kris ulland

Your Nutrition Partner

We all require a different amount of energy. This is not a set number. Some people are sedentary all day or for part of their day and others are busy and on their feet all day. Calories should not drive your food choices but it is a useful tool.

Not all calories are equal.

The calories that you consume from a pastry do not behave the same way as the calories from an avocado. They are not broken down by the body or assimilated the same way.

For overall wellbeing, it is the quality of the calories that you eat that matters. The key is to have a highly functioning body that actually burns calories while you rest. Muscles are the key to this equation. Not that you have to be a bodybuilder, but the more solid muscles you have, the less likely you are to become sick, to be injured, or to feel tired at the end of a day.

Highly process foods tend to be low in fiber which leads to gut issues like pain and stomach bloating. Eating a sugary meal of 1000 calories compared to a healthy meal of whole foods equaling 1000 calories will give you the exact same amount of raw energy.

  • The sugary food will be metabolized immediately. You will feel a surge of energy which depletes quickly leaving you tired and looking for another “fix”. This leaves you hungry for the entire day. (Consider what you eat or feed your family for breakfast.) Heavily precessed foods lack necessary vitamins and minerals to sustain you throughout the day.
  • The whole foods meal will be metabolized in timely bursts throughout the day. Also, and I think more importantly, the sheer amount of food you can eat on a whole foods diet is amazing! 1000 calories of junk food might fill half a plate. 1000 calories of healthy food will fill at least a couple of plates. Healthy food satiates your appetite and you won’t feel hungry throughout the day.

To lose weight, you do have to curb your intake of calories. It is important to know the amount of calories that you need each day.

If you want to look better, not necessarily lose weight, but feel stronger, then you will need to focus on building muscle mass and losing fat. The number on the scale might stay the same. But, you will be stronger and look better with a healthier ratio of fat and muscle.

Knowing your daily requirements will help you select optimal recipes and create individualized meal plans.

Average daily calorie range is around 2,000 kcal for an average person, however, you can fine-tune this depending on your body composition, activity level, age, gender, and desire to lose or gain weight.

*It is not recommended to have less that 1,200 kcal/day for a female and 1,800 kcal/day for a male as it can slow down metabolism.

Step 1. Calculating the Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR)

BMR = the energy required for a resting body to support physiologic processes
BMR = the baseline number of calories

Females: body weight x 10
Males: body weight x 11
Error:=/- 10%

Example: 150 lb female needs 1,500 kcal per day to cover her BMR
150 lb male needs 1,550 kcal per day to cover his BMR

Step 2. Multiplying by Activity Factor

More calories are needed to support energy expenditures on activities.
The formulas below will help determine total daily calorie needs.

Sedentary: No exercise – BMR x 1.2

Light Activity: Light exercise of sports 1-3 days per week – BMR x 1.375

Moderate Activity: Moderate exercise or sports 3-5 days per week – BMR x 1.55

High Activity: Strenuous exercise or sports 6-7 days per week – BMR x 1.725

Example 1:
235 lb male walks 30 minutes 3 times a week (light activity)
BMR = 235 x 11 = 2,585 kcal
Total daily calories: 2,585 x 1.375 = 3,554 kcal

Example 2:
110 lb female, commutes to work 2 hours per day, has a desk job, doesn’t exercise (sedentary)
BMR: 110 x 10 = 1,100
Total daily calories: 1,100 x 1.2 = 1,320 kcal

So, all calories are equal on paper but they are vastly different in how the body breaks them down, stores and burns them.

Fats are a flavorful source of energy. Fats slow down digestion. Fats deliver important fat-soluble vitamins to the body. Fat provides important building blocks for every one of our cells.

Proteins keep us feeling fuller longer. Proteins build and maintain new cells in the body. A gram of protein provides 4 calories. There are higher quality proteins, which may reduce appetite and optimize muscle repair and recovery (think: fish or eggs), and lower quality proteins (think: hamburger meat) that are loaded with branched-chain amino acids, which have been linked to metabolic disease and insulin resistance. In this case, you get more nutritional bang for your buck if you consume 4 calories of high quality protein.

Carbohydrates are the fiber, starch and sugars found in foods. Carbohydrates are used by the body as a quick source of energy, particularly for the brain, liver and muscles. All carbohydrates (with the exception of fiber, which our body can’t digest) provide 4 calories per gram. But just as there are healthier fats and higher-quality proteins, there are varying degrees of carbohydrate quality.

Though not a source of calories, fiber is considered a high-quality carbohydrate since it slows digestion, making you feel fuller longer, and fiber can moderate the absorption of other nutrients, like sugar. For this reason, high-quality carbohydrates typically contain fiber and are minimally processed. These include fruits, vegetables, whole grains and legumes. Lower-quality carbohydrates almost always lack fiber and add little more than “empty calories” to our diets.

