that fats are the devil incarnate, but for whatever reason protein seems to be impervious to criticism.

Well, I guess it’s pretty deserving. Protein, like the other macronutrients, is absolutely essential to a functioning body. Proteins serve so many functions in the body it would take me forever to list them all. They are critical bodily structure components, enzymes, and building blocks for other molecules, just to name a few. Also, like carbohydrate, protein carries 4 calories per gram.

The reason that we eat protein is to acquire what are called amino acids. Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins. If a protein was a long train, you could compare each train car to an amino acid. There are a total of 20 amino acids, 9 of which are considered essential, and 11 of which are considered nonessential.

What does essential mean?

An amino acid is considered essential if it cannot be made by the human body. Because it can’t be made, it has to be eaten in the diet. If not eaten in the diet, the body will experience a decline in health and function. An amino acid is considered nonessential if it can be made by the body. Because the body can make it, it does not have to be consumed in the diet.

So, now you might ask, where do I get these essential amino acids since I have to eat them? The answer is that all of the essential amino acids can be found in animal sources of protein. This includes meat, poultry, fish, eggs, and dairy products. Different foods have differing levels of various amino acids. If a food has all 9 of the essential amino acids, it is considered a complete protein. One example of a complete protein source is egg (Gropper & Smith, 186).


It’s important to note though, that plant sources of protein also contain some of the essential amino acids, but not all of them. So, this means that if you’re a vegetarian or vegan, you have to be very aware of the amino acid content of your food in order to ensure that you are consuming all of the essential amino acids. In other words, in the absence of animal proteins sources, you have to eat a wide variety of plant proteins to get all of the essential amino acids that you need. For example, if you’re a vegetarian and  you eat a meal of brown rice you’re getting plenty of the amino acid methionine, but you’re lacking the amino acid lysine.To solve the problem, you could add beans to the meal, which contain the lacking amino acid. What you end up with is a complete protein meal because of complimentary proteins. That’s right, maybe you have to change your Chipotle burrito (Gropper & Smith, 239).


Going along with this idea of plant proteins, it’s important to note that there are other benefits to getting most of your protein from plant sources. To elaborate, plant sources of protein don’t carry with them things like cholesterol and saturated fat, which are only present in animal protein sources like steak and chicken. Also, plant protein sources like nuts and seeds have other beneficial health properties.

It is recommended that one consume 10%-35% of their calories per day from protein. This range is based on need for essential amino acids, and is commonly calculated as being .8 grams of protein for every kilogram of body weight. You might think that that might not sound like much, and you’d be right. In America, we over consume protein, sometimes to a ridiculous extent. Some people consume upwards of 400 grams of protein for day, which if sustained, can be detrimental to health. I’ll discuss the impacts of prolonged excessive protein intake in another post. While protein requirements can differ based on age, a disease state, or level of physical activity, it’s best for the average Joe to stick to the .8g/kg body weight rule (Gropper & Smith, 242).

Here’s a quick summary of basic protein knowledge:


  • Essential macronutrient for functioning of body and maintaining body structure
  • 4 calories per gram (same as Carbohydrate)
  • Protein is consumed because the body needs amino acids
  • 9 essential amino acids (must be consumed)
  • 11 nonessential amino acids (body can synthesize)
  • Complete proteins have all essential amino acids
  • Focus on protein variety; particularly if vegetarian or vegan to consume all essential amino acids
  • Suggested protein intake: .8 grams per kg body weight

Next time, we’ll talk about Fats


Gropper, S. A., Smith, J. L., & Groff, J. L. (2009). Advanced nutrition and human metabolism. Australia: Wadsworth/Cengage Learning.

My Goals are Set, Can We Get Going Already?


So you’ve made up your mind. You spent some time thinking about it and you know exactly what you want to achieve when it comes to your nutrition. We’re definitely heading in the right direction. But before we go any further, make sure that you have your goals in the right places. What I mean is, it’s very likely that you’ve decided that you want to broadly start eating healthier to achieve some ultimate goal. Perhaps it’s weight loss, clearer skin, or lower blood pressure. Additionally, maybe you decided that you’re going to do this by eating more whole grains, more veggies, and more fruits. These are all excellent goals, and ones that should be kept. But again, stressing what I talked about last time, let’s take this slow.

