My entire nutrition approach is built on balanced eating for a balanced hormonal picture and that starts with: eating PFC. Read on for background on the subject, benefits of eating in this pattern and how-to guides to get you started!
What is PFC?
PFC is an acronym for the macronutrients in your food, "protein fat and carbohydrates". The foundation of "PFC" is eating real, whole foods and having all three of these macronutrients in a healthy balance at all meals and snacks.
Eating "real, whole food" means you choose foods in their most natural form and limit the amount of refined and processed foods you consume. This not only ensures you get all the things you need to perform your best, but it limits the amount of unnecessary stress your body might endure to break down and absorb triggering ingredients into the system.
want to see what I mean? I'll show you how to shape PFC balanced meals with real food examples
In the context of real food: proteins include meat, fish, poultry, eggs; fats include nuts, seeds, oils, full fat dairy; carbohydrates include whole fruits, vegetables and 100% whole grains. Of course many foods contain a mixture of macronutrients, but for the sake of simplicity, let's focus on these whole foods and their dominant macro.
why should I eat PFC?
Eating protein, fat and carbohydrate containing foods in balance with each other at every meal and snack allows for well managed blood sugar. Stable blood sugar is the key to consistent energy levels, positive moods, improved mental clarity, supported metabolism, minimized sugar cravings and fewer hangry episodes.
But I don't have diabetes. Why should I care about my blood sugar?
Eating carbohydrates in any form triggers a blood sugar spike and subsequent insulin response. Among many other things, by being able to manipulate and control blood sugar and the insulin hormone, we:
+ can start to burn fat for energy, and stop storing it
+ ensure muscles get properly fueled after exercise
+ can have lasting energy throughout the day, and stop crashing
So, even though you might not have diabetes, nor are you at risk for developing it, understanding carbohydrates and their relationship to blood sugar can help you control your weight, fuel your athletic performance, and hack your energy levels.
the PFC lowdown.
Sharp spikes in blood sugar lead to rapid insulin release to bring blood sugar down. Much like a rollercoaster, you might imagine the steep peaks and valleys in your blood sugar throughout the day when you eat too many carbohydrates causing sugar to flood the blood (peak), while insulin comes to clear sugar out of the blood (valley).
A day at the amusement park is exhausting - much like it is when you ride a blood sugar rollercoaster all day long. You might feel a mix of tired, anxious, irritable, craving, jittery, or sluggish. You ain't got time for all that.
So how do we make for a little more calm?
Blood sugar stability is determined by three variables:
1. amount of carbohydrates in a meal
2. type of carbohydrates eaten
3. combination of carbohydrates among other macronutrients in a m eal
Eating PFC balanced meals ensures blood sugar stability because it addresses those three variables:
1. the overall amount of carbohydrate in a meal is limited because you're filling up on protein and fat containing foods.
2. whole, real type carbohydrate foods have a plethora of vitamins, minerals and fiber which slow down digestion and absorption, ultimately limiting the blood sugar spike.
3. combining carbohydrate containing foods with protein containing and fat containing foods in a single meal slows digestion, absorption - limiting the overall speed and spike of blood sugar
So, if it sounds pretty great to: enjoy consistent energy and focus, eliminate carb and sugar cravings, stabilize your mood, achieve and maintain a healthy weight, then try eating protein, fat and carbohydrate containing foods in balance with each other at every meal.