Keeping a Visual Food Diary

 

Food Diary

Can I just gush a little bit about how excited I am that I discovered the app Two Grand?  No, they aren’t paying me to endorse it!

When I first started following a primal/paleo diet about 4 years ago, one of the ways I kept myself on track was by blogging about everything I ate.  No, I didn’t publish lengthy blog posts on a daily basis, but I did keep a private blog as a sort of food diary. It helped. A ton. I lost about 12 pounds in a month, gained a ton of energy, got rid of debilitating headaches, and got pregnant after 6 years of infertility.  I was finally happy with my body and happy to finally be expecting.

If you’ve ever been pregnant, you’ll know that not much can stand in the way of certain cravings.  During my pregnancy, I maintained my healthier eating habits for the most part, but succumbed to occasional cheats, mostly in the form of ice cream and french fries.  I managed to gain only about 25 pounds and take it off rather quickly, weighing less after about 4 months post-partum than I did before I got preggo.

Unfortunately, I guess I’ve never been fully “on track” since those food diary days.  I am definitely an all-or-nothing type of person.  A small bite of cake at a party can quickly turn into a slippery slope of daily bad choices.  Over the years, I have gone through phases of strict adhesion to the Primal lifestyle mixed with days and sometimes weeks of reckless abandon (c’mon, I was on vacation!)  But lately, I have been really kicking myself in the butt for not having a little more self-discipline, especially at night when I usually sit down with a glass of wine and some kind of snack after my cherub falls asleep. Oh yeah, we’re trying to have another baby too, so that’s really my biggest motivation for wanting to get back on track and get my hormones in check.

Yesterday, I started searching for a food diary app so that I could record what I’m eating a little more conveniently without having to fire up the laptop or actually enter it into a blog post format.  Most of the apps out there involve calorie-counting and some sort of database where you can search for every manufactured food under the sun.  I don’t count calories.  Ugh.  I also cook a lot, so entering in the individual ingredients for every recipe and then trying to figure out a portion size is just way too much work.  I was about to give up and then I noticed Two Grand.

This is basically the Instagram of food diaries.  You just take a picture of everything you eat.  Put a caption on it if you want to, then share it with your followers.  That’s it.  You can also follow other members who have similar eating habits or similar weight loss goals or who are at the target goal you would like to reach.  This way you can get ideas for meals or snacks from people who are similar to you.  Once you’ve added some photos, you can see your entire day at once and you can record other data like your mood, health status, etc.  You can also track your water intake and exercise.  All without counting a single calorie.  Hallelujah.

I am really excited to get started with this and I hope it will be helpful.  Do you find it helpful to keep a food diary to meet your health goals?  Would you consider trying this app?  If you do, you can follow me @AScenicDetour

Advertisements

best of fall 2013

I suppose we still have about a month of fall left, but since the holidays seem to be approaching so quickly, the leaves have all fallen, and the days are so much shorter now, it’s feeling more like winter to me.  So, it’s time to sift through the pictures in my Fall 2013 folder and pick out the best of the season.  I have to say, this fall was extremely busy for us and since I was on my own, it was a lot harder to get really great pictures.  Remembering to take pictures when you’re schlepping an almost two-year old around is quite a task.

Michael was out of town for 8 weeks this fall.  His first week away happened to fall on the day I scheduled Evelyn’s long-term EEG monitoring.  I haven’t really talked about that experience here, but I thought I’d share a few photos and maybe I’ll post more about it at a later time.  It definitely wasn’t a pleasant experience, but it was something major that we went through this year.  Evelyn and I were trapped in a tiny hospital room for 4 days and she was hooked up to electrodes and wires during the entire stay.  There were moments during those few days that broke my heart and made me question myself as a mom.  It was an experience I hope to never have again.
EEG

 

On a happier note, one of our first outings in October was a trip to the Pumpkin Patch to go on a hayride, get lost in the corn maze, and choose a pumpkin from the field.

Pumpkin Patch (42)

Pumpkin Patch (30)

Pumpkin Patch (16)

Pumpkin Patch (6)

 

A few weeks later we carved our pumpkins on the weekend when Michael was home.  My nephew, Noah, was with us.  Evelyn could have spent hours playing in the bowl full of water with pumpkin seeds floating in it.

Pumpkin Carving (18)

Pumpkin Carving (12)

Pumpkin Carving (9)

 

A trip to the park on a cool fall day…

Belles Springs (11)

Belles Springs (4)

 

Later in October we went on a Fall Foliage train ride with some friends.  The 2 hour ride was a bit much for Evelyn, but we had fun overall.  We got to sit in a dining car and she and her friend, Maria, played, had snacks, and gazed out the window together.

