You don’t necessarily have to have a food intolerance or allergy to benefit from keeping track of what goes into your body! Today I wanted to share how I keep a food diary, and how it can benefited me. Learn more about why it’s such a great practice and how to do it simply.
*Disclaimer – I am not a medical professional or a nutritionist – just a girl who found freedom in naming and treating her gluten intolerance and hoping to help others in the same boat! Please only take these posts as such. Thanks! 🙂
If you’re unsure about whether or not you’re sensitive or intolerant to a certain food, it can be tough knowing where to draw the line in terms of dieting and cross-contamination. It took me years to figure out that no amount of sickness made living with gluten worth it. I’d rather not write about why you shouldn’t have/eat/cook with gluten. I’d really rather post about why I eliminated it, and in this particular post, how I got there!
I had no idea what gluten was until I learned that one of my best friends from high school was gluten intolerant.
She is actually now a doctor, and was full of fabulous advice for me when I was trying to figure everything out five years ago.
One of the first things I did after feeling ill (for weeks) was keep track of what I was putting in my body. If my stomach was hurting, I figured I might be able to stop it if I learned what I shouldn’t put in it!
It only took me a couple of weeks of cutting different things from my regular diet to realize bread, cereal, and pasta bothered me the most – all sources of gluten. I did more research and got more detailed with my food diary. Even the smallest of ingredients gave me more clues as to what was bothering me and how I could put an end to it!
Keeping a food diary allowed me to eventually name the specific ingredient toxic to my body, and helped me learn how to carefully eliminate it from my kitchen and lifestyle.
I wanted to share my best tips for keeping a food diary.
- Don’t be intimidated! Just start small and simple. A pen and piece of paper will do.
- Write the date, and categorize by AM and PM.
- Jot down the basics (i.e. bowl of cereal, apple, chicken salad, etc.) No need to get detailed yet.
- Create a simple key – an * could be the symbol next to AM or PM if you’re not feeling well after a meal or snack. If you’ve got multiple symptoms, create multiple simple symbols, like a delta or a bullet for headaches, bloating, or fatigue.
- Eliminate one food group at a time, one week at a time. I cut dairy first. I was still feeling sick within the first two days of that week, so I knew dairy wasn’t my intolerance.
- Be persistent. The diary doesn’t have to be perfect or detailed! Just remember to jot down the basics and when you’re feeling sick. This will give you something to go off of when consulting a medical professional, or when eliminating a new food group.
- If you suspect one specific ingredient, note that too.
- Watch for trends. If you know you feel ill every time you indulge in coffee creamer or your favorite granola bar, that’s something worth noting.
- Adjust your diet and lifestyle changes based on what you discover! This is the best (and most freeing) part of keeping a food diary – finally figuring out how to
Even five years into living gluten free, I still occasionally jot down a few meals if I’ve been feeling sick – perhaps after I’ve eaten out I’ll learn about a new dish I should avoid at a certain restaurant.
Hopefully these tips will help someone out there who might be struggling with why they’ve been feeling sick. Finding and naming foods you can avoid really can be freeing!
Don’t miss out on my other Gluten Freedom posts:
And tune back in for more in a few days on cross contamination, and an updated gluten free recipe!
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