STEP 1: ASSESS
The process starts by keeping a food and symptom tracker. Two to four weeks should be long enough to capture both immediate and delayed reactions. Record everything that passes your lips and any symptoms that develop. This is your baseline data. It should be an accurate reflection of your current diet, so eat the way you normally would. Then it’s time to evaluate your food and symptom tracker, looking for patterns in the foods you eat and the types of symptoms that arise. What foods do you eat the most often? What foods are you eating before symptoms show up? Typical allergens include eggs, fish, milk, peanuts, shellfish, soy, tree nuts and wheat. Common food intolerances can include sulfites, MSG, nitrates, etc. Keep in mind that symptoms can show up within a few hours of eating (e.g., stomach cramps, diarrhea, hives), but some may be chronic (e.g., fatigue). Using this data, make a list of your potential symptom-triggering foods, aka “trigger” foods, which will be used in the next steps.
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