A single-food exclusion diet is also not always helpful if you have no obvious suspects and really do not know where to start. If this applies to you, and you do want to try this approach, rather than a more radical diet from the outset, keeping a Foods Diary for a week to 10 days will help identify possible candidates to test. Note down every time you eat, drink or ingest something (whether it is food, drink, drugs, home medicine or even toothpaste). Note down any change in symptoms, whenever they occur, and see if you can detect any pattern at all.

Watch out for delayed reactions – if you feel worse at night or the morning after eating a particular food, this may be a sign of intolerance, especially with grains and proteins, which the body takes longer to break down. Watch out also for withdrawal or cravings. If you feel unwell until you can consume a drink or particular food in the morning, or until you eat something specific at a snack or meal, then suspect that food or foods.

If you really cannot see an obvious suspect, then pick one of the most common causes of allergy and intolerance, such as wheat, eggs, corn, yeast or cow’s milk, and leave that out totally. Alternatively, you could choose a food that is not such an extensive part of basic diet and hence easier to leave out – such as tea, coffee, chocolate or oranges -and start there.


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