Plant-Based Nutrition

The Most Important Fitness & Nutrition Terms You Need to Know

“Lisa. Really?! A nutrition dictionary?”

Super boring, right? Mmm, wrong!

You totally need to know these terms if you’re going to rock it with your fitness and nutrition, and I’m the one that’s going to help you with that.

So here’s what I’ve done:

I’ve made a nutrition and fitness dictionary that is both educational and fun!

After you get through reading this, you’re not only going to be a nutrition and fitness pro, but you’ll also feel like you actually understand all that confusing lingo that you always hear about.

So let’s do this.

The IdealRaw Dictionary

Aerobic Exercise: Also known as cardio, aerobic exercise is basically your jogging, swimming, and walking type exercises. It gets your heart pumping, your breathing gets heavy, and you start getting your sweat on.

Aerobic exercise is super important because it improves your body’s ability to use oxygen.

Your cardiovascular system is made up of your heart and all of those veins and arteries, and when you do aerobic exercise, it helps improve the flow of oxygen.

Plus, it is a pretty good way to burn those calories and get in shape!

Amino Acid: Amino acids are super tiny organic compounds that come together to make proteins.

There are 20 amino acids total, nine of which are essential, which means we must get them from the food we eat because our bodies can’t make them.

Animal products provide all nine essential amino acids, while a mixture of plant proteins, like the plant protein blend in IdealRaw Organic Protein, will provide the necessary nine as well. Go IdealRaw!

Anaerobic Exercise: This type of exercise is killer! And this is how it works: Anaerobic exercise is short, high-intensity exercise where our bodies need for oxygen is greater than the amount we get.

Sounds kind of intense, right?

Exercises like sprints, powerlifting, and the super popular HIIT workout (High-Intensity Interval Training) are some awesome examples.

Although it’s pretty intense, it’s one of the best ways to burn calories. Your body has to work to get that oxygen after your anaerobic session, so you end up burning calories for a huge amount of time even after the workout.

veggie lisa 28 day workouts

Antioxidant: Antioxidants are your body’s little protectors. They help to boost your immune system and can prevent cell damage from oxidants (aka free radicals).

Cell damage happens when oxidants either steal an electron from a cell, break apart a protein, or rupture cell walls.

Antioxidants are found naturally in many plant-based foods we eat. There are many different types out there, but some of the most common ones are vitamin A, vitamin C, and vitamin E.

You can find antioxidants packed in foods like oranges, blueberries, cranberries, and my favorite, dark chocolate!

Calorie: Put simply, a calorie is a unit of energy. Calories make up the energy our cells need in order to work properly. So this means calories are super important. Without them, we just wouldn’t get the energy we need.

Of course, the amount of calories a person needs every day depends on their age, size, and activity levels, as well as their fitness goals. Eating too many calories results in weight gain while burning more calories than you eat promotes weight loss.

Just a rule of thumb if you’re big into counting macros and calories:

  • 1g of protein = 4 calories
  • 1g of carbohydrates = 4 calories
  • 1g of fat = 9 calories

Here’s a great chart that shows how many calories on average a man and a woman should eat each day.

Remember that it’s dependent on a few different factors, though (age, size, gender, and fitness goals). So be sure to keep that in mind.

Carbohydrates: Carbohydrates are one of the three macronutrients you hear about. They’re basically the sugars, starches, and fiber found in fruits, grains, vegetables, and even dairy products.

There are two types of carbs: simple and complex. Simple carbs are digested more quickly, while complex carbs take longer.

Some simple carb examples are cookies, cereal, and juice.

Complex carbs are much better because they take longer to digest and provide healthy energy your body actually needs. Whole wheat bread, quinoa, and apples are some yummy options that are so good for you.

Cholesterol: Many people think that cholesterol is terrible, but the truth is, we actually need it. Cholesterol is a fat-like, waxy substance that’s found in your body’s cells.

Our bodies actually make all the cholesterol we need in order to make important things like hormones and substances that aid in food digestion. So not all that bad, right?

