Using the Wise Mind Nutrition Food Log

Dr. David Wiss

December 10, 2022

FAQ

Instructions for Using the Wise Mind Nutrition Food Log

Welcome to Wise Mind Nutrition! My name is Dr. David Wiss. I've been doing one on one nutrition counseling with people for over a decade. That's over 10,000 hours of transformative one-on-one work. And I'm here to share with you all the things I've learned along the way.

This app brings you the wisdom that I've collected from working with challenging cases, including individuals with eating disorders, addictions, trauma, depression, and anxiety. This app can also be used by anyone looking to improve their mental health by working on their relationship with food. 

I've figured out what are the most important things to focus on, and I've brought it all to you in one place. I'm going to explain the process of how to log food using the app.

The approach here is different from other apps. We're not doing math, we're focusing on nutrition for mental health. So we'll leave aside all the quantitative stuff and instead start focusing on the qualitative stuff. Here’s how:


  1. Food logging starts with the photo. You could take it in the app, or you could upload it from your photo library, and then it'll ask you if it's a meal or a snack. And if you want to attach a label like breakfast, dinner, or dessert, you can! 


  2. Before you eat, check in with your hunger. We've got a scale that goes from zero to ten, with one being starving and ten being binge-like fullness. See the scale HERE.


  3. After the meal, come back into the app and write down what percentage of the photo you consumed.


  4. Then you'll indicate which of the six food groups were present in the meal or snack. Remember, we've got:


  • Fruits (F)

  • Vegetables(V)

  • Grain (G) (include potato as a grain)

  • Dairy or Dairy Alternative (D) (include oat or almond milk here)

  • Protein or Protein Alternative (P) (include any animal protein or protein isolate)

  • Beans, Nuts, and Seeds (bns)

  • Note: avocado, coconuts, and olives count as “fats,” but we are not tracking this food group for simplicity purposes. Just try to eat these foods as often as it feels appropriate for you. 


  1. Then you indicate your fullness score. This is from the same scale from zero to ten. How full are you after the meal?


  2. You can then add any additional details about the meal or snack. 


  3. Then you have an opportunity to journal thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. Anything that comes up. It's wise to stick to positive things and be constructive rather than destructive. But of course, feel free to feel free.


The Hunger Fullness Scale 

This tool is extremely helpful in fostering communication between the gut and the brain. Many people who check in before and after meals for just a few weeks start to realize that they're more in touch with their hunger and fullness cues.

And this is a really good way to start improving your relationship with food. As you can see, the scale goes from zero to ten. The zero is on there, but it's not common, representing a fasting numbness that happens to some people when under-eating. 

Notice there's a color coding system to help you. We want to avoid the extremes of hunger and the extremes of fullness. These are indicated in red, and we want to live in the green area. We call it “never hungry, never full,” the position of neutrality: safe and protected.

But, of course, don't get too attached to any of these descriptors. As you start logging your food, before and after every meal or snack, think about the scale from one to ten and how it applies to you.

The Wise Mind Nutrition Food Group System 

Many systems use five categories, but we classify foods into six categories.

The first is fruit (F), which could be fresh, frozen, or dried. But of course, you want to make sure there are adequate amounts of it to count it as fruit. So if you have just three berries in your bowl of oatmeal, you might not call that a fruit. But if you have maybe triple that, you would say there's a fruit in the oatmeal.

Vegetables (V) could be fresh, frozen (oftentimes used for cooked vegetables), canned, or fermented. If you have just a tiny bit of cilantro and onion, for example, on a taco, you might not count as a V. But if you had two tacos with lots of it, you could say that there was a vegetable there.

Grains (G) include bread, pasta, rice, cereal grains, and any kind of whole grain like quinoa, barley, farro, millet, oats, etc. All these (whether refined or whole) fall under the category of grains. There's one vegetable that we're going to count as a grain: potato. Because of its starchy nature, we classify it as a grain rather than a vegetable. There are a couple of other vegetables that are starchy as well, but let's leave those in the vegetable category.

And then we've got dairy (D), which could be from cow, goat, or sheep, or a dairy alternative. If you use almond milk or oat milk, or coconut yogurt, any dairy alternative will count as a D.

And then, we have a category for protein (P), which is generally animal-based products: eggs, chicken, turkey, fish, meat, or plant-based meat alternatives. So if you eat meat alternatives, these are concentrated proteins, so we'll count them as a protein. This category also includes protein powders.

And lastly, we have a category for other sources of plant protein: beans, nuts, and seeds (bns). The Wise Mind Nutrition system classifies these as their own category because we believe they deserve a spotlight. So any bean, nut, or seed will count as a bns. 

So just to clarify, if you had peas or soybeans, it would count as a bns. But if you had pea protein or tempeh, it would count as a protein. Got it?

And there are three other foods that get confusing because they don't easily categorize into the six food groups: avocados, coconuts, and olives. These are excellent sources of fat that don't fall under those six classifications. So if you eat them, eat them. Please, eat them! 


Nightly Review 

You'll have the option to set a notification for what we call a nightly review. This is a constructive process when you can look back through your day and answer some simple questions.

The app will do some summarizing for you, tell you how many times you ate that day, and it will tally up how many times you ate from each of those food groups. So you'll be able to see which food groups might be overrepresented and which might be underrepresented.

And you'll have a chance to customize some questions, and feel free to add some additional considerations to your nightly review. Getting a chance to look at things like movement, water, any victories, and things you want to celebrate. And then you have a chance to answer the two questions: 


  • What could I have done better?

  • What corrective measures can I take tomorrow?

This process will really allow you to review your relationship with food in the context of mental health, and it's going to force you into a process of growth.


Summary 

If you log your food, check in with your hunger and fullness before and after, and always indicate which food groups were in each meal or snack. Start to look at your distribution of food groups throughout the day, and then engage in a constructive review process.

You're going to grow. You're going to improve. Maybe you've struggled with food and body. I think it's time to step into a new chapter and to do so with grace. I'm so thrilled you're here.

I can't wait to see your progress. Don't hesitate to reach out with any questions or concerns.

We're here for you.