Should I keep a food diary

Food diary secrets that beat arthritis

What’s with the food diary thing?

For most people arthritis doesn’t just stop, burn out, or fade away, but fear not because remission can and does happen when we change our habits and stop making the bad food choices that cause inflammation. Read on to discover the Food diary secrets that beat arthritis

So tell us Wade, how can get on track, ease the pain, and start eating for our condition without growing a chunk of will power and living like a monk? The simple answer is to keep a food diary.

[blockquote author=”Wade Tate” ]A food diary is the number one way of cutting arthritis symptoms in the early days.[/blockquote]

Why I messed up

My food diary helped me figure out where I was going wrong, but in the beginning I was like most of you.  I had so much inflammation going on I couldn’t really see the point of a food diary? Food wasn’t a problem, food was my medicine!
My diet was amazing and I was and getting great results.

Renouncing all medical help kinda makes it have to be that way?

It was my attitude that was at fault, the attitude of “why do I need to take a food diary” I got this thing!

The interwebs lead to to believe that a healthy diet would be enough to treat my rheumatoid arthritis?
Unfortunately, that wasn’t exactly right and there could have been improvements, but I firmly believe I could have achieved even better results, if I’d had the best information on day one of my journey.

The problem was that my knowledge didn’t grow fast enough for me to get the results I wanted.  Arthirits is a huge subject and I simply couldn’t assimilate all the knowledge in time to stop my decline.

Yeah I hit the diet thing pretty hard, but when I look back I know I could of done more. The advantage you have over me is that this information is now available in one place and archived to help you through your journey. I didn’t have that.

That experience left me knowing that keeping a food diary during the early weeks of your diagnosis is essential. You have to live this thing to beat it, and I mean live it like you mean it!  Document everything, take the data and you will get you further than you dared hope.

Where did the problems lie

When I started to investigative arthritis I came across all the usual lotions and potions and foods that swore to effect a dramatic turn around in my condition. Unfortunately, much of what I read was sales nonsense or uninformed drivel.
The internet is an amazing tool, but there is a lot of rubbish around that you need to avoid.

The misplaced feeling of confidence in some of the claimed “wonder supplements”  I tried gave me a feeling that I didn’t need to make a food diary because it was less important than buying flashy supplements or “GET WELL NOW” products. Why would anyone need to go writing stuff down in a food diary if supplements were going to have such dramatic results? That attitude was very wrong and taking the decision not to write the food diary early is one of my biggest regrets.

My ignorance and the lack of urgency caused me a lot of pain and maybe even deformity? I should have listened to the bright people who were urging me to make a food diary, but I thought I knew best and maybe I simply couldn’t be bothered to make the effort due to the energy deficit I was suffering.

Truth is, you won’t be able to get your energy levels up until you start to take account of your diet and daily regime. These two things go hand in hand and once you figure some of this out you can move onto doing fun stuff again.

How does a food diary help?

It is so simple.
Food plays a massive part in the inflammatory process for most sufferers;  identifying the foods that set your flares off and avoiding them can save you a lot of pain and physical damage.

Here is an example:

I knew the so called “nightshade vegetables” can trigger arthritis flares in some sufferers, so I set my sights firmly on the tomato. Dropping them from my diet wasn’t a problem because I was well into food diary note taking mode by now and well accustomed to searching out bad foods and eliminating them.

Once the tomatoes were dropped from my diet they didn’t seem to have any real effect on my symptoms over the first week?
I was surprised by this because my symptoms seemed steady.  I was suffering a little, but no more than usual and certainly didn’t feel any great benefit from my enforced tomato fast?

The problem was the general buzz of inflammation and brain fog was clouding my senses and stopping me from having the ability to make out a discernible change in my symptoms.
I was sure changes were happening, but I couldn’t detect them with my internal equipment.

Tomato was the problem, but why couldn’t I see it?

Most people don’t know that inflammatory reactions from foods can sometime take a couple of days or even longer to manifest into a symptom and neither did I!  The same goes for the other end of the sopectrum too! Foods can take up to a week or sometimes longer to clear from your system.

I made the mistake of reintroducing tomato’s a few days later without realising they were still in my system.
Every other day I would get a flare and wonder what had caused it. The culprit wasn’t unmasked until I mapped the highs and lows of my inflammation against my food diary some weeks later.

