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How Applesauce Will Change Your Life

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?

Low carbs

Fasting

Atkins

Paleo

…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?

Needless Restrictions.

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!

With the introduction to Flexible Dieting in my life and my need, or better yet, my hunger for flavour, I found myself on a quest to become a mad food scientist.

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.

“Macro killers”

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.

For example:

  • 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!

The Barbell Press Interview

Recently I had the opportunity to get interviewed by Katie of The Barbell Press a online strength and conditioning website about my relationships with food, and how I make them work with my lifestyle.

 

Give it a read, then head over to The Barbell Press

 

Original article found here

Yes. It’s true. You can be an athlete AND eat dessert, too.

I caught up with Dustin Chronister, aka The Flexible Baker, to find out how he manages to somehow fit dessert into his daily life without derailing his goals in the gym.  Dustin is the author of an e-book featuring all sorts of delicious, macro-friendly treats. Looking at the pictures of food that he posts on his Facebook page, it almost seems impossible that he is able to enjoy such outrageous desserts while maintaining a fit physique, but he does and he swears you can too:

Me: First of all, Dustin, how often do you eat dessert?

Dustin: I usually will only have a dessert once a day to round out my macros left after dinner. I usually eat very ‘bro’ throughout the day because its just easier with work and saving time – two meals consisting of meats, veggies, and simple carbs every day. I may throw in a protein bar, or fiber bar or something along those lines if I am in need of extra calories. Unfortunately, dessert doesn’t happen at every meal, but I do enjoy it once a day.

Me: So you are a macro counter. That explains the name “The Flexible Baker.” How long have you been tracking macros?

Dustin: I have strictly tracked macros for just over a year, and loosely another few months more.

Me: What do you consider to be the pros and what are the cons of flexible dieting?

Dustin: Some most common “cons” to macros are not being able to enjoy everything you use to at the same time, or nearly as much of something. For example, I use to go out for Wing Wednesday and I would eat 20+ wings! No way would my fat macros allow that now though! That then leads into another problem: Eating out. Maybe new trackers absolutely dread this side of macro counting- not knowing what to order or where to go, so they say, “screw it” and never go out and enjoy themselves. I believe those are some of the biggest cons to macros.

Now, let’s get to the pro’s. For me the pro’s highly out weigh the cons. Macro counting has allowed me to figure out how to fine to tune my nutrition to: A. Fuel my training with proper amounts of food, B. Break me away from that clean eating mindset, and allow me to still eat the foods I love in moderation even when dieting knowing I can and still will hit my goals, C. It really helps you build healthy relationships with food without the idea that foods are “bad” or “unclean,” and D. It allowed me to get very creative with the foods I eat regarding how I prepare them and what I choose to eat. I’m always experimenting in the kitchen, especially with dessert.

Me: I’m sure some people may worry that they can’t fit dessert into their macros (especially women who have low fat for the day). Can you give an idea of what typical macros might be on one of your dessert recipes?

Dustin- That’s the biggest misconception that I hear from people. Women will say, “Oh, I can’t eat what you have. I don’t have the macros that a man has.” Well, one of my protein cakes is 564 calories / 4G fat / 64.4g carbs/ 64g protein for the ENTIRE cake. A  female could definitely make a slice fit into macros for the day, or even eat half the cake! I think people see a picture of dessert and instantly think they can’t enjoy it when in fact they can! My desserts are made with non-traditional substitutes that are macro-friendly. For example, I use applesauce instead of oil in some recipes.

Me: Is that what inspired you to create a macro-friendly cook book? Hearing that people wanted to enjoy your desserts, but didn’t believe they could?

Dustin- Honestly, it was some of my close followers on Instagram who are very active on my posts, as well as a local friend, who suggested that I make one. After I really started to pump out creations, people kept asking me if I would make an ebook. I never had any intentions of making one, but you gotta give the people what they want!

Me: What kinds of desserts are in the book?

Dustin- All sorts! Cookies, a few cakes, brownies, snickerdoodle bars, cheesecakes, and banana bread! I really like the carrot cake myself.

Me: I tried the Snickerdoodle Bars. They were delicious and I couldn’t believe that they were made with mostly protein powders and a few other ingredients. I also loved that the recipe was so easy to follow. I’m a terrible cook, but your instructions were so succinct.

Dustin- I’m glad it was easy for you to follow! They look yummy! (I sent him some pictures).

Me: So, why do you think its important for people to enjoy dessert even when that goes against traditional thinking in terms of health?

Dustin- When you were young and someone told you something was off limits, did it make you want it more? Well at least for me it definitely did. I feel that happens quite often with diets. Someone is too restrictive and then either breaks down and binges to the point of self regret, or they have a planned ‘cheat meal’ where they consume so many unneeded calories, mainly from fat, and that can mess their progress up even more. Adherence is the biggest key to dieting, and I feel enjoying the things you love while dieting will help one adhere to the program.

Me: So finally, I see that you have some recipes up on your website (theflexiblebaker.com). What does the ebook offer that the site doesn’t?

Dustin- Yes I do! Loads of recipes on the site! So the biggest difference is I made recipes in the ebook over and over and over again to perfect them as much as possible and kept the macros as low as possible. Most recipes on the site I will make 1-2 times and share them. I also worked on having a nice variety of flours, methods, and ingredients in the book that not all my recipes share on the site. The cookbook also really breaks down each recipe and gets into detail for every step, as well as a very helpful notes section.

Me: Well, the Snickerdoodle Bars were great and I can’t wait to try the others. Thanks for speaking with me and for sharing the awesome recipes in the ebook. I want to make those Oreo Cheesecake Cupcakes next! Can’t believe they are only 129 calories each!

Dustin- Of course. I’m always happy to help others and to show that people can take control of their eating without restricting and wasting time with yo-yo diets. I would love to be a source of knowledge for people to help them along their journey and I’m  starting to do that through the website and ebook!

Check out Dustin’s e-book for all of his low macro desserts! You can get a copy for only $5.50.