a peek inside the fishbowl

02 Jul, 2023

Logging my meals towards a goal of healthier eating in July (join me!)

Posted by andrea tomkins in: Challenge me, challenge you|Recipes and Food

This past spring I enrolled myself in a 28-day online “boot camp” style health and fitness program and it helped me refocus my efforts and build some healthy habits. One of these habits is fitness related: three 30-minute workouts every week. The other is simply filling half my plate with vegetables for every meal.

I am happy to say I am getting better at both those things and am feeling really good! I feel stronger, both inside and out, if that makes any sense. :)

There are a lot of good reasons to “eat the rainbow,” which I won’t get into here because there has been so much written about it and it’s easy to search it out if you’re interested. I will say, however, that it’s interesting to see that practically every article and research study I’ve read that involves health and food essentially points to the same things. Whether it’s an article about diabetes, cancer, brain, or eye health, the answer always seems to be: follow the Mediterranean way of eating. And as Michael Pollan famously said: “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.” So this is what we are doing. (If you aren’t familiar with Pollan, he is an investigative journalist who is well known for research and writing about food and one of his most popular books is “The Omnivore’s Dilemma.” Look him up!)

Of course, the best time to eat more plants is in the summer when those plants are plentiful and less expensive. Earlier this year we ordered a CSA share from Rochon Gardens. CSA – which stands for community-supported agriculture – is essentially a way for consumers to “subscribe” to a harvest. As shareholders we pick up a bunch of fresh produce once every two weeks, which keeps our fridge full of local/seasonal produce until the fall.

But back to the healthy eating thing! One thing I do know about myself is that one of the best ways for me to eat better is to simply log my food intake. I like having a document to look over. It also helps my accountability when I know I’m writing it down. That being said, I have a strong dislike for calorie-tracking apps. Maybe I just haven’t found the right one but it takes a lot of time and dedication to log every bite you eat on the regular, which just makes me give up after awhile. So as a short-term solution I created my own (very) basic food logging calendar in Google docs to give me an idea of how I’m doing.

So, all that being said, for the month of July I am tracking my food in this Google food tracking doc. You’ll see right away that I’m not tracking calories. This is about better eating overall, not counting the macros. If I’m counting anything, it’s how many plant-based foods I’m eating in a week. Did you know individuals who consume at least 30 different plant-based foods each week have more varied gut bacteria as a result? YES. So bring on the fruit, veg, herbs and spices!

Also worth noting, I have an appointment with my doctor in a month and will show this to her and get her feedback.

While I was setting it up I thought it would be cool to share it here in case you’d like to follow along. At the very least, following my document might give YOU some meal-related inspiration, whether it’s a new recipe or purchase. I’ll mention products if merited, and link out to recipes. AND, if you are super keen, you can download a copy of the calendar and join me for the month of July. (By this I mean, download, delete what I’ve written, and use the blank calendar for your own tracking purposes.)

Thoughts? Comments? Questions? (Also: if someone can let me know if they can see/download my food tracking calendar I would appreciate that.) My commenting function is wonky so you can send me an email or reach out via my social media channels.

Anyway, yes! I am excited to be eating my way through a delicious summer.

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My name is Andrea and I live in the Westboro area of Ottawa with my husband Mark and our dog Piper who is kind of a big deal on Instagram. We also have two human offspring: Emma (24) and Sarah (22). During the day I work as a writer at the Royal Ottawa Mental Health Centre. I am a longtime Ottawa blogger and I've occupied this little corner of the WWW since 1999. The Fishbowl is my whiteboard, water cooler, and journal, all rolled into one. I'm passionate about healthy living, arts and culture, travel, great gear, good food, and sharing the best of Ottawa. I also love vegetables, photography, gadgets, and great design.

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