For one of my classes, I had to complete a 3 day diet journal and then a 1 day ideal "revised" diet. This was to bring awareness of where you are getting your nutrition from. The program that the professor had us using was called nutricalc, but I have used fit day in the past. My professor said there was one put out by the government that is supposed to be good as well. You can use your own judgement call on that. To get percentages though as related to diet I dont know that it would really matter where you get this from. You are not necessarily saying that you agree with government guidelines to use their site. I did find this to be an interesting assignment and task. It helped to make me more aware of where certain nutrients are coming from.
I did see though that according to guidelines, if you are eating a natural whole food diet with lots of fruits and vegetables you are going to be really high in the vitamin C. Does this matter? No not really. As long as your kidneys are working the excess vitamin C wil be excreted out in your urine.
For myself, I see that I need to eat more vit E containing foods. I "knew" this as a nutritionist that we worked with a couple of years told me this. With as much as we have going on in our lives though I have been more focused on my children and less on myself.
Am I going to go crazy and start inputting my diet into this program daily to see how I am doing? No way! I am a mom, a full time student, a homeschooling parent, a wife, a chauffeur to my kids massive activities and appointments, who has time for that? BUT I am going to revise a few of the nutrients, even after spending HOURS on the revised diet. Literally I spent 6 hours on that and I could not get it up to the RDA recommended amount (and stay within their protein and fat recommendations). Another one is vitamin D. But that one I am not worried about. I supplement in the fall and winter months with some sublingual drops. During the summer months I am outside a great deal and I hope my body is synthesizing the Vitamin D. On my last vitamin and mineral deficiency panel this was not low so I can only assume that this is working.
What steps can you take to try to improve your diet? Are there nutrients you are perhaps missing? What WHOLE FOODS could you add in to bring this nutrients into your diet?
This would be an interesting "homework" assignment though, if you want to see how you are doing. The trick is don't change how you eat because you know you are going to plug it into a computer program to be evaluated. Just be honest with yourselfand the program. No one else is going to see it. Just you. Since this if for your eyes only there is no reason to cheat, as you would only be cheating yourself. In the end it may help you to bring awareness to something you may not have known that you were lacking.
A funny tidbit, in class the professor was talking about how the external parts of the wheat kernel are what is healthy (yes i know there are debates out there as to if our wheat as it stands is really healthy anymore with all the modifying the industries are doing to our food but that is not for today) He then went into the industrial revolution, how they figured out how to strip the outer parts off the wheat kernels off and process it in such a way that we can now have WHITE BREAD. Then the people were starting to have vitamin deficiencies from eating the white bread because they were no longer getting the nutrients (vitamins) that they had been with making their wheat bread. (whole grain wheat bread, not what you might see commonly in stores now a day. It isstill there but you would need to look for it OR make your own if you have the time to do so and the knowledge) So the government then mandated by law that they had to add these nutrients BACK into the white bread (of course this is done artificially). Thus turning it into more processing. So now white bread is a huge industry. Refined grains, same thing. THIS is what primarily makes up your cereals, your rice, etc if you are buying regular stuff from the store. you would have to HUNT for real whole grain cereals. It is there you just need to look for it. Or another option - try making some of your own granolas or cereals from buckwheat groats. I have done this in the past and you can create some fantastic creations from this stuff!
So what has happened, they took the nutrition OUT of our food, are highly processing it and then adding articial vitamins BACK into our food and selling it cheaply. The real food (whole grains) which requires less processing and actually costs less money, they are charging an arm and a leg for?? How does that work? Something that costs more money to produce they are able to produce in mass quantities and sell relatively inexpensively. The food that is worth something that they dont tamper with and that costs less to produce they charge more for. That is some weird paradox that I do not understand.
The key here though in all of this, is think about what you are buying for your family. If you are reading this blog, most likely you really do care about health and what is going into your and your families mouths and bodies. Cheaper is not always better. (though I do understand they make it hard to buy affordable foods especially if you are on a budget). The more nutritious and more expensive food is going to sustain you longer and provide you more nutrients to your body and ultimately provide better health.
One tip around this type of year especially : look for farmers markets. The kids and I were able to go to a farm last week, we picked BAGS of groceris for only $24 for the 3 of us. But we got so much produce that we gave some to some friends who are struggling financially right now. You never know what type of deal you might find either at the market or by calling the farm. CSAs are another amazing way to get your produce for less. Sometimes they have working members shares where you can get the price even more reduced and I found out from a friend this year that SOME CSA's if you allow your home to be a drop off site will allow you to get your produce for free. It is worth asking if you are interested in doing this (next summer of course - at this point itwould be too late)
If you are big meat eaters, an acquaintance of mine recently was sharing that someone she knew with a large family bought a whole cow and then slaughtered it. It was a lot cheaper for them in the long run that paying the price of meat and then you also KNOW where your food came from. You would hopefully choose to buy one that had been ethically raised, pastured and had a good life.
What about asking on craiglist or freecycle for picking peoples fruit? Sometimes you can find people that think it is a blessing to have someone come and pick their trees because they dont want to do it or just can't use it. You could also try an orchard or perhaps a berry farm. We also had the pleasure of going to a berry farm this year and experiencing picking.
It can give new meaning and life to your children to really understand where their food comes from.
Lastly, you could always try to plant your own fruit trees, berries, or vegetables. We have many fruit trees. I am hopeful next year 2 of them will fruit again. The others hopefully in the next couple of years. It is neat to know that I have put something there that will not only benefit me but hopefully other people (my friends and family) and then other people in the future.