Jungle Janie's Blog

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Monday, December 8, 2014

How I track my food these days...

I've started to try and take photos of everything I eat, weigh it, and log it in an app so that I can then share it all with y'all as much as I can.

I found weighing it in grams to be the easiest way, especially if I'm doing monomeals. (Thanks to Dr. Pam Halton trying out this diet while visiting me and tracking things that way). I can just put everything I think I might eat on a tray or in a container and weigh it. Then I record that weight. When I eat I just make sure to eat over the container and put all the compost and such back in there. If I don't eat it all I leave that stuff in the container as well... then I weigh it at the end. I can then subtract the ending from the beginning amounts to see how much I actually ate. It's pretty simple. and now that I have a nice looking and easily portable scale (Oohh, ahh, it's red! So pretty), I can even do it when on the go.

If I'm not doing monomeals, then it's a little more tricky when doing something blended or mixed, but not too bad. What I do is tare the container then add the first ingredient and see how much that weighs, record that. Then I tare the container with that other stuff in it and add the next ingredient and see how much that weighs, record that.. and so on. It takes a bit more time to do the food prep that way, but it works pretty well. I usually take the container off the scale after recording the added food, but before mixing it together.

Here's a few pictures I took of the process with monomeals to illustrate it. I think I'll have to do a video to illustrate how to do it with blended and mixed foods:

Mamey sapote on a plate before eating: weight was 2,224 grams.
Same plate after eating (there was one I didn't eat on there too as you can see in the next pic after this): weight was 1,894 grams.

That makes the total eaten 330 grams (2224-1894).

Another example without the weights:

Saba bananas before eating.

Saba bananas after eating.


So what tracking app do I use?

Well, I haven't figured out one that quite works how I want it. I have a FitBit Flex that I used to wear all the time and loved it. The wristband wore out while I was waiting for a set of them in different colors to arrive from China... and they never did. I need to order them from somewhere else but haven't gotten to it yet... which is why I don't know my sleep times so well these days. It was so easy to log my sleep with it. The only thing it didn't have that I would have wanted was a time display since it's already on my arm like a watch. Too bad the Force didn't work out. I hope they get another replacement done soon...

ANYway.. FitBit has an app you can use online and on certain cell phones to sync with it and track other things while you're at it. One of those things is what you eat. It allows you to put in custom foods too, so it's pretty handy since the phone I got as a hand-me-down from my son is one of the ones that syncs well... if I were still wearing it. LOL The app does okay, and will tell you the caloronutrient breakdown of carbs/ protein/ fat as well as your total calories. It doesn't tell you the totals of other nutrients though, so not good for that.

I recently became interested in tracking all those other nutrients, or at least some of them, again after watching Dr. Rick Dina do a talk about the nutrient values in oranges, veggies, and some nuts and seeds. (Thanks to Mei Van Walleghem for letting me know about his online courses when visiting me). I tracked things like that way back when I was doing raw vegan a higher fat way.. had gathered all the nutrition info I could from various books and nutrition sources available at the time (pre Internet USDA database availability and all). I made a custom database, converted the units to standard sizes, got RDAs, etc. and made an app in MS Access to enter my info in and see what I'd eaten and what areas I was low in for the day. This was back when I was micromanaging my diet.

I haven't felt the need to do that, but I have become curious in calculating it again for a while. I'm actually thinking of doing an app myself so that I can get what I want from it. In the meantime I've been checking out other options.

Diet Master seems pretty good in some ways, excellent in many actually, however it doesn't seem to allow for custom foods, which is a problem since I eat a lot of foods not in the database. I have an Android phone, and it works on there which is nice.

I'm currently trying out CHRON-O-Meter--was planning on trying it online at first, and then on my phone.. but it's got really bad reviews for the phone version. The online version seems adequate so far. I may try the Android app soon anyway.

So, I've ended up tracking the stuff in FitBit's app as it goes, then transferring the info into CHRON-O-Meter online just before entering it here... I do think I'm gonna' do an app. I know a few people who were developing apps to do similar things, however it's been a long time and nothing has come of it. I don't wanna' wait anymore... so will do it as I can between things I guess. I'll let y'all know if/when I actually complete something usable so you can use it too.

I used to use some other online trackers, but would really prefer something I can use on my phone on since I'm on the go more these days than back then. Thank goodness I'm not at the computer as much as I used to be. It makes my life much nicer, but a bit more challenging to keep y'all up to date. Sorry about the irregularity. I'm trying to publish something (blog post, writing, video, etc.) every week, and more often whenever possible.

Speaking of which... I may do a video about how to easily track your food intake later on as well. Hopefully I'll have a better app solution by then too.

In the meantime, enjoy the ease of using a scale and measuring weight in grams... almost all nutrition data will include some version in grams, so it's the most universal measure.

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