Is Your Diet Adequate?

Being a vegan (or nearly—I’m about to give up eggs), there’s a lot of worry from friends and family that I don’t get all the nutrients that my body needs. It’s a concern that recently intrigued me, as I noticed my recent increase in sugar intake. Am I getting everything I need?

The thought is intriguing. So I decided to start tracking my food. It’s been two and a half days, and already I’ve determined that I’ve only been ingesting about half the calcium and vitamin D that I should be. Granted, in two days’ analysis isn’t enough to make any determinations, but it’s already fascinating nonetheless.

Fig. 1

Fig. 2

I learned about the website FitDay.com back in college, when, for a Pilates class, we had to record every meal we ate and every physical activity we did to take a look at our health, with regards to those things. FitDay is marketed, like other food trackers, as a way to help people lose weight. That’s not what I’m using it for. I’m primarily using it for its data analysis functionality. I can see how many carbs vs. protein vs. fat vs. alcohol I consume in one day, how many calories I’ve ingested vs. how many calories I’ve burned (fig. 3), and what my vitamin and nutrient intake is in comparison to the RDA (figs. 1, 2). These are the three things I’m most interested in.

Fig. 3

Now, I have to keep in mind that the site doesn’t take into account good carbs vs. so-called “bad” carbs (eg: complex vs. simple; the former is what you want)(fig. 4). Vegetables are chock-full of carbs, but also the vitamins you need. And, as a reminder, protein is an overrated nutrient bolstered by diet crazes.

Fig. 4

Side Note: Animal protein has been proven to cause or bolster the development cancer, such as breast and prostate, as well as heart disease and myriad other afflictions, such as Type 2 Diabetes. All of these afflictions can be cured or reversed when the patient adopts a plant-based diet. Casein—the protein I’m allergic to, found in every dairy product—in particular has been scientifically proven to promote the production of cancer cells (from long-term research conducted by Dr. T. Colin Campbell). After learning this, I’m especially glad I’ve been dairy-free for going on three years. (Check out this article by Dr. Campbell and Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn on the health benefits and the exciting news on what a plant-based diet can do for your health.)

Vegetarianism is recommended as a dietary therapy for a variety of conditions, including heart disease, high cholesterol, type 2 diabetes, and stroke. Vegetarianism is a major dietary therapy in the alternative treatment of cancer. Other conditions treated with a dietary therapy of vegetarianism include obesity, osteoporosis, arthritis, allergies, asthma, environmental illness, hypertension, gout,gallstones, hemorrhoids, kidney stones, ulcers, colitis, premenstrual syndrome, anxiety, and depression. Vegetarians often report higher energy levels, better digestion, and mental clarity. Vegetarianism is an economical and easily implemented preventative practice as well. –Medical Dictionary

I’m planning to track my nutrition for one month to see how my basic diet fares. This is going to help me make more conscious decisions, including monitoring my alcohol intake, with regards to what I’m putting into my body, and what I need to supplement or eat more of. I’ve already found that I need more calcium and vitamin D, so I started taking a vitamin with both of these things. (Note: I loathe vitamins.)

I’m looking forward to seeing what the end result will be. My college reunion in the first week of June is going to prove, I’m sure, to be an exceptionally bad weekend for nutrition, but I’m hoping I’ll be able to resist all the nasties—which shouldn’t be too terribly hard since I’m vegan and there should at least be salad—and limit my alcohol intake despite the 72 hours of open bar.

And because it’s always important to maintain a sense of humor about nearly everything in life, I present to you one of the best videos on YouTube:  Foamy the Squirrel rants about the “Fatkins Diet.” Enjoy!

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