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The Food Diary - your ultimate food allergy tool

A real life food diary
"A real life food diary" courtesy of msclooney

You might be wondering why you need to keep a food diary if you can simply get a reliable food allergy test to work out what you are allergic to.

Well, what a food diary can do is:

  1. Back up what the food allergy test tells you
  2. Help identify any foods that the allergy test missed (this can happen, especially if you have not eaten the food for a while before the test)
  3. My food diary helps me separate gluten hits from food allergies - this is obviously not a problem if you're not coeliac

The benefits of a food diary

As any good statistician will tell you, the only way to get accurate results is to have good data. (And my wife is a statistician and she's always telling me that ;-)

It may be that the first time you have a reaction to something you aren't able to tell what did it, but you record it in your food diary anyway. Then, the next time it happens, you record it again, and you can cross-reference with other times you ate the same foods. 3 occurences and you have a reliable way of telling what poisoned you.

So how do you keep a food diary?

Put simply, a food diary simply records everything you put in your mouth. But you also want to record in your diary how you feel from day to day and, , the quality of your stools. However distasteful it may be, there is no better guide to the state of your guts than your poos. I have a scale of 1-5 where 1 is diarrhea and 5 is a perfect plopper.

OK, enough of the poos.

Probably the best way for me to show you how to make your own food diary is to show you mine, so below are a couple of downloads. The first is a pdf of my food diary which you should be able to view on your computer. (If you can't, just download Acrobat reader free here).

The second download is the Excel spreadsheet version of my food diary. You'll only be able to view this if you have Excel, but you can use it as a model because you can edit it.

My food diary - PDF version

My food diary - Excel spreadsheet

As you'll see, I have missed the occasional entry in my food diary, but that's not important. Just keep making the entries and your food diary will soon be a really useful tool in your fight against food allergies.

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