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Team Against Obesity
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Food Analysis, Part 1
Food Journal
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Dietary analysis is very complicated because there is no single diet that is healthy for every person on the planet.  I’m going to keep this really, really simple and take it one step at a time. 

If I could ask you only one question in order to evaluate your diet, I would ask, “How many servings of vegetables do you eat, on average,  in a day?”

So look at each day in your Food Journal and determine how many servings of vegetables you ate that day.  A serving is one half of a cup.  Don’t try to be precise.  If you ate more of a vegetable than the parsley garnish or a single lettuce leaf on a sandwich, count it as a serving.  Once you have measured things a few times it will be easy to estimate how much a serving is.

When you have written down the number of servings of vegetables you ate each day, add them up and divide by seven (or by the number of days that you recorded in your journal if you didn’t keep it for a full week).  That gives you your average number of vegetable servings per day.

In this country we mostly die of heart disease, cancer and stroke.  We also typically eat 1 or 2 servings of vegetables a day.  In the Mediterranean area, they have much less heart disease, cancer and stroke than we do.  They also eat 6 to 8 servings of vegetables  a day.  (No, it’s not just the wine and cheese that’s keeping them alive.)

If you are only eating one or two servings of vegetables a day, don’t be discouraged.  I recommend that you set a goal to increase the amount of vegetables you eat by one serving per day for the next week.  

When you decide to increase your servings of vegetables per day, many things may need to change.  You may have to change the way you shop.  (If you shop weekly, that’s seven more vegetables  to buy for the week.)  You may need to find new recipes for cooking vegetables.  (More on this later.)  You may need new kitchen utensils (paring knife, steamer, sauté pan, mandoline, etc.)  Eating one more serving of vegetables a week is a significant change that can really pay off in terms of health.

Constipation and diarrhea can be reduced by the natural fiber in the vegetables.  Hunger is less because fiber is filling, yet you may lose weight because you are eating food that is nutrient rich, but calorie poor.  Do pay attention so you will notice the benefits.