I mentioned earlier about my bout in the hospital, where I learned I'm now diabetic. I've been making major changes to my diet and starting to exercise, and things are going really well. Hopefully I can get off insulin at some point. Last week I found the most marvelous device: it's an intelligent kitchen scale. It's made by Salter and it's their Nutri-Weigh 1450 model. This scale is so cool: place any food on the scale and it will tell you exact what nutrients are in that food! It breaks down the calories, protein, carbohydrates, sodium, fat, saturated fat, fibre, and more! Built-in it knows about nearly 1500 foods, but you can easily add your own simply by entering the info on the food's nutrition label. You can even compute the value of recipies by entering each item as you add it (you "zero" the scale between ingredients and it then calculates only the weight of the new item). Later, when you consume part of that recipe, you just weigh how much of it you're eating and it will tell you exactly the nutrition break-down. This thing is sensitive to the single gram level: I can literally place a bowl of salad on the scale, zero the scale, and drizzle dressing on the salad and watch the calories and carbs and saturated fat count mount drop by drop of dressing! This thing can even total up how much you're eating per meal, per day, or per week, and you can set target goals (for all ten nutrients) and it will compare to see how you're doing. For me, this is a godsend, because I am terrible at judging portion sizes, and I'm a precise person and I love the precision of this device. You can literally butter your bread and see how much fat that adds! It's just amazing. I feared it would be complicated to use but the interface, while not perfect, is not bad at all. You simply enter the first few letters of the food name, then scroll through a short list of candidates and press enter when the correct food is displayed. Immediately the scale tells you the nutrient amounts. If you want to save that data, just press the Memory+ button. Really the only thing this thing lacks is an interface to a computer so you could chart and graph and save the data permanently. But I have a form where I write down the values I want to track and it's not a big deal. I thought maybe weighing all my food would be a pain, but it's so easy to do it's not a chore at all. In fact, it's not only fun, it can help you eat more! That's right: I often will use the scale to create a serving size that matches my diet plan, adding a food until the carbs or calories or whatever is within my diet goals. It's pretty cool to be able to do that, and often the amount is more than I would have guessed I'd be allowed to eat. (The food type makes a big difference: when I can easily see that twenty-five chocolate chips has the same calories as a whole apple, I'm more likely to opt for the healthier and greater amount of food.) My dietician wants to me to watch my carbs (I'm supposed to eat a comparable amount at each meal to keep my diet consistent), my saturated fat (this one's hard, as delicious cheese really knocks this value up), cholesterol (mainly in eggs and beef), and of course calories. This scale lets me do that and more, and it's really impressive. Oh, I should also mention you don't have to actually weigh the food if you don't have it handy: you can type in the estimated weight, which is useful if you eat out. For instance, I had a bowl of chili at a restaurant yesterday, so I chose Chili and put in two cups for the amount and it told me the nutrients I consumed. That's a bit rough as I was just guessing the amount and the chili I ate might have different ingredients than the one in the scale, but it's at least in the ballpark, and it beats a wild guess. The thing I hate worst in the world about diet is when I think I'm doing something healthy or making a sacrifice, only to find out what I'm doing is actually bad. Like when you think you're cutting your amount down to a good level but it's still actually too much. With this scale, I don't have that problem any more since it can tell me, exactly, what I'm consuming every day. Awesome!
Labels: Hospital Personal