Food Diary

One of the big helpful things you can do to help you identify food sensitivities is to keep a food diary. I’ve been keeping one for about a month, but it was only when my doctor asked me how I’d been in general, and how long I thought the period was between exposure to allergens and a reaction, that I realised I hadn’t come up with a useful way to analyse all the data I’d collected. So I went app shopping.

I had a look at a few apps, and even downloaded and opened a couple of free ones, in the end I settled on mySymptoms. I’ve been adding my food diary to it for the last couple of days (plus all the backdated stuff from my paper food diary) and it’s pretty good. The interface can get a bit confusing when you’re adding ingredients 3 levels in to a food item, but it does pretty much everything you could want a food allergy analyser to do.

I can save recipes so I don’t have to list all of the ingredients of a meal every time I eat it. There’s a barcode scanner, and some things have already been added by other users. The best thing about it, though, is the analysis. It looks at all of your data, shows you trends of your symptoms over time, and can point out foods that correlate with your symptoms. You can tweak the sensitivity of the analysis to ignore low-level symptoms, and how long after eating a food you expect symptoms to occur. You can also just read the report generated by the default settings to get an idea of how long after exposure the app estimates you react. It’ll give you an indicator of certainty that the food is the cause based on how many occurrences of eating the food have been followed with that particular symptom…

Overall, it looks like it’s going to be really useful for tracking my reactions to foods. It’s in my pocket, and while input takes a little longer than scrawling it on a piece of paper, it’s much quicker if the barcode has already been added by someone else. You can add medications, supplements, exercise and environmental factors like high pollen count. Not bad for £2.29, and if it helps me identify what’s making me unwell, I think it’s money well spent.

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