So I've developed a paleo/PHD/Primal-based tool that uses an algorithm and tons of data to calculate the nutritional value of recipes, and will use that information to automatically plan a week's worth of meals for you. It will also, based on the recipes in the program and the number of people you specify are eating at each meal, automatically generate a shopping list with precise quantities of the food items you need to procure.
The algorithm analyzes the ingredients of each recipe, taking into account every macronutrient and every vitamin and mineral as well as propensity of the food to cause inflammation and its acidity. It also takes into account cooking methods and the changes in nutrition that those cause.
From all this information the algorithm will assign recipes with the highest nutritional value to your menu. If the user wants to change the meals used for the menu and to generate the shopping list, he can just select a different meal for that slot. But the algorithm itself is capable of providing a menu with multiple hundreds of percent of RDAs for almost every nutrient, with balanced 3-to-6 ratios, ideal fat-carb-protein ratios (even accounting for different types of fat), balanced mineral ratios, high anti-inflammatory activity, and good levels of alkalinity. The user can set ideal ranges for carb, fat, and protein levels, total calorie levels, and so on.
It also produces a nice summary sheet with graphs and pie charts showing a summary of your nutrient intake for the week.
This tool has become invaluable in my own meal planning and grocery shopping, and is instrumental in ensuring that I am getting healthy amounts of nutrients. What I would like to know is if anyone else is interested in using this tool, and if so, if you would be willing to help me refine it for general release. It would of course be free to the community at large.
Currently I've got over 200 recipes (most Paleo/Primal/etc) from various books, and about 150 or so foods (from the USDA food-testing database) inputted. But to make this complete, I need more recipes and more food/ingredient data. Since this planning tool is basically a really complex Excel workbook, we could use Google Docs to work collaboratively on the data entry. If anyone wants to help iron out the kinks in the appearance or functioning of the workbook, that would also be useful.
Any takers for helping out--or, barring that, anyone interested in just using this planner?
This sound like quality software and something that might be useful, in my opinion, for a 30 day paleo start.
Nevertheless I would not use such tool on a weekly base as it goes against the paleo idea of eating what's available or in season, and most importantly I do not like a software deciding what and when I'm going to eat.
Hey everyone. Thanks for all the replies! It's good to know so many people are interested. Sorry I haven't followed up with this for a while. I've just moved to Japan, so I was busy getting everything set up with life here. However, I have prepared two Google Documents that will allow you to help with the project.
Basically, you can help in one of two ways at this point:
1) There is a spreadsheet with food nutrition information. There are many foods on this list (on the bottom) that have not been filled in yet. So here you can help by putting in the numbers of nutrients (like mg of each vitamin) for those foods. You can also add new foods if they do not yet exist on the list. This spreadsheet is here, and I have made it public for you to edit: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0Anb3qAsfos0LdHRoQUxpbkFYdm9BM0x6WlhJMEJSZWc#gid=0
You can get the information for the foods from http://nutritiondata.self.com/
As of now there are over 200 foods with info. Entering the information this way is just a temporary solution; when I create a version of this program in a programming language I will import the USDA database. So entering foods into this section is of secondary priority, although it will enable more immediate results.
2) The most important thing you can do to help is to add recipes and recipe information. Currently I've compiled over 200, but we need a lot more. The recipe list is here: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0Anb3qAsfos0LdHhYMHJEUTVwMlJzOFd5Z0E1NlZQckE#gid=0
To add a recipe, simple add a new line, and put the information into the appropriate slots. The leftmost space indicates the serving amount for the recipe. Following the recipe name, you will see spaces for ingredients and after each of these is a space for the number. The ingredients must correspond exactly to the name of one of the foods in the Foods list (linked above). The number indicates a multiple of the serving amount displayed next to the food in the Foods list.
If the recipe calls for a food that is not in the Foods list, please add at least the name of the food to the Foods list. If you just add the name of the food, place it at the bottom. If you enter all of the information, please put it in the appropriate section. If you add recipes from a book that is not listed (or that you have invented), please create a new section and bold the title.
Please also put the page number of the book from which you obtained the recipe.
I will send the Excel file for the current program to anyone who is interested, and will write some instructions. Would you prefer file-sharing or email? I will also send new versions are more foods and recipes are added.
Please let me know if you have any questions. Thanks for all the offers of help!
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