Monday, August 13, 2007

Dietary Nutrition Calculator

In the quest for good health, getting a nutritious diet is the best foundation. To that end, I have developed an Excel workbook that calculates the approximate amount of nutrients in the food that you choose to eat and compares it to estimated dietary intake references. The nutrient data is primarily from the USDA food nutrient data base, supplemented with some additional data from other sources that are noted. The food nutrient data are very approximate, so this only provides a rough estimate of what is in the food that you eat. Also, nutrient absorption and utilization by the body will vary, depending on the food, combination of foods eaten, and your digestive health status. So, even though the nutrients are in the food, that doesn't necessarily mean that your body will be able to fully utilize them. But at least you have given it the opportunity :)

The Excel workbook has nine worksheets. It opens with the Result sheet, showing the results for a sample day of food. The Detail sheet shows even more detail, including individual fatty acids and amino acids. The Input sheet allows you to input the amounts of food that you have eaten or plan to eat. Be sure to delete all the sample entries before adding your own entries. You can use formulas to prorate amounts over a longer time period to a daily basis for comparison to the dietary references. The Calc sheet performs the calculations using the input amounts and the nutrient data in the Data sheet. The Calc sheet can be reviewed to see which foods are contributing what portion of the nutrients in the foods you are eating. The Data sheet has nutrient data per 100 grams of each food. It can be used to compare the nutrient density on a per weight basis between different foods. The Data by Calories sheet has nutrient data per 100 calories of food and can be used to compare nutrients for different foods on a calorie basis. The Load sheet provides assistance for adding additional nutrient data obtained from the USDA food nutrient data base. Follow the instructions on the sheet to load new data. More data loading tips and information are in the Notes sheet. And finally, the BMR sheet will calculate the target number of calories for your ideal weight, based on your height, age, and activity levels. It uses the Harris Benedict Basic Metabolic Rate (BMR) formulas.

Download the Dietary Nutrition Calculator

Click on the link above to download the latest version of the Excel workbook. This link will take you to the MediaFire file hosting site where you can download the Excel file free. Wait for the "Click here to download.." box to appear and then click on that link to download the file to your computer. To return here, use the "back" button on your browser.

If you don't have Microsoft Excel, you can also open and use the Excel workbook with the free Open Office spreadsheet program that can be downloaded here:  Open Office

Good luck in your quest for health!

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Principles for good health

Some basic guidelines for health and happiness


Get good nutrition by eating healthy foods
Choose a variety of traditional nutrient-dense foods
Preferably organic, fully pastured, and wild foods
Boost immune system and digestive function with probiotic foods
Avoid sweets, refined carbs, vegetable oils, margarine, trans-fats
Avoid highly processed foods, artificial food additives
Listen to your body

Nurture a positive attitude
Focus on the good things
Relax and enjoy life
No worries mate :)

Get at least 30 minutes of vigorous exercise on most days
Include 10 to 15 minutes of intense exercise several days per week
Interval exercise is best

Avoid exposure to toxins and anti-nutrients
(in food, water, air, and skin contact)
Drive carefully!

Natural food-based supplements
Use to boost nutrition if diet is inadequate
May be less effective than a good diet

Herbal remedies
Use to treat causes more than symptoms
Reserve for acute illness

Refined supplements
Use to boost nutrition if diet is inadequate
Can be a doubled edged sword if not carefully used
May be less effective than food-based supplements

Refined medicinal remedies
A last resort for acute health problems if all else fails
Will likely have adverse side-effects over time

Count your blessings
Good health is not something to take for granted