Bellefonte Train Ride (15)

Bellefonte Train Ride (11)

Bellefonte Train Ride (4)

 

This is just a cute iPhone shot of Evelyn on one of our evening walks.

sweet

 

I’m kind of sad that this is one of the only pictures I got of Evelyn in her Halloween costume.  By the time she was dressed up, it was too dark outside for pictures.  She had a blast trick-or-treating.  We only visited a few close neighbors, but she loved walking all by herself and talking to people as we went door to door.  We trudged through the rain for about a half hour before Michael called and needed us to pick him up.  He got stranded along the interstate on his was home from training.

Halloween

 

 

After 8 long weeks, Michael finally returned home from training for his new job.  I walked in the living room one evening to find them like this.  They have such a special bond.

daddy's home

 

More park play…

October 20 (49)

October 20 (4)

While we had a lot of fun, this fall was a little stressful for us.  I can honestly say I am glad to put it behind us and I am looking forward to what’s ahead…

a day in the life

When Evelyn was 6 months old, I did a “day in the life” photo project.  Basically, I just took pictures of what a typical day looked like for Evelyn at the time and added captions to them.  I uploaded all the pics to flickr, but I never really shared them with anyone except the ladies from my pregnancy/birth message board.  With Evelyn’s 2nd birthday approaching, I’ve been reminiscing quite a bit about her infancy and looking back at old pictures and videos.  I thought it would be fun to share the slideshow here…

http://www.flickr.com//photos/miss_carrie/sets/72157630256798110/show/with/7428760334/

http://www.flickr.com/apps/slideshow/show.swf?v=124984

shorter days, longer nights

Our shadows were long in the late afternoon, as we set out for a walk to the park.

DSC_0393

Little Miss Independent didn’t need a stroller or backpack to go.  She wanted to get there “all by myself.”

DSC_0396

Only a few golden leaves remained…

DSC_0406

Our clocks have since been changed and our days of basking in the late afternoon sun have passed.

DSC_0411

 

 

the best of summer 2013

I have a zillion photos saved on my laptop, phone, and on my camera’s SD card.  Yes, a zillion.  In this digital age, it’s possible to take a hundred photos and weed out only one that is frame-worthy.  Then there’s the question of what to do with all those other pictures.  Even if they aren’t the “best” photos, they might still be good.  As a first-time mom, it’s really hard to delete any picture of my kid.  But truly, I can’t save all of them and who (besides me) will want to look at them anyway?  I realized several months after Evelyn was born, and I had managed to accumulate 1,000 photos of her on my phone, that I needed an intervention of some kind.  Or I just needed to figure out what to do with all of them.  So, I’ve come up with my own little method for saving pictures.  For her first year, I reserved the right to take as many darn pictures as I want…and save as many as I want.  Since her first birthday, I’ve been trying to come up with a system that is manageable.  Here’s what’s been working so far.

Each time we have an outing, event or other photo opportunity, I take as many pictures as I please.  When I have some time to myself, I plug the SD card into my laptop and begin the pruning process.  I get rid of photos that are blurry, have bad composition, or duplicates (often created when I use the rapid-fire setting).

Once I’ve chosen the photos I want to keep, I save them into a folder on my computer.  At this point, I have folders labeled by the season and year (for example, Summer 2013).  After they are saved, I highlight all of the new pictures and then rename them based on the date or event.  Renaming them in a batch will give all the files the same name, but with a number after it (for example, Memorial Day (5)) so that they will all stay together within the folder.

Now, all the photos are saved on my computer, but what if it crashes and I lose everything?  For that, I use flickr.  For $25 a year, I can have unlimited storage of my photos.  I suppose if the fit hits the shan and the internet no longer exists, well, my pictures will be gone.  But if that happens, I’m thinking we’ll all have much bigger problems to worry about.  So, I save them in sets labeled by the event or season, depending on how many pictures I have.  I’m still working on dumping all the pictures from my phone onto flickr.  It’s a tedious process, but once I have it done, it should be pretty easy to just dump them on a weekly basis.

Call me old-fashioned, but I still like to have some of my pictures printed out so that I can physically hold them in my hand.  So, each year, I will be creating a family yearbook of sorts with the highlights and best pictures from the past 12 months.  Last year I created one that was basically Evelyn’s first year.  I used one of the more popular online scrap-booking sites, but was very disappointed to find that after spending literally HOURS working on the book, it disappeared after I ordered a copy of it.  So, if I ever wanted to order another copy, for whatever reason, I would not be able to do so…and that really ticks me off.  So, this year, I will be looking for a different program to use.  I have downloaded a few to try and will play around with them to see which one I like the best.

So, that brings me to the reason for this post in the first place, to feature some of the best from this summer.  I can’t believe how quickly this summer has passed by!  We just completed our final camping trip of the season and Fall is in the air.  Time to say goodbye to Summer 2013…

Memorial Day – She loves marching bands!

Memorial Day (9)

Aww…there’s nothing quite so cute as daddies and daughters.