Just makes sure to limit or stay away from foods like fatty meats, butter and margarine, and processed baked goods, because they’re packed with unnecessary amounts of cholesterol.

Fat: Another one of the three macronutrients, fat is an essential part of a good diet. At least a little bit of it.

Fat is actually a high source of energy, giving you nine calories per gram and also helps to protect your vital organs.

It improves the taste of food, but too much leads to — you know it — excess fat.

Try to keep your fat intake minimal, about 30 to 40g a day. Of course, all of this depends on your lifestyle and your weight goals.

IdealRaw Organic Coconut Oil

Fiber: Believe it or not, but fiber is actually a type of carbohydrate. The difference is that our body can’t break down or digest fiber.

We get it from the plant-based foods we eat. Which is another reason why IdealRaw is so great! It’s completely plant-based and full of delicious nutrition.

There are two types of fiber: soluble and insoluble. Soluble fiber dissolves in water and makes a gel like substance that is helpful for cholesterol.

Insoluble fiber helps with digestion and can speed up the intestinal tract process and help with regularity.

Glucose: Glucose is a simple sugar that you get from food. It is an important source of energy.

A fun fact — whether you eat an apple or a piece of candy, both get turned into glucose by our body. The only difference is that the apple will take longer to break down than the candy, which makes it a better source of energy for you.

Macronutrients: These are the three biggest, main nutritional elements that make up our diet.

Macronutrients (macros for short) are made up of protein, carbohydrates, and fat, all three of which we need a certain daily amount of to give our bodies the energy they need and help them function properly.

Based off the amount of daily calories you eat, you should use this general rule: 35-35-30. That means 35% of your calories should come from protein, 35% from carbs, and 30% from fat.

Of course, the general rule may differ slightly depending on what you’re trying to accomplish with your weight, but the 35-35-30 rule is a pretty great place to start.

Metabolism: Metabolism is a collection of chemical reactions that take place in our bodies’ cells.

When we eat food, it gets broken down through digestion and then transported to various parts of our bodies to make sure that we get the energy and nutrients our cells need.

So metabolism is actually responsible for how quickly we use those calories we eat. Even during rest, our bodies burn calories, and it’s due to all of those chemical reactions occurring inside.

The more you exercise, the more energy you use, which happens due to your metabolism. Pretty cool, right?!

Micronutrients: Micronutrients consist of vitamins and minerals. They’re called micronutrients because our bodies need only a tiny amount compared to macronutrients.

But don’t let the name fool you. Micronutrients are just as important as macronutrients and perform many functions in our bodies. They can strengthen bones, carry around oxygen, and much more.

So where do we get all of these micronutrients? Well, I’m sure you’ve figured it out by now: Food.

A few examples to help solidify what a micronutrient is are vitamin C, magnesium, calcium, vitamin D3 and zinc.

Mineral: Unlike vitamins, minerals are inorganic substances and they’re found in places like water, soil, and also plants and animals.

Like I mentioned when talking about micronutrients, minerals have many functions throughout the body and are essential to our health.

Some of those functions include building strong bones and making hormones.

Here’s a list of some common minerals we need: calcium, chloride, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, iron, and zinc.

Nuts, leafy greens, and whole grains are awesome sources of minerals, so eat up.

Nutrient: Seems simple enough, but many people really can’t explain what a nutrient is.

A nutrient is a substance that helps your body grow, develop, and sustain itself. In short, nutrients help keep us alive.

Earlier I talked about macronutrients and micronutrients, and they have nutrient in their names for a reason.

We need them. So make sure you focus on getting the protein, carbs, fat, vitamins, and minerals your body requires.

Organic: Organic means just a popular, expensive way to eat food, right? WRONG!

Organic is all about the way in which food is grown, harvested, and manufactured.

Strict guidelines are put in place to assure that organic food does not come into contact with any artificial or altered ingredients.

Organic food is about as close to mother nature’s way of making it as it can get.

IdealRaw is made from organic ingredients, so you know you’re getting the clean, wholesome nutrition your body needs and deserves.

Protein: This is an easy one to explain. Protein is IdealRaw. Just kidding, there’s a little bit more to it.

