Food Logging Empowers You To Live Your Healthiest Gluten Free Life
Keeping a food log /diary/ journal is an important step in helping you live your healthiest gluten free life, and something I encourage all my clients to do on a daily basis. Whether it is in a notebook you keep in your kitchen or on your nightstand, something you type into the notes section of your phone or on log into an app on your phone or computer (i.e. MyFitnessPal), having an account of everything you eat has incredible benefits. Consider the following:
(1) Mindful Eating: If you are looking to become more mindful of your eating habits, this is a great place to start. Many of us eat several meals as well as snacks throughout the day, and oftentimes without even realizing we are eating them, since a lot of the food we consume is on-the-go. By forcing yourself to write down every single thing you put in your mouth during the course of a day, you become more mindful of the very act of eating, as well as what and how often you are consuming food. When you know you have to keep track of the food you eat, you will become motivated to take the time to mindfully chew and appreciate the food so you can enjoy it thoroughly. If you have to write it down, you may as well enjoy it!
(2) Weight Loss/ Weight Gain: If you are looking to lose or gain weight, logging your food enables you to see exactly what and how much you are eating on a daily, weekly and monthly basis, and can help you course correct before you gain or lose too much weight. By seeing a list or visual image of an entire day's worth of food you have consumed, you can evaluate where you can make changes, and what types of dietary or lifestyle changes you may benefit from. It can also help anyone you consult with regarding weight loss or weight gain, such as a Physician, Nutritionist, Dietician or Health Coach to get a true sense of what you are consuming, so they can guide you in the right direction to make positive changes in your life.
(3) Keeping Track of Accidental Gluten Ingestion: If you have celiac disease or gluten sensitivity, logging your food is essential, since it will enable you to keep track of foods, brands, products, and places where you eat, so if you have a reaction (i.e., you become "glutened"), you can avoid them in the future. Since it may take anywhere from several minutes to several days for symptoms of gluten ingestion to appear, tracking your food will help you narrow down and/or determine where the source of gluten originated. Without a food log, it would be much harder to remember every single item of food you consumed for the past several days. However, with the food log in hand, you can easily go back and discover where accidental gluten ingestion came from. This will enable you to avoid future contamination, and can also help you educate others who may have been the source of your accidental ingestion.
(4) Discovering Other Possible Food Intolerances or Allergies: If you are trying to determine whether or not you have other food intolerances or allergies, logging your food and how you feel after you eat can enable a professional (Physician, Nutritionist, Dietician or Health Coach) to determine the source. It is helpful to include in your food dairy how you feel shortly after you consume each meal and snack, as well as how you feel several hours later. The following symptoms may be indicative of a possible food intolerance: stomach cramps, diarrhea, constipation, bloating, gas, fatigue, nausea, brain fog, heartburn, acne, joint pain, and headache/migraine.
(5) Progress Over Perfection: As with all areas of health, wellness, and nutrition, a food journal brings awareness to an important aspect of your life and shows you your progress over time. By keeping track of everything you eat, you will likely have some "a ha!" moments of discovery; these realizations help you make incremental changes in your dietary and lifestyle habits, which can add up to significant changes over time. In order to live your healthiest gluten free life, I encourage progress over perfection, so if you find yourself becoming too attached to the food log, or too restrictive with your eating behaviors because of it, I recommend you take a break or stop logging.
(6) Bio-Individuality: Your food log will teach you a lot about yourself and what does/doesn't work for you. Bio-Individuality is all about knowing what works for your body at this particular moment in time, and keeping a food diary will help you get in touch with this aspect of your life. Knowing what feels best for your body, and what doesn't feel well, helps you lead your healthiest life, by knowing exactly what you should seek out and what you should avoid.
If you have any questions about keeping a food log, or how you can interpret what is and isn't working for you, please don't hesitate to reach out!