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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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  • Cinnamon & honey granola bar, 9/15/14

    Cinnamon & honey granola bar, 9/15/14

    Tuesday, September 16 2014 11:05 AM EDT2014-09-16 15:05:39 GMT
    Alan BennettMakes: 12 servingsPrep Time: 15 minsCook Time: 15 minsIngredients1/2 stick butter, softened1 cup brown sugar1 egg, beaten2 tablespoons flaxseed, ground if available2 tablespoons Honey2 cups Oats (old Fashion)1 cup All-purpose flour, sifted1 teaspoon cinnamon1/2 teaspoon baking soda1/2 cup raisinsNotes / DirectionsIn a large bowl, beat the softened butter brown sugar until blended and crumbly, about 2 minutes.Add egg and beat wellStir in flaxseed and honeyIn another bowl, combine ...More >>
    Alan BennettMakes: 12 servingsPrep Time: 15 minsCook Time: 15 minsIngredients1/2 stick butter, softened1 cup brown sugar1 egg, beaten2 tablespoons flaxseed, ground if available2 tablespoons Honey2 cups Oats (old Fashion)1 cup All-purpose flour, sifted1 teaspoon cinnamon1/2 teaspoon baking soda1/2 cup raisinsNotes / DirectionsIn a large bowl, beat the softened butter brown sugar until blended and crumbly, about 2 minutes.Add egg and beat wellStir in flaxseed and honeyIn another bowl, combine ...More >>
  • Game Day Dip

    Game Day Dip

    Saturday, September 13 2014 12:14 PM EDT2014-09-13 16:14:26 GMT
    By: Marc HaynesIngredients:8 oz Philadelphia cream cheese2 Cups of shredded cheddar cheese1 Can of Rotel Tomatoes1 tsp ground cumin1 Can white corn1 Can yellow cornDirections:Melt cream cheese in microwave for approximately 2 minutes. Add additional time if cream cheese is not completely melted.After cream cheese is softened stir in the shredded cheddar cheese and microwave for an additional 2 - 4 minutes (until mostly melted)Add can of Rotel tomatoes (NOT drained), the cans of corn (drained)...More >>
    By: Marc HaynesIngredients:8 oz Philadelphia cream cheese2 Cups of shredded cheddar cheese1 Can of Rotel Tomatoes1 tsp ground cumin1 Can white corn1 Can yellow cornDirections:Melt cream cheese in microwave for approximately 2 minutes. Add additional time if cream cheese is not completely melted.After cream cheese is softened stir in the shredded cheddar cheese and microwave for an additional 2 - 4 minutes (until mostly melted)Add can of Rotel tomatoes (NOT drained), the cans of corn (drained)...More >>
  • Paleo Country Breading & Frying

    Paleo Country Breading & Frying

    Saturday, September 13 2014 11:53 AM EDT2014-09-13 15:53:52 GMT
    by: Julianne BitelyIngredients:1 cup almond flour1/3 cup shredded coconut1/4 tsp paprika1 tsp garlic powder1/2 tsp black pepper1/2 tsp dried thyme2 large eggs (free range, please), beaten *for washCoconut oil for fryingCooking Oil Temperatures:Chicken: 350-375 degreesGreen Tomatoes: 360-375 degreesOkra: 350-375 degreesfor more recipes from Julianne go to WellnessInLittleRock.comMore >>
    by: Julianne BitelyIngredients:1 cup almond flour1/3 cup shredded coconut1/4 tsp paprika1 tsp garlic powder1/2 tsp black pepper1/2 tsp dried thyme2 large eggs (free range, please), beaten *for washCoconut oil for fryingCooking Oil Temperatures:Chicken: 350-375 degreesGreen Tomatoes: 360-375 degreesOkra: 350-375 degreesfor more recipes from Julianne go to WellnessInLittleRock.comMore >>

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.

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