Tag Archives: food

Ellis Bartholomeus on Tracking Food with Photos

At the start of 2013 Ellis Bartholomeus decided to start keep track of her life. Since her friends were always asking about her eating habits (she was a consistent traveler and rarely at home) she decide to start tracking her food. Instead of entering in her food into a calorie counting app she started taking pictures of everything she ate. In this talk, presented at the 2013 Quantified Self Europe Conference, Ellis describes her process and some of the interesting things she learned along the way. I was especially interested to hear how these pictures served to act as “anchors” for other things going on in her life:

It became a great way to remember how I spent my days, where I was, with whom. These pictures are very clear reference, they work like anchors in my memory.  It is very joyful to browse through the month food-wise since dinner and breakfast are so often a social occasions, and I was reminded of great conversations and situation while looking at the picture.

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Morris Villarroel: A Four-Year Journal

Four years ago Morris Villarroel was inspired to start writing things down. He started with a simple Muji notebook and begun adding some structure such as daily logs, life events, and review of books and articles he had read. In the process of filling out over 130 journals his process has evolved to include journaling about other important aspects of his life. In this talk, presented at the 2014 Quantified Self Europe Conference, Morris explains his journaling in detail, gives a few examples of how he’s able to analyze the data he’s tracking in his journals, and explains how this process has improved his reflection and preparation for future events.


You can also view the slides here.

What did you do?
Kept a log book of daily events over the past four years in muji notebooks, including work, personal life and readings.

How did you do it?
The writing evolved into different sections, including an agenda, food page, idea page, book index and readings written from back to front. I titled each page with the main events and included all pages and events in an excel spreadsheet for easy access and analysis.

What did you learn?
That most events in my life can be classified as work (57%), personal (32%) and writings (11%) and were not very correlated with steps (Fitbit data), and a little more with floors. The whole process also inculcated more reflection on the preparation of events, their intensity and reviewing and reusing results, to then improve preparation in the future.

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Rosane Oliveira on The Quantified Double Self

Rosane Oliveiria is a researcher and scholar that focuses on integrative medicine, genomics, and nutrition. She’s also an identical twin. In 2012 she was struck by the different patterns of weight fluctuations that she and her sister, Renata, had been experiencing. Using historical data and medical records she was able to go back in time and track their paired histories, dietary changes, and blood markers. Rosane and Renata started adding to there data-rich story by exploring genetic testing, additional biomarkers, and are looking to incorporate activity and microbiome data in the future. Watch her presentation, from the 2013 Quantified Self Global Conference, to learn more about this interesting quantified double self story.

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Ellis Bartholomeas: This Is What I Ate

ConferencePreviewFood. It’s a wonderful social glue that binds people and cultures together in common practices of preparation, presentation, and consumption. It also happens to be a behavior perfectly positioned for self-tracking. Have I ate too much? Did I get enough vitamins? Am I drinking enough water? Am I drinking too much beer? These introspections can go on almost indefinitely. It should come as no surprise that food tracking is somewhat of a hot topic in the Quantified Self community. We’ve seen many different presentations about how to use simple tools or apps for food tracking over the years. One of the reoccurring themes in many of the experiences we’ve learned about is the simple power of tracking food with pictures.

EllisBEllis Bartholomeus is a game and design consultant who became interested in tracking her food consumption after her friends asked her about he eating patterns. Being the curious type she embarked on a self-tracking project that involved taking a picture of everything she ate and drank. She’s detailed some of her findings in this wonderful blog post. We’re excited to learn more about this ongoing project at our upcoming QS Europe Conference where Ellis will be taking part in our Show & Tell presentations track. Until then, here’s a peek into her what is sure to be an interesting talk.

Ellis began by taking a picture of her food and also informing her friends through Facebook of her intentions. The social pact and the positive reactions of her friends helped to give her that extra motivations boost to keep the poject going. She also mentioned that the simple act of taking a picture provided here with that little extra push to pay attention to her food preparation and not miss too many meals during her busy schedule.

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What Ellis Ate in February

Interestingly, Ellis mentions that the act of photographing her food led her to be more mindful and thoughtful not just about her meals, but also about her day-to-day experiences:

It became a great way to remember how I spent my days, where I was, with whom, very clear reference these pictures, work like very clear anchors in my memory, very joyful to browse through the month foodwise since dinner, breakfast is so often a social occassion, and I was reminded on great conversations and situation while looking at the picture.

