How to Use a Food Tracker
When you begin the Autoimmune Protocol (AIP) diet, it is very important to track any symptoms or reactions you may have to the food you eat. Living with any autoimmune condition, it can be difficult to tell what may cause each new (or old!) ache and pain. This makes it especially important to use a food tracker to keep everything clear and organized.
Using a food tracker
When I first started the AIP diet, I probably felt the worst I’ve felt in a long time. Not only did I have a great deal of joint pain and fatigue, I had also began to develop stomach and digestive issues. I always felt bloated and had a great deal of brain fog, especially after meals.
Because of this, I often avoided breakfast since my stomach symptoms were much better in the morning. I really didn’t want to “rock the boat,” so I put off eating anything until sometimes even 1 or 2 in the afternoon. It wasn’t until I started the AIP diet, and subsequently began using a food tracker, did I really see what was causing my stomach issues, contributing to my brain fog, and even my fatigue and joint pain.
Getting started using a food tracker doesn’t have to be difficult or time consuming. It can be as involved or simple as you need it to be. I grabbed just a little scrap of paper and a pen when I first got started. I drew a simple chart for each day, wrote what I ate, then about 1-2 hours later I wrote what I felt.
Begin with a list of suspects
I started tracking simple stomach issues and began a “suspects” list. I kept a list of what I thought were the types of foods that were causing me to have issues. Gluten and dairy topped my list. Yours may be different. After you’ve kept your food tracker for about a week or two, you should have a good idea about who your top suspects are.
Narrow down your list using your food tracker
In order to be successful with the AIP diet, you must be consistent. That also applies to using a food tracker. If you consistently use your food tracker then you will be able to narrow down your list of foods that are doing you more harm than good. You may find that specific foods are causing issues, or perhaps even entire groups of foods, such as dairy.
You have options for food trackers
If you aren’t sure how to get started using a food tracker for AIP or which one might be right for you, here are a few places to start:
The Track and React Online Tool from Arthritis.org (also has an app!)
Flaredown for Chronic Illness – this is an advanced symptom, treatment, and activity tracker all-in-one. It stores a ton of information, but if you are easily overwhelmed by “all the options” you might want to stick with more of a food diary suggestion.