So how do you figure out what your food triggers are? Where do you begin?
Common sense would dictate that we start with a detailed food journal. Download Ours Here How can we know where to start if we don’t know what we are eating? By keeping a detailed food journal – a list kept every day that lists the date, day, time of day, item/beverage consumed, your bathroom output, and your behavior/feeling/mood – we can uncover what the potential culprits of your discomfort are. If after 3-4 weeks, you feel you’ve had enough data – collection, you can then look back over the month and take note of when troublesome symptoms occurred. Perhaps you note that you had migraines on specific days, and in looking at the journal, you determined that the migraines came 8 or 10 or 15 or 24 hours after you consumed a diet beverage (or pizza or pork or whatever the possible trigger is). You might also see that you had several bouts of diarrhea after consuming onions or tomatoes. Once you have a list of possible culprits identified, you can then begin to remove them – one at a time – and continue with your journal to see how the body reacts to the omission of the ingredient. You might find that removing one item alleviates all your issues, or you may find that it removes one set of issues, but then other issues arise (because when you remove one food ingredient, you will naturally substitute another, but this “other” may or may not cause issues as well.) The food journal will be an invaluable tool for you to determine your unique sensitivities
Elimination of specific foods from your diet is often used by doctors when attempting to diagnose food allergies. This method, combined with skin or blood tests, can be helpful in diagnosing both IgE-mediated food allergies and related disorders, such as allergies that affect the gut. The elimination diet generally lasts two to four weeks with careful journaling. If one or more of these foods is causing an allergy, your symptoms should disappear by the end of this period.
Because bad reactions to foods can take up to 48 hours to appear after eating, it can be difficult to make a connection between the symptom and the food which caused it. Many allergies occur immediately, but intolerances are not typically “quick onset.” When you consider that the average human intestinal tract is between 20 to 30 feet long, and that the food you consume must be “processed” completely as it travels through the tract to elimination, then you can see that in some cases, and with some “tougher to digest” ingredients, it may very well take up to 2 days to have an impact the body.
For this reason, the food journal can be a significant tool in uncovering your specific food triggers.
In some cases, you may add another step, gradually reintroducing a problem food to your diet. If your symptoms return, it is likely that you are allergic to or intolerant of that food.
Food intolerance can lead to chronic symptoms and illness. There are many of symptoms of food intolerance. They fall into these groups:
- Gastro-intestinal (stomach and digestive tract – diarrhea, constipation, bloating, gas or irritable bowel, colitis, etc.)
- Respiratory (chronic cough, asthma, sinusitis, bronchitis etc.)
- Dermatological (skin conditions – eczema or psoriasis etc.)
- Neurological (nervous system – chronic headache, sleep, etc.)
- Mental – (memory/brain-fog, behavioral, mood issues, depression)
- Musculo-skeletal (muscle and bone, stiff joints, arthritis, gout)
- Reproductive ( inability to conceive, miscarriage)
- Immune system (allergies and frequent infections)
- Malabsorption (causes nutrient deficiencies – anemia, osteoporosis, etc.)
The symptoms of food intolerance are often similar to those of other conditions, and are very easy to misread or misdiagnose – even by doctors. As such, it is important to investigate any chronic symptoms (the ones that never seem to go away).