There has been a lot of interest in having me share how to food journal to identify food intolerances.
Back in 2007, the food journal I operated off of was very different than the one I have been using during my 101 days.
Anything and everything was okay for me to eat – as long as I wrote it down. I made slight notes on my “tongue,” but other than that, nothing really. Because there was no rhyme or reason, and I continued to eat foods with a million and one ingredients in them (i.e. silk creamer, hot tamales), I was working really hard on trying to figure it all out, but I failed….miserably.
Last night during the private Gutsy Office Hours group I lead, we talked a little about this concept. I told them,
Minimizing is maximizing.
In the very beginning of gut healing, I believe this with all my heart. In order to begin identifying patterns, less is more when it comes to playing detective.
Updated in 2020 to add: Everything from this post lead me to the creation of my printed and published 90-Day Gut Healing Journal, Healing Blooms from Within. If you’re interested in keeping a food journal, you won’t want to miss this one.
How to Food Journal to Identify Food Intolerances
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Decide your journaling method
For me, I do this hand written now. I’ve been doing it for so long that I have the art down. I have a jumbo artists’ blank notebook. I use one sheet per day to record everything.
The things I include are eat, play, love, focus and added.
Under eat, I write down everything I eat, in order for the day. I don’t count calories or measure anything. I only write down food names.
At the bottom of eat, I have a place for water consumption and make 6-10 boxes for however many glasses I’m shooting for for the day (yes, it does change depending on how I’m feeling and how active I am).
Below that is where I write all supplements taken and finally beneath that is where I make note of “BM” (in Gutsy terms that means – bowel movements).
But it’s more than just food recording….
Under play, I record any workouts and/or movement in general (or lack thereof) the day brought. I also make note here if I get really bad cramps and/or bleeding during this time. (<– critical symptom for me to track, but one I never correlated much until after my surgery).
Under love, I record any and all symptoms for the day, what I did for myself for the day, how I engaged with God and in stressing less.
On the far right-hand side, I have a small space for focus, which is just my place to denote anything I want to focus on for the day. Since the beginning, it has been my 100-200 billion probiotic. About every other day it’s “juicing.” And so on.
Finally, under added, I reserve room to record something brand new I added into the day, whether that’s a food or non-food item. This is the place that is rarely filled. (Remember, minimizing is maximizing.)
For clients, many of them enjoy using my Electronic Journal.
We do it all in Google Docs because it’s a great way for both them and I to see things in real time, make notes, observations, etc.
The more accurate they are, the easier it is for me to play food detective for them.
If you’re going to food journal in order to figure out food intolerances, one thing is certain: you must be meticulous for at least 21 days.
You cannot skip bits ‘n pieces. You must have as much information as possible included. Each piece is critical, and it could be the missing link to a puzzle you’ve been attempting to solve.
The Gutsy Girl’s Bible: an approach to healing the gut doesn’t limit food choice just for fun. There is a reason why it is the way it is.
It is not intended to be a “for the rest of your life” way of eating. It is intended to help you bridge the gap….from a miserable gut today to a future where your gut distress is minimized or diminished.
The trick is that if you don’t minimize during the 21 days, you might never get to the other side.
After a week or two, you may start to see patterns. I typically see patterns with my clients around week two (as long as they have followed the above). I’m able to use my jumbo magnifying glass and help them drill down. Just one simple change could make all the difference for them.
Patterns are truly awesome.
Food journaling to identify food intolerances is much harder than popping a pill every day. It’s also not as hard as you think, and it’s certainly the supreme option over solely pill poppin’.
Food journaling for a while could set you free for a lifetime.
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You will heal. I will help.