What’s with the food diary thing?
For most people, arthritis does not simply stop, burn out, or fade away; it persists for the rest of one’s life, and it usually worsens over time. But don’t worry; remission can and does occur when we adjust our habits and stop eating the foods that trigger inflammation.
Please keep reading to learn about my Food Diary Secrets for Arthritis.
Something everyone wants to know is how we can get back on course, relieve our discomfort, and begin eating for our condition without having to develop superhuman willpower or live like a monk.
The straightforward solution is to keep a food journal.
A food diary is the number one way of cutting arthritis symptoms in the early days.
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 making a food diary. Food wasn’t a problem, food was my medicine!
My diet was amazing and I was getting great results!
Renouncing all medical help kinda makes your attitude have to be that way. There simply is not turning back and nowhere else to go.
However, it was my part of my attitude that was at fault all along. The part of my attitude that asked “why do I need to take a food diary” I got this thing!
The internet lead me to believe that a healthy diet would be enough to treat my rheumatoid arthritis.
Unfortunately, that wasn’t exactly right, but I firmly believe I could have achieved even better results if I’d had the best information from day one of my journey.
The problem was that my knowledge didn’t grow fast enough for me to get the results I wanted quickly enough. Arthritis is a huge subject and I simply couldn’t assimilate all the knowledge in time to stop my decline. Eventually, I did stop the disease but it was too late to stop some of the damage.
I hit the diet thing pretty hard, but when I look back I know I could have 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 this kind of fabulous resource to guide me on my journey.
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 the limit to beat it, and I mean live it like you mean it! Document everything, take the data, do the work and you will get further than you dared hope.
Where did the problems lie
When I started to investigate arthritis I came across all the usual lotions, potions, and foods that swore to effect a dramatic turnaround in my condition. Unfortunately, much of what I read was marketing 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 on to doing fun stuff again with renewed energy and fewer symptoms.
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 seeking out and eliminating bad foods.
Once the tomatoes were dropped from my diet I thought things would be all good, but this didn’t seem to have any real effect on my symptoms during 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 noticeable 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 notice any discernible change in my symptoms.
I was sure changes were happening because the subtle change in my biochemistry had to be happening, but I couldn’t detect them with my internal sensory equipment.
The tomato was the problem, but why couldn’t I see it?
Most people don’t know that inflammatory reactions from foods can sometimes 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 spectrum too! Foods can take up to a week or sometimes longer to clear from your system.
I made the mistake of reintroducing tomatoes a few days later without realizing 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 have shown the culprit so quickly. The joined-up sequences of data taken from periods of eating and then not eating tomatoes were vital in finding out where the inflammation was coming from.
Without my food diary, I would possibly still be eating tomatoes to this day, and sadly that’s the way it is for many sufferers.
Sufferers often 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 of the sneaky things like the tomato and other nightshades. Inflammatory foods like these can come back to inflame you days after eating them.
The easy take-home lesson is this.
You can save yourself a lot of pain by making proper dietary changes and enforcing your choices with clear data from your food diary
Who wants to eat foods which cause them agony? That doesn’t make any sense to me because the risk isn’t worth the reward.
Our problems stem from the mistaken belief that we are powerless to do anything about inflammatory conditions. We are led to believe that pills, or some other such thing, will sort our problems out when we are the ones in the driving seat who ultimately have control over the processes that run in our bodies.
Where do I start?
Take note of the foods you eat and document how they make you feel physically, mentally, and emotionally. Once you have that powerful information available to you you can reflect on how your choices affected your health over the longer term. The more quickly you work out what’s troubling your system, the quicker you will start to feel 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)
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 autoimmune tracker, but I also use some of the others from time to time.
I also 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. Fortunately, for us, they are extensive enough to cover most people’s needs, and filling these sections out should help you get on the right track.
The autoimmune tracker can track just about any symptom of autoimmune 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.
Moving on to the diet tracker. This tracker is extremely comprehensive and that means it’s going to take some filling out. That sounds like a lot of work but combining these two data sets is essential if you’re seeking big results.
The way I see it, there is no harder work than living in disease! So, you might as well make a start on finding out what’s going wrong in your body.
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 lining are major factors in autoimmune disease.
When molecules of food get into places in the body where they shouldn’t be, they are attacked by the immune system and neutralized.
If you continue to eat these problem foods again the immune system will recognize them as an invader and mount an attack which results in inflammation and potential long or short-term allergic reactions.
The body is a complex bag of chemical reactions that reacts positively when you put the right chemicals in at the right time.
Simple observation and application of food diary rules can avert major episodes of chemical stress, overload, allergy inflammation and nutrient 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 like ibuprofen into my system that I later had to detox…They may still be lingering inside my body somewhere.
The end result of food diary ignorance is pain! 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 contributing factors to starting my condition, it is certainly true that what almost killed me eventually cured me.
How would I ever have come to this understanding if I hadn’t kept a food diary or journal? The 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 just waiting to damage your health.
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 you’re 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 get back into recovery mode.
Let’s face it, we’re never going to be able to remember anything or understand our own habits if we don’t write this stuff down.
I know we all like to think we’re 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 realizing 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 don’t do this just for posterity! They keep a journal so they can see the highs and lows and consider the errors in thinking that lead them to make the choices they made, good or bad.
A journal is a lifelong companion, or we could better describe it as a mirror 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? That’s never going to happen one hundred percent. Only knowing where we are really at and relying on our new-found knowledge can help us 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 used to restore our health. These vital resources 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 fill 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. Sometimes 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 work as strictly as you can, I’d say you’ll be free of your arthritis tracker duty and free of most symptoms in three months. Most people see fabulous results in two to six weeks and never look back.
Why not get the job done and start planning your life without medhelps daily inputs or arthritis?
You can also grab one of my healthy life coaching courses and take all of the work out of the job of being well.
So can I give it up now?
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.
With that kind of journal, you can document all of your life experiences with the aim of setting your life off in a positive new direction.
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 you see 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…
Make a journal and protect your future with a record of your past!
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 worldwide.
Handmade wholesome loveliness always gets my vote, and the lovely leather covers protect your valuable words, keeping things lightweight and portable 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!