Food intolerances are no fun, and they certainly aren’t easy to diagnose, despite what some may believe.
You see, our food contains an abundance of nutrients, natural chemicals, colours, flavours, proteins, sugars and carbohydrates that can affect us all in different ways.
That’s why first, it’s important to find a Dietitian well-versed in food intolerances and digestive issues who is able to guide you through your results.
These, however, are the absolute essential daily habits you need to track to get the quickest, most reliable outcome of any elimination diet. It’s time to figure out what’s going on and take the steps to fix it, today!
1. Food & Symptoms
This one is obvious. You need to track your daily food habits and if you experience any symptoms at all during the day/night.
For example, one day you might track your main meals and snacks, including drinks, and that afternoon you may have had a headache. You list all the foods you ate and when, as well as the headache, and at what time it occurred. This doesn’t necessarily mean that the food or drink you had at the same time was the cause – but it’s important to track the time it occurred so you can look for trends with your health professional.
Do this for a minimum of one week, however, 2-3 weeks is preferred due to the ever-changing nature of work stressors, events and schedules.
It’s important to track changes in your mood. Surprisingly, it can be a key component of assessing whether or not your lifestyle and food habits are contributing to your digestive troubles and vice versa!
3. Physical Activity
The types and amount of physical activity you do each day is also important as the gut is directly affected by exercise, movement and activity. Tracking what you do each week can really help provide insight into any potential lifestyle triggers for your symptoms.
4. Bowel Movements
This one is rather straightforward, you simply need to track what happens when you go to the toilet each day to keep an eye on any abnormalities. Despite it being quite taboo, what you see in the loo can tell a story or two!
5. Reintroduction Challenges
This tracker is what you need when you’re doing your food challenges and reintroducing certain foods back into your diet. This part is crucial (!!) for the success of the entire elimination diet process.
Food challenges — where you take out a food out and then add back in to see if it causes symptoms—are considered the “gold standard” for diagnosing intolerances. Blood and skin testing can often give false or confusing results, and many tests have absolutely no reliability or research behind them to say they even work!
That’s why the most definitive way to test food intolerances (not allergies!) is via a food challenge. It allows you to see if you react to particular foods or ingredients and allows you to test your tolerance levels too. So even if you react to larger portions of one food, you may be able to tolerate smaller amounts less frequently – giving you more variety and nutrition long term!
If you’re ready to discover what’s causing your digestive troubles once and for all, I’ve created an easy-to-follow Food Elimination Diet Diary Tracker Kit here. Become your own diet detective and then give them to myself or your health practitioner during a consultation to figure out exactly what’s going on!