One house, different metabolic needs: Creating harmony


To begin let me say that I love my husband. Based on the images above you can probably imagine where my inspiration for this blog comes from. You see the guy I live with is not only a card-carrying member of the ectomorph tribesman, but as an ultra marathon runner he is also likely a chief. Let me now also say that I love my family heritage. However, there are many unhealthy, overweight and non athletic people chilling in my family tree. While my other half has to consistently strive to simply maintain rather than lose weight, my battle is definitely against the billowing bulge. So how is it that we are able to coexist under one roof and still get what we need from our nutrition? Well, it’s a process.

If you are an ectomorph living with an endomorph, I’m sorry. If you are an endomorph living with an ectomorph, I’m sorry. The first thing to realize is that navigating nutrition at either end of the spectrum is a challenge for both poles. The endo may see the ecto as being lucky to be able to eat as much of anything as they want, but in reality a true ecto has to really struggle just to avoid being underweight. The ectomorph likely feels bad sometimes that they can eat whatever they want while watching their co habitation partner fight ice cream, cookies and cakes like they are fighting an invisible demonic force. The point is, it can be difficult, in different ways for both parties.

Breakfasts should be pretty easy for each person to get what they need without outside influences. Ectos load up on the carbs and starches, i.e. oats, cereals, breakfast burritos, bagels etc. while endos fuel up with high proteins and whole carbs like protein smoothies, eggs, chia porridge, fruit etc. Next stop of the day is place of work. Ectos thrive in this environment with ample choices supplied by a wide array of snack dealers. Endos can successfully step through booby snack traps by having their own stash of treats that specifically work for their needs, i.e. fruit, raw mixed veggies, paleo muffin or cookie, larabar, pb&apples, smoothies etc.

Lunch time again, can be easy for both extremes. It would be great if both parties prepared lunch at home for their individual needs, but there are many half way decent options at popular lunch places. Again ectos need the high carb options like subway sandwiches, pastas, rice/beans etc. while endos will want to veer towards lean meats, veggies and complex carbs like sweet potatoes, Ezekiel bread or whole wheat tortilla that fit within caloric needs. Afternoon snacking should resemble the morning snack time.

And that brings us home to dinner and more snack time, the final challenge of the day. Because of the very different needs of both, different options need to be available to both for dinner. One easy-ish way to do this is with side dishes. Ectos can decorate their meat serving with whole wheat home-made biscuits, mac and cheese, mashed potatoes or pasta of some kind etc. Endos will want to gravitate towards one serving of quinoa, 5 oz. of sweet potato or mashed rutabaga as their starch option. BOTH types need vegetables and I am of the opinion that half any person’s plate should be filled with green vegetables. The other method is to prepare 2 completely separate meals. Typically this resembles some sort of one pot casserole type meal for the ectomorph that includes protein, carbs, fat and vegetables. The endomorph’s plate would look like the above description. Preparing the meals separately sort of draws a line, “This is your meal, and this is mine,” and the line is so clearly drawn that it does require conscious effort to step over it because time was taken to prepare both.

If you are at one end of the spectrum living with the other end let me just encourage you. We are not all built the same, and because of that we simply can’t all eat the same. Once that is accepted and even embraced, we can be free to take care of our own individual needs while also being aware and sensitive to the needs of others. Take care of you this holiday season! Don’t worry about what everyone else is doing or calls normal. You are the captain of your physical body, keep that ship on course!