Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Still don't know what I'm doing

As much as I research, as much as I experiment, as much as I try to make and follow rules, I still don't really know what I'm doing. I'm not avoiding dairy like I said I would, I'm not incredibly low carb, I'm going heavy on the protein and I don't know how that's working out, it's just a big confusing mess.

I'm going to sort out the tenants of what I've discovered so far:
1. The most vital of my diet from here to eternity: grains are for never. Only in the most unavoidable situations (i.e. eating out in Japan) will I have rice, and even less wheat. There's nothing for me in those empty, bloat inducing carbs.
2. Sugar is another as-seldom-as-possible item. It is only to be used sparingly to make unpalatable things palatable; but, then again, why would I be eating something so bland in the first place? Natural and artificial sweeteners (honey for the primal, Splenda for the low-carb-er) are to be used sparingly as well, but they are permitted in my loose definition of a diet. Focus should be placed on the flavors of the food itself.
3. While protein powder is an important to a moderate-to-high protein vegetarian diet, it should not be an always thing. Place more emphasis on eggs, nuts and seeds.
4. Dairy is a sometimes thing. 1-serving-per-day or so, with priority on cheeses and yogurt over milk.
5. Fish, while permitted and encouraged, is limited by preference and ethics.
6. Fruit (especially bananas) should be eaten sparingly.
7. Veggies are a free-for-all.

And now I'm kinda just trailing off. I'll probably go to the store later for nuts and coconut milk. I've disliked coconut all my life, but I guess I can give it another shot.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Takeaway from food tracking: servings

Servings are quite a bit easier than tracking every meal. Instead of plugging in weights and numbers, you can estimate "Have I already had X servings of Y today? No? Let's add one in." From the past few days of tracking, I've devised my perfect system.

For a total of 1100 calories (someone with higher caloric need would want to increase it proportionately), it came to:
8 servings of 6-8 gram portions of protein
3 servings (~80g/serving) of colorful veggies, with the focus, as usual, on dark, leafy greens
2 servings of fruit, with at least one being berries
1 serving grains or starches
~2 servings added fat

This is just a basic list; a skeleton diet, if you forgive the irony. If I feel like having more spinach, that's probably a good thing. And it's hard to eat too many berries. (Larger fruit, on the other hand...) I almost always find myself low on fat, so there's another lenient point. The biggest restriction is the carbs, of course. With the above plan, 1/2 cup of brown rice in addition to everything else brings me to 85g carbs total (ftr, it's around 70g protein and 60g lipids when I add up this example; a little more fat and cals in that would be perfect) which is under my limit of 100g. So, while it's not particularly something I want to increase, a carb here and there won't hurt. Someone with no meat and/or animal products would probably want to make this a high-protein carb like quinoa, for a little extra oomph. Also, for a very low carb diet, this could be omitted and more veggies, fruit, and protein added.

In the protein category, one 3oz portion of fish would count as 2 servings because it tends to pack 15+ grams of protein. Same goes for a half scoop of protein powder. Other options would be a serving of nuts or seeds, an egg, a serving of dairy, or a serving of soy/seitan based product. 8 servings is a lot, but there are many sources to get it from. Variety is an important part of this system - it's fine to have half the servings in one day be from eggs, as long as you vary it and be sure to have more than just protein powder, or else you'll be low on lipids.

As has been happening, the above leaves me (slightly) deficient in folate, B5, E, calcium, iron, phosphorous, potassium, magnesium, and zinc; though very high in other categories. 600mg of calcium in a mineral supplement, plus some occasional iron/folate/E supplements would round it off nicely. I have a hard time finding phosphorous, potassium, and B5 in anything other than small amounts or in complexes with urine expensifiers, but deficiencies aren't a usual problem, so I should be fine.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

I feel really good today

Can I chalk it up to what I have eaten, what I haven't, or just general lifestyle choices?

I woke up 6:30 like normal to get ready for work. I decided to have a protein shake, seeing how the one from yesterday went so well. Filled up a magic bullet cup with water, plopped in a scoop of rice protein, a dash of strawberry flavor, a handful of frozen raspberries, and turned on the bullet. It was okay - not delicious, but not terrible. I'm trying to figure out ways to make it taste better - I'm going to try canned pumpkin, I think. Yum.

Before work, I snagged a spoonfull of peanut butter because I needed the fat. Then off I go to walk the dogs, getting home around 10:30, at which point I turn right back around to go with the fam to the Newseum. (Oh, and I ate a Kinder Egg. My sister wanted to see what was inside!) On the metro ride back, around 2:30, my siblings were complaining of hunger, but I was still doing good. I started to feel hunger around 3, and we stopped at Wendy's where I got a side salad. Left me craving fat, so I had a handful of sunflower seeds and pistachios when we got home. Delicious.

