3 Foods to Avoid if You Want a Flat Stomach

3 Foods to Avoid if You Want a Flat Stomach

Do you have foods that just trigger belly bloat for you? It's ok if the answer is no because a lot of folks out there just can't quite put their finger on the culprits.

I have 3 main foods that I really try my very best to avoid if I want to keep a flat tummy. This is especially critical if (1) I am wearing a form fitting dress, (2) if I am in a swimsuit, or (3) I want to look hot for my hubby :)

These are foods that are common in most all of our diets because they are in a lot of packaged foods and on our plates in most restaurants. These foods are known to cause inflammation in the body in general and especially if you have a food intolerance to them.

When you are in a constant state of inflammation, it causes weight gain, insulin resistance, and also messes with your hormones. So food intolerance or not, it’s a good idea to limit these and other inflammatory foods as much as possible!


3 Foods to Avoid if You Want a Flat Stomach

  • Soy - After experiencing tons of bloating and gas anytime I ate soy, then doing an elimination diet and later food allergy testing, I learned that I was allergic to soy. All forms bloat me such as tofu, soybean oil, also called “vegetable oil” (one of the main oils that many restaurants cook with!), soy milk, soy sauce, soy lethicin (a binding agent ALSO in everything, think most packaged foods - hint hint...check the back of a Cliff Bar). So many people have an allergy or intolerance to soy but they simply don't know because it's in their diet nearly all of the time.

Soy not only causes inflammation in the body for many but it also contains phytoestrogens which mimic estrogens in the body of both men and woman. For men it can cause feminine characteristics to take shape (think man boobs), and for women it can cause serious health issues such as hormone-related issues, infertility, and breast and cervical cancer just to name a few issues. I seriously cringe anytime I see anyone feeding soy to children whose little reproductive systems haven't fully formed yet.  

  • Dairy - This is another major bloat food for me that I discovered when I did the elimination diet and realized I was lactose intolerant and allergic to soy. When you are lactose intolerant, it simply means that your body does not produce lactase which is the enzyme that you needs to break down milk sugars.

Dairy is another food that 75% of people around the world can't tolerate and yet they still consume it quite a bit. It causes digestive upset, stomach cramping, gas, bloating, diarrhea, acne, headaches, constipation and more. I'm sure when you hear the word dairy, it seems like a no brainer as to what that entails but you would be surprised to hear how many people tell me "I've gone dairy-free for a month!" only to find out they are still eating butter, whey protein shakes, half and half creamer, and even cheese. I don't judge because I too was just in the beginning stages of an almost dairy-free lifestyle at one point and I know how hard it can be to change old habits. 

  • Canola oil - This horrifying oil is high in trans fatty acids and causes inflammation in the body which for me and many others = major belly bloat! Canola oil is also commonly called “vegetable oil” and is a highly processed, genetically modified, rancid cooking oil that a ton of restaurants also use along with soy, as well as it's in nearly every food on the Whole Foods Market hot food bar (this used to be my go to food option, bummer!!), most all common hummus brands that are on the shelves (um hello, hummus is supposed to be made with EVOO!), and again most packaged meals and foods like my beloved tortilla chips. Here you can learn more about canola oil and why you should never cook with it again.

3 Foods to Avoid if You Want a Flat Stomach

Are you noticing a trend here with these belly bloating foods?? One word INFLAMMATION. It can cause a host of problems for your health but a big one is that it will cause insulin resistance, and insulin is our fat storage hormone which = belly fat and the inability to lose weight. NO thank you!

So as you can see, these 3 foods that are often labeled as health food can affect all of our health and our waistlines negatively but lucky for us, there are many great alternatives out there that will benefit our health in big ways.

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Want to learn more about how you can stop bloat from happening?

Want to reduce inflammation and lose fat for good? Start by downloading our free guide: 5 Easy Steps to Beating Belly Bloat!

We are Chris and Amber, a husband and wife team dedicated to helping you improve your nutritional and personal fitness habits for a better lifestyle. If you have issues with bloating, inability to lose fat, brain fog, or are in need of a proven nutrition and fitness plan to get you out of a rut, then sign up for our 28-Day Beat Belly Bloat Program today!

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5 Tips to Avoid Holiday Procrastinating So You Can Crush Your Health and Fitness Goals

5 tips to avoid holiday procrastinating so you can crush your health and fitness goals

The holidays, believe it or not, are just around the corner! Amber and I have been seeing Christmas displays popping up in stores recently, which absolutely blows my mind, given that’s it just the mid-October! At least wait till November folks!

Seeing Halloween decorations and costumes next to Christmas trees is pretty hilarious though. The reason I bring up the holidays is that NOW is the time to start up building good fitness habits instead of after the holidays!

