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Heartburn food diary made simple

Write down everything you ingest. Don't limit it to foods you think give you heartburn, or you'll never know for sure which ones don't.  © iStockphoto.com/Paul Piebinga Write down everything you ingest. Don't limit it to foods you think give you heartburn, or you'll never know for sure which ones don't. © iStockphoto.com/Paul Piebinga
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  • Spicy Poached Eggs in Tomato Sauce, 8/27/14

    Spicy Poached Eggs in Tomato Sauce, 8/27/14

    Wednesday, August 27 2014 11:49 AM EDT2014-08-27 15:49:39 GMT
    Gary DukeAlley Oops4 tomatoes, chopped2 tablespoon olive oil1/2 onion, sliced thinlysalt, black pepper, crushed red pepper and garlic to taste4 eggsfresh mozzarella cheese, cubedparmesan cheesefresh basilbread slices1. In a sauce pan, cook the onions in the olive oil for a few minutes, add the tomatoes and seasoning to mixture and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and cover, simmer for an additional 15 or 20 minutes.2. Uncover sauce and gentle crack the eggs evenly around your tomato sauce. Place ...More >>
    Gary DukeAlley Oops4 tomatoes, chopped2 tablespoon olive oil1/2 onion, sliced thinlysalt, black pepper, crushed red pepper and garlic to taste4 eggsfresh mozzarella cheese, cubedparmesan cheesefresh basilbread slices1. In a sauce pan, cook the onions in the olive oil for a few minutes, add the tomatoes and seasoning to mixture and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and cover, simmer for an additional 15 or 20 minutes.2. Uncover sauce and gentle crack the eggs evenly around your tomato sauce. Place ...More >>
  • Summer Shrimp Salad, 8/25/14

    Summer Shrimp Salad, 8/25/14

    Monday, August 25 2014 8:49 AM EDT2014-08-25 12:49:13 GMT
    Capi PeckTrio'sServes 41 1/4 lbs. large Gulf shrimp in the shell2 ears corn on the cobs, steamed, grilled or roasted/ kernels removedFor the dressing:2 cloves garlic, smashed1 1/2 t. cumin1 t. paprika1/2 t. cayenne pepper1/2 c. lime juice1c. olive oil1/2 c. cilantro leavessalt to tasteCombine all dressing ingredients in bowl or jar. Whisk or shake well to combine. Set aside.2 Haas avocados, sliced1/2 c. cilantro leaves8 cups arugula or other greens of your choice?1 half Vidalia or sweet onion...More >>
    Capi PeckTrio'sServes 41 1/4 lbs. large Gulf shrimp in the shell2 ears corn on the cobs, steamed, grilled or roasted/ kernels removedFor the dressing:2 cloves garlic, smashed1 1/2 t. cumin1 t. paprika1/2 t. cayenne pepper1/2 c. lime juice1c. olive oil1/2 c. cilantro leavessalt to tasteCombine all dressing ingredients in bowl or jar. Whisk or shake well to combine. Set aside.2 Haas avocados, sliced1/2 c. cilantro leaves8 cups arugula or other greens of your choice?1 half Vidalia or sweet onion...More >>
  • Tuscan Grilled Chicken Pasta, 8/22/14

    Tuscan Grilled Chicken Pasta, 8/22/14

    Friday, August 22 2014 12:20 PM EDT2014-08-22 16:20:29 GMT
    Brandon DouglasServes 4· ½ cup grilled Chicken· 5 slices Salami· ½ cup sliced Grape tomato· ½ cup Spinach rough chop· 2 cups uncooked small pasta shells, orzo or macaroni· 3 to 4 garlic cloves, minced· ¼ cup olive Oil or butter· 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese· 2 tablespoons fresh basil chiffonade· 1/4 teaspoon salt· 1/8 teaspoon fresh cracked pepperDirections1. Cook pasta according to package directions. Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, saute garlic in olive oil. Remove from the heat. Drain pa...More >>
    Brandon DouglasServes 4· ½ cup grilled Chicken· 5 slices Salami· ½ cup sliced Grape tomato· ½ cup Spinach rough chop· 2 cups uncooked small pasta shells, orzo or macaroni· 3 to 4 garlic cloves, minced· ¼ cup olive Oil or butter· 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese· 2 tablespoons fresh basil chiffonade· 1/4 teaspoon salt· 1/8 teaspoon fresh cracked pepperDirections1. Cook pasta according to package directions. Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, saute garlic in olive oil. Remove from the heat. Drain pa...More >>

By Susan Male-Smith
 

It's ironic -- perhaps even poetic justice -- that I used to suffer from heartburn. As a registered dietitian, I knew all the coping tips and typical trigger foods. But the truth is, not all trigger foods bother every heartburn sufferer, and I wasn't about to give up chocolate without a fight! The solution? I kept a food diary to discover my personal heartburn triggers. A food diary helped me, and it can help you too. Here's how to do it right:

1. Write down everything you ingest.
Don't limit it to foods you think give you heartburn, or you'll never know for sure which ones don't. You may also discover that foods that triggered heartburn in one situation are fine under different circumstances.

2.
Be specific about what you eat and how it was prepared. Was it fried or baked, with cheese sauce or plain, with butter or low-fat margarine, etc.

3. Don't forget beverages.
Note if it was cold or warm, carbonated or flat, caffeinated or not.

4. Don't wait until heartburn symptoms occur to write things down. By then you won't remember accurately, and your expectations may influence you.

5. Include details of your symptoms.
Write down how severe they were and how long they lasted, and include any symptoms other than heartburn (e.g., hoarseness, stomach pain, asthma).

6. Record how long it took you to eat and how much you ate.
This could prove as important as -- or more important than -- what you ate.

7. Write down your mood
at each meal. Were you stressed? Relaxed? Rushed? Mental state can be a powerful heartburn influencer.

8. Pay special attention to oft-cited heartburn trigger foods.
These include high-fat foods, peppermint, chocolate, caffeine, tomatoes, citrus, carbonated drinks and alcohol.

9. Note what you did right after you ate.
Did you lie down on the sofa to watch TV? Or did you head to the gym to work out? These might be the real culprits.

10. Keep this diary for at least three days.
You may even end up keeping it for as long as three weeks, depending on how often your heartburn happens.

11. Make a chart so you don't forget any important stuff.
Divide it into at least four columns: date and time, what you ate, circumstances, and symptoms.

12. Evaluate diary entries by looking for patterns.
Doing this might help explain your symptoms. Don't just look at the foods. Look also at how much and how fast you ate, what foods you had together, your mood, your activity afterward and even the day of the week. The results may surprise you, and they almost certainly will help you.

Susan Male-Smith is a registered dietitian and freelance nutrition and health writer. She has written for Family Circle, Redbook, Child and American Health, and she is a former editor of the Environmental Nutrition newsletter and co-author of Foods for Better Health.

*DISCLAIMER*: The information contained in or provided through this site section is intended for general consumer understanding and education only and is not intended to be and is not a substitute for professional advice. Use of this site section and any information contained on or provided through this site section is at your own risk and any information contained on or provided through this site section is provided on an "as is" basis without any representations or warranties.