You'll notice that up until this point, it's largely vegetarian, mostly vegan for the big stuff.

The hungries came back, but this time I overdid it. 3oz rainbow trout with some some stalks of asparagus and a bit of onion and more sunflower seeds, plus some green tea. Now I'm left rather full and contemplating when the best time to take my calcium would be. (I'll give it another hour to digest.)

CRON-o-meter says I've got a ratio of 25:24:51 protein:carb:fat. That's pretty perfect. I notice that this means pretty much equivalent weights of each macronutrient. That seems like a good guide to follow. Protein Power recommends like 30g carbs to reach ketosis, and then up to 100g after weight loss is achieved. Seeing how I've got no weight to lose, the 50g I've consumed today is pretty good.

I've had 771 calories today and am feeling quite full, to the point where some days I would eat no more. But I'm only at about 65% of my micronutrients, so I'll have to figure out what I'm missing and see how to fix that. Probably fruit - 10 raspberries isn't much fruit for one day. Maybe some broccoli...

Wednesday, August 25, 2010


I finally had enough data to determine what supplements I need. Until this point, I'd been taking a one-a-day women's multivitamin as well as a 600mg calcium + 400 IU vitamin D tablet. I don't know why calcium is so necessary if milk is unnatural, except that we don't eat the same weeds we used to nor the bones of our creatures, so we need a substitute. There're debates on the functionality of supplements, but I've noticed a distinct difference since taking the calcium, even when I drank milk (menstrual cramps are less, and I don't burn as much in the sun) that I'm not about to give it up.

However, I think I'm way overdoing the supplements with the multivitamin. Not counting the calcium and vitamin D, I get 90% of my RDA for vitamins and minerals, overall. 100% RDA of Vitamin A (which is fat soluble, and quite easy to overdose on) in addition to the 100-400% I get every day in my diet just doesn't seem necessary. However, there are a few things I am consistently low on - such as iron, potassium (though the RDA here is iffy), folate, Vitamin E, magnesium, zinc... So logically it'd be best to just take those items separately. Magnesium is often paired with calcium for better absorption, sometimes with zinc too, so I just need to get a calcium pill with magnesium next time. I've seen iron come with folic acid, and vitamin E is often sold on its own. I guess I'll be taking a bunch of pills instead of one handy multi, but it's probably better than overdosing.

The hardest thing is finding one that suits my needs. So many put massive amounts of the stuff I don't need in what would otherwise be a great product. I'll let you know what I end up with. TTFN!

Starter Post

Okay, so I'm not actually posting anything of substance today, just some random thoughts. I haven't exactly sorted everything out, so I'll just do a lengthy, rambly intro.

Here's the deal: I'm a ovo-pescetarian with a nutrition obsession and a desire to live the healthiest life probable. This blog will largely be about my thoughts on various dieting techniques and the best options for leading the healthiest life.

Now, you probably wonder what I mean by ovo-pescetarian. No, it's not that I eat only fish eggs. My diet is primarily vegetables, with the protein focus centered on fish and eggs. Though I am not lactose intolerant, a large proportion of humans have some sort of milk intolerance. I found that my chronic sinusitis diminished when I quit milk, and I felt overall better. Right now I'm only a short while into the experiment, but I hope to have more results in the next few weeks as to what exactly milk does to me. Another reason for quitting milk is that there is little shown benefit - the calcium is important, yes, but some studies say that the protein content, as well as the homogenization issue, make it hard to digest.

I do not eat red meat for mostly ethical reasons, but nutrition wise I find it works out quite well for me. If I could raise and/or kill the creature myself, or know exactly how it went down, I would feel better about it. I don't like feeling so detached from my food that I don't know how it got from the whole thing to the cut up portion on my plate. Fish I allow mostly because straight vegetarian wasn't working for me. I was ovo-lacto for about 3 years, and I find animal protein much more suitable to life.

But the types of food I eat are, in my opinion, less important than the content of the foods I eat. I follow a lite version of CRON as well as low-carb, high fat. Note the 'lite' part. I eat anywhere from 1000-1600 calories a day, depending on exercise. A few weeks ago, 1400 seemed to be my mode, but now 1200 is becoming more prevalent. Protein:carb:fat ratios tend to be around 20-25:45-50:30-35. You'll notice that that's not at all a low carb diet. Well, neither is 1600 calories a CR diet. I'm working on it, and I am honestly getting better.

My current setup in the CRON-o-meter is: 1200 calories, 25% protein, 35% carbs, and 40% fat. In the future I'll probably work on upping the fat and lowering the carbs; protein is already a stretch at 25%, with me consuming something like an egg, a large serving of fish, some nuts or seeds, and a protein shake per day. Fat is easier to increase - nuts are mostly lipids, and it's easy to add oils to things. I'll be working on that.