Every year, I see folks waiting until after the New Year to implement a fitness and nutrition program thinking that’s the best approach.  Remember 2 or 3 months from now is a decent chunk out of the year - that’s 16 – 20% of your year!

After the fallout of the holidays, not only are you then trying to FINALLY establish good workout and nutrition habits BUT also typically digging out of a MASSIVE hole that was dug over the months around the holidays eating season.

The statistics of post-New Year fitness habits actually sticking around are pretty bleak because you don’t already have those good habits put into place after eating and drinking a lot over the past few months. It can also be confusing not knowing what workouts you should be doing and can be discouraging.

Plus It’s cold and dark out. It takes some will power to get out and get your butt to the gym. Losing those  inches around the waistline takes more time then people believe and too often folks quickly throw in the towel. 

Hopefully now you see that the urge to procrastinate on your health and fitness goals is a huge mistake and is one that the AVERAGE person unfortunately often makes.

We don’t want you to be average! We want you to separate yourself from the average and choose something different.

NOW is the time to start building those habits! TODAY is the day you do that workout. Not 2 months from now. Doing something that builds up your good habits and helps you feel fitter and stronger is going to pay off in the end.

If you start focusing on your nutrition and building a fitness habit now, you will go into the holidays actually burning more through building exercise and establishing better eating habits. So when the holiday parties roll around, you can enjoy it guilt free and know that you have prepared your body to be able to put those extra fun calories to good use in the gym!

EVEN IF all you end up doing is staying mostly the same, CONGRATULATIONS!!! The average weight GAINED during the holidays is 10+lbs so you’ve avoided that AND you have the habits necessary to sustain you post holidays.

The urge to procrastinate is a strong one and one that I have to fight off as well.

Don’t wait for things to be perfect to get started because there will never be that perfect time. Focus instead on the little things that build you up towards your future self. Focus on the things you CAN do!

5 tips to avoid holiday procrastinating so you can crush your health and fitness goals

5 Tips for how to avoid holiday procrastinating so you can crush your health and fitness goals:


#1: Ask yourself what motivates you to get the results you want to see? What drives you?
 

This is your chance to stop and listen to yourself, cut out the outside noise and see what intrinsically motivates you. Write it down! Be specific! General responses tend to lead to general outcomes.

#2: Get started by establishing a short term goal with a reward at the end. 

Wanting to lose 50 lbs is awesome but why not start with actions that lead you towards that goals such as going to the gym 4 days a week for the next 2 weeks. When you do that, plan a little reward for yourself. The brain likes to be rewarded and it feels good to accomplish something you set out to do. Once you’ve accomplished that, they shoot for another 2 weeks.

#3: Practice visualization. 

You need to actually envision the future, see your future self and imagine what you will look like, how your clothes will fit, and how it will feel to like to achieve this for yourself. Some of the most accomplished athletes and people in the world make this a practice. You are training your mind to help you accomplish the tasks you need in order to achieve your goal.


#4: Prioritize the tasks that are going to lead you to success.
 

Now that you know what you would like to achieve, you’ve clearly defined what that is and you can see yourself doing it. Now is the time to cut out the distractions. Every one of us has 24 hours in a day. Most often the things that aren’t as important will just end up taking care of themselves if you can just FOCUS on the things that matter. Stop with the illusion of multitasking. Often the multitudes of things that you are juggling are just keeping you feeling busy but robbing you of focus. Focus on your priorities before even worrying about the other things.


#5: Get in there and get messy! 

Life is messy and so is starting something new. Just make a mess and get started. It doesn’t have to be perfect as long as you make an effort. Your future self will be very grateful you did!



Learn How to Stop Bloat From Happening

Want to reduce inflammation and lose fat for good? Start by downloading our free guide: 5 Easy Steps to Beating Belly Bloat!

We are Chris and Amber, a husband and wife team dedicated to helping you improve your nutritional and personal fitness habits for a better lifestyle. If you have issues with bloating, inability to lose fat, brain fog, or are in need of a proven nutrition and fitness plan to get you out of a rut, then sign up for our 28-Day Beat Belly Bloat Program today!

5 tips to avoid holiday procrastinating so you can crush your health and fitness goals
 


What Is The Elimination Diet? Plus How You Can Use It To Makeover Your Health and Lose Fat

If you haven’t realized it by now, one of mine and Chris’ favorite nutrition tools is the elimination diet. We use it as the foundation for health for most of our clients because almost every person can gain benefit from it and the results are amazing. In these videos, Chris and I discuss how the elimination diet works plus some of the many benefits you can receive from doing it even for a short period of time!

 
Learn about the elimination diet in this 2 part video series. Plus how you can use it to makeover your health, lose fat and clear your skin. There are so many amazing benefits that come along with this simple nutritional tool.
 

