A food journal can make the difference between haphazardly jumping from diet to diet, and learning from your daily experience with food. Is your diet helping, or making things worse? Many diets sound good, but fail to deliver results. How will you know the difference? You'll know by keeping a food journal. Think broccoli is healthy for you, but aren't sure? A food journal can give you definitive feedback. Keeping a food journal can help you quickly identify what works and what doesn't.
If last night's meal made you feel sick, you'd want to know why. Unfortunately, the average meal contains well over 10 ingredients. So which one made you sick? The offending ingredient in your diet may be hard to identify. Fortunately, a food journal gives you historical data so you can look up each ingredient in your last few meals, one by one. Suspicious that your system reacts badly to tomato? With a food journal, you can look up your last five meals with tomato, and see how you felt the next day. Not all food journals are equal however. Here is exactly how to get the most benefits from your food journal.
Discover Your BodyYour food journal ideally should help you discover your body. Perhaps this benefit is even more important than your diet. Everything you do has an effect on your health. By tracking all the essentials, like sleeping, eating, the weather and your digestion, you'll discover how your body reacts to the reality of your world and lifestyle choices. You'll figure out strengths and weaknesses in your constitution, and areas that need support.
Discover TrendsYour self study will bring important trends to light. Are you subconsciously craving greens? Feel like you can't get enough salty foods? Ate lunch at your computer every day this week without realizing it? Your food journal will highlight recent food cravings and lifestyle habits such as these. Even if you have trouble identify trends from your journal, most Ayurvedic practitioners are experts at noticing trends.
Improve Your Attention to DietThe simple act of going inward to notice what you are eating and how you are feeling can be incredibly empowering. When you consistently notice that pizza makes you feel tired, gives you heartburn, or makes your constipated your desire for pizza naturally wanes. Your love of certain foods is often primarily based on the immediate sensory pleasure you get from eating. Pizza feels comforting initially and tastes great. When you get to know how food interacts with your body beyond your mouth, you realize pizza is actually burdensome to digest and creates discomfort. Fifteen minutes of enjoyment followed by twelve hours of frustration just isn't worth it. Once you become aware of this pattern, pizza is much less appetizing.
Eventually, by observing your relationship with food you start to make better choices. You not only identify the foods that make you feel badly, but also those that make you feel super!
Food Journaling Creates AccountabilityMany of my clients think they have a great diet - until they write it down. It's easy to focus on the good things in your diet like, "I have salad every day for lunch." But if one hour after that salad you are thoughtlessly popping M&M's until dinner, you might want to change your ways. Food journaling has been known to incite revelations such as - "I never realized how many times a day I was snacking on cookies until I recorded it!" or "No wonder I can't sleep - I sip coffee til 6pm!" One study published by the American Journal of Preventative Medicine even linked food journaling to significant short term weight loss in obese individuals. This confirms that, "Knowledge is power."
You can't hide from the facts in your diet once they're before you in your own handwriting. Seeing your diet on a piece of paper will truly give you something to chew on. You may learn some things about yourself you didn't expect. This level of accountability encourages you to make conscious decisions. The process isn't geared toward shaming yourself. It's aimed at increasing self awareness which is the most powerful tool you have according to Ayurveda.
Troubleshooting Your DietBy keeping a food journal, you can review your diet over many days simultaneously. This will allow you to identify areas of your diet that need improvement, as well as specific intervention points where you have an opportunity to make a change.
Getting AdviceOnce you write it down, you can share your food journal with loved ones, friends, and practitioners, giving them an opportunity to help you. You'll be able to troubleshoot the past and plan for the future.
Given your food journal, an Ayurvedic practitioner can tell you if the fodder you are eating is the right fuel for your body. Some folks who tend toward deficiency might need more heavy foods like bread and eggs in their diet. Someone with a propensity toward anger, inflammation and irritability might benefit from favoring cooling foods that are a little more soothing. Keeping a record of your delectables helps your Ayurvedic practitioner get to the root of any problems that arise lickety split.
What to Include in Your Food JournalDownload and print this food journal, which will help you record all the essentials. Fill out your journal for at least 5 days straight. Afterwards, fill out your chart anytime your symptoms worsen. With Ayurveda, many symptoms that wax and wane are curable. When symptoms worsen, you simply need to find the trigger in your diet, lifestyle, or environment. Backtrack by filling out your food journal for the day before as well as the current day. Over time, this historical data will help you identify the offending food, weather, stress patterns, etc. that are triggering recurrence of your symptoms.
To make journaling easy and convenient, keep your journal on the countertop when at home. Take it with you to work and out to the restaurant so it will be ready and waiting whenever and wherever you reach for food. Set an alarm on your phone to remind you to take notes if you have trouble remembering. That way you won't skip a beat.
InstructionsUse this guide for filling out each of the items in your food Journal.
ConclusionYou are what you eat. By keeping a food journal, you can live in greater harmony with your body. Food journaling increases your mindfulness in eating, so that your decisions are less impulsive. Once you know what you are eating, you can think about changes to your diet & routine you would like to make. Taking the time to occasionally track and review your diet is an important way to participate in your health and craft your future.
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About the AuthorJohn Immel, the founder of Joyful Belly, teaches people how to have a healthy diet and lifestyle with Ayurveda. His approach to Ayurveda exudes a certain ease, which many find enjoyable and insightful. John also directs Joyful Belly's School of Ayurveda , which specializes in digestive tract pathology & Ayurvedic nutrition. John and his wife Natalie recently published Explore Your Hunger: A Guide to Hunger, Appetite & Food.
John's interest in Ayurveda and digestive tract pathology was inspired by a complex digestive disorder acquired from years of international travel, including his public service work in South Asia. John's commitment to the detailed study of digestive disorders reflects his zeal to get down to the roots of the problem. His hope and belief in the capacity of each & every client to improve their quality of life is nothing short of a personal passion. John's creativity in the kitchen and delight in cooking for others comes from his family oriented upbringing. In addition to his certification in Ayurveda, John holds a bachelor's degree in mathematics from Harvard University.
John enjoys sharing Ayurveda within the context of his Catholic roots, and finds Ayurveda gives him an opportunity to participate in the healing mission of the Church. Jesus expressed God's love by feeding and healing the sick. That kindness is the fundamental ministry of Ayurveda as well.
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Priceless gift! Thank you _/_
Thank you! Where is the link you mention for obtaining a blank food journal?