A recent survey of 15,000 adults by Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York found that 1 in 50 were allergic to seafood; twice as many as are allergic to nuts. Because so many people are sensitive to certain foods and chemical additives, it’s certainly worth a once-a-month study on your own eating habits.
Keeping a food dairy will help you determine if anything you’re eating could be causing symptoms such as hives, water retention, weight gain, or the more serious breathing difficulties. Keep a log, noting how you feel before you eat, what you eat, and then half an hour later again note how you feel. If you notice any odd behaviors such as excessive sleepiness, difficulty breathing, or odd cravings make a note of that as well.
After a week or more, review your notes and see if there are any commonalities. For instance if you notice that every time you eat shellfish you suffer some difficulties breathing, that is a red flag for sensitivity if not outright allergy. Allergic reactions tend to be much more severe, even life threatening, so do not hesitate to ask you doctor if you notice anything unusual, but having already done a week long study of what you eat and how you feel will help your doctor enormously in determine what, if any, food sensitivities you may have.
I’ve done this myself as I was suffering from excessive daytime sleepiness and I began to wonder if it could be due to something I was eating. After taking careful notes for a couple weeks I was able to determine that it was not what I was eating – the results were totally inconsistent. Sometimes I’d be tired after eating, and other times I would not be tired, so actually the food diary helped me to determine I did not have any food sensitivity.
I use the Food & Exercise Diary, but you can simply write what you eat in a small notebook – as long as you take notes, it is helpful. This can also help you pinpoint any particular eating triggers, so pay careful attention to what you write about how you feel before you decide to eat too 😉