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Ennis_TX

Importance of a Food Journal

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Thought I would talk about the importance of a food journal, we talk about it commonly enough on the threads and thought it deserved some stories, tips and suggestions.

A food Journal is basically a journal you keep of all foods consumed daily, snacks, condiments, ingredients, medications. You write them all down when you fix your meal or take them. Then your write how you felt that day if anything noticeable came up. You can then reference this to find patterns that can lead to you identifying food intolerance, minor allergies, complications, deficient etc. Also doctors love these when you try to diagnose a issues.   

These have helped me a lot going to share the 3 most recent things that mine helped with this month. 

1. I started getting sick like food poisoning sick, I thought gluten at first but none of my long lasting symptoms or neurological ones were present. 2-3 days in I managed to find a common ingredient in my meals was a new batch of almond butter, turns out it was starting to go rancid and making me sick.

2. Noticing that I started having issues with digesting meals, learned these were the higher fat and protein meals when I was trying to bulk up a tad. So bit of research later I started taking digestive enzymes for help in breaking down protein and it quieted down.

3. I started introducing some more processed foods, been getting in a bit of a hurry with the farmers market coming up and me having to fix stuff for that. I got a odd feeling in my stomach and burped up mucus (for me this is a sign of something irritating my stomach, so a intolerance) Journal I noticed I was using a bottled sauce at those meals. Further reading back noted that 4-6 months ago similar issues appeared with that same brand and a few other times. Cross referenced and found a common ingredient.   Seems I have a issue with cellulose Gel in foods. Bit more research is needed and trying some other foods with this ingredient but I think I tracked down a new NO-NO ingredient/intolerance.  

Anyone else have stories about their food journals or points I might have missed on how they can benefit ones life on a gluten-free or diet?

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Good idea Ennis :)

I will just add that mental health can be overlooked but that journals can help just as much as they can for physical symptoms, in fact I'd argue they're even more important. Quite often when people are discussing keeping a food journal they're referencing digestive issues, but I found keeping a journal most valuable for tracking my mental reaction to the diet change. It's difficult to track how you're feeling mentally, especially if you're experiencing brain fog, anxiety or depression as I was. It doesn't need to be a long entry, just a short sentence on how you're feeling alongside time of day and what you've eaten. 

So keeping the diary and making a note of how I was feeling, mentally as well as physically was invaluable as I was able to read back and see just how my mental health had improved as I changed my diet. 

If I can find it again I'll repost some of the entries, because when I looked back it was remarkable how in just a few days my mood lightened, my focus improved, my negativity became positivity and within a matter of days I felt like a new person. It was only having the food diary that enabled me to track just how far I'd come and thus just what an impact neurologically that the gluten was having.  

They're also very good for tracking mistakes on the gluten diet. Not long after going gluten free I found that I'd been glutened. My skin erupted, I felt brain fog returning and I noticed some of the neuro symptoms too. But I'd been so careful! I'd not taken any risks that I could think of. I backtracked using the journal until I realised I'd had some home made soup. I asked the person who'd cooked it what was in it and found a bottle of seasoning spices that had a wheat warning on it. The person who made the soup was unaware. I was very happy to identify the source, but also that I had a blind taste confirmation that gluten was a problem for me, up until that point I'd always been a little worried that I was either undergoing a placebo effect or that I was perhaps reacting to fodmaps or something else.  The journal helped me confirm what I'd suspected and stopped me getting reglutened from the spice bottle. 

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I wish doctors would give us the advice you two have. I started to keep a journal six months in when I kept being 'glutened' even though I was being very careful. I thought a company that was solely gluten free was CCing me somehow. Turned out all their crackers contained soy.  It was also helpful later when I was doing some work renovating and removing wallpaper and working with drywall compound. Who would have thought that the non-toxic wallpaper paste would have had gluten but that got me good.

 

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