I have had a few different methods for tracking my food over the years. Recently I found the best food tracker app for keto diets!
I remember when I did the Atkins Diet with my mom and dad in high school. I had a notebook where I tracked my carbs for the day. I felt pretty proud of myself! My Seventeen amazine told me stories about young women like myself that struggled with weight loss but a great tool they used was a food tracking journal. Easy enough!
My enteries were simple: What did I eat and how many carbs does it have? Am I under 20 carbs for the day? If you would have asked me about my macros I would have had no idea what you were talking about. If you had asked me if I was getting all my nutrients I would have answered in my best teenage sass, "What does that have to do with anything?" I was clueless. It was just about being under 20 carbs for the day.
I used the MyFitnessPal app for the last three years up until recently. I loved how easy it was to find my food in their database, either searching by the name or scanning a product label. I could throw in my height, weight, activity level and goals for a roughly customized macro plan. Damn, it felt adult af!
A few weeks ago, after lots of conversation with my vegan keto fam (shout out to my Instagram lovie @plantpoweredketo who converted me), I walked away from MFP to Cronometer, a tracking app that has everything MFP offers and more. It may not be the most visually appealing, but has added so much value to my way of eating it could litereally look like something made in Microsoft Notepad and I'd still use it. Why am I such a groupie for this app? Friend, hold my Ketoade...
Cronometer has given me the following:
1. Detailed nutrient goals... PERIOD.
I knew I needed certain vitamins and minerals, but what do you know about HOW much of them you need? Hm? How do you know you are getting all of your required nutrients if you aren't tracking them? If you are someone that has this on lock down, I 100% genuinely applaud you. When I logged my first day, I was excited to see that Cronometer kept track of all my individual nutrient goals, not just macros:
As you inquire further, totally salavating with this knew knowledge...BAM!
I could see my nurient targets were lacking and this ignited something in me. I want to win. This was now a game that I loved! This also started my practice of pre-planning my meals in the actual app. I could watch my individual goals being met as I played with the ingredients in my meals. Was I hungry mid-afternoon and my fat macros were low? I would refer to which snacks were going to give me healthy fats with maybe a kick of fiber and B vitamins too (avocado with a sprinkle of nooch, anyone).
2. Eye opening insight to my protein and amino acid intake.
After day one was logged and was completely facinated with the break down of the individual vitamins, minerals, and protein. I noticed something interesting under my protein section:
What the Frech toast is all that stuff? I tried to recall back to what my vegan keto fam (Madi, Jennifer, Rikki, and Renee of Vegan Keto Made Simple Facebook group) had said and, full disclosure, sometimes when I don't know what people are talking about it sounds like the teacher trumpet voice in Charlie Brown. I vaugely remember someone mentioning amino acids and protein.. something something... amino acid profile... something something. ARG!
Protein plays a crucial role in almost all biological processes and amino acids are the building blocks of it. A large proportion of our cells, muscles and tissue is made up of amino acids, meaning they carry out many important bodily functions, such as giving cells their structure.
I have to admit, I used to brag about getting enough protein to all my non-vegan interrogators. And yes, on the surface I was getting enough protein... right? At least that what it looked like. However, not only was I not hitting my protein goals, I was also not hitting my amino acid goals. Before I found vegan keto, I can tell you right now that my levels were probably even worse becuase I had no real structure to my eating. The only real nutritional goals I had were to not eat gluten.
Now I am hitting my protein and amino acid goals everyday with some sort of pea protein isolate product incorrporated in my diet. My favorites are Vega Sport Proetin Powder, Beyond Meat, and Nuzest Clean Lean Protein Powder.
3. Meal planning that aligns with my nutrition goals
I mentioned this one above, and I wanted to share how much I LOVE using this app to plan out my meals. Many of you in the vegan keto world have probably come across @vegan_keto_madi on Instagram or from her Vegan Keto Made Simple Facebook group (check us out! I admin this wonderful page with her). I love this woman. She has helped guide me through so many barriers in this way of eating and I am so grateful for her. I get to talk to her every day through the work we both do in the vegan keto community and I wouldn't want it any other way.
Okay, so that love fest was actually leading up to something, I swear. When Madi and I first met through IG, she had always mentioned that she used her food tracking app to plan her meals for the day. I was just tracking as I ate, and had never thought of it as a way to plan my meals. Now with Cronometer and it's nutrition goals feature, my daily practice of planning out my meals the day before is one of the keys to my keto success. I love it. I've had a good trial run my first week, I have been able to see where I am lacking in certain areas, and plan my meals accordingly.
Cronometer is FREE when you use the desktop version and $3-4 when purchased as an app for your phone. I highly recommend checking it out!