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Food journals.

Posted Sep 01 2011 1:46pm

Dear Blog,
I’m sorry I’ve been avoiding you this week. Eeeps! That was not my intention but things got kind of crazy between balancing my new schedule of working 2 jobs + school. But I’m hanging in there, and I missed you enough to come back. So thanks for being there.
Yours truly, Me.

Okay, so I’m feeling a bit silly tonight ;) I wanted to share with you all something I’ve been doing for the past week. I’ve been logging all of my daily eats into a Nutrition Tracker on Spark People . If you haven’t heard of Spark People, it’s a fabulous website geared towards weight loss, but also designed for anyone that just wants to learn more about themselves regarding food and exercise, calories burned, nutrient intake, etc. I heard about it through Cassie @ Back to Her Roots , and decided to give it a try.

My primary goal was to track the exact nutrients I’m obtaining through my vegan diet to get a better idea of what I’m doing right, and what I could work on. Food science and nutrition are an interest of mine, so I kind of did it for the overall experience and to hopefully gain some knowledge. I’ve never tracked my exact daily eats and workouts before, and I’ve certainly never done a food journal since I started following a vegan diet, so I thought I’d give it a try! After a week of logging my food and exercise my overall review of this website is that it’s fabulous. It’s very easy to use, it’s free (duh! Forgot to mention that part!) and it’s overflowing with information, healthy tips and ideas regarding diet and exercise.

My results were… so-so. I was surprised by a few things. My calorie intake seemed to vary. Some days I was so busy with jetting from class to class and then back to work, that I got under my recommended calories (and nutrients)! Not good! But then the next day I was slightly over my recommended calories, so I suppose overall my days balanced out. Nobody is perfect, right? But nutrient intake was pretty steady across the board. Here’s a snapshot of my food journal for the week. Obviously I haven’t filled out today yet. When I signed up for SparkPeople I put my goal as weight loss to get an idea of what was recommended. This week I am going to do another full log under weight maintenance to compare the two.

Weekly Progress
NUTRIENTS: GOAL 8/26 8/27 8/28 8/29 8/30 8/31 TODAY Calories: 1,200 - 1,5501,4181,4851,8907881,9851,4090 Fat: 27 - 604047832672280 Carbohydrates: 135 - 2522312322351102562720 Protein: 60 - 1364845583958400 Sodium, Na: 500 - 2,3001,1331,6292,1104281,5831470 Calcium, Ca: 100 - 15086871863634220 Cholesterol: 0 - 250 - - - - - -0 Fiber, total dietary: 25 - 354741613043380 Potassium, K: 3,500 - 4,7003,3852,8042,8342,1613,5742,8910 Vitamin B-12: 100 - 2005034103201 -0 Vitamin D: 100 - 150251752 - - -0 Iron, Fe: 100 - 150107741006392970 Magnesium, Mg: 100 - 1258710312477125710 Vitamin A, IU: 100 - 110371214548289881030 Vitamin E: 100 - 200106531632439310
Grocery list See today's full report Remove multiple foods Change Nutrition Goals Add/Edit Meals

**Note: I did not account for my daily juicing in my food journals. On average I juiced 2-3 a day and varied my juices, but usually had a mix of fruit and veggies and about 10-15 oz. servings. So that is a couple hundred calories extra each day, and more nutrients!

Yes, I realize 788 calories is ridiculous for a days worth of eats, and to be honest my excuse is pretty pathetic. Woke up late and went to bed early! Ha! And ran around like a maniac. But at least I made up for it the next day.

Okay, so what do I need to work on?  Going into this I knew that my Vitamin D and Vitamin B-12 would be low. I take daily supplements for both of these and have for awhile now. But I wasn’t anticipating low Iron and Calcium. I know I eat lots of leafy greens but it isn’t always enough. So I’ve been working on incorporating more of some of my fav foods into my diet:

Nutrient-rich foods for a vegan diet:
Iron rich foods: lentils, soybeans, spinach, whole wheat pasta, tofu, & quinoa.
Calcium rich foods: collard greens, kale, soybeans, bok choy, & tahini paste
Potassium rich foods: prunes, sunflower seeds, bananas, apricots, raisins, figs, melon, & tofu

And there is one super-food that is high in all of the above. Black-strap molasses.Yep, the sweet stuff! I’ve heard of vegans having a spoon full of this sticky goodness on a daily basis for a nutrient boost and I’m actually considering it.

Overall this experiment was really fun for me. I think SparkPeople is an excellent tool for someone who wants to lose weight or keep track of daily nutrients and workouts, and I highly recommend it.

Hope this post was informative and maybe even helpful to a few of you. Please know, I didn’t post this for comparison, I just wanted to share my experience. Everybody’s caloric and nutritional needs are different depending on your height, weight and overall activity level.

~Peace, Love & Veggies xo

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