Month: January 2016

Stories I loved this week.

Happy weekend! I am so thankful to have the next two days to rest, relax, exercise and spent time with my guys. It’s been a hectic few weeks with two weekends in a row of all day lectures, on top of settling into a new […]

Do you read labels?

One of my favourite things to do is spend an hour or two browsing the aisles of a health food shop like Whole Foods, Planet Organic or As Nature Intended, looking through the products, seeing what’s new, picking things up, flipping them over and reading […]

I Tried It: Keeping A Food Diary

 

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My second assignment for my second year of nutrition requires me to keep a food diary. Sounds too easy, right? Copy down breakfast, lunch, dinner and Bob’s your uncle.

For this exercise, we need to record every single element of each meal and put this information through a food calculator to analyse the macronutrient (protein, fat and carbohydrate) and micronutrient (vitamins and minerals) content consumed each day. Then map this against the government’s RNI for micronutrients and do a naturopathic analysis of what could be improved.

It’s fascinating stuff. And very eye opening.

I’ve been recording everything I eat and drink since Monday and it’s verified a lot of what I already know about the way I eat and my intentions for my nutrition. I eat a lot of good fats (almonds, avocado, meat), lots of carbohydrates, in the form of fruit and vegetables and a decent amount of protein. I don’t snack, so I like that satiated feeling I get after eating a meal full of good fats, proteins and lots of carbohydrates from fruits and vegetables.

When it comes to micronutrients, it’s a little bit addicting to see how eating certain foods can push up your daily vitamin and mineral intake. Kale and avocados, are a great example of this. I have them most mornings, in my smoothie, so by 8am, I’m well on my way to hitting the majority of the B vitamin (bar B12) requirement for the day.

My omega-3 intake is not high enough – the perfect excuse to eat more smoked salmon!

I can see how easy it is to become obsessed with this information. Equally, it’s really good for people who may be concerned that they’re not getting enough of the right micronutrients to spend a few days inputting their meals into one of these analysis programmes. I can see how good this could be for vegetarians and vegans, especially. It would’ve been very useful for me in my vegetarian days, when I know my diet was really poor. Think lots of cheese, wraps, bread and chocolate and very little veg. Oops.

Here’s what yesterday’s food intake looked like in terms of micronutrient intake, starting with vitamins, then minerals and then amino acids.

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Doing this exercise on myself is really interesting and it will be even more interesting once I’ve finished my training and I’m out in the ‘real world’.

For some clients, having access to all of this information could be very overwhelming and others, they might benefit from seeing a deeper analysis of their food intake.

It’s all very well having this data, but it’s what you do with it that matters. Based on a day’s worth of data, I can see that I need to work on my Vitamin D intake and look at including different plant based sources of calcium. And one day out of seven is just a slice of the whole picture. Once I have a full week’s worth of data, one of the requirements of my assignment is to do a full analysis of the week to identify any trends and potential insufficiencies. Should be fascinating stuff.

Do you keep a food diary or use a food tracking like DailyPlate or MyFitnessPal? Why do you use them?

Photo by Noah Basle

 

Stories I loved this week.

Winter has officially arrived in London. It’s been really cold here this week, so we’ve had to pull out our parkas and toques and snuggle down. I like it. Our food is either nutritious or not. We are healthy or we are not. If we […]

What is your nutrition style? Abstinence or moderation?

I love January. It’s the start of the new year (I’ve only recently stopped thinking in academic years! It’s funny how long it takes to break that mental habit), a time to reset and ease into new goals and intentions. And I love all the television […]

Stories I loved this week.

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Sometimes it’s important to get a reminder to be gentle with yourself. I got a big one this week when my new job finally kicked into gear and I came home each day very tired with only enough energy to eat, hang out with my husband and son and zone out with my laptop in front of the TV. No studying and no blogging was done this week. I felt guilty about it, especially since one of my goals was to be more intentional about blogging and about my leisure time this year. The guilt was counterproductive, so I had to say f*ck it and give myself a break. It’s exhausting feeling guilty about things, isn’t it? Such a waste of energy. Incidentally, have you read the book, F**k it therapy? It’s supposed to be very good.