Before you start working towards these goals, you’ve got to set a foundation of at least basic nutrition knowledge.  I mean think about it, if there was a million dollars at the top of Mount Everest, but you didn’t know how to rock climb, how would you ever get to the top? Do you know anything about what are called the macronutrients? How about your current daily calorie intake? These are just a few of many questions that are absolutely critical to address before you really get going with achieving your goals. So, to get started, let’s talk about the macronutrients.

The human body gets its energy from what are called the macronutrients. These nutrients are called macronutrients because they are needed in gram (g) amounts per day. They are essential to a healthy and functional body; without them the body will experience a decline in function. The three categories of macronutrients are Carbohydrate, Protein, and Fat. All of these have a different primary function in the body, but a critical function nonetheless. For this post, I’ll start with carbohydrates.


CARBOHYDRATES ARE NOT A BAD THING!! Phew… now that I got that off my chest:

Carbohydrates are the preferred source of energy for the body in comparison with the other macronutrients. There are a few different reasons for this, but the main one is that carbohydrate is easily broken down by the body, and when broken down, is in the form that the body can quickly convert into energy. Each gram of Carbohydrate is 4 calories. So, if you ate 40 grams of carbohydrate that would be 160 calories. What you may not know is that carbohydrates are sugars. Wait… really? Yes. I’ll spare you the biochemistry, but what you need to know is that your diet should be centered around what are called complex carbohydrates. Complex carbohydrates are the ones that are found in things like whole grain and whole wheat products, oatmeal, potatoes, and brown rice. Simple carbohydrates are found in sweeter things like white breads, fruits, and sugar sweetened beverages. The reason that complex carbohydrates are best is because they take some time for your body to digest. This means that they are available for energy for multiple hours. To make an analogy, eating simple carbohydrate is like setting off an explosion. You get a lot of energy really fast, but before you know it, it’s all gone and you’re hungry. Complex carbohydrates, on the other hand, are like gasoline in a car. The energy from them is released gradually, so that there is enough to go around for many miles. There are many more aspects of carbohydrate that can be discussed, but for now let’s just stick with these basics. At least some understanding of carbohydrate is really important for you to know before you dive in to achieving your goals. Here is a quick summary of basic carbohydrate knowledge.


  • Primary macronutrient energy source for the body
  • 2 Categories: Simple, and Complex
  • 4 calories per gram
  • Simple Carbohydrate gives you quick energy
  • Complex carbohydrate gives you lasting energy; found in whole grains, whole wheat, potatoes, oatmeal

So, Where Do I Start?

So, Where Do I Start?


Okay, so you want to try out this whole “health” thing.  Awesome! But where do you begin? Should you start shoving spinach down your throat and running 12 miles a day? Should you go buy a gym membership, get up at 5 am, and lift weights until you can’t move? After all, all the “hard core” people do, right? Certainly not. There’s a better way to begin that won’t leave you burnt out and unmotivated after just a few days.

What I’ve found in my own life, is that the key to beginning a process that is uncomfortable or new is to do so carefully. All the time we hear that you should just jump right in to something new, and take off running. While that sounds exciting and reasonable, in most cases, it doesn’t lead to success – Particularly when it comes to lifestyle changes. The key is performing a self assessment. Figure out where you are, and where you want to be. Maybe you want to start cutting out processed foods, reducing your calorie intake, or eating more fiber. It’s so important to identify the areas that need the most work, and the ones that already have a solid foundation. If you try to fix everything at once, you’ll crash and burn. Decide your ultimate goal, as well as smaller goals along the way. Once you have these markers in place, you can begin to develop a plan  for how you’re going to achieve them. Now is the time when you can really start to learn and actively pursue your goals. In the context of nutrition, this means not overhauling your diet over night. 

So take some time, maybe a few hours or even a few days, to decide your nutrition or health related goals. You’ve got to start here. There’s nothing wrong with aiming high, but make sure they are realistically achievable, (sorry, you can’t have a six pack by next Wednesday) and get yourself ready to step out of your comfort zone.

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