We are really excited to have Ellis presenting as part of our Show & Tell track. Make sure to check out our previous conference preview posts as well to get a taste of our amazing community of speakers.

The Quantified Self European Conference will be held in Amsterdam on May 11th & 12th. Registration is now open. As with all our conferences our speakers are members of the community. We hope to see you there!

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Amelia Greenhall on Using Moving Averages for Maintenance

We’ve posted some great talks by Amelia Greenhall here on the blog and we’re excited to bring you another insightful presentation. Last year Amelia gave a wonderful talk about her weight loss journey and the power of using running averages. In this updated talk Amelia gives a more in-depth look about how using a 10-day moving average serves as an “early warning system” that puts helps put her back on the path of mindful eating. Filmed at the QS Silicon Valley meetup group

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Hugo Campos on Going Vegan in December

Hugo Campos lives with arrhythmia, and is a self-professed data nudist. He decided to do an experiment last December to improve his health and his heart – going vegan and taking beautiful pictures of every single meal he ate to post to a public Flickr set. In the video below, Hugo gives an animated talk about what inspired him, what challenges he faced, and what he learned. Find out if he’s decided to continue eating vegan! (Filmed by the Bay Area QS Show&Tell meetup group.)

Hugo Campos – Going Vegan in December from Gary Wolf on Vimeo.

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Denisa Kera on DNA Dinners

Denisa Kera is a professor, philosopher and designer interested in DNA and food data. She asks, what happens when people share data in social situations? She organizes DNA Dinners at a local hackerspace to experiment with this question. In the video below, Denisa talks about how she turned her genetic data into a bruschetta dish, what other kinds of data she wants to include in future dinners, and why she’s questioning whether or not to publicly share her data. (Filmed by the Singapore QS Show&Tell meetup group.)

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Randy Sargent on Tomatoes and Irritability

Randy Sargent has an hypothesis that eating certain foods, like tomatoes, makes him irritable and anxious. He asked himself, “How can I structure an experiment on myself so that I don’t know whether I’m eating tomatoes or not?” and “How would I go about quantifying my irritability?” In the video below, he explores ways to go about designing the experiment, with some fun input from the audience. (Filmed by the Pittsburgh QS Show&Tell meetup group.)

Randy Sargent – Discussing experimental design from Quantified Self Pittsburgh on Vimeo.

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Rob Portil on Weight Loss and Muscle Gain with FitBit

Rob Portil is sixty-six years old and has been overweight twice in his life. He’s been using FitBit for the past four months, and has reached his target weight. In the video below, he describes how he experiences the daily tracking, how his sweetheart experiences it differently, which Four Hour Body workouts he does, and some key eating tricks he learned along the way. (Filmed by the Bay Area QS Show&Tell meetup group.)

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Trust Your Results: Afternoon Sessions on Food and Health

In the last session of the day, we had a few experimental talks on noticing how food changes physical condition. It was also an interesting series of talks that shows the importance of collecting our own subjective data to back up or refute the other technological data that we might also have access to.

I kicked off the session with my talk “Quantifying My Genetics: Why I have been banned from caffeine”. My colleagues and friends helped me quantify my behavior after one, two, or three cups of coffee by giving my agitation a number from 0-10.

I found out that I’m a slow caffeine metabolizer from my genetic results and it seems like there is a correlation between how caffeine affects me and my genes. My genes are not deterministic, I couldn’t have known how caffeine affects me without making my own independent observations.

On a fun note, the crowd guessed that I had one cup of caffeine today, they were right, I had a cup of tea earlier down in the restaurant, away from the conference.

Next we had Martha Rotter who talked about how she experimented with her diet to solve her skin problems after doctors told her there was not much she could do. She did one allergy test where the results said she was allergic to chicken and soy- but after cutting out both of those foods, she did not see any changes but it gave her the idea to test different food groups.

After her experiment with a chicken and soy-less diet, she tried a few other food groups, eventually hitting on cutting out dairy. Her skin cleared up within two weeks of stopping drinking milk, eating cheese.

I think the take away message from our two sessions this afternoon, don’t be afraid to do your own testing, trust in your results.

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