A food diary, also called a food journal or a food log, is recommended for a long list of reasons. Food journals are often used to monitor nutrition (are you getting enough fiber? Vitamin A?) or, commonly, for weight loss to keep track of calories.
But it is also recommended increasingly to monitor disease activity. Web sites for Crohns Disease, kidney disease, Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) , Ulcerative Colitis, acid reflux, Celiac Disease, Fibromyalgia, Diabetes, allergies, and more, are making the crucial connection between what we eat and our health.
Nowhere is that connection better established than with Rheumatoid Arthritis. An accumulating body of research as well as our own experience indicates clearly that Rheumatoid Arthritis is a disorder caused by food intolerance.
As discussed in other recent posts, the key to vanquishing RA is the rotation diet, eating any food no more often than once every four days. This eliminates the problem of low level reactions to minimally hazardous foods that build in our bodies until our immune system can no longer ignore them. The rotation diet gives our bodies the time it needs to clear the food molecules that disrupt our immune system before adding more of them.
The way to maintain a successful rotation diet is to maintain an accurate food diary.
Here’s how to do it:
To get started you’ll need a notebook, preferably spiral bound, that is small enough to carry in your purse or pocket, because you’ll need ready access to record immediately everything you eat and drink. Trying to remember what you ate sometime later will result in missed foods, defeating your purpose.
On each page of the journal, begin by recording the day of the week and date, how you feel upon arising, which joints are painful, and the medications you’ve taken that morning. As you follow the rotation diet, the day will come, quickly, when you no longer need heavy-duty pharmaceuticals.
Each time you eat during the day, list the approximate time (e.g., breakfast, morning snack, etc.) and write down every food, including brand names (for future investigation), beverages, and frying oils. Note any garnishes, condiments, toppings, or additives. Be as complete as possible.
At the end of the day, record any new areas of pain that have cropped up. It can take from 6 to 24 hours for a food sensitivity to show up in a painful joint. If you have pain in the evening that wasn’t there in the morning, it may mean that you ate something early in the day that is causing problems. If you ate something to which you are allergic late in the day, the pain will most likely show up the next morning.
The real purpose of the diet diary is to help you monitor foods eaten and when they were eaten.
The 4-day rotation diet will quickly eliminate RA symptoms caused by low levels of food intolerance, and that is most of them.
If you experience pain or fatigue while on the diet, it means that you have included a food to which you have a high level of sensitivity and it must be removed from your diet entirely. Rotating such a food will not solve the problem of an extreme allergy, although it will lessen its impact. Fortunately, such food sensitivities are few.
There are many examples of food diaries on the internet. The template that will work best for our purposes is this one:
In the column labeled ‘notes,’ write down the joints that are giving you trouble. As you progress on your food rotation diet, you’ll have less and less need for that column, although you will always need to keep track of what you eat.
Until you try it, you won’t believe how good you will quickly feel by simply eating no food more often than every four days. It works like magic. But you have to keep track of what you’ve eaten.