For most of my 20s, I knew something was up with my digestion. Even though I considered myself a relatively healthy eater, the amount of bloating and other issues I routinely dealt with after meals pushed me to the point of starting a food journal — and I couldn’t be more thankful I finally did it!
What Is a Food Journal?
At its core, a food journal is a way to track what you’re eating, and for some people, it’s also a way to track any adverse effects they may experience after they eat. Maintaining a truthful food journal is a great way to understand your habits and cravings, and is an often-used tool for weight loss.
How a Food Journal Worked For Me
After talking with my doctor about my almost-decade-long digestion issues, I started recording my meals in an attempt to find out if I had any sensitivities or even possibly allergic reactions to certain foods. After a few weeks, two things became obvious: dairy was not my friend, and I wasn’t eating enough fiber.
After realizing that I often had uncomfortable digestion issues after I ate things like cheese, ice cream, and yogurt, I went to my doctor, actually got tested for lactose intolerance, and bingo! Luckily, I’m one of those lactose intolerant people who can still eat a small amount of dairy without throwing everything out of whack, but I still limit the amount I eat on any given day now.
The second realization I had from my food journal was that even though I mentally knew how important fiber was, I wasn’t eating enough of it on a daily basis — specifically, I wasn’t eating enough fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Once I started loosely tracking how many grams of fiber I was eating daily, I realized it was lower than the recommended daily amount, which is about 25 grams for women under age 51.
My food journal helped me make real, beneficial changes to my diet. Not only was I able to ease my digestion by avoiding dairy, I started incorporating vegetables into every meal, and made sure that any breads or crackers I was eating were full of whole grains and had a healthy fiber content. I also cut down on processed foods, which tend to be generally low in fiber.
Adding in More Fiber
If your own food journaling has helped you realize you need to eat more fiber, or you simply want to eat more of it in general, making whole foods a priority is definitely a step in the right direction.
Another positive step? Incorporating Benefiber into your daily meal plan. Benefiber is a clear and taste-free plant-based prebiotic fiber that helps to nourish the good bacteria that already exists in your gut1. Mix it into your favorite liquid or drink,2 and instantly get more fiber! What’s easier than that?
1 These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Use as directed.
2 Not recommended for carbonated beverages.