Food tracking has been THE biggest tool to help me optimize my health. I’m a huge fan of tracking your food and truly feel that if you don’t track your food, you will have a harder time achieving optimal health! There is so much wisdom that comes from food tracking. But believe me, I didn’t always feel this way.
Food tracking is such a touchy subject for so many people, even for myself. I resisted it for years! I spent a good part of my teens/20’s with an unhealthy relationship with food. I had spent so much time worrying about food making me fat. I had finally gotten to the point of viewing food as a source of nourishment, a way to feel good. It took me a lot of years to make peace with food and learning what food was healthy. I was not about to do anything that would change that. I thought, “I will NEVER track my food! I am not going to do a diet. I’m not going to doing anything to make myself not feel good.” I decided to food track but was only going to do it for one day, that was it! Funny thing is, something shifted in me that made me keep doing it: I actually felt good! Not just good, but really good, like the best I had felt in years. My energy was better, my sugar cravings improved, I slept better. All of this because I decided to track my macro nutrients and try to eat a balanced amount of fat, protein and carbs in a day.
My goal is to inspire you to want to track your food and to change your perspective on WHY you should track your food. Here are 5 reasons to start tracking your food today.
1). Do you know how much protein, fat, and carbohydrates you really consuming? This was a HUGE eye opener for me! I am a great example of a person that does not eat bad. Most of my food 90% of the time is from good fats, grass fed meat, organic fruit and veggies. Imagine what a shock it was for me to discover that I was eating triple the amount of fat that I should! All of this fat, even though it was good fat, was increasing inflammation in my body. Too many omega 6 fats from nuts, seeds, chicken and turkey can convert into arachidonic acid which promotes more inflammation. This can cause more hormone problems and gut issues.
2). Are you eating enough carbohydrates? This was another shocker for me. I was on a pretty strict paleo diet for a couple of years, thus why my fat consumption was through the roof. But little did I know that my carbohydrate consumption was actually too low. I did not realize how many veggies I needed to eat to get enough carbs in my diet. A month before I turned 40yo, I started to get insomnia and hot flashes. I had dropped my carbohydrates so low that it was triggering cortisol spikes at night thus the insomnia and hot flashes. What most people don’t realize is that if you have too low of carbohydrates, it will still spike your insulin and cortisol levels. Your body will pull on it’s reserve from the liver to increase glucose in your body. Often times your insulin and cortisol will spike higher than if you just would of eaten. I started seeing this clinically in my patients that were on a really strict paleo diet for a period of time. Most of them were having a lot of insomnia. For the women, they were also having increased hot flashes and night sweats. Once carbs were added in the evening time and optimized throughout the day, sleep improved.
3). Do you have food sensitivities? Most people do not have food allergies but have food sensitivities. Food sensitivities are not a true allergy. They can change after 6 months where a true food allergy does not change. Food sensitivities cause a delayed reaction to food so it can be hard to figure out what food triggered the symptom. By tracking your food, you can go back and see if there is a pattern with certain symptoms and food. For example, I know that if I eat a lot of wheat, I will wake up the next day with chapped lips, cuts in the corner of my mouth, constipation and a pretty bloated tummy. This reaction typically happens in 24 to 32 hours of eating it and the symptoms can last for 5 days.
4). Is the food your eating causing depression or fatigue? I spent a good chunk of my life feeling depressed and exhausted. My morning breakfast used to consist of cereal, toast, oatmeal or fruit. I used to say that I felt like I was a car that had been downshifted into a low gear. I would drag myself about all day, craving sugar. Every time I ate sugar or simple carbs, I would get a quick high and energy pep. However, it left me feeling exhausted again pretty quickly after eating it. When I started eating more protein in my diet, I could not believe the difference it made in my energy and mood. This didn’t take weeks, this improvement was seen within days!
5). Are you eating enough fiber? You should be consuming at least 20g of fiber or more per day. Most people are not eating enough fiber, and this is especially important for women! Fiber helps to bind to excess estrogen in the gut and serves as a way to eliminate it from the body. Why is this important? This helps to reduce the risk of breast cancer, PMS, ovarian cysts, heavy bleeding, fibroids and other estrogen dominance symptoms.
My passion is to show people why nutrition and food quality are so important. Oftentimes 50% of symptoms will go away just by the dietary changes.
If you have the My Fitness Pal App, use it! It has been a great tool for people to track their food. You can use whatever app you want but this is the easiest for me to use. What I want you to understand is this: this is not just about calories or weight loss. This is about feeling good!