Once I had tomatoes in my sites I could see the patterns emerge from the data. Taken as a long term view, the cause of my flares was easy to spot. Most of everything else that could be suspect had been removed with no change, so it had to be the tomatoes!

Only the combination of the two data sets could of shown the culprit up so quickly. The joined up sequences of data taken from periods of eating and then not eating tomato were vital in finding out where the inflammation was coming from.

Without my food diary I would possible still be eating tomato to this day and sadly that’s the way it is for many sufferers.

[small_title title=”They suffer because they don’t take the time to be better?”]

How will I spot the problem foods?

Not all problem foods are so difficult to spot, in fact some foods stick out like a sore thumb.  it is great when that happens, but please beware the sneaky things like the tomato. Inflammatory foods like these can come back to inflame you days after eating them.

The easy take home lesson is this.

[blockquote author=”” pull=”normal”]You can save yourself a lot of pain by making proper dietary changes and enforcing your choices with clear data from your food diary[/blockquote]

Who wants to eat a food that causes them agony? That doesn’t make any sense.

Where do I start?

Take note of the foods you eat and document how you make you feel physically, mentally and emotionally. Once you have that powerful information you can reflect on how your choices affected your health and mood over the longer term. The quicker you work out what’s troubling your system, the quicker you will get better.

The essential values to record in your food diary are:

  • EVERY mouthful of food you eat.
  • The way eating the food made you feel
  • Pain levels (0-10)
  • Mood states
  • Levels of brain fog (0-10)
  • Levels of inflammation (0-10)

Free Tools!

The tools over at medhelp.org should be all you need to work out what’s wrong with your body. There are other trackers out there, but I believe medhelp.org provides the best trackers and it is the one I have used to pick apart my inflammation. Not only that, medhelp.org has a multitude of trackers for just about every health condition and you can use them for free!  keep your information in one place and you’ll soon have a big picture perspective on your health.

 You don’t have to use all of these trackers listed above, you’ll probably suffer from overload if you try to?
I use the food diary tracker, exercise tracker and the auto immune tracker, but I also use some of the others from time to time. I like the gastro tracker for food allergy type situations.

I listed the three trackers I use because the diet and autoimmune trackers can take a lot of time to fill out, but they are extensive enough to cover most people’s needs and filling these few out should put you on the right track.

The autoimmune tracker can track just about any symptom of an auto immune disease and will be vital in mapping your progress against your food diary readings.
Comparing the results between these two trackers can conjure a staggeringly accurate picture of which foods are causing which symptom, and should help you spot those problem foods.

The diet tracker is also extremely comprehensive, but will take some filling out. However, combining these two data sets is essential if your seeking big results.

Does diet affect arthritis?

You better believe it!
Diet is a major contributing factor in most cases of inflammatory arthritis but you probably won’t hear that from your rheumatologist?

The way the body reacts to foods and the allergic reactions caused by food passing through the stomach wall are a major factor in auto immune disease.
When molecules of food get into places in the body where they shouldn’t be, they get attacked by the immune system and neutralised.

If you continue to eat these problem foods again the immune system will recognise them as an invader and attack- resulting in inflammation.
The body is a complex bag of chemical reactions that reacts positively when you put the right chemicals in at the right time.

The simple observation and application of food diary rules can avert major episodes of chemical stress, overload, allergy inflammation and deficiency.

Your body will respond to dietary corrections better than any pill or potion you can take and is 100% necessary for your full recovery.

I have sat through countless thousands of hours of debilitating pain because I didn’t have the right information available to me.
I could have avoided most of that pain and avoided taking a lot of toxic drugs into my system that I later had to detox…They may still be lingering inside my body somewhere.

The upshot of food diary ignorance is pain, and I can guarantee you that this observation is well meant and evidence based.

Understanding your body

I found on my journey that diet has been the major cure for my disease and although bad diet and lifestyle choices were a contributing factor to starting my condition, it is certainly true that what almost killed me, eventually cured me and lead me to a beautiful balanced and healthy way of being.

How would I ever of come to these understanding if I hadn’t kept a food diary or journal? Short answer is wouldn’t, But there’s nothing wrong (according to some) with eating processed foods is there?

