Whether you follow the recipes in our books or not, there are always going to be times when you need to put together a quick AH meal on your own. It might be a night when you just don’t have the ingredients to make any of our recipes, you might be on the road and trying to eat in a restaurant, or you might be having dinner with clients or family and need to choose from the available food options. None of these scenarios need to be distressing or lead to off-plan excursions. With a few tips, you can easily build your own AH meals out of virtually any available options.
Eating AH on the Road
Before you travel, remember to check out our Restaurant Grab-and-Go Guide on pages 186 – 188 of Always Hungry. These suggestions will make it easy to choose the most health supportive options from typical restaurant fare. Also, click here to read how Dr. Ludwig and I eat on the road, including travel snacks, potluck tips, and our favorite on-the-go recipes!
Meal Builder Guides
We’ve tried to make it as simple as possible for you to build your own meals with easy-to-follow guides and info-graphics. Our goal is to have you confident enough in your own skills to quickly select menu options or ingredients anytime and anywhere.
You can find these guides by clicking here or by visiting our website under the Book Resources and Downloads tab.
Sticking to the Ratios
While the ratios we developed for the Always Hungry Solution are an important part in resetting your body for maximum biological support, they are meant to be only guidelines after you’ve done the Phase 1 reset. Many of our readers struggle with the concept that these ratios are actually not written in stone. They are much more forgiving than they initially seem. Getting caught up in the idea that you must develop perfect ratios for all of your meals can lead to overwhelm.
Beyond the Ratios
Don’t let the ratios hold you back. Use them to reset your body, then learn to listen to what your body needs. You may find that you’ll do fine using Phase 1 ratios with Phase 2 ingredients or vice versa. Or, you may find it liberating to just use these meal builder tools without actually calculating any ratios. Our program is all about cultivating health and freedom in your kitchen.
The most important part of putting meals together is making sure the food you eat leaves you satisfied and energized. That is the best indicator that you are eating within the correct ratios. We encourage you to follow our meal plans as closely as possible for the first two weeks or so while your body adjusts to this lifestyle. After that, you can take the training wheels off! Your body is unique and only you can know what it needs most.
Your Body Will Tell You What It Needs
Pay attention to how your body feels when you eat a certain meal. For example, compare how you feel after eating a few days of only our recipes and meal plans compared to how you feel after trying one or two of your own. Do you still feel satisfied, energized, and able to sleep? If so, you’re very likely hitting the necessary ratios even if you aren’t always calculating them exactly.
Weight gain and loss is not the only indicator of how well you’re doing. Also keep an eye on your quality of sleep, number and intensity of cravings, and energy level throughout the day. All of these things will cue you into the state of your body. For help with this, use our Daily Trackers regularly. Click here to see our Daily Tracker.
Building a Phase 1 Meal
In Phase 1 meals your calories come from 50% Fat, 25% Carbohydrate, and 25% Protein. To build your own meal, it might help to read over the Phase 1 meal plans in Always Hungry and Always Delicious to get an idea of how we put foods together. If you’re calculating on your own, remember that fat has 9 calories per gram as opposed to 4 for carbs and protein. It’s why fat has been feared for the last 40 years. It has double the calories, however it is also more satisfying and doesn’t raise insulin. So, it works with your body instead of against it.
You can easily build your own meals by forgetting about calories and ratios. Start with 4 – 6 ounces of protein. Fattier proteins will call for leaner sides and dressings while leaner proteins will need fattier sides and dressings. To see which proteins are fatty and which are lean, check out the Equivalents Table on pages 50 – 51 of Always Delicious.
Then you add lots of non-starchy vegetables, such as salad greens or blanched vegetables with dressing (see our How to Blanch Vegetables video tutorial here). In Phase 1, grains and sweeteners are not yet included in the meals so all of your carbohydrates should come from beans, non-starchy vegetables or puréed vegetable soups, and non-tropical fruits, such as berries. So, you add your slow carbs from a combination of these choices. Add good quality fats based on the fat content of the proteins you’ve chosen and you have a meal.
After the Phase 1 Reset
After you do the two week Phase 1 reset, please experiment with whatever works best for your body and lifestyle. You may find that you enjoy eating a combination of Phase 1 meals with some Phase 2 ratios or ingredients interspersed into the mix or vice versa. Perhaps you need a few more weeks of Phase 1. Or, you may be able to fully move into Phase 2. This is the time to learn what your body needs and you’ll only get there by exploring!
Next week we’ll talk about building a Phase 2 meal. Stay Tuned!