I am happy to share with you my interview with Paleo Trail Founder, Kristin Jekielek. Paleo Trail provides a way to track your food with the focus being on food quality rather then calorie counting. Kristin is offering up a 1 year upgraded membership for one lucky Balanced Bites reader – details are at the end of this post.
1. How did the idea for Paleo Trail come about?
It started when I began treating my hypothyroidism, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, and adrenal fatigue. I worked with several alternative health practitioners, and one thing they all had in common was that they all asked me to track my meals. It helped them understand if my eating habits were contributing to my symptoms in any way. This went beyond what you’re eating and into when are you eating it, the quality of food choices you make, and not only how often are you “cheating” but what foods are you cheating on most? Eating Paleo was definitely helping me through my health issues, but diet tracking helped me fine tune my eating habits to fully support my particular issues.
I wanted diet tracking to focus on the quality of the food choices I made while also being fast and convenient. That’s why I created Paleo Trail. It lets you track your Paleo diet online in less than 5 minutes a day, without ever counting a calorie.
2. How does Paleo Trail differ from traditional online trackers?
Virtually all the online trackers focus on calories & portion sizes. Even paper journals are inconvenient because you have to carry them around with you everywhere. It’s also next to impossible to understand how clean you’ve been eating over time.
Paleo Trail is different because it lets you focus on the quality of the food choices you make. To add a meal, you simply rate the quality of the food choices you made at a meal. Did you eat only 100% health-promoting foods? Then give yourself a Supreme rating. Was this a cheat meal? Or did it fall somewhere in between?
Let’s look at an example scenario. Say you packed your lunch for work. You have a nice fresh salad topped with lots of veggies and some flank steak, but you forgot to pack your extra-virgin olive oil dressing. Instead, you use a couple teaspoons of whatever bottled dressing is in the work fridge, but it’s made with a mixture of olive and canola oils. You know that canola oil isn’t a health-promoting food, but you certainly didn’t eat enough to undo the health benefits of your steak salad. It certainly doesn’t pose a serious threat to your short- or long-term health. You decide this meal deserves a Pretty Good rating.
The Paleo Trail Calendar lets you quickly view just how clean your choices have been over the past month. This is available to all Paleo Trail members for free because I believe that understanding your eating habits is crucial.
3. Through your own experiences so far what do you find most Paleo diets lack?
There are a few trends I see happening where the Paleo Diet is proving to be just a really good starting point for health. It needs to be supplemented with a few things.
- Experimentation: There are specific guidelines that define what is and isn’t Paleo. This mistakenly leads to the belief that there is only one Paleo Diet and that eating any other foods “isn’t Paleo”. Once you understand that each person’s optimal diet is going to differ and that not everyone operates best on the standard “strict Paleo” diet, self experimentation becomes a natural part of a healthy lifestyle.
- Traditional Foods: Although this is changing as more Paleo Dieters discover the benefits of raw fermented foods, organ meats, and bone broth.
- Iodine: In my experience, Paleo Diets can be sorely lacking in iodine. I actually ate myself into an iodine deficiency about two years ago. I was preparing 90% of the food I ate, eating only local & grass-fed/pastured animals, local & organic produce, and even switched from table salt to sea salt. That’s what I’m supposed to do, right? My mistake was that I wasn’t including ocean-caught seafood or seaweeds into my daily diet (or at least using iodized table salt). These are recommended on a Paleo Diet, but I learned too late the necessity of iodine-rich foods. I hope this warning can save at least one person from making the same mistake!
4. Paleo Trail has the option to track the timing of meals, what importance do you believe this plays in improving health?
Meal timing can be useful for people who Intermittent Fast or use daily eating windows (like LeanGains). Paleo Trail Complete automatically tracks the length of your fasts based on your Meal Timing data. It also helps Paleo Trail keep your meals in the right order.
Meal Timing is also useful if you’re doing some very detailed diet tracking as part of a health recovery plan (like I was). It turned out that meal timing was an important factor in supporting my adrenals as I recovered from adrenal fatigue.
This feature isn’t going to be useful for some people, however, and that’s why we left it as an optional field. Paleo Trail automatically fills in the current time when you upload a meal, but it’s optional to edit this to be more accurate.
5. What can we expect to see going forward from Paleo Trail?
That’s going to depend on what the users want to see! As the site grows, I’m going to be reaching out to members for feedback on what would help them even more.
Until then I have a few ideas of my own. I don’t have a timeline for releasing new features since the site is so new and I’m focusing on getting the word out. I’d love to add a goal tracking feature to the site. It would be focused on how clean you’re eating, and it would automatically track your progress by integrating with your tracked meals. I have a few other ideas bouncing around, but I’m going to keep those under wraps until I’m ready to gather feedback from members.
TO ENTER THE PALEO TRAIL GIVEAWAY:
1. “Like”Paleo Trail on Facebook
2. Comment here letting us know you’ve completed Step 1 and tell us why you want to win the upgraded Paleo Trail membership!
NOTE: Only one comment per person will count as an entry. Posting more than one comment will disqualify you from the contest, so please just post once! Thanks!!
That’s it! No purchase necessary.
Note: This contest will be open for entries through 9pm Eastern time on Monday Jan 21st and one winner will be selected using random.org and emailed and announced here on the blog. If you do reply to the winning announcement email to claim your prize within 48 hours of the announcement, a new winner will be selected in your place.