When you first go vegan, the power, the speed and the performance you feel is incredible.
You automatically become lean, you hit your BMI targets and you’re physical more capable. More than that, you start to feel great!
Unfortunately, I felt so good that neglected some important things like my Vitamin B12. This was very silly of me and this resulted in me experiencing some issues. I’ll write a detailed post about that soon.
To get back on track I decided to monitor my nutrition intake using Cronometer and I must say that the information I got from it was very very insightful.
What is Cronometer?
Cronometer is an app that is available for desktop, Android and iOS. It lets to input the foods you consume and it gives a very detailed breakdown of the vitamins, carbohydrates, lipids, minerals and proteins of the food.
This allows you to get a sense if you’re getting the right nutrition.
Are you getting the right Nutrition?
We have a tendency of automatically assuming that we’re getting all the vitamins, minerals and nutrients we need.
After tracking my nutrition intake for a week, I was actually surprised to learn that I was low in some minerals and lipids.
I wasn’t getting enough calcium and my omega3/omega6 ratio was off.
Digging into this a bit deeper I could see why. I dislike leafy green vegetables like kale and spinach; and these veggies are loaded with calcium. Not eating enough of them was leading to a deficiency.
However I was pleasantly surprised to find out that a single orange will give you about 7% of your daily calcium needs, and a cup of cooked spinach will give you 40% of your calcium needs. Fascinating!
Cronometer has default omega3:omega6 ratio of 1:17. As a vegan I need a ratio below 1:5, probably closer to 1:2 as recommended by Dr Loomis and Dr Gregor. Being able to track these has allowed me to get the ratio correct.
One Hit Wonders
Some plant based whole foods are simply incredible and will provide your recommended daily intake of a nutrient in one go.
Cronometer highlighted the following amazing one hit wonders:
- One Brazil nut will provide your full selenium daily requirements
- One Orange or 180g of Papaya will provide your full Vitamin C requirements
- 200 grams of Carrot will provide full Vitamin A requirements
I’m still on the lookout for more of these amazing plant based one hit wonders.
Configuring Optimal Nutrition
The default Cronometer will provide tons of useful information in terms of what nutrients you’re consuming. But it also lets you configure the settings for an optimal Vegan diet which is brilliant.
I weigh 80kg and a person needs about 0.8 to 1.2 grams of protein per kilogram of weight. Hence I need a maximum of 96 grams of protein in my diet. Cronometer lets me adjust the protein settings to cater for this.
Getting more Plant Based Whole Foods
I still do take a multivitamin, and of course now I diligently take my Vitamin B12 supplement after the issues I had by not taking it.
However I’m always interested in how I can reduce the pills and use the plants to acquire the maximum nutrition. This is where Cronometer can help too.
The insights you get from the app are incredible. As mentioned previously one carrot can provide your full Vitamin A requirements for the day.
That starts to change your thinking. You begin to realize that rather than buying a Vitamin A supplement that costs a bunch of money you can simply eat a half a carrot.
The app has really piqued my interest in how I can achieve full optimum nutrition using plants.
I’m pretty impressed with Cronometer. It doesn’t have everything that I want, but it’s an incredibly potent tool for understanding whats going into your body.
Oddly enough, I think it’s actually helped me become more plant based whole foods than before.
Most of us go Vegan for ethical and moral reasons. We do it because we know it’s the right thing to do. But at the same time we also need to be highly plant based whole foods so that we can maintain supreme health and support of local farmers. And that is something I’ll talk about next time.