It's been over two and a half years since I kept a food log, so I thought it would be a good idea to do it for a week to see what my typical diet looks like. I don't follow any type of "official" diet, such as Paleo, Keto, Low-Carb, Vegetarian, Mediterranean, etc., so I really don't know how much fat, carbohydrates or protein my diet consists of. I just eat real food and stay away from sugar and most grains.
Last time I logged everything I ate (June of 2013), I turned it into a blog post – you can check that out here: https://www.holisticathlete.net/uncategorized/what-i-eat/
At that time, my calorie break down was 41% carbohydrates, 22% protein and 37% fats. My average daily calories were 2,305.
So has anything changed since then? The short answer is, probably not. I haven’t made any changes in my mindset since that time as far as macro nutrient levels or how many calories I should be eating in a given day. My workouts are pretty similar as well, so there isn’t a need for additional calories there either.
That being said, let’s take a look at what my week looked like. I used an App on my phone called “MyPlate Calorie Tracker”. It’s run by LiveStrong.com. It’s pretty simple, you just plug in the food that you eat during the day and if something you eat happens to have a label, you can just scan it and the App automatically plugs in all of the nutritional info for you.
I started my food log on the morning of Monday, February 6th and logged everything I ate through the end of the day on Sunday the 12th. I didn't log my drinks because I had just water and some tea once or twice (no juice or soda). I also took my normal supplements from Garden of Life to get my essential vitamins and micro nutrients.
I won’t bore you with listing everything that I ate, but instead I’ll just give you a sample. If you want to actually see everything I ate, shoot me a message and I’ll send it to you.
Breakfast – Eggs (the whole thing - not just egg whites) with Avocado / Apple with Almond Butter / Coconut milk smoothie with GoL Protein Powder & Avocado / Quinoa with berries
Lunch – Fajita bowl / Salad / Raw Veggies and Guacamole
Afternoon Snack – Raw nuts & seeds / Epic bar
Dinner – Chicken with olives, sundried tomatoes & feta with Brussels Sprouts and beets / Chili (no noodles) / Hamburger patty with mushrooms & bacon with roasted potatoes
I didn’t eat anything after dinner and only had a snack during the day when I felt hungry (only happened twice during the week). Most of my daily calories come at dinner time as my wife is an awesome cook and I always clean my plate and often go back for seconds!
When the App totaled up the numbers for the week, here’s where I ended up (based on calorie distribution):
39% fats, 38% carbohydrates and 23% protein. My average daily calories were 2,155.
None of these numbers are that surprising to me. I purposely include a good amount of fats in my diet. I work out in the morning on an empty stomach, so it’s important that I stay fat-adapted. Eating a diet consisting of a good amount of fats is crucial for making this work. The carbs are not as important as my workouts are short and strenuous, so it’s not like I’m getting past my glycogen stores anyway. Keep in mind that the kind of carbs that I eat are not what most people are trying to cut out. There are no refined carbs in my diet. My carb intake comes almost exclusively from vegetables and some fruit. Most of it locally sourced from GreenBEAN Delivery or the Farmer's Market.
Here are some charts that I made and some that I grabbed from the App.
It's worth noting that the app tracked grams of each macro nutrient. In order to compare this to my ratios from 2013, I had to convert these grams to calories (the App I used previously tracked calories only). Each gram of Protein and Carbohydrate is equivalent to 4 calories, but each gram of Fat is equivalent to 9 calories. So if I just looked at the distribution of grams and not calories, it would have looked a little different (22% Fat, 49% Carbohydrates and 29% Protein).
This clearly demonstrates that calories are not all the same! I never count calories and I don't think that you should either. If you want to try and monitor a certain macro nutrient, count the grams that you eat for a short period of time (maybe a week) and then see what things look like. Tracking EVERYTHING that you eat is not fun. I was glad once the week was over! The only time I would recommend that someone keep a food log would be if you have never done one and are struggling to meet goals (weight loss, overall energy, fitness gains, etc.). You will probably be surprised at what you find once you document everything that you eat and drink. Sometime people think they eat healthy, but in reality, their diet could use some work. You are also less likely to eat that cookie if you know that you will have to log it on the App!
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Wishing you optimal health and peak performance,