  • Starchy foods like potatoes and pasta are predominantly made up of glucose. Glucose is a simple sugar that can be build for energy by every cell in our bodies.
  • Glucose is stored in our liver and muscles for a quick source of energy.
  • Unprocessed starch foods, like brown rice, potatoes with the skins on, and 100% whole-wheat pasta, contain the foods’ natural fibers and well as some vitamins and minerals.
  • Fructose can only be broken down in the liver. It is the sweetest tasting of all the simple sugars. Fructose is found in fruits bound tightly to indigestible fiber that reduces and slow absorption. Unfortunately, the majority of fructose in our diets isn’t from fruits but from sweeteners in beverages and processed foods. Too many calories from fructose – honey, processed sugar, high-fructose corn syrup – can overwhelm the liver. This can lead to nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, insulin resistance, and more.

As you can see, a calorie of carbohydrate is not the same as a calorie from fat or protein, nor are all carbohydrate calories created equal. As a general rule of thumb, I recommend consuming the majority of your calories from minimally or unprocessed whole foods since, ultimately, the quality of what we eat determines the quantity of calories we consume, which impacts not only our weight but also our overall health and well-being.

Collard Greens

Collard Greens are nutritional heavy hitters. They are a rich source of calcium, manganese, chlorophyll, antioxidant vitamins A and C, minerals, and cancer-fighting phytonutrients. Eating collard greens provide strong immune support and protect, cleanse and nourish the heart, liver, colon, lungs and cellular system.

Collard greens are high in cruciferous phytos – diindolymethane and sulphoraphane – both anticancer nutrients. Collard greens are closely related to kale, cabbage, and broccoli.

Collard greens are excellent detoxifiers due to their sulfur-containing compounds glucosinolates; these are natural liver cleansers. Collard greens can help eliminate toxins from the body on a cellular level. Glucosinolates help regulate and activate detoxifying enzymes in the body and protect DNA from the attack of free radicals and other harmful chemicals.

These wonderful and nutritious vegetables are cultivated in the cooler months of the year and can resist frost unlike cabbage and other members of its species. This is an excellent plant to grow in your garden.

Vitamin K is one of the most necessary vitamins for the strength and building of bones. Vitamin K is far more useful in strengthening bones than even calcium. Collard greens contribute up to 100 percent of the daily recommended Vitamin K. Vitamin K has been observed to reduce fracture rates. Regular consumption of collard green can be beneficial in fighting off diseases such as osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.

Collard greens are a good source of iron, containing .5mg of iron per 100 grams. The folate present in collard greens helps the body absorb iron better and build more red cells. It helps balance the hemoglobin in the body which prevent anemia. Collard greens are an excellent addition to the diet of women who are expecting.

How to Buy

Collard greens are large in size, usually at least 10 to 12 inches long, with oval, flat leaves. In comparison to kale, the leaves are usually wider and the stems are thicker. Many grocery stores will carry collard greens on a regular basis in the produce section, close to other greens, such as kale or Swiss chard. They should be located in a chilled area, which will keep them firm.

Look for the freshest collards to show up in your store in winter through spring. They will also be at their lowest price during these times of year. Good collard greens are firm and crisp. Firmness will show you that the collard greens are relatively fresh and that they have been stored properly in the store, as well as while being transported from the field to the store.
Pick up the greens and bend them a little bit. They should be firm and not floppy.

In a bunch of collard greens there may be one or two leaves that were slightly damaged and a bit discolored. It’s also not uncommon to have a few holes in collard greens due to hungry bugs. If the majority of the leaves look good, however, then the collards are probably just fine to purchase.

How to Store

Collard greens are often relatively dirty and gritty when they are harvested. Because of this, you will need to clean them thoroughly before cooking them. To do this, soak them in a sink full of water and rub them vigorously to remove any dirt and debris.

Store them wrapped in a cotton dish towel in your refrigerator.

How to Cook

Collard greens can replace spinach or kale in recipes.

Stuffed collard greens work well because the leaves are thick and will hold the food well.

Ginger Sesame Greens

Terry Winters, Clean Food Cookbook

4-6 Servings


2 bunches of organic dark leafy greens (kale, collard greens, mustard greens, dandelion greens, or chard)
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon grated fresh organic ginger
1 tablespoon mirin
1 tablespoon tamari
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
Toasted sesame seeds and sea salt or gomasio (Gomasio is dry condiment used in Japanese cuisine made with unhealed sesame seeds and salt. Some commercially sold gomashio also has sugar mixed in with the salt.)


  1. Remove dry stalk ends from greens and chop leaves into bite-size pieces.
  2. In Dutch oven or skillet over medium heat, sauté ginger in olive oil, mirin and tamari for 1 minute.
  3. Add chopped greens, increase heat to medium-high, add water as needed to prevent sticking, cover and cook 3-5 minutes until the greens are tender.
  4. Remove cover, toss greens to ensure even cooking and sauté 2-3 minutes longer.
  5. Turn off heat, drain excess cooking liquid and toss with toasted sesame oil.
  6. Sprinkle with gomasio or toasted sesame seeds and salt and serve.

Taylor, L.L (2015, April1). Basal metabolic rate - How to calculate and find your BMR - from Shapefit


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