the 3 macros
There are 3 macronutrients - carbohydrates, proteins, fats.
Carbohydrates are what our grains (rice, roti etc) and vegetables like potato consist of.
Protein is present in reasonably significant quantities in lean meat and seafood. Dairy and eggs are probably the primary source of protein in our diet for a lot of us. Lentils and legumes are a source as well, even though they are 4:1 carbs:protein i.e. they contain 4 times the carbs as protein.
Fats i.e. dietary fats are not the same as the fat in our body. These come in dairy and eggs - they are great fats. As well as in oils like ghee, butter, coconut oil.
our typical plate
The typical Indian plate consists of a lot of grain - whether it is rice-based or roti-based. This is simply how we have grown - with the grain being the centrepiece and everything else supplementing it.
Depending on socio-economic factors, taste buds, location etc the rest of the contents of the plate vary. There's generally minimum protein and in the cases of exceptions where there's significant meat consumption, the quality of the meat and the preparation mechanisms do leave a lot to be desired.
Fats are also just happenstance. There's a stigma associated with fats which is helpful if we are going to avoid a lot of fried food but unhelpful if we don't have any fats at all in our intake.
Our plate's composition ends up looking something like this.
what's the problem with that plate?
Based on 1000s of food logs and interviews and observations, we've found that most plates look somewhat like the above. The problem with that plate is two-fold.
- Too many calories and too little nutrients. We need to get minerals and vitamins from our diets and when grains are the primary constituents of the diet, this does not happen.
- Not enough of the other macros i.e. protein and fats. Even if we are vegetarian, ensuring that we have adequate amounts of dairy is useful to enforce.
And the biggest problem is that we do not eat enough vegetables. There are a lot of constraints around why we do not eat protein in our diets or incorporate good fats. But not eating enough vegetables is a problem that can be rectified.
so, what should we look at changing this to?
Most of us are aware of the three macros and might've tried to add more protein in our diets or using good oils and fats. That's great.
My advice to you is to not think about it as three macros but FOUR - think of vegetables as the fourth component on your plate. It is a must-have.
My second piece of advice is to ensure that you have MORE vegetables than the amount of grain on your plate.
This one change, and I have a protocol for you to get around to this, will make a huge impact on your health.