If you haven’t already been tracking your “macros and micros” for your regular vegan diet, it’s about time that you started. There is no better way to make sure you’re getting the exact amount of calories, and the exact amount of nutrients, that your body needs without tracking your macros and micros. “Macros” is an abbreviation that stands for “macronutrients,” and they’re what the Keto diet is based on. The three main macro nutrients required for human life are carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. That’s right! Tracking your macro nutrients is just as easy as tracking how many grams of protein, carbohydrates, and fats you’re eating in each meal. It does get a bit more complicated than that, but it’s nothing you won’t be able to handle. “Micros,” then, stands for “micro nutrients,” and these are quite different from what you might be thinking. Micro nutrients are actually the vitamins and minerals that your body requires to function, and micros are often essential for macros to do their jobs. Without the help of certain minerals, our macro nutrients wouldn’t be able to synthesize new proteins, add in our cellular regeneration, and help move bad molecules like harmful cholesterol out of our arteries. In order to make sure you’re getting your proper dosages of micro nutrients, you take supplements! One of the many helpful connections between veganism and the Keto diet is that both tend to require a healthy amount of added vitamins and minerals. Check back to Chapter 1 if you need a refresher. However, it’s worth noting that there are many more suggested micro nutrients that we’re supposed to get per day beyond just the popular five or seven. In fact, there are a whopping twenty-five micro nutrients that our diets are supposed to provide us with every day. Although some of the amounts are so small they’re measured in micro grams—it’s worth taking a look at this list to know what else you might want to supplement.
A multivitamin in combination with your regular vegan diet supplements should supply you with the perfect amount of each of these smaller micronutrients. You should, however, consult your physician before you start taking iron supplements. Tracking your macro-nutrients is definitely more involved, but there’s a special tool that we’re going to borrow from the bodybuilding community to make it easier.
How Weighing Your Portions Ensures Success
Nobody likes a scale, but isn’t it true that everything’s better when there’s food involved? Back when the fitness community began to really focus on how our diets were facilitating weight loss, many body-builders and intense athletes started to use food scales as a way to be more precise about the portion sizes. But not just portions of whole meals—weighing your food with a food scale allows you to calculate the number of macronutrients and the number of calories in each portion of the meals you’re going to prepare each week. The first step to using your food scale is to download an app called MyFitnessPal (the most popular macronutrient tracking app out there, and a great community to get involved with if you’re vegan!). If you don’t have a smartphone, feel free to use an online calculator—you’ll be able to find more than a few. The next step is to visit your local restaurant supply store to stock up on large containers. Each week, when you prepare your meal on Sunday, you’ll want to use your food scale to weight the entire cooked meal (all three or four portions together). To do this, set your chosen container on your scale and make the numbers read “00.00” – you’re going to be pouring your entire meal into these containers to measure, so bigger is better. Once you’ve measured the full meal, use your application to plug in each of the ingredients you used in the meal and their amounts. This is just another reason that it’s important to be organized with your grocery shopping. The resulting numbers should give you the number of total calories and nutrients, and if you divide by the number of portions you intend for the meal to make, you’ll have an accurate nutritional label of calories, vitamins, and nutrients.