Why I don’t count calories
I receive comments, questions and tips every day on social media. I really value this, as it means that people are interested. It’s so great that people are engaged! I always make sure that I reply to questions and contribute to discussions. I wrote my book, On the Go, in response to the many, many requests I received for recipes that can be taken to go. The one question that I receive most often is: why don’t you provide a calorie count for your recipes? I completely understand why this is a common question, as in the realm of scientific research on weight gain, the emphasis is often on the consumption of excess calories. That’s why I think it’s important to keep an eye on your intake. But I see things regarding calories a little bit differently. From what I’ve observed, when you focus on counting calories, you end up focusing less on nutrition. Of course, counting calories can provide you with a guideline for losing weight, but my focus is on inspiring people to eat healthy. For me, it’s about changing your behavior around eating, making it a habit to make good choices and listening to your own body and its needs.
These days there are plenty of tables and rows that tell us what we can and cannot eat. I think it’s a much better idea to learn to really listen to our bodies and take notice of how different foods and ingredients make us feel. To me, counting calories with a calculator or consulting tables to decide what to eat isn’t particularly helpful. Take a look at the big picture. Why can’t I stop eating? Have I consumed enough nutrients? Am I deficient in a nutrient? Am I active enough? Am I getting enough oxygen? And how do I feel mentally?
Compare an avocado to an unhealthy, sugary snack bar. It may very well be the case that both contain the same number of calories. But these two things could not differ more in terms of nutrients. My raw cheesecake, the one the comedian Arjen Lubach did a bit on, is, indeed, high in calories, but it’s absolutely not my intention that you eat the entire cake! You wouldn’t do that with a ‘real’ cheesecake either I assume! What’s more, as I wrote above, there is a difference between ingredients in terms of their nutritional value and the vitamins and minerals they contain (or lack thereof). A good example of this is the date. Dates do contain a great deal of naturally occurring sugar. But when you eat a date as a snack during the day, you’re also ingesting nutrients like magnesium, calcium and vitamin C as well as fiber. This is simply not the case when you ingest so-called ‘empty’ calories from the likes of granulated sugar. Sugar is sugar, however, and eating a date will have an effect on your blood sugar, but the difference here is real.
For me, it’s all about maintaining healthy and natural body composition. And what that amounts to is a little bit different for everyone! That’s why I don’t believe that we’ll feel any better as a result of counting and making calculations. It’s about nutrition and maintaining a balanced pattern of eating. Balance is key, right? ; )
P.S. Looking for a tasty, healthy, calorie-rich recipe? Have a look at my favorite cheesecake here!