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Before moving to a gluten/dairy free diet several years ago, we first tried the Feingold Diet, and then did a 4-week elimination diet. We struggled to understand our daughter’s behaviors and inability to sleep. There were nights she’d be up at 1am for the day.
She would often answer a one-step task requests such as, “Let’s clean up your toys,” with “My tummy hurts.” She’d say that at her preschool too, and the avoidance of a requested task appeared to be behavioral.
Have hours upon waking hours, I did research. A lot of it. I started to read about the gut health connection and inflammation from food sensitivities and it made sense. At the very least, an elimination diet was relatively simple and non-invasive. We started by eliminating dairy, peanuts, gluten, soy, and eggs and did so for 4 weeks.
Removing dairy seemed to be the biggest challenge for us, and I became well versed in dairy substitutes.
After 4 weeks, we saw less hyperactivity and better sleep. I kept pages and pages of notes to measure outcomes. I noticed that she no longer said, “My tummy hurts.” Perhaps some of her behaviors were related to stomach pain that she couldn’t articulate.
After eliminating a typical list of offending foods for 4 weeks, we began to reintroduce them one-at-a-time for a week at a time, noting any physical or behavioral symptoms. This is how we determined that our daughter would benefit from a gluten and dairy free diet.
To keep track of foods and moods during an elimination diet and while re-introducing foods, I created a one-page tracker that allows for 7-days-at-a-glance to help keep organized.
Recently, I’ve become interested in bullet journaling, a method of journaling and note-taking that uses bullet points as the core structure. Although I wouldn’t classify this as a true bullet journal, it does allow for a quick list of foods and symptoms, with a place to mark which one applies to each day, for each meal: breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks to make your tracking more efficient.
Get your free food & mood tracker here.
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