I recently got asked by the great Steve Hall to write an article talking about my my adventures with macros, adapting them in the kitchen, and how I make them work for me.
Once you have read this, head over to Revive Stronger. A one stop shop for all your fitness needs. Numerous articles, coaching, videos, recipes, and more!
Original article here If you go to original article, you will also find yourself a secret recipe!
How Applesauce Will Change The Way You Diet Forever
Never have I met someone who is as creative with their food as my friend Dustin.
Cookies, Brownies — incredibly tasty food.
Normally very high in fat and calories.
But Dustin somehow makes these ‘diet friendly’ versions, that aren’t crazy high in fat or calories; I don’t know how the man does it. Today I want to share with you his story of how he got into fitness and fell in love with cooking.
Dustin is what you could call a late bloomer to the fitness world.
He dabbled a bit in sports, but nothing really stuck with him in his younger years. Not until he hit a point in life that he was so unhappy with his self-image that he needed a change. Luckily he soon fell in love with fitness and developed such a passion for bettering himself that it bloomed into the need to help others.
Dustin will be talking you through his transformation and how applesauce changed the way he approach a diet, forever.
Doesn’t it seem like everyone you talk to is on some type of diet?
…I can’t eat this, better not have that after 6pm, and the list goes on.
When you take a step back and look at all these ‘fad’ diets, what do they usually have in common?
The Clean Eating Saga
Growing up, I ate pretty bland.
Typical meals usually consisted of meats, potatoes, and vegetables. It was lacking a whole lot of flavour, and there wasn’t much variety. Once dinner was done though, there was always dessert; cake, donuts, cookies, pudding.
It didn’t matter what it was.
Needless to say, I grew up with a slight weight issue. I struggled with this for the majority of my adolescent years. Growing up, I never really developed self-control, or thought about the repercussions of eating an entire line of Oreos! It wasn’t until I graduated high school that I realised I needed a change.
At the time, clean eating was all the rage.
Chicken, brown rice, and broccoli am I right???
Typical “bro meal” if you will.
I’m not sure if you’ve noticed a trend, but I had yet to have any FLAVOUR in my life. It was bland food after bland food! I rode the “clean eating” train for a while, and even gave up sweets in an entirety for a whole year!
Yes, that meant no cake on my birthday!
Soon after that, I found out about Flexible Dieting, and a new page was about to be written
Fats & Sugar Just Taste so Good!
So, let’s take a moment to look at some of the problems we face with eating all the foods that we love. Typically they are caloric dense, high fat, high carb.
That is already an issue.
Now, you stack this up with someone who has a killer sweet tooth, or someone who might have been restricting themselves, and now you’re on the verge of, or have the potential to binge on these calorie dense foods. This could be detrimental, and could also be potential diet disaster when not kept in proportion and balance.
So, how do you incorporate these foods into your lives, yet maintain a healthy lifestyle?
Once I started counting my macros, I only had a limited amount available, so I needed to figure out how to eat all the foods I loved, while still fitting them into my macros, and be able to enjoy other foods that day. That’s not the easiest task when you want brownies, or cake, and you only have 55g of fat to work with.
Fat, for me, seemed to be the biggest issue.
Not only did I not have a tonne to work with, I typically don’t digest high fat content foods well after clean eating for so long. This lead me to really dive deep into different ingredients, and figuring out how to make substitutions to make a healthier product, yet maintain that same great taste.
- Pumpkin or applesauce for fat sources
- Honey, stevia, and splenda, for sugars
- Low fat butters and almond milk, as lower calorie alternatives
Yet, in the world of cooking, fat is flavour, they say, and you can’t always expect things to taste great with no fat content.
So, I also had to play around with lower carb options such as coconut flour, protein powders, and thickening agents. I think cooking and baking is actually very similar to Flexible Dieting in general. You need to have some give and take, and balance with it all. After figuring out that I could eat foods I like, and I could make healthier options, it was a nonstop roller coaster
Flexible Dieting Changed My Life
I think finding Flexible Dieting was one of the most pivotal moments in my fitness career, because it gave me the realisation that I don’t have to suffer mentally, or physically, from the foods that I eat.
No longer do I have to choke down dry, plain food because I thought it was the healthiest option.
Once you open your eyes to that fact, there isn’t a single food you can’t enjoy, you will really allow yourself to enjoy what you eat again. Although, we must always remember that the key is balance and moderation. In playing around with making healthier versions of foods, you will notice that instead of, say, a brownie that you might have a hard time fitting into your macros, or feel guilty about having, you can now eat that brownie, or maybe two, or three, for the same caloric hit, or even less!
How does that help?
Well, it’s mentally rewarding to say the least, but humans typically eat with their eyes the majority of time. So, if you have one brownie vs. a plate of brownies…
…which would you pick?
Also, the addition of more volume will help you feel full and satisfied, which can help combat unwanted snacking or overeating. This can than also open up more allowance for other foods in the day instead of having to sacrifice a chunk of macros for a small treat.
Adherence, to me, is king.
It doesn’t matter what you are doing, if you can’t stick with it, or if doesn’t fit your lifestyle, then it will never work in the long-term. On the other-hand, making your food work for you allows for nothing but adherence. You literally have the reigns, and can navigate though life’s challenges much easier knowing you can be flexible.
This really comes into play around holidays and on vacation. No one wants to be that person at the party who’s not eating anything because everything there is labeled a “bad food”, or their meal plan doesn’t allow it.
After adherence, I believe Flexible Dieting is helping to restore healthy mental relationships with food.
No longer do foods have to be kept “off-limits” because they are somehow bad for you.
Everything falls back to moderation — Too much of anything can be bad for you.
Overeating is simply overeating.
Flexible Dieting has given me an avenue to really flourish in baking and food preparation in general. Never before counting macros, would I focus so much on every detail, extracting every ounce of flavour I can, and fitting it into as much as I can.
Cooking is all about balancing ingredients with flavours, as life is about balancing goals with happiness. Without one, I don’t believe the other will flourish to near its capabilities. So break away from that bad food mentality, grab some supplies, and get baking your favourite treats again!
May the macros be great, and the flavour even better!