What Is A Food Journal?
A food journal is an extremely powerful tool for sufferers of IBS and other digestive conditions. Keeping a food journal may seem like a daunting task, but it’s much easier to do than one might think. It only takes a few minutes every day.
Although you may be suffering now, a food journal is a great start to feeling better. You don’t need much to start a food journal. Paper and pencil is the classic method, but there are several electronic options for recording this information as well. Once you start, however, it’s important to remain diligent in filling out the information. Recording your meals will soon become second nature.
What Do I Include?
The short answer: everything. The more information that is recorded, the more information you and your doctor will have to work with. If you know what foods tend to upset your stomach, you can avoid those and enjoy life without having to worry about running to the bathroom or being in pain.
There are three basic items to record: what time meals are consumed, what the meal consisted of, and the resulting symptoms. Here’s an example: 8 AM (breakfast) – Ate bowl of cereal, with skim milk, with banana. If you start to feel poorly in the following hours, perhaps one of those foods is the culprit.
To help you, we’ve included a free template for recording your information. Feel free to print this as many times as you need! Download the template by clicking here.
Once you’ve kept a food journal for a substantial period of time, you’re now ready to analyze this data and draw some conclusions. If morning bowls of cereal with milk bother you, perhaps you’re lactose intolerant. If a burger and French fries results in spending the night in the bathroom, perhaps fried food should be eaten sparingly. Foods that cause IBS symptoms to flare up are known as “trigger foods”. By avoiding these, you may start to feel better. As your journaling time expands, even more information will be available, helping to guide you further.
Bring the food journal to your doctor, and talk with him/her about your next step. Keeping a food journal is a key step in learning what your trigger foods are, and by avoiding them, can help you manage your IBS.
Download our food journal template by clicking here!