A daily youtube show?

Equals & Alternatives is a video series where writer and fitness coach, Mike Vacanti (me) reviews popular food choices.

Some people will say the show is dumb.

They will say it is too simple and below my pay grade.

I disagree.

Here’s why:

The other day, my own mother asked me,

“Michael, what are macros?”

I’ve been blabbing about protein, carbs and fats since I was 16 years old and she still asked me this question. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t fault her at all. I think this is extremely common.

Most people simply will not read a 4000 word blog post, download a tracking app and then go through the struggle of learning to count their macros.

Beit a lack of knowledge. A lack of self belief. Or a lack of motivation. The reason doesn’t really matter – they just won’t.

What matters is that because of this: a huge percent of the population is missing out on the holy grail of fitness (yes I just called counting macros the holy grail and yes I believe that).

And I’m not talking about a trendy diet.

Remember, proteins, carbs and fats existed long before “IIFYM” and poptart enthusiasts

(no hate, by the way, I love poptarts)

Energy balance and macronutrient distribution are the pillars of weigh gain/loss and body composition.



What kinds of foods will be reviewed?


1. “Healthy” Foods

sbux protein

Ever see a “protein box!” at starbucks?

Or “natural and organic whole wheat crackers” at a gas station?

You were in a hurry, and these seemed like decent options (they weren’t).

These brands were taking advantage of buzzwords like protein, organic and natural, implying that their contents were good for you. To throw “protein” in a food’s title then make the food only 13% protein (87% carbs and fat!) is straight up fraud. Yes, starbucks does this.

We will examine which of these options are good and which you should avoid.

2. Foods with a sneaky number of calories

When I started training Gary Vaynerchuk, he told me he “didn’t eat enough.”

This always makes me wince a little, because no human in history has ever packed on bodyfat by not eating enough. That’s just not how nutritional science works.

GV and I traveled from New York to SF together during our second week of training. Upon entering the hotel before our workout, he picked up a bag of cracker jacks from The W’s mini bar.

Oh my God. Mike. NINE HUNDRED CALORIES!! Mike, I would have eaten this whole thing in a second.

Gary had not been undereating.

We just drastically underestimate our calorie intake, and sneaky foods play a huge role.

3. Everything else

As I write this, I have yet to shoot a single episode.

I really don’t know what else we will review.

But I’m guessing it will include:

Road trip snacks and room service options. Kind Bars, Quest Bars and Power Bars. Smoothies and slushies. Natural this and organic thatMerlot, Mai Tais and Magners.

We are going to review every food that will help you make better decisions and thus be a better you.


My goal is to solve our obesity problem

To futher simplify energy balance and macronutrients

Every day we will take real, practical, food options and put them under a microscope.

You can then take this information and apply it directly to your own life in a way that is real and actionable.

For example, if we review airport food options on the show one day and you are traveling the next, you can literally make a better decision and improve instantly.



So, you’re saying calories and macros are ALL that matters?

No, that’s absolutely not what I’m saying.

Nutrition is more complicated than “calories in versus calories out.”

Things like fiber, micronutrients, insulin sensitivity, meal timing, rest & recovery — these all matter. But they matter far less than calories/macros.

Our biggest problem comes from metabolic diseases – heart attack/stroke/type II diabetes.

They end lives early. They leave children without parents. They leave spouses alone and depressed. They deny us a long and full life.

These diseases are not correlated with deficient vitamin K or too much gluten or a dash of aspartame. They are most correlated with obesity. 

And the single change you can make TODAY that will have a profound impact is this: track your calorie and macronutrient intake.


Are you saying some foods are “good” and others are “bad”

Great question. And no, that is not what I’m saying.

It’s all about context.

The “healthiest” food in the world could be “bad” for you (misaligned with your goals) in the wrong situation or quantity.

And “unhealthy garbage” can fit into your diet depending on things like: your total lean body mass, fitness goals and what else you are eating during the day (I eat ben and jerry’s nearly every day).

That being said: at the highest level, some foods are better and some foods are worse for developing a lean, strong, healthy body.

Equals & Alternatives will provide specific, practical examples to help you make better decisions each day.


This show sucks !!! it doesnt even address (government corn subsidies, unhealthy emotional relationships with food, the decrease in physically laborious jobs, etc).

Look, I know obesity is complex.

And I don’t have a single “why” for the problem.

Is it the huge portion sizes? The processed food? Video games? Boredom? A lack of knowledge around food? The fact that our generation lacks a real purpose or battle so we just eat because we don’t know hardship?

My answer is yes.

Meaning, I don’t doubt that ALL of those things are factors in the increasing body fat % of our society.

But this show aims to tackle one factor: knowledge

By simplifying daily food choices, my hope is that with each episode you can take one step closer to a leaner, stronger, healthier, better version of yourself.



I truly appreciate you being here. The best way to receive updates on the show is to subscribe to my youtube channel




Episode 1:

Comments for This Entry

  • Justin

    This is a great concept. Thoroughly enjoyed your first two shows. Look forward to seeing more...

    January 7, 2015 at 12:13 am | Reply to this comment

  • Carla

    I liked your show! I think it will be very helpful to those who don't want to read . . . It is so vital to break this ridiculous premise of "healthy" and "unhealthy" food. These short but information packed episodes will reach a whole new audience, imo. Please continue!!

    January 11, 2015 at 11:14 pm | Reply to this comment

  • Sandy

    I will never look at a Kind bar the same way. Thank you so much for this information, I would like to see more!

    January 12, 2015 at 7:58 pm | Reply to this comment

  • Laureen

    I like the show and the whole concept. I'm interested to see what other foods you discuss and would like to see mire alternatives offered than just one.

    January 14, 2015 at 10:58 pm | Reply to this comment

  • Babs

    This is a great concept. People rarely look past the slick advertising on the wrappers or ads to see what they're actually putting into their bodes.

    February 18, 2015 at 6:54 am | Reply to this comment

  • Ryan White

    I’m not entirely sure what the underlining message here is, other than comparing calories and macros.. Unfortunately this is not nearly the entire picture when reviewing and comparing different foods. While it’s fun to see what foods are marketed as healthy (when they are not) I’d argue that a Kind bar is a helluva lot better when it comes to nutrition. Maybe not stat-wise, but all you have to do is look at the ingredient list on most nut-centric bars vs your typical candy bar. When it comes to weight loss, macro’s *obviously* play a very vital role, but when it comes to overall health and wellness, more needs to be analyzed and compared than just a few numbers on the back of a wrapper. Either way, always choose a whole food source over a convenience/packaged snack. Neat concept, though, and I’ll look forward to seeing more.

    February 20, 2015 at 4:15 pm | Reply to this comment

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