One advantage of being on a paleo “diet” or lifestyle is the freedom from counting calories. No longer do you have to worry about creating a calorie deficit to lose or maintain your weight. You simply eat unprocessed, nutritious and anti-inflammatory food and the rest will follow. Or so the theory goes.
I’ve found that it has been useful for me to keep track of the macronutrients (protein, fat and carbohydrates) I consume because it makes me aware of what I’m eating. This is especially pertinent if you’re trying to limit your carbohydrate intake to lose weight. I also want to know the nutrition content of my baked goods so that I know I’m not going overboard with the honey or nuts.
The first useful tool is My Fitness Pal, which is available online as well as on your iPhone and Android phones. You have to sign up for an account and you can add friends and view their intake for the day. You can also leave encouraging messages for them so there’s a whole community to spur you on.
The bad thing about My Fitness Pal is that they give me goals I don’t believe in. So I have a daily goal of 169 grams of carbs, which I do not intend to reach. I am also eating too much fats and protein according to them. The reason why they set a goal of 1,230 calories for me is because I chose the option of losing 0.5 kg per week. To achieve that, I need to create a calorie deficit. To me, that’s very tough. The whole time I’ve experimented with logging my daily intake with My Fitness Pal, I’ve only been able to fall under my calorie goal for about 5% of the time. And I’ve always felt hungry and underfed.
EDIT: I found out that you can have custom goals for My Fitness Pal. Click here to change your desired fat/carb/protein intake.
I don’t use My Fitness Pal any more because it’s a hassle to log everything I eat and it made me think about food constantly. I have more important things to think about! But it’s good to do this for two weeks or so to really get a feel of what I’m putting in my mouth.
The other tool I really like is a recipe analysis by Calorie Count.
This allows you to enter ingredients and get the nutritional profile of your recipe. I use this a lot for baking because it’s easy to get carried away with all the sweet stuff. It’s the best tool I found so far because you can just copy the text from the website with the recipe and paste it into the recipe analysis. As an example, I’ve used the Paleo banana bread from Civilized Caveman.
Copy the text you see on this website and enter it into the recipe analysis. In this case, I want to make 10 muffins so I wrote “10” for number of servings.
Click “Analyze Recipe.” You may be brought to another screen where you are asked to select the correct ingredient or to clarify what you mean. Do that and you will get a table showing you what’s in each paleo banana muffin.
This tells me that each muffin contains 215 calories, with 14.2 grams of fat, 6.2 grams of protein and 13.1 grams of net carbs (total carbs minus dietary fibre).
Now you can decide if you want to eat that muffin.