Monday, April 18, 2016

Unofficial THM Guide to Macronutrients

I started following the Trim Healthy Mama way of eating two weeks ago and I'm still learning about it.  I've been reading and responding to some questions on the THM Beginners Facebook group and I see a trend in some of the confusion.  While the THM book provides all the information that you need to get started in the first section, people have a hard time putting it all together.  They struggle specifically with understanding which foods are proteins, carbs and fats.   So I'm going to see if I can help at all.

Protein foods- the anchor for all meals and snacks.
Protein is made up of amino acids and is used in our bodies as building blocks for repair and growth.  Some amount of protein is found in most foods, but for the purposes of THM eating, we need to know what foods are major protein sources that can anchor our meals.  We also need to be able to distinguish between lean proteins and fatty proteins.

Lean protein sources - these are FP foods and can be used in any meal or snack.

  • lean meats like chicken breast, ground turkey breast, tuna (in water), salmon (in water), fish, lean game meats and lean deli meats.
  • egg whites
  • dairy* protein sources  - 0% greek yogurt, 1% cottage cheese, low fat ricotta
  • specialty items - whey protein, collagen, just gelatin
Fatty protein sources - these proteins should only be used in S meals
  • fattier cuts of meat - beef, pork, processed meats (salami, etc)
  • whole eggs (the yolk is the fatty part of the egg)
  • full fat greek yogurt, full fat cottage cheese, full fat ricotta
  • hard cheeses - cheese is a mixed food with both protein and fat.  As such, small amounts may not provide enough protein to anchor a meal. 
*dairy foods can be confusing because whole milk in itself is a total combination food. it has lactose which is sugar, protein, and then fat in the cream. Whole milk is not on plan, but dairy sources of fat/protein are on plan.  It's helpful to think of which part of the milk is in your dairy product.

Healthy Carbohydrates- the fuel source in E meals.  It's not an E meal if it doesn't have carbs!
Carbohydrates are chains of glucose molecules.  Our bodies break up those chains and then use the glucose to make or store energy.  On plan carbohydrates are more complex, higher fiber, lower glycemic index carbohydrates.  They take longer to break down into glucose in the blood.  

Limit carbohydrates in a meal to 45 grams.  You don't need to know how to count carbs to do this, the lists in the book indicate appropriate portions. Limit fats used to cook the meal to 5 grams or 1 tsp. 
  • whole grains - brown rice, farro, quinoa, barley, old fashioned rolled oats
  • sprouted grain products - breads, tortillas
  • soured whole grain bread
  • dark rye bread
  • on plan Wasa crackers - eat 3 or 4 to be a significant carb source.
  • popcorn
  • beans - kidney, pinto, black, etc
  • fruit
  • starchy vegetables - sweet potatoes,  corn, peas, winter squash
Healthy Fats - the fuel source in S meals. It's not an S meal if it doesn't have fats!
Fats are used to perform certain special roles in our body.
  • the fat in fatty meats
  • the yolks of whole eggs
  • cream, 1/2 and 1/2, butter, sour cream
  • cheese - a combo food with some protein and some fat
  • oils - coconut, MCT, olive, etc
  • full fat mayo and dressings
  • nuts and nut butters
  • avocado
Low Carb, Low Fat add-ons - These are considered FP foods and can go with any meal
  • non-starchy vegetables
  • berries in limited quantities
  • lemons and limes
  • low calorie, no-sugar condiments
A blogger named Gwen has made a THM Quick Start Guide that I recommend.  She has an exercise in the guide that helps you with the above separation of food types.

I see a lot of people confused by the "numbers game" - how many carbs can I have in this meal or that meal, how much fat, etc.  The numbers are very confusing to beginners and often get us side tracked from the basic method for planning the meals.  The book stresses that food type trumps the numbers every time. 

You don't need to know a lot of numbers to get started.  Just keep it basic; choose your protein, then add your fuel and round out your plate with FP items.  The only numbers you need to know to get started are the ones I listed above in the Healthy Carbs section. 

1 comment:

Diwakar said...

Hello Tracy. i AM A Pastor from Mumbai, India and I love to get connected with the people of God around the globe to be encouraged. strengthened and praying for one another. I am blessed and feel privileged and honored to get connected with you because of who you are in the Lord Jesus Christ. I am also glad to know that you came to India three times which shows your love for this country. I have been in the Pastoral ministry for last 37yrs in this great city of Mumbai a city with a great contrast where richest of rich and the poorest of poor live. We reach out to the poorest of poor with the love of Christ to bring healing to the brokenhearted. We also encourage young and the adults from the west to come to Mumbai to work with us during their vacation time. We would love to have you come once again with your husband to work with us in the slums of Mumbai to bring healing t o the brokenhearted. I am sure you will have a life changing experience. My email id is: dhwankhede(at)gmail(dot)com and my name is Diwakar Wankhede. Looking forward to hear from you very soon. God's richest blessings on you and your husband and friends and wishing you a blessed and a Christ centered rest of the year 2016.