Improving your gut health can feel like a long, difficult journey.
You may feel isolated and alone a lot of the time. Let’s face it, there’s not a lot of people around who are going to applaud you for turning down that piece of cake, or cheer when you cook those funny-sounding grains for lunch. (If you want a cheerleader for that, hop onto live chat with one of our lovely NTs and she’ll give you some moral support!)
So – it’s important that you support yourself. And one of the best ways to do that is to keep a gut health journal.
This shouldn’t be a lengthy or prohibitive task. You don’t want to make it so long and difficult that you dread it and stop doing it after a few days. Make it a quick and simple; it should take only a few minutes each day.
Why bother to keep a gut health journal? Because it will help you:
- Create a metric. Only you live inside your skin – so only you know exactly what your food triggers are, and which changes help or hurt your progress. It’s no good guessing about these things – you need to become an expert of your own wellness, so that you can say with authority: “I know for a fact that tomatoes trigger my eczema, because each time I ate them over the last 6 months, I had a flare-up.” This will also help you speak with authority if you’re reporting back to a GP or one of our NTs after a microbiome test.
- Track your gradual improvements over time. Because autoimmune issues are all linked to your microbiome, you will see improvements in a number of different symptom areas as your gut health improves. For example, you might be dealing with IBS, asthma, eczema and food intolerance. These are not separate issues – they’re related, and they stem from a single issue, which is gut dysbiosis.1https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31473156/ 2https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32072252/ 3https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6021588 4https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30578857/ Think of these symptoms as symptomatic leaves of a single tree, showing up in different ways all over your body – but with a single trunk, which sits inside your gut. These symptoms will all resolve – but they will respond to at different rates of speed, over time. It’s important to track that process. You may notice, for example, that while your skin is still giving you trouble, you’re feeling calmer in yourself – less anxious – more energy – less bloating, and so on. Skin issues tend to be the last ones to resolve – so often people get discouraged and give up too soon. It’s important to notice and track the little things that ARE getting better, so that you can stay encouraged and on track!
So, what’s the best way to keep a gut health journal?
We recommend individually listing each symptom that are keeping you from feeling your best. Skin – mood – energy – tummy – allergies – whatever they may be. Write them all down.
Then go down the list each day and give yourself a rating on a scale of 1 to 10, for each symptom, every day. 10 means you feel great in that area, 1 means you feel terrible. Feel free to go with decimals, if you are so inclined. If your skin is at a 4.7 one day and you’re up to 5.1 the next – well, that’s an improvement that deserves to be celebrated! Keep track of and celebrate the small victories. They’re the ones that add up to triumph over time.
If you’re feeling energetic, add in what you’ve eaten, or the supplements you’ve taken that day as well. This is helpful because if you experience a sudden flare-up of symptoms, you can look back and see if it correlates with any particular food trigger.
To help you get started, here’s a free downloadable gut health journal from The Goats. https://www.chucklinggoat.co.uk/gss/gut-health-journal.pdf