Keeping a food journal will help you prevent cravings.

Here are some tips from Chef V for keeping an insightful food journal….

I’ll admit … even if you drink one of my Organic Green Drinks every day, you still might get tempted by cravings. Sure, starting each morning with 16 oz. of some of the healthiest and most detoxifying plants on Earth may boost your health. And your metabolism. As well as your energy. But if you don’t pay attention to what–and when–you eat the rest of the day, that craving for a brownie (even if it’s gluten free it’s still junk) will be irresistible.

If you’re prone to cravings, keeping a food journal can help. In fact, if you learn how to keep one the right way, you may hardly ever experience cravings. But you have to keep a food journal for at least two weeks before you figure out what eating patterns are best for you.

So if you’re committed to keeping a food journal, follow these tips….

Keeping a Food Journal or Diary: Today, there’s no excuse

With all the free apps you can download, it’s never been easier to keep a food diary. There are dozens of them (like this one that also keeps track of your workouts and calories). Even if you’re old-school, keeping a journal about what and when you eat is easy. But it’s not only what and when you eat.

Food Tracker: Timing is everything

One key factor in keeping a food journal is recording your emotional, energy and hunger state before AND after each meal. For example, let’s say you forget to drink your Green Drink. And you don’t eat your first meal until 11 a.m. You’re “hangry” and irritable. Your food diary would not only record your meal but your mood. And let’s say the following morning, you did remember to drink your Green Drink, say at 8 a.m. You also ate a couple eggs and some blueberries at 11 a.m. You notice that you’re feeling great at noon. Reviewing your food journal, then, you would learn that if you wait too long to eat in the morning, you’re dragging and cranky.

Obviously, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know that not eating (or drinking a Green Drink) in the morning isn’t good for you. But a little more difficult to determine is how much time in between meals is best for you.

You may learn that you do best eating a small snack with healthy fats (nuts, seeds, avocado) three hours in between your main meals keeps your energy up. On the other hand, you might learn that you do best eating three similar-size meals per day.

Keeping a food journal entry every day may help you determine what the best time of day is for you to eat. If you stick to eating meals at roughly the same time, your energy will be steady and you won’t get cravings for sugary snacks to give you an artificial, unhealthy burst of energy.

Keeping a Food Journal: don’t forget the little things

Although it might not seem like it, the little things like condiments can have a big impact on your energy level. That’s why with every meal you eat, you should record everything (including liquids) that goes in your mouth. I’ll give you an example. Let’s say you eat a turkey burger for lunch. Your burger came with a name-brand non-organic ketchup. Even though the ketchup doesn’t add many calories, it does have sugar. Moreover, most conventional ketchup contains high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS). HFCS shuts off the hormone (leptin) that tells your brain you’ve had enough to eat. That’s why even after eating a turkey burger, you still want dessert.


Keeping a Food Journal: Example entry

Here’s an example of how to keep a food journal for one day:

Monday (date):

mood upon waking: normal
appetite upon waking: not hungry
energy upon waking: a little tired

Breakfast @ 8:00 a.m. – Organic Green Drink with Black Kale, Green Kale, Collard Greens, Green Leaf Lettuce, Curly Parsley, Green Chard, Dandelion Greens, Apple and Apple Juice with filtered water.

[Record what quantities of each, i.e. half a cup, 1 tbsp or tsp, etc.]

Mood/Appetite/Energy check-in after breakfast

Mood: happy
appetite: not hungry, satisfied
energy: good, steady

Snack @ 11:30 a.m. – 6 organic large walnuts, 3 medium-size green olives, 1 string cheese

Mood/Appetite/Energy check-in @ noon

Mood: content
appetite: not hungry, satisfied
energy: good, steady

Mood/Appetite/Energy check-in before lunch

Mood: a little agitated
appetite: starting to get hungry
energy: slipping; starting to lose it

Lunch @ 4 p.m. – slice of cheese pizza [regular-size, no toppings, 8 oz. of water]

Mood/Appetite/Energy check-in 30-60 minutes after lunch

Mood: a little agitated
appetite: starting to get hungry
energy: slipping; starting to lose it

Dinner @ 6:30 p.m. – Veggie stir fry with organic free range chicken and quinoa [list all veggies, amount of chicken, i.e. one fist-size portion; amount of quinoa, i.e. one cup]

Mood/Appetite/Energy check-in 30-60 minutes after dinner

Mood: better than lunch, less snippy
appetite: satisfied but craving something sweet
energy: higher than after lunch


Keeping a Food Journal: Is a calorie counter necessary?

One popular weight loss tip is to count calories. But I personally believe counting calories is too cumbersome. The only time it’s really easy if you’re eating something out of a package or can because it shows the number of calories. Of course, you don’t want to eat too many packaged foods. However, if you’re someone who does better with more data to keep you in check, then buy all means use a calorie counter. Again, the apps today make it really easy.

Food Journal Conclusion

As you can tell above, the reason why my energy level went downhill in the above hypothetical food diary entry is I waited too long in between meals to eat. And although I was full after eating the slice of pizza, it probably wasn’t the best thing for me to eat. And the reason why I’m craving something sweet after dinner might also stem from waiting too long to eat lunch and not eating a nutritiously-dense lunch on top of it. Even though my dinner is healthy, it’s like my body is still playing catch-up from the unbalanced lunch.

It might seem like a pain to keep a food journal, but as I mention above, with apps these days, it’s so easy to keep one. Stick to keeping a food journal for at least 14 days. I assure you that you will really discover what’s the best time for you to eat, how much you should eat at each meal, and of course, what foods you do best with.

Moreover, you’ll eventually fine tune your meals so well that you’ll know exactly how much fats, proteins and carbs to have with each meal. You might learn that you do best with having roughly one-third your plate being equally divided between all three macronutrients (fats, proteins, carbs). Or, you might learn that you do better with a little protein, more healthy carbs (like veggies) and a little healthy fat.

Give it time and you’ll banish cravings once and for all….