Wednesday, May 2, 2012

I Have A Guilty Secret

A pair of not-so-secret pasta addicts

I have a guilty secret.  Since my decision to eat a 100% plant based diet a few years ago, I have stubbornly held on to a few, not so healthy, comfort foods.   At the top of my no-no list is sugar, next comes wheat products, especially pasta and toast and last but not least, I have a fondness for white rice.  I have done a decent job wrangling the sugar issue and it now only makes an occasional appearance.  The next big issue I'll be tackling is the processed wheat products but I'll leave that for a later discussion.

About four weeks ago, I started using an online tool which has helped motivate me towards my health goals.  It's a comprehensive online food and exercise journal called My Fitness Pal.  I've used journaling in the past to keep track of my daily food intake and found it extremely effective in helping me lose weight as well as making me aware of exactly what I'm feeding my body.   I've noticed a tendency in myself towards denial, in terms of the quantity and quality of food I'm eating and the daily diary in, (if you don't cheat yourself), makes that nearly impossible.  When I saw how many calories my beloved pasta and toast used of my daily allowance, I began measuring out smaller portions and cutting back on those foods.  (I'm now even considering using brown rice! - few calories and healthier)      

After inputting your weight, height, age, activity levels and other details, the program calculates how many calories you should be eating per day based on your weight loss goals.

There is an extensive database of foods and it may take a bit of practice finding the exact foods and amounts you have eaten but I think it's worth the effort to get it right.  After inputting your meals for a few days, it becomes much simpler because your history is saved and most people eat the same foods over and over again.  There is also a section to input your own recipes and it will calculate the calories, fat, protein and carbs per serving.  If you're interested in tracking other nutrients like sodium, calcium, iron, vitamins etc., that's also possible.

There is a section to track your cardiovascular exercise and strength training.  On the days you put in a good workout, it's great to know exactly how many extra calories you can eat without going overboard.

Your profile can be completely private or you can have a cheering section which is nice.  Your friends might see an update in their feed like this; "Lee has completed her food and exercise diary for today and was under her calorie goal!"  The site is completely free.  You can generate progress reports for weight, fitness and nutrition on a weekly or monthly basis.  I like looking at graphs of my progress in different areas.

After a long conversation with my friend Patty today, I decided to post about this tool, in case it would be of use to others.   (Pssssst Chris, I hear you're looking to take action!)   My user name on the site is leekaiken, join me there and I'll cheer you on!   And maybe somebody can teach me how to like brown rice.


  1. Great photo of you both!!!!

    I might join you and Lance but it's not my style (anymore) but I'm glad to know about this site. Via you and Lance. Thanks, Lee.

    So, I LOVE brown rice and no longer even enjoy white rice.

    All I can say is tastes change. When I was still lacto-ovo vegetarian, for health reasons, I started trying baked potatoes sans butter. Up until then I'd used about a quarter pound of butter on a baked potato (no hyperbole, the truth!) and I learned to like them, love them, plain or eaten with healthy foods, with no butter or cheese. Now while I admit some Earth Balance of vegan cheese would be occasionally tempting, I'm fine with them plain.

    I suggest you start brown rice dishes as a casserole type dish, mixed with lots of things you like. I hope you develop a taste for it.

    Though I learned from Ginny (I think) that paste (I eat whole grain but I think white pasta was being talked about) is lower on the glycemic index than BROWN rice. Who'd have thunk it.

    1. Thanks for the feedback, Lisa. I agree that tastes do change and mine have changed considerably around other foods. I now enjoy foods I wouldn't have dreamed of a few years ago too. I've always felt so guilty about not liking brown rice. I keep saying to myself, what kind of healthy, vegan person doesn't like brown rice????

      I like your idea of making dishes such a a casserole that incorporate the rice with a lot of other foods and flavours. I will give that a try.

      Also, the last time I tried to cook brown rice on it's on, it was just horrible. It almost tasted rancid or something. I was so turned off. I don't know if rice can go bad but I think I definitely had a bad batch. I don't even know what type to try anymore. Do you have a favourite variety?


  2. Ha! That's pasta, NOT paste. ;-) (I won't even deal with my other typos.)

  3. Awesome photo! I love that you are doing this! I will do it with you! , I really appreciate this post. Thanks!!

    1. I'm so glad to hear that! Please do join me. It's lovely to have encouragement and support.

  4. Leeka - I've been missing you from cookbooker! But I think cookbooker and calore counting are somewhat incompatible. I've used on-line tools, too, to great effect. But I don't stick to it. Maybe I'll try this one, though, I've got about 15 cookbooker pounds that I'd like to shed!

    queezle sister

    1. Hi QS!! So nice to see you here on my blog!
      I have been cooking less from my cookbooks. I've been cooking very simply from scratch but I am searching out new recipes that are compatible with losing weight, becoming healthier and writing cookbooker reviews. I still pop in there on a regular basis to look for ideas.

  5. OK, I signed up, but I don't know how to find you.

    1. QS, go to the friends tab and put in my email address: and I should get a friend invite from you. Or you can email me your email address and I can find you. :-)

  6. Congratulations, Lee! I'm cheering you on already!!! :-D I think the program sounds great. Maybe I will check it out this summer when things are a bit less hectic. Your goal of cutting down on wheat sounds great, too. I hope it helps.
    PS You two are some of the cutest pasta addicts I've ever seen ;-)