Protein is one of the three macronutrients and is made of groups or chains of amino acids. Our bodies are basically made up entirely of proteins, so we need protein to keep it working right.

It is super important to get protein in our diets because, without it, we would pretty much fall apart. Protein repairs and builds muscle, bones, skin, even hair.

We must eat enough protein, about 1g per pound of body weight to keep up with our bodies’ needs and maybe, even more, depending on your level of physical activity.

Protein is also a great way to control your appetite. It takes your body longer to digest, so you feel fuller for a greater amount of time. When you want to lose weight, extra protein goes a long way!

Lisa Sitting On A Fence w/ IdealRaw Organic Protein

Saturated Fat: Saturated fat has gotten a bad wrap in the past, but it’s important to know that it isn’t all bad!

Foods that are high in saturated fat are typically various cuts of red meat, cheese, butter, among some others.

Oils, like coconut oil, still contain saturated fat, but coconut oil is made up of medium chain fatty acids, which are metabolized faster and are better sources of energy.

Of course, this doesn’t mean you can eat a whole tub of coconut oil without any consequences, but you should feel comfortable incorporating coconut oil into your diet.

Polyunsaturated Fat: Polyunsaturated fat comes in two forms, omega 3s and omega 6. Ideally, the ratio of omega 3 to omega 6 should be 1:1, but for most Americans, this ratio is off.

Omega 3s are found in foods like walnuts, flaxseed, chia seeds, eggs, fatty fish, and even dark leafy greens. Omega 6 is found in vegetable oils like sunflower, soybean, and corn oils, and nuts.

Monounsaturated Fat: Monounsaturated fat is a healthy fat that is associated with tons of health benefits! It’s found in tons of plant based foods like:

  • Olives
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Avocados
  • Almonds
  • Peanuts
  • Cashews

Trans Fat: This is the only fat that you truly want to avoid at all costs!

Trans fat is fat that has been altered to have a longer shelf life. The alteration of this fat makes it incredibly difficult for the body to break it down and metabolize.

Trans fat has been linked to lots of nasty problems like heart disease and chronic inflammation, so be sure to check your labels!

Superfood: A superfood is any food that is high in nutrients.

Superfoods are considered to be extremely beneficial for our health. They’re loaded with antioxidants or other necessary vitamins and minerals.

If you want some examples of some great superfoods, try goji berries, lentils, avocados, flaxseed, blueberries, and many more.

idealraw superfood

Veganism: I’m sure you’ve heard this word floating around here and there.

Veganism is a diet free from any animal products. No meat, eggs, or dairy of any kind are incorporated into the diet.

All the nutrition and dietary needs come from fruits, vegetables, nuts, grains, beans, and other plant products.

There are always benefits to getting more fruits and veggies into your diet. When on a vegan diet, though, it’s important to keep track of your protein content.

Of course, IdealRaw Organic Protein is made entirely from plants, so it stays within the boundaries of a vegan diet, while still offering all the protein you need.

Vitamin: Vitamins are organic, nutritional compounds that are essential for overall health.

There are 13 vitamins in all: vitamin A, B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B7, B9, B12, C, D, E, and K.

Although we don’t need hardly as many vitamins as we do our macronutrients, vitamins perform many functions for our bodies, and a lack of any vitamin can create a deficiency.

So when you grew up hearing your mom tell you to take your vitamins, it was only because she loves you want wants you to stay healthy.

Your Complete Nutrition Dictionary?

Hopefully, you learned a thing or two about how your body works, how certain foods impact your health, and how to live a healthy, long life!

Truth be told, this dictionary isn’t complete. But that doesn’t mean that it can’t be.

I just need your help!

If you run across any words that you would like me to define for you, let me know in the comments below! I’d be happy to help you better understand complicated health and fitness terms.



Lisa Danielson

Lisa Danielson

Vegan Nutritionist

Major advocate for all things green and vegetarian. With the nickname “Veggie Lisa”, I am here to help you love veggies as much as I do! With my tips and tricks for preparing delicious veggies, you’ll never think plants are boring again.


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