What Is The Elimination Diet? Plus How You Can Use It To Makeover Your Health and Lose Fat

Part One

Part Two


Learn How to Stop Bloat From Happening

Want to reduce inflammation and lose fat for good? Start by downloading our free guide: 5 Easy Steps to Beating Belly Bloat!

We are Chris and Amber, a husband and wife team dedicated to helping you improve your nutritional and personal fitness habits for a better lifestyle. If you have issues with bloating, inability to lose fat, brain fog, or are in need of a proven nutrition and fitness plan to get you out of a rut, then sign up for our 28-Day Beat Belly Bloat Program today!

2 Part Video Series: What Is The Elimination Diet? Plus How You Can Use It To Makeover Your Health and Lose Fat
 

3 Easy Egg-Free Elimination Diet Breakfast Ideas

Discover 3 easy and delicious egg-free breakfast ideas to eat while on the elimination diet. These recipes not only taste great but are also filling so you won’t go hungry.

So many of us start our day with a big plate of eggs, and if you are like me, you also have a little avocado toast too. It’s easy to get stuck in a rut of eating the same meal over and over, so it can get a little confusing about what to eat when it’s time to start an elimination diet and you are removing eggs for a short time.

Lately, I've been getting several questions on how to eat an egg-free breakfast during the 28-Day Beat Belly Bloat program where we use the elimination diet to discover your flat belly blueprint.

There are so many other great breakfast options available that are equally delish and filling! There is one thing we NEVER do during the program and that is starve. We believe only in nourishing your body so you can discover foods that may be causing inflammation and preventing you from losing fat. So I want to share three of my favorite breakfast options that are great to eat while on an elimination diet.

 
Discover 3 easy and delicious egg-free breakfast ideas to eat while on the elimination diet. These recipes not only taste great but are also filling so you won’t go hungry.
 

But first, what is the elimination diet

The Elimination Diet is an approach used by the Functional Medicine community, health practitioners, allergists and nutritionists to figuring out which foods you have a food sensitivity, food intolerance or food allergy to. This is done by eating an anti-inflammatory diet, removing a specific group of foods such as corn, gluten, eggs, soy, dairy, etc. that are known to cause issues allowing the body to remove symptoms it may have. Later you reintroduce these foods back in one at a time to note any reactions creating a personalized eating plan.

Having this information about your individual health is important to understand so that you can eat mindfully, keep your digestive symptoms at bay, start healing your gut, and lose fat. So many benefits!


3 Easy Egg-Free Elimination Diet Breakfast Ideas:

Easy egg-free oatmeal breakfast bowl idea to eat during the elimination diet.

The oatmeal breakfast bowl my personal favorite for a hearty breakfast!

  • 1/2 cup gluten-free rolled oats 

  • cinnamon to taste

  • dash salt

  • stevia to taste

  • 1 Tbsp nut butter (sunflower butter or almond - if not eliminating tree nuts)

  • 1/2 serving walnuts (15g)

  • 1 banana

  • 3-4 Tbsp grass-fed collagen 

  • optional 1 Tbsp cacao nibs 

In a bowl, add 1/2 cup rolled oats, dash of salt and 1 cup of water. Cook oatmeal on stove or in microwave according to oatmeal package. Stir in collagen and stevia then top with additional toppings. You can also make as overnight oats to make life even easier. Get creative with it!


This Berry Banana Protein Smoothie is the perfect egg-free breakfast to eat while on an elimination diet.

Berry Banana Protein Smoothie:

  • 1 scoop protein powder (I love chocolate Vega protein & greens)

  • 1/2-1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar 

  • 2 Tbsps nut butter (sunbutter or almond) 

  • 1/2 cup blueberries

  • 1/3 cup strawberries

  • 1/2 or whole banana

  • stevia to taste 

  • 1 cup almond or coconut milk (30 calorie/reduced sugar)

  • Optional: 1 Tbsp cacao nibs

Blend well and enjoy! Make sure to chew your smoothie to get your digestive enzymes working!


Chicken Sweet Italian Sausage and Sweet Potato:

  • 1 organic chicken sweet Italian sausage link cut into slices (check for minimal ingredients, free of dairy, gluten or soy)

  • 1/2 sliced bell pepper

  • 1 medium sweet potato

  • 1/2 Tbsp coconut oil + more for sauteing

  • salt and pepper to taste + any other herbs for sauteing the bell peppers

In a small skillet, add 1/2 Tbsp of coconut or avocado oil on medium heat. Add sliced bell pepper, salt, pepper and thyme, saute for about a minute. Then add sliced chicken sausage and saute in a pan until both sides are brown. Once cooked, removed from heat and add to plate.

