Elimination diets don’t exactly sound like the most fun, but if you’re struggling with digestive issues, they can change your life. How do you get to the root of an issue if you can never pinpoint the cause? You don’t. That’s why millions of people live with illness unnecessarily every day. Because they never took the time to discover that perhaps their thyroid problems would improve by removing gluten from their diet. Or their IBS might get significantly better with a dairy free diet.
It’s important to take responsibility for your own health if you want to feel good, and the elimination diet is the foundational journey you must take to decipher what works and what doesn’t.
How to do an Elimination Diet?
Certain foods trigger more negative reactions than others. The elimination diet gets rid of common food allergens for a month. Even if you don't have any known food allergies, you may still have sensitivities. Sensitivities are a different type of allergy. Certain foods cause our immune system to react with the release of proteins called antibodies. There are two types of antibodies that are released which are IgE (immunoglobulin E) and IgG (immunoglobulin G). True food allergies trigger an immediate reaction caused by IgE antibodies, while sensitivities trigger a delayed reaction in response to IgG antibodies.
The most common foods that trigger a sensitivity reaction include…
● Gluten (wheat, barley, rye)
● Sugar and sweeteners (except stevia)
● Processed foods (due to unhealthy oils, preservatives, flavorings, thickeners, stabilizers etc.)
● Yeast (baker’s and brewer’s)
● Meat with nitrites
Note that citrus fruits, nuts, and nightshades (tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, potatoes) may also be irritating for some people.
Not all elimination diets are the same and you don’t necessarily have to remove all these foods.
Once you’ve eliminated these foods for a month you can start to reintroduce them into your diet one by one. By adding a new food back to your diet every 1-3 days you can get a clear idea of how that food is affecting you. During this time, be sure to keep a food diary and write how you feel both physically and emotionally each day in addition to what you've eaten. This will help you to pin point what foods may be triggering sensitivity reactions.
By the end of this process you should have a good idea of the foods that trigger or exacerbate whatever health conditions you’re dealing with.
Negative Reactions to Watch For
● Soreness/joint pain
● Digestive distress ex. Constipation, bloating, diarrhea, heartburn etc.
● Mood changes
● Brain fog
● Trouble breathing
● Excess mucous
● Breakouts/skin problems
If you’ve been wondering what’s going on with your body, I would definitely suggest an elimination diet to start with. Before you create a route to get to your health destination, you need a map.
BONUS! I have included a free 7 day elimination diet meal plan that will help you avoid the most common sensitive foods listed above.