How to quantify or track the plant-based diet?

I watched this excellent video by Dr. Michael Greger of

As a primary care physician with interest in nutrition, I have followed this science a bit. I think this video is pretty great, and I have pointed many of my patients to it.

The basic message is to eat a plant-based diet. The Mediterranean Diet, which has much positive press recently, is a step in the right direction, but perhaps too much emphasis on dietary fat and meat (fish).

I agree with Greger, the power of unrefined plants to improve your health and prevent disease is now well established in the scientific literature.

My question is this: what is the best way to track this? Plain old food diary (MyFitnessPal etc.)? Any other tools you recommend?

1 Like

I’m vegan since January (around 9 months now) and was wondering the same thing. I was trying to use LifeSum and others but they’re focused too much on calories restriction and not so much health signs or overall feeling. Some things that I was able to track were accidental (by tracking sleep and menstrual cycle or just seeing some differences in my wellbeing). For now the best idea would be to note on paper in a food journal of sorts but that requires analysis to be manual.

Yup Maria, sometimes good old pen and paper beats anything else. In addition to diet tracking I was thinking about tracking key outcomes of a healthy diet.

For example, waist circumference is a key indicator of CV risk and cholesterol (total, HDL at least) are good measures of CV risk as well. Both are driven down by adherence to a good diet and exercise too. Waist circumference is not something we do enough. Cheap and easy, we should measure it weekly!

Now cholesterol would be good to measure weekly or monthly I think, so you can get quicker feedback on how your diet is really going. Looks like available cholesterol panel testers are like $400-$1000 and each test costs about $15-20.

I would be perfectly happy with tracking certain reactions of my body - bloating, atopic eczema, headaches and other things I struggle with throughout my life. It would be great to see which foods produce what effects. Same thing with my father in law who is diabetic so he could track his sugar level in response to specific foods.

Pen and paper for now seems to be the only option but would love to hear if there is an app that would accept any symptom and food and that would analyze basic patterns.

– edit
I found something like this will try out and maybe it will be the one :smile:


I’m interested in this as well.

I’m vegan and try and avoid refined sugar. I am starting to buy veg from a local organic box scheme. So I have no idea of the nutritional content of the food.
I guess I try and get a broad range of veg so I get a good range of nutrients and track food I can such as rice, oats etc that do come with a barcode (I’ve found MyFitnessPal really good for most packaged foods)


When I was tracking my diet and symptoms, I used an app called mySymptoms Food Diary on the Android. It wasn’t perfect, but it did the job.

Currently, Health Log may also be another option.

As for tracking nutrients I really like Cronometer it has very nice mobile apps as well. I like it mostly for checking if I reach all essential nutrients. I found it very usefull for learning which foods I eat give me the most vitamins and minerals for the calories/amount. It’s not perfect as it doesn’t really integrate with too many things but data can be exported.