The last couple of months I’ve been consulting with my friend and nutritionist Jes Cox from The JCN Clinic to try and resolve some of my long standing irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) issues. I am already saying to myself ‘why did I wait so long to do this!?’ I love the approach Jes and the team at The JCN Clinic take to gut health. They don’t see IBS like the rest of the medical world that says – ‘well you’ve been diagnosed with IBS – just do your best to manage the symptoms.’ They actually work with you through clinical lab testing to discover what is really going on inside your gut so they can treat the cause through a tailored nutritional diet and quality supplements if required. One of the things I admired the most though was the first thing Jes did was look at my current nutritional intake and then assess whether I had a good balance of macronutrients in my meals and snacks. Having a healthy balance of macronutrients is the foundation of any sustainable, healthy diet. This especially important to be mindful of if you are going to be looking at removing food groups like gluten and dairy (as I would need to do for a time to begin work on reducing the inflammation in my gut). Jes provided an amazing information sheet which outlined what macronutrients are, what foods contain certain macronutrients and how much you should be aiming to eat per meal and I found this a welcomed refresher. She’s kindly allowed me to share this information about a macronutrient balanced diet, because we both believe it is knowledge that is so important – even life changing! Regardless of whether you are following a particular diet or not, these are foundational diet principles for everybody to follow.
Recipes pictured in this post can be found here:
- Above: Winter Warming Chicken and Nutty Seasonal Vegetables
- Below: Tuna, Black Beans and Roast Pumpkin Rice Salad
What are macronutrients?
Macronutrients are nutrients required in large quantities by the body for cellular energy and growth. The three major macronutrients include proteins, carbohydrates and fats. It is important to include each macronutrient in every meal and snack daily.
What does a macronutrient balanced diet look like?
Essentially you want your plate to look like this:
Protein foods are broken down into amino acids in the body. They are essential for metabolism, muscle strength, hormone function and immune health to name a few. Healthy options to include in your diet daily are:
- Seafood such as salmon, tuna, prawns, sardines, cod, lobster, crab, bream, trivially, barramundiü Poultry such as duck, turkey & chicken
- Lean pork, kangaroo, beef, veal and lamb
- Eggs (opt for organic where possible)
- Nuts and seeds, legumes & pulses, tofu, tempeh
- Dairy: yoghurt, bocconcini, feta cheese, ricotta, cottage cheese, cheddar, chevre (opt for organic where possible)ü Nuts and seeds (raw)
- Protein powders including whey, brown rice, pea and hemp
- Grains (small quantities): quinoa, amaranth (though also contain carbohydrates)
Carbohydrates are broken down into sugars in our body after ingestion and used for energy production. Carbs can be considered simple or complex. Simple carbs are broken down and absorbed quickly and do not contain much fibre. Alternatively complex carbs take longer to break down and provide more long lasting energy. Healthy options to include in your daily diet are:
- Fruits & Vegetables: All
- Inclusive of starchy vegetables: sweet potato, potato, parsnip (smaller amounts per serving size – see your food plan)
- Cereals & Grains: Whole wheat, rye, rolled oats, buckwheat, amaranth, spelt, brown rice/ basmati rice, whole wheat pasta, wild rice, kumut, spelt
- Soba noodles, brown rice noodles and mung bean pasta
- Legumes and pulses (also contain protein)
Carbohydrates to limit in the diet include simple carbs & high sugar carbs:
- Vegetables & fruit: dried fruit, large portions of potatoes. Esp. baked with added cheese or mashed with added butter etc.
- Cereals & grains: white flour and white bread products, white rice (exception of basmati), polenta, cous cous, semolina, white pasta
Fats within foods are broken down into fatty acids and are vital for brain function, cell membrane health, skin integrity and immune function. Types of fats include saturated, trans, poly unsaturated and mono unsaturated fats. Saturated and trans fats are the fats we need to limit whilst the others are healthy fats vital for body function. Healthy options to include in the diet daily are:
- Red meat, poultry and seafood
- Oils: Olive oil, flaxseed oil, macadamia nut oil, coconut oil (ideally unrefined and cold pressed)
- Nuts and seeds and their butters including tahini
- Vegetables and fruit: avocado, coconut
Fats to limit in the diet include:
- Fatty meats and fatty minces
- Old oils, deep fried foods (especially bought out), cheap vegetable oils
- Excessive amounts of nuts especially toasted or pastes with added oils.
- Large amounts of soft cheeses
I hope that you enjoyed learning or refreshing your memory about what a macronutrient balanced diet looks like and that you feel empowered to lead a healthier lifestyle! You can learn more about macronutrients via this episode of the The JCN Podcast.
Quick gut update from Amy
I will be writing more about this new phase in my journey to heal my gut. I want to tell you what worked, what didn’t work and what was really hard to do (and whether it was worth it) to help others who also struggle with the awful symptoms of IBS. Stay tuned!
Want to get started on healing your gut now?
If you are however, keen to get onto starting work with The JCN Clinic (they offer Skype and in clinic consults – in Brisbane) before I write that blog post, I noticed on Jes’ instagram they have a special at the moment (as does the company that does the testing), so get in touch here.