Are You Keeping a Diet Diary?
Your best friend when it comes to your IBS treatment should be a diet and symptom diary.
What is it?
This basically means writing down everything that you eat and drink and the time that you eat it, as well as any symptoms that occur throughout the day. You can also note things like stress levels, supplements taken. This diary is so very important to help you understand your body and get in touch with what is going on. Once you start to track what you are eating and the symptoms that happen, you can start to see patterns and get to the bottom of your triggers.
How can it help?
Some foods can take up to 72 hours to cause a reaction in the digestive tract, so how do you work out that you have an intolerance? You notice patterns. The symptoms can not only be digestive symptoms like bloating, diarrhea or constipation.
Other symptoms can also show you that your body is not happy with what you are eating. For example, when I was doing this I realized that I get waxy ears, and sneezing, stuffy sinuses and sometimes a cough after eating. I thought it was random, I mean there are so many causes of sneezing. And who knows why ears get waxy? But with a symptom diary and being really attentive to what happens, I realized that it was when I ate dairy products. It wasn’t just the diarrhea and bloating that helped me to find the triggers but really getting in touch with my body and all the signs and symptoms it was showing me. Only with a good diary and keeping track was I able to do this.
It also helps me immensely with my naturopathic clients. I don’t know how many times I’ve asked questions like do you feel bloated after eating fatty foods, to have a client respond with I don’t know. How often do you go to the bathroom? I don’t know. Now as a naturopath I like to get really specific with things and I need as much information as possible to be able to do so. So a diet diary is definitely one of the first things I get clients to do. They often come back after a few weeks and have worked out so much themselves just from this simple exercise.
Add a stool diary
If you are dealing with IBS, you can also do a stool diary, which includes noting color, consistency and frequency of stool. Understandably most people are not looking what goes into the toilet, but it can tell us so much about our digestive and overall health and can give us so many clues.
How to do a diet diary?
There are some wonderful apps out there to help with this like MySymptoms which can do an analysis for you, or just use plain old pen and paper!
I hope this tool can help you as much as it has helped me and my clients!
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