One important part of living a healthy life is knowing what your body needs and what it should avoid. Although there are many diets that claim to have the secret, the truth is, we all have different genetics and environments that determine what our body can and cannot digest properly. Before you commit to a diet, whether for general health or weight loss, it may be beneficial to determine whether or not you have any food allergies or intolerances.
Step 1: Keep a Food Journal
Before you do anything else, you should keep a food journal for at least one week without making any changes to your diet. Write down not only what you eat, but also how much of it (roughly), and how you feel physically and emotionally throughout the day. This will give you a baseline to work off of.
Step 2: Identify Problems
Do you feel sluggish or nauseous an hour after eating at McDonald’s? That’s an easy enough problem to solve. However, what can be much more difficult is pinpointing problems that occur at home. For example, you could have spaghetti and meatballs with a large salad that has tons of toppings and dressing. If you start to feel bloated after eating, there are many ingredients that could be the culprit. Try to see if there are any patterns, where you eat a particular food and then feel bad afterward. If you cannot find a particular pattern, your problem may not lie with one particular food, but with a buildup from the foods that you eat throughout the day.
Step 3: Elimination Diet
Once you have an idea of the foods that could cause you problems, you can eliminate them from your diet, while still maintaining your food journal. See if you notice more energy or less stomach problems. When you do this, you should keep in mind that you may lose essential vitamins and minerals. Try to replace them with another food, or take a supplement if needed.
Step 4: Consult a Doctor
Although this step is not necessary, as avoiding certain foods is easy enough, it can give you some peace of mind to take an allergy test. Whether the results come back positive or negative for the foods you’ve identified, you can still avoid foods that make you feel bad. There are many digestive conditions that are triggered by certain foods, and not all are considered allergies. Still, if you are concerned about your overall health in relation to your diet, contacting a doctor is a good idea.
Food allergies and intolerances are extremely common, but many do not know they have them. Before trying out a new diet, take some time to evaluate which foods your body really needs.