How to Make Rotation Diets Easy and Flexible?

Rotation diets are notoriously inflexible and hard to maintain. I refused to do it against the advice of my allergy doctor over four years ago. When she explained what it was. I just said, “No. It’s too hard.”. I still see the need. It just doesn’t fit into my lifestyle.

But that wasn’t the end of it. Many of you may not know this but I’m a user experience (UX) researcher and software designer by day. My job is to talk to people and learn what they need to be successful using a particular software. Then I make it better or create a new software to improve a work process. It’s challenging work but very rewarding when you release the new software and the users’ needs are met. Now I’m turning my focus to rotation diets.

The problems with rotation diets have been simmering in the back of my mind since my allergy diagnosis in 2010. I’ve decided that 2015 is the year I solve those problems by creating a rotation diet app but I need your help. As a potential user of this app, I have some ideas but UX best practices says that you need to research more than one person in the user community to make the best application.

Purpose of Rotation Diets

  • Rotating your foods allows you to maintain a diversity in your diet that can prevent increased sensitivity to foods you regularly eat.
  • Each rotation fully removes the foods from your body so that you can tell if you have become sensitive to it.

Rotation Diet Problems

  • There is a rigid four-day food chart. It doesn’t take into consideration all of the user’s dietary needs. For example, I don’t eat red meat. Following the chart, there are days I don’t have a viable protein source.
  • Not every food needs a four-day rotation. Some require more. (I’m looking at you dairy!)
  • Any deviation from the four-day chart, requires you to manually keep track of the deviation until the chart cycles around again.
  • Preplanning a food event requires you to manually keep track for up to four days before the event.
  • All of these problems are exponentially more complicated if your household has more than one person following a rotation diet.
  • How can you even eat at a restaurant following a strict rotation? Seriously, I want to know. I’ve recently been informed that not everyone likes to, or can, cook as much as I do.

I need your input!

As I said earlier, I have some design solutions in my head but I want to make sure I fully understand the challenges of a rotation diet but those of you that have done it or, like me, haven’t done but need to. For the next month, I want to hear from you.

  • Please leave your stories and concerns in the comments. If you want more privacy, you can use the contact form on my About Me page.
  • For those of you interested in actively helping out with the project, there will be a need for testers once we get into development. This is a very important role in making sure the  product is usable in real life!
  • For those of you interested in following the process on this project, I’ll be launching another site dedicated to the project in April.
  • Lastly, this baby needs a name! For over four years, I’ve been calling it “the rotation diet app”. That doesn’t really have a ring to it.

I look forward to everyones’ insights. I want to make this the best tool I can for everyones’ health. 🙂

For more general information, check out this page on rotation diets at food-allergy.org.
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5 Responses to How to Make Rotation Diets Easy and Flexible?

  1. Sara K. says:

    My schedule changes often and I have to plan my food accordingly. No one thing really fits the bill for every situation. So if I can design on day that is called (and saved) like “plane day”, I can plug in “plane day” into the food planning app and still stay on target.

    The other piece that would be really helpful for me is to be able to classify a food (like potato soup as potato), to know how many servings one batch of soup makes (like 6 servings) and be able to plug that into my big picture.

    Anyway to plug in the nutritional information for that food, and what the serving size is?

    Anyway to help design a “day” of food? I loved the Jenny Craig preplanned meals…and I personally strive to make my meals at home and freeze the food for those tough days. (I can’t do the Jenny Craig food, but their concept is nice.)

    I am excited to see what you come up with!

  2. Donna says:

    I would be glad to help any way I can. I follow a rotation diet for short periods of time but found It too difficult to keep up. I don’t eat gluten or soy at all, gave up dairy for a year and corn for awhile. I am having issues again so I am going through the process of removing corn and dairy again to see if I feel better. The best I manage if I can remember eating a sensitive item I don’t eat it again. I recent downloaded a low fodmap app which is helpful but doesn’t really meet my needs.

    • Thanks Donna! You sound just like me. Without a good tracking tool, I’m just flying by the seat of my pants!

      I’d like to hear more about what was difficult for you on the rotation diet. I’d also like to know which low FODMAP app you tried and how it didn’t meet your needs. If any of this is too personal for a public comment section, please use the contact form on my About Me page and we can start a private email communication.

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