There are two proven methods for identifying gut issues. Whether you have trouble digesting certain foods – we’ll start with the easier of the two.
The first step to identifying whether a particular food item is causing your digestive issues is to begin taking a food diary.
For every meal, write down how you felt before and after. If you start feeling any kind of discomfort, bloating or any other possible food-related symptom, write it down.
At the end of a two week period, you should be able to pick out patterns…
Feeling bloated the morning after a heavy pasta meal?
Knee’s hurting if you’re eating bagels for breakfast?
A particularly ‘interesting’ bathroom experience after you have milk in your protein shake?!
If you write everything down, patterns will emerge.
Once you think you’ve pinpointed an issue, take out the food in question and continue to take a food diary for another 2 weeks to see if the issue has subsided.
The second step, and on the more extreme end of the scale, you have the elimination diet.
This process involves you cutting out the following ‘main culprits’ from your eating for a period of 2-3 weeks:
- Nuts & Seeds
- Wheat & Gluten Containing Foods
(You can eliminate more, but these are the most common foods people have issues with)
After at least 2 weeks of absence from the aforementioned food groups, you’ll reintroduce a single item for one day.
For example, if you were to chose dairy, you could have milk with your breakfast and cheese with lunch and dinner.
Monitor how you feel on that day, and for 2 days afterwards (although those 2 days go back to avoiding dairy).
No symptoms? There’s a high likelihood you and dairy are friends and you can reintroduce it to your diet.
Now repeat the process with the other eliminated foods and see if you can identify any particular items that cause digestive stress.
Alternatively, taking a food intolerance test could help you know exactly what food you’re intolerant to and therefore which foods to eliminate, which would take out some of the ‘guess-work’ from the elimination diet phase.