Memorial Day (25)

Can’t take credit for this one.  My friend Lisa, of Charlie the Cavalier, took this one of a brief moment when our cherubs (along with Sarah of The Clerical Error‘s little girl)  were not crying or stealing food from one another.  Why is the song “Ebony and Ivory” running through my head?

trio on piano

A trip to Knoebel’s

IMG_1942

Much to my chagrin, she LOVED this group of singers/performers at the park.  We watched the ENTIRE show.

IMG_1957

Strawberry picking…

June Strawberries (24)

June Strawberries (33)

Evelyn and her great-grandma

IMG_2105

4th of July, baby!

July 4th (1)

July 4 (2)

Evelyn loves to go for walks in our neighborhood, and she especially loves searching for gnomes in this neighbor’s landscaping.

IMG_2193

Fun on the lake…

Halfway Dam (9)

Halfway Dam (8)

Before you start talking smack, just know that I do realize how pasty white I am.  I’m ok with it.  This is my year-round color.  And when I’m old and gray, I’ll be less wrinkly than all you sun-worshippers.  😉

Halfway Dam (5)

County Fair

Clinton County Fair August (16)

Clinton County Fair August (18)

Camping with the family…

IMG_1995

IMG_2039

Camping July  (14)

DSC_0048

DSC_0056

DSC_0067

DSC_0073

DSC_0097

Camping July  (1)

Summer, we had a good run, but bring on the Fall!

sunshine and berries

After days of rain, this weekend brought sunshine and blue skies for one brief, glorious day.  And what better way to harvest the sunshine than to pick strawberries? On Saturday morning, we rubbed the sleep from our eyes, fueled up with breakfast, slathered on the sunscreen, and headed out to the fields.  I love strawberries.  Evelyn loves them too.  I had it in my head that she would scamper around in the fields with my nephew and that she would be able to wait, at least until we got in the car, to eat the berries.  Ha ha…I have no idea what I was thinking.  As soon as she caught a glimpse of the bright red among the leaves, she said, ‘ohhhh, berries,” which sounds more like bay-eez.  There was no stopping her.  She was picking them out of my basket just as quickly as I could put them there.  When I moved the basket out of her reach, she started picking them on her own, eating stems and all, and even picking up squashed ones from the ground.  In the end, I had to keep giving them to her to prevent her from eating the really yucky ones on the ground.  She ate berries for the full hour or so that we were there.

June Strawberries (26)

June Strawberries (10)

June Strawberries (4)

June Strawberries (18)

June Strawberries (13)

June Strawberries (29)

June Strawberries (36)

June Strawberries (51)

June Strawberries (34)

Berries

Picking your own berries is incredibly inexpensive, so we picked a lot.  I suppose my eyes were bigger than my stomach and after we got them all home, I was hit with a slight panic about what in the world I would do with all of them.  I scoured the internet for some healthy ideas and ended up with these:

Dried

DSC_0244

Strawberry Coconut Ice Cream

DSC_0250

Strawberry Shortcakes (Grain Free)

DSC_0248

Frozen

DSC_0247

As is (with a splash of cream)

IMG_1886

 

What’s your favorite way to eat berries?

a little miscellany

Well, we managed to weather the storm and come through unscathed.  We had just a trickle of water in our basement and we lost power for approximately 8 hours.  I am so grateful that’s all that happened.  It could have been so much worse and my heart goes out to those who lost homes and loved ones.  It’s amazing how situations like this can make us realize how very blessed we are and how dependent we are on the everyday luxuries that shape life as we know it.  It actually scares me a little to think about how very dependent we are…that if we suddenly didn’t have electricity or running water, could we survive?  Conversely, I saw several of my facebook friends posting about how upset they were because they lost cable service.  Really?!  Don’t even get me started.  I had to really, really bite my tongue to resist responding with a preachy comment.

Keeping an eye out for the storm

It’s the end of the month.  That means it’s time to update Evelyn’s book on shutterfly.  I decided to create a baby book of her first year using the templates on shutterfly.  Each month I upload the best pictures I’ve taken of her and write a narrative of all the things we did as a family that month and all the milestones she reached.  I’ll end it with her first birthday and then order the book and have it sent to us.  I can’t believe how close we are to that one year mark.  Here’s a few of my favorite pictures from this month.  It’s always so hard to choose!

Trick or treating got postponed in our town because of the storm, so instead of handing out candy tonight, we’re on the couch with a glass of wine.  It actually worked out fine since Evelyn wasn’t feeling well and went to bed early.  The end of the month also means that I’ll be starting up the photo-a-day challenge again for the month of November.  You can follow along by liking my page on facebook or following a_scenic_detour on instagram.

*Inhale*

*Exhale*

Ok, just needed to take a deep breath before November is upon us.  I’ve got guests to entertain, parties to attend, parties to plan, family to visit, gifts to buy, work to accomplish, projects to start (and hopefully finish).  I’ve got a crazy two months ahead of me.  Here’s to getting through it with my sanity intact!

Oh, and before I forget…HAPPY HALLOWEEN!