The Gold Standard to determine which foods cause adverse reactions is by accurately recording the times of everything you eat and drink and any medications you take, noting the duration of all symptoms.
A simple diary with 4 weeks of food tracking should be enough for you to identify what food is causing your symptoms. The food diary can also be used to provide evidence of your allergic reactions to your health provider.
People often find that it is harder to gather evidence as to what is causing the problem when the reactions are less severe, but constant or when you think you are dealing with allergies to multiple foods.
Things to Note
Make a note of what you eat & its major components (e.g., note all fruits in a smoothie, list ingredients from processed food eaten).
Make a note of the time you ate something, you may see a clear time from when you ate a food to a reaction, which is why you may have missed it.
Make a note of any reactions and the time so that you can try and make a link back to a certain type of food consumed.
Take pictures of rashes, hives and (in the case of babies and younger children) nappies to show your healthcare provider. This can show a doctor the extent of the problems.
Make a note of any medications you are taking and the time you took them, side effects from medication are not uncommon and could be mistaken for an allergic reaction to foods.
Try to eat a varied diet in the time you are completing the diary, this will help you work out which dates you had no reactions, which will make diagnosis easier.
Take your diary to see your doctor, having at least 2 weeks of entries with a couple of reactions will help identify a food allergy.
The most likely suspects for food allergy are going to be top 14 allergens or inherited allergies from other family members.
The top 14 allergens are milk, egg, soya, peanut, nut, sesame, mustard, fish, celery, crustaceans, molluscs, sulphites, gluten and lupin.
Diary Complete – What do I do now?
Take your completed food diary to your healthcare provider to help with diagnosis of your allergy, remember to take photographs of any reactions you have had during this time.
If not already covered in the diary remember to tell your health provider about -
Your first allergic reaction and what you were eating.
Any personal history of allergies, eczema or asthma.
Any family history of allergies, eczema or asthma.
What happens next?
Each case will be different, you may be referred to an allergy clinic for blood tests or skin prick tests to confirm the allergy.
A food elimination diet might be recommended, this may be the case if you are showing signs of a food intolerance that will not be detected with a blood test. It is not recommended to try this without first discussing with your healthcare provider.
Remember - this is a blog and should not be used for advice on diagnosis or treatments. If you think you may have a food allergy please contact your GP in the first instance to discuss treatment options.
Be very wary of elimination diets, especially if you think you may have multiple allergies - cutting too many types of food from your diet at once may affect your health. Your doctor can help with a referral to a dietitian.
OPTION ONE -
You could make a simple diary yourself in a notebook, which could look like this.
OPTION TWO -
You can download my free PDF HERE.
OPTION THREE -
I have my very own paperback food allergy diary available here on Amazon
. The internal pages look like the image above.
OPTION FOUR -
You can buy a food diary inexpensively from Amazon – note I am an Amazon Affiliate and may get commission for any purchases made through these links and other on my pages. None of these food diaries are sponsored.
Let me know if you found any of these interesting or useful.
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