Some simple but good tips for avoiding parental burnout. ‘Me time’ is essential and I often stay up a bit later so I feel like I have time for myself. Now that I’m working again, I do everything possible to take my full hour’s lunch break, to sit, eat, read a book and take a beat. (Mother)

Have you ever read the Michael Pollan essay that kick started it all? Well worth your time. (The New York Times)

Such a great piece on changing the way we think about food. In Anglo-Saxon culture, there seems to be so much unnecessary guilt around food – bad food, dirty food, guilty pleasures we can’t seem to just let ourselves enjoy a piece of cake and then move on. (goop)

As someone with a very strong sense of smell, I’ve always found it fascinating how much I use this sense to guide some of my decisions. Now I know a bit more about why. (aeon)

I love sparkling water, but have had this nagging feeling for awhile that it’s not good for me. Turns out, it’s perfectly safe. (BBC)

Finally. Why I’m always so, so, so, so hungry around my period. (Greatist)

 

Working in the advertising industry, this isn’t surprising at all. You do eat with your eyes, after all. (The Guardian)

Photo by Death to Stock

Stories I loved this week.

The first week of the new year is finished! Did you make it though okay? I started a new contract on Tuesday, finished a big assignment for my nutrition degree and have lectures this whole weekend. But I’m ready for it and feel really refreshed […]

Do you need to detox?

At this time of the year, newspapers and magazines are filled with weight loss, fitness and detox stories. I admit, I do enjoy reading them and seeing what nutrition & exercise (mis)information is being passed around. One of my biggest gripes is seeing articles that […]

What I’m Reading: 10% Happier

Riding the waves

Everyone seems to be talking about mindfulness these days.  A few months ago, I was wandering around Indigo, a fabulous chain of bookstores in Toronto and decided I wanted to read something about mindfulness and meditation, to learn a bit more. I didn’t fancy a long tome ala Eckhart Tolle, just something light and easy so I picked up 10% Happier, on a whim.

I’m glad I did. Subtitled ‘How I Tamed The Voice In My Head, Reduced Stress Without Losing My Edge, and Found Self-Help That Actually Works – A True Story’,  10% Happier definitely did the trick in giving a light hearted introduction to mindfulness and meditation.

I’m personally a bit more open than Dan Harris, the author was initially, to meditation and mindfulness, but it’s his overriding skepticism and back story that really make the book so engaging and funny. A bit of back story: Dan Harris is a high profile anchor on ABC, an American television network and is typical of many of us. Stressed, very ambitious, trying to cram 25 hours into 24 and using drugs, alcohol and food to self-medicate. He falls into the meditation / mindfulness world through a story he’s reporting on and is intrigued, yet dubious.

What I loved most about this book, was Dan’s big realisation, on his meandering journey to learning about mindfulness. He wasn’t ever going to find something that would make him 100% happier. But anything that would make him even 10% happier was something worth exploring. I like that. There’s no expectations for a cure-all, or something life changing. Just something to help make each day a little brighter, something to help cope with the stresses of everyday life.

Even if you think of this mindfulness stuff is b.s., the book is still worth a read, purely for the fish out of water in crunchy hippy meditation world narrative that underpins it. The appendix also includes some great counter arguments to various ‘bad’ reasons not to meditate and a lovely basic mindfulness mediation that you can even do on the tube. To paraphrase:

  1. Sit comfortably.
  2. Feel your breath. Pick a spot – nose, belly or chest. Really try to feel and focus on the in-breath and then the out-breath.
  3. Every time you get lost in thought (which you will – thousands of times), gently return to the breath…beginning again and again is the actual practice, not a problem to overcome so that one day we can come to the ‘real’ meditation.

Have you tried mindfulness or mediation? What did you think? I’ve used Headspace and found it very calming and also practice the parasympathetic breathing that I learned in Hypnobirthing (really!) when I get really stressed.

Photo by Cameron Kirby

Stories I loved this week.

It’s 2016! How are you feeling about the new year so far? I’m going into it feeling refreshed, healthy and optimistic. I start a new contract on Tuesday, so it’s going to be interesting going back into the world of work after two months off. […]