The Food Diary in the wild: Cecilia's story
Cecilia has an imbalance of gut bacteria and often suffered from painful bloating. Recording her food and diet to manage the symptoms day-to-day, she found a surprising trigger…
“As a qualified holistic health coach, I always start by asking my clients to record their food intake, plus symptoms/mood, for 2 – 4 weeks, regardless of their health complaints or goals. I find my clients generally fall into 3 categories: most choose to record their food in an app on their phones; some – like me - prefer to record their food by written hand; and a few just cannot manage more than a few entries, however many times I prompt them!
I personally suffer from chronic, often painful bloating, and at times such a fast metabolism that I’m not effectively absorbing nutrients. Over the years I have identified a few culprits, namely foods from the allium family (onion, garlic, leeks, etc.) which give me nausea and hang-over symptoms, and brassica vegetables (cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, etc.) particularly when eaten raw, plus a number of other suspects which can trigger my physical symptoms. I am also susceptible to stress and anxiety.
When my symptoms get out of hand and my immune system weakens, I go back to my naturopath and I will go back to recording my food. Frustratingly, I don’t have a “diagnosis”, other than an imbalance of gut bacteria which I may partly have inherited from my mother, and which tends to anxiety.
I stumbled across The Food Diary Company early last year and was immediately drawn by the stylish leather cover. After a little research, I decided to buy one. I was in a health dip and knew it was time for another elimination diet. And I was curious whether TFDC diaries would be a helpful resource for my clients. Thankfully the shipping costs from the UK to Australia were not too bad. I didn’t start using my diary straight away – we moved house and my home office was mayhem for months – but once I started I haven’t looked back.
I love how my diary has all the prompts I need to be able to accurately track and assess my gut-related health.
The biggest revelation has been the correlation to sleep. It’s crazy how I have overlooked the impact of sleep on my bloating: the more tired I am, the more anxious I am; the more tired/anxious I am, the more I bloat.
I have personalised my diary to also include entries for “destress or relaxation”, e.g. slow movement/yoga, mindfulness, meditation, gratitude/journaling.
I have days when I don’t find the time to make any diary entries. I can normally catch up the following day but its never as accurate. My best tip is to set calendar alerts in your phone – I have them set 3 times a day at times when I know I’m more likely to be able to make a diary entry, e.g. 9am when I’m at my desk, 2.30pm before I pick up the kids from school, and 9pm which is also my prompt to turn my phone onto airplane mode. I also have 4 daily alerts reminding me to take a few belly breaths – so nerdy but incredibly effective!
The monthly roundup pages are the stand-out part of the food diary – so simple yet so full of useful information and potential answers.
I absolutely recommend The Food Diary Co food diaries to my clients, and my friends. There is nothing more empowering than taking control of your own health.
There is so much conflicting advice today about what to eat and what not to eat, but A TFDC food diary can really help you listen to messages from your own body, to interpret them and to take action. You do not need to live with all the annoying, uncomfortable, painful and inflammatory effects of food sensitivities and intolerances. Get a food diary and start your journey to better health!”
Thank you so much to Cecilia for sharing her experience with our food diary with us! If you’re keen to read more about how our food diary helps people take control of their diet and health, we have plenty more testimonials where that came from. And of course, if you’re looking to get your own, here’s where to buy it!