Food journals have been linked to several potential benefits
“The best strategy for a long and healthy life is to eat your medicine — get your drugs at the Farmacy, not the Pharmacy. ” Dr. Mark Hyman
Food is far more than just calories or energy to fuel our body it regulates every function in our body,
It reverses disease.
We are attune to thinking of food in the groups they belong — Carbohydrates, Protein, Fats, Fiber, Vitamins and Minerals, but more importantly is the medicinal value that plants and food offer. Tens of thousands of medicinal compounds are found directly from plant and animal foods.
Did you know that all of the thirty seven billion chemical reactions that occur in our body every second, are regulated, modulated, and influenced beneficially by plant and animal foods?
The only way to take advantage of these natural sources of disease fighting foods is to focus on the quality of food you eat.
Every time you take a bite of food ask yourself;
Am I eating for health or disease?
Making lifestyle changes is not as easy as one-two-three, there is a lot of back sliding, zoning out, reinventing to what works better for sustainability.
Writing a food journal is one giant step towards sustainability.
What is a food journal?
A food journal is a tool that you can use to keep track of what you eat and drink throughout the day.
This could include; how much you consume throughout the day, time of intake, how you felt before and after each meal or snack.
Doctors, dieticians or healthcare professionals recommend food journals to understand your eating habits or food sensitivities.
Whether you’re looking to lose weight, improve your diet, or simply understand your eating habits a little better, keeping a food journal can be incredibly beneficial.
How to get started —
- Firstly, decide your preference of a food journal. A handwritten notebook or a desktop folder or use of an app, whatever is not time consuming or difficult will aid sustainability and not let you give up in a few weeks.
- Once you have decided on the form of a food journal that suits you, start keeping track as you go along, do not wait to log at the end of each day, the minute you eat or drink — log. This will keep it accurate with no backlog to deal with at the end of a tiring day.
- Include every morsel big or small, write it down. Write down details, be as specific as possible to portion size, after meal effects, keep gauging especially if you are trying to get help with food sensitivities or binge eating.
- Monitor your mood, it’s a biggie! How do you feel before eating? After eating? Were you distracted while eating? (reading, watching TV) distraction leads to overeating. Are you emotional about eating? Certain foods can make it easier to identify patterns and understand how your diet may affect your mental health.
- If it is your first time, begin with a hand written note book, a few months later you could switch to an App. Smartphone food journal apps have an extensive library of foods and drinks to choose from, detailed information about nutritional content, ingredients, recipes. All under one roof.
Like all things in life, this too has its pros and cons —
Positive: It helps build healthy food habits, portion control, and keeps you accountable for your dietary choices. A good side effect is weight loss if you need to lose weight or gain weight if you need to through adding protein in your diet to gain muscle mass.
Positive: If you suffer from IBS, acid reflux or food sensitivity, a food journal will help you nail foods that are causing negative symptoms in your system.
Negative: For people suffering from eating disorders like anorexia or bulimia, keeping a food journal could be a trigger and accelerate the existing condition.
Negative: Some people may also find that keeping a food journal causes obsessive thoughts or negative feelings like guilt and shame. Additionally, some people may get fixated on specific details or numbers rather than using the data to improve their diet quality and make more informed healthy choices.
The bottom line
Food journals have been linked to several potential benefits. After making note of this, you’ll be more aware and better equipped to make more nutritious choices, such as choosing nutrient-dense fresh or frozen fruit or unsweetened yogurt. Additionally, writing down what you eat can help you identify any gaps in your eating pattern and ensure that you meet your nutritional needs. This can be especially useful if you have specific health goals or are trying to increase your intake of certain nutrients, like fiber or protein. While these journals may not be a good fit for everyone, they can help you build healthy habits, identify food sensitivities, and manage your weight. If you find that using a food journal is triggering or unhelpful, other strategies like mindful eating may be a better fit for you.
Just take a quick assessment and get started today.