How to keep a food diary

Axelle Blanpain 
Lifestyle blogger & co-founder of Natural Company 

Do you ever feel boated, a bit too tired or simply unwell? Well it might come down to a food allergy or intolerence. Keeping a food diary might be just the solution to find how what triggers your body and causes slight discomfort or skin reactions.

But how do you start a food diary exactly? What should you track and how? Well, here are a few tips to get you started!

The basics

All you need to get started is a bit of paper and a pen really. But if you want to stay motivated, I highly suggest choosing a cute notebook or even creating a new note on your phone if you're often on the go and don't want to carry around a notebook.

Whenever you don't have time to track your food (at the restaurant for example), I suggest taking a quick photo on your phone. I am not talking about standing on your chair and getting the perfect instagram shot but rather taking a quick shot to remind yourself of everything that you ate later on when you're writing it down. 

We always tend to think that we know exactly what we ate and when but often, we forget about a little piece of chocolate or even a sprinkle of shredded cheese...

What to track

If you ask me, the more, the better! The bare minimum to track would be what you eat (including spices & condiments if you feel like something isn't right in your body), what time of the day you eat and any symptoms or discomfort that might experience.

Personally, I like to track as much as possible to make sure that I have a very detailed view to understand what's going on. I track my sleep (hours of sleep as well as the quality), my water intake, how my skin looks (any redness, sore patches or pimples) as well as my mood.

It's also a good idea to track any situation (if you're eating out or squeezing a meal in between meetings) as well as any medicine or supplements that you might be taking. 

After 10 or 15 days, you should have a better understanding of which ingredients or associations triggers something in your body. If you're bloated or really tired after a certain meal, try to cut these ingredients out of your diet for a day or two before reintroducing them to see how your body reacts.
I personally found the cause of my insomnia by doing the Whole 30 and keeping a consistent food diary for a few days. Before that, I spent nearly 20 years of my life with troubled sleep and saw countless doctors and even spent two nights in a sleep lab! That goes to show that you have a lot to gain by simply writing down everything that you eat for a few days!