Think about that!

Some people will tell you anything to sell a product and won’t think for a second about your well being.

There is nothing more dangerous than putting your health in the hands of marketing men, or being ignorant about the bad food choices that are waiting, right out in the open, to gobble your health up?

The brain is not a filing cabinet!

Ask yourself can you remember exactly what you did yesterday?

I certainly can’t ? So how the heck are you going to avoid making food errors when we can barely remember what we did 24 hours ago?
We have all kinds of things going on mentally, including brain fog and the constant fear, worry, and dread that can accompany you in the first days of your diagnosis.

Relaxation and meditation can help with this. If your going to get anything done you may need to start a program of meditation. it’s very important to let the mind go blank and relax as much as possible so that the body can de-stress and allow the flight or flight (endocrine system) to relax and get back into recovery mode.

Lets face it were never going to be able to remember anything or even understand our own habits if we don’t write this stuff down.
I know we all like to think were super bright and think we can work it out without doing the work of keeping a journal.

I used to think that too!

My excuses for this error were mainly due to being mentally idle and not realising the importance of using the internet to help cut the unnecessary work out of keeping a food diary.

Who uses a stupid journal anyway?

Almost all successful people keep some form of journal. Starting a journal will set you apart from the crowd and allow you to join a very special and usually very gifted group of people. These people live their lives like they mean it, they value their time, and take the time to reflect on the consequences of their actions.

If you research the habits of successful people, you will find that a staggering number have a habit of recording their lives in a journal. They do this not just for posterity!  They keep a journal so they can see the highs lows and consider the errors in thinking that lead them to make the choices they made, good or bad.

A journal is a life long companion or put best, a mirror that you can hold up to yourself to judge how you’re doing in life and love.

We all make bad mistakes sometimes but wouldn’t it be a beautiful life if we could cut those errors out and sail through life carefree, almost knowing and relying on our new found knowledge that were going to find the right words or do the right thing in every situation.

Just think how much stress that simple act of filling out a journal could cut out of your life! That’s stress and adrenalin and testosterone and a million other destructive and nutrient depleting chemicals that our bodies could be using to restore your health are being wasted on stress that could be eliminated with clearer thinking….Think about that one for a while.

How long do I have to fill this thing in?

Chill out,  you don’t have to be filling this thing in for the rest of your life?

Typically you’ll get a good feel for your food habits within a couple of days.  Sometime immediately! But eventually you’ll work it out and will start to get addicted to the food diary websites and filling them out.

If you take real control of this and stay as strict as you can, I’d say you’ll be free of your arthritis tracker duty and free of most symptoms in three months.

Why not get the job done and start planning your life without medhelps daily inputs or arthritis.

So can I give it up now?

NO!

Just because you have your data sets under control and you have your life planned out, does not mean you can stop taking data! However, your data should now evolve into the form of a less formal journal.

Here you can document all of your life experiences, as well as dietary changes, and give your life, and thinking a new positive direction armed with some cold hard facts.

The problem with life is it’s like a rudderless ship. If you don’t grab the tiller things ain’t gonna end well. Take a grip of your tiller (journal) and get to grips with examining your life.
Seek out the errors and eliminate them, where your habits and problems make new ones and eliminate bad patterns of thinking and doing.
Set a new more informed course and let your daily journal guide you to a happy and healthy new future, free of the unknowns that make so many people’s lives so difficult.

My food diary  warning to you is this…

 

[blockquote author=”” pull=”normal”]Make a journal and protect your future with a record of your past![/blockquote]

Where do I buy my journals?

The amazingly lovely Lou KR, owner of  dearest jackdaw bindery, provides all my journal materials. I get amazing personal service and they post these gorgeous journals world wide.
Handmade wholesome loveliness always gets my vote, and the lovely leather covers protect your valuable words, keeping things light weight in the process.

Treat yourself to a fabulous handmade journal from the delightful and omni-talented Louise Knight-Richardson at Dearest Jackdaw via the link below (NOT affiliate), this one’s here on merit.

Enjoy them, they are truly unique!

Dearest Jackdaw fine bound leather journals
Dearest Jackdaw fine bound leather journals
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