Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Have you analyzed your daily nutrition? Check out!

I think I have been counting calories and/or working out regularly since I was about 10 years old. I always ate junk food and never really practiced portion control. I wish I would have been more conscious of what I was putting into my body. Before becoming vegan, I fell into a trap of looking for 'diet' foods or 'reduced calorie' foods; aka processed foods. Have you ever looked at the packages on some of those diet foods? What the heck is in those things? Was there any nutrition in them at all?
For almost a year now, I have been very conscious of what I eat.
I feel like I eat very nutritious, wholesome foods, with many fruits, vegetables, beans, plant-based proteins, etc. There are certainly processed and non-nutritional vegan foods out there, but, in a way, you are kind of forced to steer clear of many traditionally-unhealthy foods when you become vegan. I think of my old ways and can't imagine going back, now that I know so much more about nutrition. I have cut out artificial sweeteners, diet coke, fast food, lots of processed foods and all animal products from my diet.
I get a little fearful sometimes that I am not getting enough vitamin D or vitamin B-12 because they aren't found in too many vegan foods. I do take twice-daily multi-vitamins, which provide me with these vitamins. I also get vitamin D while on my runs in the park.
I found a great site, FitDay that allows you to track and analyze your nutrition, weight loss, diet and fitness. I decided to give it a try because it's free (I have a private profile, but you can make your profile public, too). I found that when I went to input the foods I ate, I had to create some 'custom' foods, since some of the foods I eat weren't listed. It's pretty easy to do. You just go to your refrigerator or pantry and grab the item you want to add to your food diary, then enter the calories, fat, protein, sodium, carbohydrates, fiber and vitamin/mineral content from the package and then add it to your food log.
 I tend to be a creature of habit and like to eat the same foods every day. I'm going to have to start changing it up a bit to get more of the nutrition my body needs. This is a peek at my 2/8/11 nutritional breakdown. The items needing improvement would be possibly cutting back carbs (noooooo!) and working on eating foods rich in vitamins B-12, B-6, D, E, calcium (wow! I need more calcium!), iron and all the rest of them. I do get a lot of vitamins from my twice-daily multi-vitamin, like I mentioned before. But, it would be good to try to get more of my vitamins from food. Click the chart below to enlarge.

I found a list of vegan calcium sources, which will help me increase my daily calcium consumption:
Food Amount Calcium (mg)
Blackstrap molasses 2 Tbsp 400
Collard greens, cooked 1 cup 357
Tofu, processed with
   calcium sulfate*
4 ounces     200-330
Calcium-fortified orange juice 8 ounces 300
Soy or ricemilk, commercial,
    calcium-fortified, plain
8 ounces 200-300
Commercial soy yogurt, plain 6 ounces   80-250
Turnip greens, cooked 1 cup 249
Tofu, processed with nigari* 4 ounces   80-230
Tempeh 1 cup 215
Kale, cooked 1 cup 179
Soybeans, cooked 1 cup 175
Okra, cooked 1 cup 172
Bok choy, cooked 1 cup 158
Mustard greens, cooked 1 cup 152
Tahini 2 Tbsp 128
Broccoli, cooked 1 cup   94
Almonds 1/4 cup   89
Almond butter 2 Tbsp   86
Soy milk, commercial, plain 8 ounces   80
I think I'll pick up some Tempeh, fortified soy milk, kale and collard greens to start getting more calcium. I found out that tempeh and miso are a reliable source of vitamin B-12, along with fortified non-dairy milk, fortified cereals and nutritional yeast. Nuts, seeds and vegetable oils may help me get more vitamin E. For increased iron, I'll try introducing spirulina and plan to eat more quinoa and lentils. 

I would encourage even the healthiest person to take a look at their daily nutrition on FitDay, even for just 1 typical day. Calories and weight watchers points don't tell the full picture on your nutrition; they're only a portion the story! Also, if you work out a lot, you can see if you are eating the right amount of food, based on your fitness/weight goals.

There are pie charts, graphs, calorie balance information (shows how much you ate vs how much your body burned during the day, based on your lifestyle). Here's my calorie balance graph from 2/8/11.

You can track your weight loss, BMI (I'm in the 'healthy' range! Woo!), measurements, journal about your moods and feelings during the day, etc., all for free. I plan to use it for the next 30 days to see if I can make more nutritious food choices, log my exercise and see if I lose a little weight (I'd be happy losing 5 lbs in the next 30 days, but I'm doing this challenge to be more in line with my body's nutritional needs). Let me know if you try it out; I'd love to hear what you think of


  1. love this post and I too enjoy fitday- it's crazy to see the true breakdown of everything! I also thought you may want to check this out:


  2. Danielle-I am so impressed with! Glad to hear you use it, too! I'll check out the link. You always have such good recommendations. :)