Getting all your micros without superfoods can be tricky.
And when I say superfoods, I’m not referring to veggies.
It’s been ingrained into our minds from a very young age that we NEED to eat our vegetables and that vegetables are the pinnacle of health. Want to be as strong as popeye? Eat your spinach.
But most people don’t even know why they think that veggies are good for you. It’s mainly because we’ve been indoctrinated to believe that vegetables are high in essential fibre and nutrients.
But there are many problems with vegetables. A few examples include:
- They can be difficult to digest and contain digestive inhibitors. When undigested protein reaches the colon, purification takes place, which promotes inflammation (R)
- Because of the high fiber and digestive inhibitors, many people experience gut irritation, inflammation and health problems with these foods
- They contain many anti-nutrients which inhibit the absorption of vitamins and minerals
- The vitamins are often in an inferior form that needs to be converted in the body first, e.g. beta-carotene, pyridoxine, etc., and a lot of people’s bodies struggle to do this.
- They have a lot of non-essential amino acids compared to essential amino acids. This study found that a diet high in NEAA to EAA can actually promote gut inflammation (R).
Animal foods on the other hand are very easy to digest and are actually a better source of micros.
I always start with protein first to get the minimum requirements of 100-120g daily. If someone’s goal is health and longevity, then 100-120g is a good amount to aim for.
It all depends on how someone feels on this amount of protein. Some people will feel better on higher amounts of protein whereas others might need slightly less.
If you’re active, then aim for 1.6-1.8g/kg/BW to maximize muscle protein synthesis and recovery. People that are highly active, such as running long distances, or doing multiple sessions of workouts per day, benefit from higher amounts of protein between 1.8-2.2g/kg/BW.
If someone is very obese, then it’s better to consume 1.8g/kg/LBM (lean body mass).
If the goal is fat loss, then higher protein can also be very helpful since it promotes thermogenesis and satiety which is very important for fat loss.
Good sources of protein include:
- Dairy (milk and cheese)
- Organ meat
Protein sources are superior for providing micronutrients compared to plants. If you want to step it up a notch, add in organ meat, such as lamb kidney or beef liver. These two organs are true superfoods.
Ground beef, 100g
Lamb kidney, 100g
Beef liver, 100g
As you can see, there is a huge difference between muscle meat and the organ meat.
Two additional superfoods I’d like to list are milk and oysters.
Pacific oyster, 2 whole
Very good, ey?
Now, let’s compare kale, Brussel sprouts and lamb kidney.
Raw kale, 100g
Brussel sprouts, 100g raw
Lamb kidney, 100g raw
Kale might look like a good source of vitamin K1, however, it contains a fair amount of oxalate, tannins and phytic acid, which inhibits its absorption. Plus, vitamin K1 needs a large amount of fat so that a little can be absorbed. If that’s not bad enough, the K1 needs to convert to K2 for all the juicy benefits and that conversion is hampered in a lot of people. Meat on the other hand, especially organ meat, are great sources of vitamin K2 (which are not shown on cronometer) and other beneficial compounds, such as CoQ10, cholesterol, taurine, anserine, choline, etc, etc.
Kale might also seem like a good source of vitamin A, but you need vitamin B12 and proper thyroid function to convert it to retinol, the active form of vitamin A. The conversion ratio is about 12:1 or even more for converting beta-carotene to retinol. Many people can’t convert it properly, so they get yellow/orange soles due to excess beta-carotene accumulation.
Lastly, kale might also seem like a good source of vitamin C, but animal foods are a great source of dehydroascorbic acid, which the body can easily convert back into ascorbic acid. But what about scurvy? It can also be cured with animal products.
So all in all, veggies are not even close to animal foods when it comes to nutrient density. They’re not even in the same league.
Now let’s take it back a notch.
If you’re aiming for 120g protein daily and want to eat 4 meals, then it would be good to split the protein equally over the 4 meals, giving you 30g protein per meal.
Some meals can be milk and egg (smoothie) and others ground beef and organ mix. So a total of 150g ground beef, 50g lamb kidney, 2L of 1% milk and 1 oyster. Sound doable? Very much so.
Since I’m not interested in a carnivore diet and are very aware of the many health benefits of carbs, we’re aiming for a minimum of 1:2 ratio of protein to carbs.
So if we hit 120g on protein, we’ll need at least 240g of carbs per day. This amount is needed to fuel the brain, physical activity, glycogen replenishment, carbon dioxide production, stress management and to prevent protein oxidation for fuel.
Great sources of easy to digest carbs include:
- Milk (A2 milk or goat milk)
- Maple syrup
- Agave syrup
- Fruits (whole, dried or juice)
With 2L of milk, we’re already at 100g of carbs. We can add 1L of orange juice and then we’re at 206g. Last, we can add maple syrup to the milk we drink (2 tbsp per liter; 8 tbsp total), and we’re at 260g of carbs. A little over the minimum, which is not a problem, since our goal was only the minimum, not a maximum.
I consume between 500-600g of carbs daily as the body is very much able to oxidize that amount of carbs and you don’t have to “earn” it. If you think you have to earn it, check out this vid I created on that topic.
The remainder of your calories can come from fat.
Good sources of fat include:
- Butter and cream
- Cocoa butter
- Olive oil
- Macadamia nut oil
- Tallow and suet
Fats contain no micros so the reason I include them here is just to cover all the macros.
Certain foods that contain fat, such as dairy, eggs, meat and cocoa powder do contain micros and that’s how I consume my fat. I don’t add additional fat to any of the food I eat.
For this example, let’s add in 2 egg yolks in the smoothie and 1 tbsp butter or macadamia nut oil for frying the meat.
That puts us at roughly 2115 calories, 133g protein, 260g carbs and 61g of fat.
Let’s have a look at the micros
Beautiful isn’t it?
Most people should be eating much more than that, even if sedentary. Men should be totaling around 2500+, ideally around 3000 calories daily. That’s achievable while staying lean, and you just have to balance blood sugar and keep cortisol and serotonin low and optimizing testosterone and dopamine, which is easy with diet and lifestyle.
So with 400-900 calories to add, you can add them any way you like. More carbs, more fat or a blend between the two, e.g. ice cream, sugar and cream in your coffee, honey over your beef, etc.
Keep in mind if you’re coming from a bad place (overtraining, caloric deficits, lots of stress, poor habits, etc.), then boosting the metabolism can take time, but you’ll get there by consistently doing the right thing.
And this is what MenElite is all about; optimizing men. Enabling men to obtain their Alpha Energy; becoming the Alpha Energy Male they are meant to be.
There you have it. A diet consisting mostly of animal foods and some fruit without any veggies can give you all the micros you need without even trying hard.
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