Why to Keep a Food Journal

I am sure you know the feeling of not feeling good and not being sure why. Maybe you think it might be related to some poor food choices, but you have no idea which one of them caused you distress. Maybe you ate a pizza you normally don’t eat, and you would like to know if it is the cheese or the gluten in the crust. Maybe you just generally don’t feel well for a longer period of time and you don’t think there is anything wrong with your diet. Or maybe you decided to give this metabolic typing thing a try and you now need to discover what is hiding behind your metabolic individuality veil by answering questions in a metabolic typing test. Those questions are easy and pretty straight forward, but answering them might be tricky if you don’t exactly know how certain foods make you feel because you just feel terrible all the time, and you forgot how to listen to the signals your body is sending you.

How to keep a food journal?

You don’t need a fancy notebook. You don’t even really need a pen and paper if you decide to keep your journal in a digital form. All you really need is keeping track of everything you eat, time of consumption, and how that food makes you feel one to two  hours later. No need to track portion sizes or macros here, unless you like to keep track of your calories and macro ratios for different reasons (fitness goals, weight loss, or you are just a nutrition geek like us and like to keep track of numbers). Pen and paper, text file on your computer, an app on your phone – whatever works best for you is the best choice (again!) 

While you are at it, make sure to also include any spices you used in your meal, as well as fats you cooked with, no matter how insignificant that seems at first. If you are for example sensitive to nightshades (bell peppers, potatoes, tomatoes, eggplants), but you ignore paprika powder, your issues will not go away, even a pinch of paprika can be a dealbreaker. Be as specific as you can, write down as many details as possible. Yes, even a teaspoon of mayo, there are still eggs in that little serving. Be honest with yourself, this is not a contest, there is no Best Food Journalist of the Year award at the end of this, there is just information, knowledge, clarity, and health. Your health, which should always be a priority.

Include beverages, too. Just write it all down. It might seem boring, unnecessary, and overwhelming at first, and you might feel like it is taking a lot of time, but don’t worry, you are not going to do this forever. Once you discover your metabolic individuality, once you are able to point the finger to the culprits of your digestive issues, feel free to stop journaling and tracking. In an ideal case, you will only need to do this for a couple of weeks, which is a very little amount of time, if you compare it to the rest of your life lived in better health. Do this for yourself! Your body is sending you signals with every meal you ingest, you just need to be able to hear and listen.

Elimination diet

Keeping a food journal during an elimination diet is a must. Do you think that something is making you feel sick, but you are not sure what it is? An elimination diet is a perfect tool to discover what food (or foods) are problematic for you, and this process involves, well, you guessed it, eliminating them. Don’t worry, it is not forever, just long enough that your body heals from the damage they might cause, so next time you introduce them to your life, you will know exactly what they do to you.

There are plenty of elimination protocols available on the internet, our favorite is a program called Whole30. This is a 30-day plan designed specifically to discover your enemies. In short – you eliminate dairy, legumes, sugar, gluten, and all grains for 30 days to let your body heal, and then follow with a careful reintroduction protocol, where you add food groups back in one at a time and observe how they make you feel. In the end, you get to decide what you will keep in your diet, and what you feel is not worth it. Read the official rules and more details about this program, we highly recommend it! Other elimination protocols include for example AIP (auto-immune protocol), which is absolutely wonderful for anyone struggling with any immune and auto-immune conditions.

You can often hear or read that there is a perfect diet that works for everyone, or that low-carb is great, or high-fat is terrible, or that being a vegan is the healthiest way of life. Well, yes and no. Yes, for some, but not for everyone. Even though your friends or family members can thrive on a ketogenic style diet, you might feel really miserable, but you keep pushing it (while secretly hating it) just because your sister does so well being keto, look at all the fat she lost, look how her skin glows, look at her energy levels! Here is the thing: you are not your sister, you are YOU. Even though there is a good chance that you will do well on the same diet as your close family members, it is not set in stone, and you most definitely need to start listening to what your body is telling you, so you can finally start working towards your health and well being with a diet and lifestyle that is perfect for you.

What is metabolic typing?

Metabolic typing is an approach to health and nutrition that is based on one simple but important concept – metabolic individuality. Even though we are all quite similar – skeletons full of organs and covered with skin, there are things about each and every one of us that are unique. Our digestive systems should work the same by default, but some people have certain preferences, limitations or challenges. Think of food allergies and sensitivities, for example. Not everyone can digest lactose past the age of 3, and not everyone can eat bagels for breakfast. Some people get very sleepy after eating a high-carb meal, while others are able to move mountains and conquer kingdoms after the same dish. Metabolic typing takes all these aspects into consideration, helps you to listen to your body’s signals, understand them, and feed your body exactly what it needs, all tailored to you specifically.

How to take a metabolic typing test?

If you have a metabolic typing coach, you are halfway there. If you don’t know anyone personally, we at Life Enthusiast are here for you! Martin is a certified Metabolic Typing Coach with years and years of practice and thousands of happy clients. He is  ready to answer the questions you might have. The initial consultation with Martin is free!

The Metabolic Typing test itself is done in the form of food and mood-related questions. As I said before, those questions are simple, but answering them might not be. If you normally don’t eat carb-heavy breakfast, you will probably not be able to tell how you feel two hours after eating a bowl of cereal with orange juice in the morning and answering questions that will eventually lead to you discovering your ideal diet should not be a matter of guessing. You have to know. And how do you know? By checking with your food journal, of course!

Life Enthusiast is here for you every step of the way. Your health is our priority, but at the same time, your health is your job, your responsibility. We can show you the way, we can give you the map and the compass, but you need to do the walking. Once you discover your unique metabolic needs, no fancy diet program or gimmicky fat-loss cocktail will have power over you, because you will know. You will finally understand there is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to health, and those who are trying to tell you otherwise can no longer steal money from your pocket, so you can invest in yourself the way you see fit. You have your own health in your hands, and that is very, very empowering. Empower yourself, you deserve that power!

Recommended reading:
Metabolic Typing: Discovering Ourselves
Metabolic Typing: Journey To Wellness
Martin: Certified Metabolic Typing Advisor
Metabolic Typing Basics
Is Food Affecting Your Mood?
When Food Hurts

Author: Nina Vachkova