Keeping a food intake journal can be a hard task thing to do especially when someone has a lot of things to do and have to eat in despite the tricky issue of observing a routine of what we consume, it is however recommendable that a person watch out for the nutritional value of all the food they consume so as to avoid the health risks caused by nutritional imbalances. The process of keeping a diary of the daily consumption also is helpful in assisting a person to avoid any instances of overconsumption of food in the future through reviewing how their past days food consumption trends and experiences taught them in relation to observing the amount of food consumed.
This paper therefore, is a brief analysis of a personal food trend consumption that was recorded for the past four weeks. The journal involves meals consumed three days every week which involves two weekdays and one weekend per week. The type of food consumed is highly dominated with rice and fish dishes for the main meals as well as newton and rice cakes as the main snacks in the journal. There were also two weekends where a pizza was included in the menu and also one day I had a mushroom hamburger. As indicated in the journal, the main breakfast item was venti soy caramel macchiato while every day I ensured that I took at least five to eight glasses of water. Asian cuisine was the main influence behind the food journal. The food consumption in these respective days are a bit repetitive as a result of repeated breakfast, lunch and supper which is similar dish although with a varied way of making the rice and the fish, and also the daily snacks are the same throughout the diary.
How keeping the journal changed the perception of my diet
The process of keeping track of what we consume in our daily meals is an essential way of regulating the amount of food consumed per serving while at the same time ensuring that the amount of food consumed is adequate for the body metabolism. This is necessary as food is a vital tool for the body functioning and if consumed in excess, food does not only cause body discomfort including stomach upset and sluggishness but also a key contributor to critical illnesses such as diabetes (Gebhardt 2002). The main perception that I as many other people had, it is not easy to regulate what we consume in every meal but as a result of the keen observation of the food intake during this process, this perception was proven to be wrong. This is because; keeping a track of what we consume involves a dedication which is not so much strict as applied when dieting. Dedication in this case means eating at the right time, avoid overeating and ensuring that every meal contains a balanced diet whereby all the nutrients are present at every serving and most importantly take the whole process of keeping a food journal routine and easy to do thing other than taking it as any other daily chore that we have to fulfill (Gandolfi, 2009).
The most important lesson in the process of keeping a food journal is that keeping a written track of what eat helps one to regulate the rate of food consumption even in the future. This was learnt from the record kept in the first two weeks whereby I was able to regulate the total food intake even when the process did not require recording. In the process of recording the time and quantity of food consumed, it also helped me set up a constant routine of eating food even when I was not supposed to record the process in a journal. This means that it is all about getting acquitted with the whole process of observing time and the amount of food we consume that a person is able to adapt a daily food consumption routine and at the same time regulate the amount we eat. This is because, as a result of an established time schedule, a person perceives hunger and this offsets the whole body, both physically and emotionally into an urge of getting food at that particular time while at the same time, a person is able to physically.
Another lesson learnt from the process of keeping a food diary is that it is not necessarily important to observe to what we should eat in a day when we intend to record the process in the diary. Planning on what to eat during such a day is likely to tamper with the nutrition analysis that is important to carry out at the end of the recording process as it helps a person analyze the food habits they should abandon or regulate and which ones they should continue practicing. As a way of obtaining a genuine food consumption record, it is essential to pick the days to include in the journal randomly, especially after the end of that day.
The record keeping of the foods I consume indicates that I am fonder of consuming rice and fish particularly in the Asian cuisine style as seen from the record of the foods which I consumed almost every day in the past four weeks.. Last lesson is that the eating trend especially snacking is influenced by place of eating. From the journal, there is an indication that I like having a pizza from Pizza hut while the Burger and fries I consume are from the McDonalds. This means that eating habit can be traced from the favorite places of an individual through keeping a food journal.
The things to change in the nutritional habits after keeping this food journal include a reduction in the total pieces of pizza I consume per serving. This is because each piece of pizza particularly pepperoni and cheese pizza has a high cholesterol and calorie per serving which exceeds the recommended 2000 per day. By reducing the total intake, then it is possible to regulate the total saturated fats deposited in the body as they are the leading causes of heart problems especially since I do not carry out physical exercises on a daily basis. The trend of snacking need to be regulated whereby I intend to avoid consuming burger and French fries at a go as they also have an above the recommended calorie value which is excess for the body absorption.
As seen from my journal, the total fruits and vegetable intake is very low whereby the only vegetable consumed is found in the stir fried rice or the mushroom hamburger. Vegetable consumption is essential in all meals as it provides a high fiber that aids in digestion as well as provide the body with essential minerals that are not found in other food dishes (Tull, 1996).
The biggest surprise in my journal is the ability to maintain a constant eating schedule after two weeks since I started the recording process. Initially, meal times were mostly influenced by the time available to eat and mostly I could skip a meal due to lack of interest in the food or lack of time. During this process however, I kept track of eating a recommended meal that includes breakfast, lunch, dinner and four o’clock snacks every day especially during the days that I filled my journal. Also consuming almost similar meals every day that I recorded the food intake in the journal is another surprise. This is particularly because I choose the days randomly without prior planning that I would be recording the meals in the journals.
As a result of keeping track in the quantity of food consumed through recording in the journal, my snacking habits reduced tremendously in the whole process. Initially, snacks forms part of my daily food whereby I could eat a snack every time I felt like especially over the weekend. This had reduced to only one snack per day which mostly involved newton and rice cake.
Nutritional analysis of the food consumed each week
The nutritional value analysis shows a random change in the total nutrition value of the food consumed each week. As seen in the first week, the total nutrients recorded are low in all the types of nutrient. The main food consumed during this week includes Venti soy caramel macchiato for breakfast, stir fry rice and fish for lunch and supper, Newton rice cake for a snack and plenty of water every day. Week two and four includes consumption of all the food recorded in week one and additional four slices of Pizza Hut (Pepperoni for week two and Veggie pizza for week four). Third week includes all the meals consumed in week one and Angus mushroom hamburger with French fries at McDonalds. The trend shows a high change in the total nutrients consumed which varies in the consumption of the pizza and the burger which indicates the highest level of calories, fats and cholesterol consumed at the end of the week.
Body reaction in relative to the food consumed
The type of food consumed as recorded in the journal had no reaction in the body. This is mainly because it is my favorite food and I am used to consuming it in the past. Also, the fact that I avoid overeating aids in maintaining a comfortable digestion process aided by adequate water consumption.
Close monitoring on the total food consumed per day through keeping a journal is a vital step towards attaining a healthy diet on what we eat. This is because, one is able to rectify any malicious eating habits by regulating the total amount of food consumed per meal and at the same time keep track of any negative reaction caused by a particular meal. It is also easy to include other essential foods in our daily meals through reviewing what we have consumed in the past.
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Tull, A. (1996). Food and nutrition, 3rd Ed. Oxford University Press, 1996