Yesterday, I wrote about my experiences logging my food intake over the course of fifteen days from January 22nd to February 5th of this year.  I discussed two behavioral takeaways – 1) that accurately recalling what you ate is a very challenging task; and, 2) that when I got caught up in how many calories I was consuming, I ate less intuitively and felt less satisfied overall.

Today, I wanted to share some of the nutritional takeaways.  I believed that I was eating a “nutrient-dense” diet, but wanted to check to see if there were any gaping holes.  I was also very interested in my Omega 3 : Omega 6 ratio.  Finally, I wanted to determine whether or not I could draw any more links between the food I was consuming and the state of my skin.

What I learned surprised me.

But before I get to the nutritional takeaways, I wanted to say something about eating seasonally and cooking.  Because I eat probably 99.9% of my meals in my own kitchen, and because I strive to eat as locally and seasonally as possible, I eat a lot of the same foods day after day.  For example, when I make a nice dinner, I make enough for lunch the next day.  When I roast a chicken, I use the meat for dinner, for a lunch or breakfast the next day, and then I use the bones for stock.

This style of eating is budget-conscious and more sustainable than if I purposefully varied my meals so as to optimize nutritional impact.  But, it does skew the data a bit.  I probably should have logged a week, skipped a week, and then logged another week.  If I repeat the effort in the spring and summer months, I may do it that way.

At any rate, here is what I learned:

I Averaged 96% of My Nutritional Targets

Cron-O-Meter uses the Dietary Reference Intake (DRI) for its targets.  It’s not a perfect system, so I am not neurotic about meeting it.  But it is a good reference, especially if I repeat the experiment seasonally.  All-in-all, I am fairly pleased with the 96% number.

On Average, My Omega 6 : Omega 3 Ratio is Better than the Average American’s, But There is Room for Improvement

The Omega 6 : Omega 3 ration in the standard Western diet is around 15:1 – 16.1.  Mine averaged 5.312 : 1 over the course of my fifteen day trial.  I’m generally pleased with that number, recognizing that some days it was more like 2:1 (hello, sardines!), but I do have room for improvement.  I need to amp up my sardine intake and indulge in a little more salmon sashimi.  (Okay, so maybe I don’t need salmon sashimi, but I am happy to have the excuse to enjoy it.)

On Average, My Diet Breaks Down Along Macronutrient Lines I am Happy With

I averaged 52.6% lipids, 20.1% protein, and 27.2% carbohydrates.  I was actually kind of stunned that my carb intake was below 30%.  I definitely don’t restrict carbs.  I am a breastfeeding mother and am not crazy about the idea of restricting carbs to very low levels during the duration of nursing.  But, I eat as many carbs as I feel like eating, and my number was still on the lower end of the spectrum.  That surprised me and confirmed for me that I absolutely do not need to restrict carb intake any further.

I Get Sufficient Fiber

A lot of people get concerned when they find out I don’t consume grain.  “Where do you get your fiber, then?” they ask.  “Fruits and veggies,” is always my reply, and I was pleased to know I exceeded the DRI for fiber by 26%.

* * * * * * *

Tomorrow, I will finish up the conversation and discuss the numbers for vitamin and mineral intake.  I learned some interesting facts.

5 Responses to “Food Logging. What I Learned. Part II.”

  1. on 27 Feb 2013 at 9:45 amCallan

    Very interesting, Kristine! You’ve really got things dialed in! 😀 I would like to do a similar experiment on myself, but worry about getting obsessive over calorie counts and societal expectations, as you discussed in part 1. Nonetheless, I think this could be a very valuable thing to do. Good show!

  2. on 27 Feb 2013 at 10:11 amKristine Rudolph

    Listen, I teetered on the edge of neurotic the whole time! But, I was really aware that that could happen and when I decided I had had too much, I stopped. (Hence, the random 15 day period.)

    I am definitely not advocating a food log for everyone, just more wanted to share what I learned because I do think when you omit certain food groups, you have a thought somewhere in the back of your mind that you might be missing something. Stay tuned for part III where I delve into that issue!

  3. on 27 Feb 2013 at 10:18 amLisa G

    Keep these coming! So interesting and my Whole30 group is loving it!

  4. on 27 Feb 2013 at 12:50 pmKristine Rudolph

    Thanks for popping in, Lisa! And I love that your Whole 30 crew is enjoying this.

  5. […] it took more posts than I expected it would.  You can go back and read Part I, Part II and Part III if you haven’t already.  In them, I cover my behavioral lessons, some general […]

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