Let’s Talk Calories!
Calories are ENERGY, which is the fuel found in food. Food being that which we place into our body via mouth and ingest. Calories allow us to move, perform, stay active and alert.
Calories fuel our engine!
Too few calories and we run out of gas. Too many, and we overflow, which is often stored as excess fat if not used up appropriately. The latter being a primary reason for excess body fat compositions.
Every single pill we ingest, every bite, taste, swig, pinch, lick and swallow has an affiliated amount of calories. So in essence, we obtain fuel not only by that which we sit down and consume, but through the seemingly insignificant ‘tastes’ as well.
Every few Saturdays, my husband and I love to eat breakfast tacos. It’s a treat for us. We use quality ingredients such as farm fresh cage-free eggs, organic whole wheat tortillas, organic goat cheese and uncured natural bacon.
But does the fact we choose quality ingredients mean our tacos have fewer calories than other breakfast tacos?
The answer is no.
In fact, our tacos have more calories than some common restaurant tacos, all ingredients held constant.
This is a common misconception amongst the general public, assuming quality organic foods somehow carry ‘fewer’ calories or are healthier, so they can be consumed in greater quantity! This is hardly the case.
Client after client, I hear this misconception and I see its reflection in body composition. Organic cookies somehow equate to being a healthier choice, and consumption of healthier choices is better especially in greater quantity?
When consuming high-quality, minimally processed or unprocessed foods, we must look in terms of our food choices AND calories:
*the type of fat (heart and brain healthy VS stroke and bad cholesterol level inducing)…saturated, unsaturated, trans-fat, omega 3,6,9 etc.
*amount of dietary fiber.
*amount of toxic chemicals and preservatives, which accumulate in the body and are linked to illness and inflammation.
*source of the food (whole VS processed), local or imported, farm raised or wild caught, stressed out or free, boxed or bulk, etc.
*nutrient density, which is the quantity of nutrition found in a serving.
Are we making a choice to run our engine on cheap gas, clogging our fuel lines and corroding our engines? If so, then what positives are we experiencing, especially if our vehicle is always in the shop for repair or worse, not running at all?
Conversely, are we choosing high quality fuels that, gallon per gallon may be a little more expensive, but enable us to run longer and much more efficiently with less damage?
There is a significant difference in a classic car that has sat in a junk yard for decades, stripped of all functionality and a classic car that has been cared for over the years and still running today!
Our Saturday Taco Fest is typically over by 11:30am in order to allow time to ‘burn off’ the calories consumed. Those calories fuel our activities for the day. Therefore, timing of calories is a valuable tool and is a pretty good indication of appropriate consumption as well.
What do I mean?
You wouldn’t want to go out for dinner and drinks, eating a heavily processed, carb-rich fatty dinner, full of toxic canola oils and other chemicals found in many restaurant foods then followed by alcoholic or sugary beverages, all to simply ‘go to bed’ afterwards!
Why? Because this is a sure-fire way to add inches to your belly! Not to mention, it prevents your body from performing the necessary sleep functions of healing, hormone function and full rest.
In comparing the calories found in food, I wanted to highlight some different breakfast tacos I found. All of the tacos are bacon and egg only, wrapped in a flour tortilla. Each calorie count below is per two tacos.
Popular fast food restaurant tacos
580 calories (for 2)
34 g fat (14 g saturated)
350 mg cholesterol
40 g carbs
2 g fiber
2 g sugar
24 g protein
Convenience store tacos
1080 calories (for 2)
50 g fat (14 g saturated)
122 g carbs
14 g fiber
4 g sugar
34 g protein
Drive through fast-food tacos
860 calories (for 2)
50 g fat (20 g saturated)
72 g carbs
2 g fiber
4 g sugar
46 g protein
Our organic tacos
700 calories (for 2)
56 g fat (17 saturated)
50 g carbs
4 g fiber
4 g sugar
44 g protein
As you can clearly see, there are many variants in the basic macros found in the sampling.
The organic tacos do not have the chemicals, toxic additives and processed ingredients that other tacos have. However, they contain FAT, SUGARS, CARBS and PROTEINS. I highlight sugars because these are not necessary in the diet, therefore fiber relative to sugar can be looked at relative to nutritional value. High sugar and no fiber is not optimal.
So yes, gasoline is gasoline. However, it’s the quality of the gas relative to the type of automobile up for discussion in terms of calories!
Just because a food is organic, farm-raised, non-dairy, sugar-free or gluten-free does not give you the green light to eat to excess.
Calories are calories, but quality doesn’t lie!