Lisa Lansing

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Cronometer is a website and phone app for tracking calorie and nutritional information. The website is free to use.

If you are new to the high carb low fat lifestyle, I recommend you track your food intake in Cronometer to make sure you are eating enough and to learn where your diet is lacking, since most people (vegans and non-vegans included) lack vitamins and minerals.

Yesterday I started tracking my food intake using Cronometer. I used it previously (a few years ago) when I first started eating the high carb low fat way, but stopped tracking everything because I couldn’t be bothered.

Now I can be bothered since I’m interested in seeing how nutritionally complete this lifestyle is, and how I can improve my eating habits if I am lacking specific micronutrients. I feel this information would be useful to those interested in the HCLF lifestyle as it will serve as a guide. Also, I get lots of questions regarding protein. Vegan naysayers don’t believe fruits and veggies contain protein. Hopefully, my food diary will serve as evidence that we vegans never need to worry about a protein deficiency.

I like Cronometer because it takes everything into account. Not only do you input the foods you eat, but you have the option to input daily exercise, your weight, and even notes if you deem them necessary.

Here are some tips for getting started with Cronometer. Please leave a comment if you have any tips to share.

Using your diary in Cronometer:

  • Add food: search the Cronometer database for the food item. If you search for ‘broccoli,’ you will have multiple options to choose from. I tend to choose the ‘raw’ or ‘fresh’ options since I’m eating plain, unsalted, no fat added steamed broccoli.
    • I prefer to weigh my food using a wee food scale. If you don’t have a scale, you can input your foods based on their size.
    • I find Cronometer easiest to use when I’m eating whole foods. If you tend to eat more complicated meals, like stir-fries, salads, sandwiches and soups, you’ll need to input all the ingredients in your meals into your food diary. (Don’t forget about oil if you use it to fry your veggies!) Cronometer does have some prepared foods in their database, like ‘broccoli soup.’ The problem with using this entry in your diary is that the calorie and nutritional info for your soup may be very different from the general soup in the Cronometer database. Just be aware of it!
  • Create a custom food: If you can’t find the food (like Nakd bars, for example), you can manually enter the food into the database. At the top of the page, click ‘Food.’ Then click ‘Create new food’ on the left side. If your food came with a nutritional label, simply copy the info into each section.
  • Add exercise: this is similar to adding food to your diary.
  • Add a biometric: how much do you weigh?

Customize your calorie summary:

  • Adjust your weight goal. Do you want to gain, lose, or maintain weight?
  • Adjust your basal metabolic rate. (An estimate of calories burned from general activity not logged as exercises. You burn some additional calories for light activity over your BMR, even watching TV, sitting at your desk, or eating dinner.)

My favourite Cronometer tips:

  • Copy entire days into your food diary. This is useful if you tend to eat the same meals every day. Click on the gear symbol at the upper right of the food diary box to copy the previous day or current day.
  • As you add foods throughout the day, the nutritional information below your food diary will update with the accumulative nutrition you’ve eaten thus far. To see the nutritional info for one (or several) food items, click one item to highlight, hold down Shift and click on other items to highlight. The nutritional info below will now only reflect the highlighted items.
  • Hover over a macronutrient (or one of the micronutrients) to see which foods in your diary contain that specific macronutrient.
  • Adjust the macronutrient ratio if you are eating HCLF or 80/10/10. Change the macronutrient ratio to LFRV (low fat raw vegan). That way your calorie summary will reflect percentages based on the 80/10/10 ratio, meaning you aim to eat 80% of your calories from carbs, 10% from protein, and 10% from fat.

Tomorrow’s blog post will include my food diary entries from Monday and today to give you some idea about what I eat in a day.

Do you use Cronometer? What did you learn about your eating habits?

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