There's a common theme running through the diary stories we share: resolve. When you know you just. have. to. do. something. about the symptoms you're feeling, and help yourself recover. Just like Abbie felt, in fact...
"So I have been diagnosed as Coeliac since 2012, after a bout of Swine flu a couple of years previous. At the time I didn’t know what was going on but I knew I didn’t feel like myself. I had random symptoms and just generally felt unwell. I went to my doctors but was waved away with “I don’t think it’s food related; you have just turned 30, you’re likely to start feeling your age” Yes, I was fuming! He could see that I wasn’t going to accept this ‘diagnosis of age” so then suggested I try doing a food diary. In all honesty I found this just added more stress. But off I went and started to try recording everything I was consuming; I found this really hard. Not only was it difficult to remember to write all my foods down, it was all being done on a little pad. It was messy, jumbled and easily forgotten about here and there. Suffice to say, I didn’t find anything in my scribblings. I went back and the Doctor suggested I try a plain diet. With white fish, white meat, rice, potatoes and green veg. No sauces, no seasoning. I noticed while on this diet for the week that I didn’t look or feel 5 months pregnant, tired and uncomfortable. After going back and asking him to test me for some sort of food allergy (still reluctant - saying it was highly unlikely), I found out I had Coeliac. You’d think that would be the end of the story right? It’s not.
Even once you are diagnosed and know what you can and can’t eat, you STILL have symptoms. I am very careful about my diet, however, I started to really suffer with symptoms of ‘coeliac’ or ‘IBS’ again. I knew I couldn’t go back to a pad and paper to resolve it, so I looked for something more substantial to record all the information I needed as, I also suffer with Chronic Migraine. For me personally, it means suffering with daily headaches/migraines, which means harsh medications. So many things that needed to be included into my symptoms: diet, medication, stress levels, routine…
I found The food Diary Company on Instagram, after searching online for something that covered ‘all areas’. This journal was gorgeous. Professional in appearance. Brilliantly detailed. I loved it. The daily sections are: Food intake, mood, sleep, symptoms, exercise, medication, stress, drinks and notes. I would never have thought to include this information let alone write it all down! There are also ‘monthly roundup’ pages for you to look at a month as a whole, which can help see potential triggers.
Writing in this thorough diary is not a chore. It helped me feel like I was taking control of my symptoms and how I felt. I found it therapeutic.
I have other investigations going on regarding my health at the moment, however, It helped me to realise that my headaches were slightly worse when I ate cheese, more specifically, processed cheese. I also noted my fluid intake was not as it should be and this also affected me. Although our ‘stress levels’ may be hard to quantify, I did come up with my own little indicator and then recorded that. It’s not surprising that after looking at this in more detail, I could see where this had affected me.
My favourite thing about this diary, other than it pretty much covers everything? It’s simple beauty. It wouldn’t look out of place in a professional’s briefcase or a teenagers schoolbag.
If you are thinking about starting a food diary this is it. It covers the basics and so much more. It is also very reasonably priced. I bought one for me and one as a gift for a friend with Fibromyalgia. It does’t just have to be for food issues…"
-Abbie, UK (@ab.glutenfree)
Thank you Abbie for sharing your story with us! Knowing that we're helping people is the greatest possible feeling. If you're reading Abbie's story and are thinking "that sounds so much like me!" then we'd suggest getting your own diary and giving it a go. Even if you've "tried" keeping a food diary before - you haven't tried using ours! You never know what you could discover that will help you lead a happier, healthier life.