The importance of becoming aware of your food habits and doing a food diary
The Dietary Approach to IBS involves is a multi-layered approach. The most important concepts are recognizing food and eating habits, uncovering food triggers, and completing an elimination diet and then reintroduction of foods.
The following questions and the diary exercise that follows it should get you started for Week 1 of discovering the link between Diet, Eating, and IBS:
- Are there any foods already suspected or identified to be problems (i.e. any known food triggers)?
- Are there any other circumstances that they have found that produce IBS symptoms, such as:
- eating too fast
- eating too much at dinner
- eating late in the day or late at night
EXERCISE: 1 WEEK FOOD DIARY
Before you start to eliminate potential problem foods or foods that irritate the gut, it is very useful to keep a food diary for 7 days.
In your food diary, you should write down every food and drink item you consume, the time of day you ate/drank it, how much of it you ate (i.e. two heaping servings of pasta, 2 cans of soda, etc), and any IBS symptoms that followed you eating/drinking that item, within a few hours.
Other things to Record..
In addition to food and non-alcoholic drinks, the time and amount of alcohol consumed each day should also be recorded
Cigarettes, other substances smoked, or any other substances put into the body should also be recorded in the food diary
“Stress” Record (finding the link b/t IBS & Stress)
A ‘stress’ record for each day should also be included in your food diary so you can begin to see for yourself the link between IBS and Stress. Record the following: when you feel particularly stressed, have a stressful experience/conflict/deadline at work/home AND if that stressful event is related to you craving/eating a particular food at time when you are experiencing the stress. IBS and Stress are related because of the complex connections between the mind/brain and the gut!
Because sleep is related to food cravings and to the brain-gut connection, also record how many hours of sleep you get each night, and what time you go to sleep.