A food and symptom diary is a priceless tool. I study them for patterns to look for the physical and behavioral symptoms I associate with particular foods. If you or your child experience symptoms you suspect are from foods, a food diary can be a useful reference to track possible food sensitivities.
Try noting how you or your child feel or behave before, during, and after meals and beverages. Unfortunately, it is sometimes not as simple as what you ate but how much of it or in combination with what other foods. For example, you may find that you get headaches every time you eat pizza, or that you are fine with pizza until you add mushrooms on top, although mushrooms seem to be fine on a salad. Sometimes it is the combination of things that puts you over your threshold for tolerance of a specific compound. Keeping track of quantity and any additional details helps.
It really is best to take it beyond food if you can. Supplement changes should obviously be monitored closely. Some supplements you might expect to see temporary symptoms from as part of a detox process. But sometimes it may not be detox but an undesirable reaction. Your doctor will definitely want to know about these reactions.
Exposures to things like perfumes, pets and even temperature changes can have similar affects to foods, and sometimes in combination with chemicals in food you have crossed your threshold for tolerance. One mom reported that her child’s behavioral issues at school were finally traced to the perfume of his classroom aide. I recently heard from a mom that her children seemed to be reacting to grandma with histamine type symptoms. They probably are not reacting to grandma herself, but perhaps a product she uses.
The more detail you record, the more information can be discerned. Keep track of symptoms that occur 24/7 for best results.
There are actually apps for this kind of thing. Isn’t that cool? Here is one I found online called mySymptoms. You can generate a report from this and show it to your doctor or health care professional.
Here are some examples of symptoms that you might list:
or any other symptoms you observe, good or bad.
If you are going to do this the old fashioned way as opposed to the app above, here is one format that you might use:
Keep in mind that reactions can occur up to several days later, so don’t necessarily expect to associate the symptoms you are experiencing with the most recent meal or exposure. You do, however, want to keep track of when the reactions occur with respect to meals in order to look for patterns.
I hope this helps you to get to the bottom of any symptoms you or your children are experiencing. These tools sound incredibly simple but when used properly they can have spectacular results!