Wash sweet potato, either microwave sweet potato in a dish with a little water and cover with a wet paper towel or if you have time, bake in oven at 400 degrees for about 45 minutes. Once potato is fully cooked, slice open the top and add coconut oil, salt and pepper.

Other optional additions are sauteed mushrooms, tomato, butternut squash, spinach or avocado. Get creative with it and enjoy!


So there you have it! Three of my favorite egg-free breakfasts that are sure to taste amazing plus keep you feeling full while doing the elimination diet!

One thing to remember is that elimination diets are very customizable for each individual so just be sure to check to make sure you are allowed to eat the ingredients in these meals before you start cooking!

Leave a comment below and let me know which breakfast idea is your favorite or share your favorite breakfast!


Learn How to Stop Bloat From Happening

Want to reduce inflammation and lose fat for good? Start by downloading our free guide: 5 Easy Steps to Beating Belly Bloat!

We are Chris and Amber, a husband and wife team dedicated to helping you improve your nutritional and personal fitness habits for a better lifestyle. If you have issues with bloating, inability to lose fat, brain fog, or are in need of a proven nutrition and fitness plan to get you out of a rut, then sign up for our 28-Day Beat Belly Bloat Program today!

Three easy egg-free breakfast to eat while on an elimination diet.
 



How To Drink Apple Cider Vinegar Without Gagging

How To Drink Apple Cider Vinegar Without Gagging

There are so many amazing health benefits of adding apple cider vinegar (ACV) into your daily routine but it can hard to drink for many people, me included.

I wish I could say that I was a health goddess/badass and could just drink apple cider vinegar straight but I would be lying. It makes me gag like you wouldn't believe! I know people do it, but I just CAN'T! And from the many messages I get from ladies on my Instagram, a lot of you can't stand the taste either. I'm glad I am not alone in this!

But this doesn't stop me from drinking it and getting all the amazing digestive benefits that ACV has to offer. I have learned how to sneak it into my diet so I hardly even notice the taste!

 

First, What is apple cider vinegar?

Apple Cider Vinegar is made from fermented apples and is full of probiotics, the beneficial bacteria we need in our gut, and enzymes, which help out our digestion by breaking down the food we eat. 

It should be organic, raw, unfiltered and have the "mother" present, a colony of beneficial bacteria which is a cloudy dark stringy substance that you will usually find at the very bottom of the glass jar.

 

So, what are the benefits of drink apple cider vinegar?

How To Drink Apple Cider Vinegar Without Gagging

 

 
How To Drink Apple Cider Vinegar Without Gagging
 

How to drink apple cider vinegar without gagging:

I have 4 ways that I like to drink my ACV so I it doesn't taste as harsh but I still get all the benefits.

  • The main way and the easiest way I drink my Apple Cider Vinegar is I sneak it into all of my protein smoothies! I usually make a berry banana smoothie with a scoop of chocolate Vega & Greens protein, banana, frozen strawberries and blueberries, nut butter, stevia, cacao nibs and then my splash of apple cider vinegar! It helps to balance out the sweetness and the banana taste plus helps get the digestive enzymes flowing. So it's a win win!

  • First thing in the morning in warm lemon water and a dash of stevia. It still has a little tang taste to it but the stevia helps to cut it down and make it more bearable. We do this daily in the Beat Belly Bloat program and it does AMAZING things for the digestive system early in the morning and can also help you cut down on coffee needed. 🍋 The recipe is below!

  • Add it to my salad dressing. Ok so technically this isn't "drinking" ACV but this is a great way to get it into your diet in a way that tastes super delicious! I love to mix 1 Tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil with 2 Tbsps of apple cider vinegar + herbs, salt and pepper and toss it on a grilled chicken salad. SO freaking good!

  • Drink it in my green tea flat belly tea recipe. Now don't let this cute catchy name make you think this flat belly tea recipe is a quick fix for weight loss because that requires all healthy living components: healthy meals, habits and exercise (weight lifting + cardio), but it CAN be a great aid in beating belly bloat, helping your digestion and boosting your weight loss abilities.


How To Drink Apple Cider Vinegar Without Gagging

Morning Slimdown Elixir

1 cup of warm water

Juice from 1 whole or a half of lemon

1-2 teaspoon organic raw apple cider vinegar

1 teaspoon raw honey OR a couple dashes of stevia


So there you have it! Drinking apple cider vinegar can actually taste good!

How do you like to drink your apple cider vinegar? I’d love to hear more ideas!!

 

Learn How to Stop Bloat From Happening

Want to reduce inflammation and lose fat for good? Start by downloading our free guide: 5 Easy Steps to Beating Belly Bloat!

We are Chris and Amber, a husband and wife team dedicated to helping you improve your nutritional and personal fitness habits for a better lifestyle. If you have issues with bloating, inability to lose fat, brain fog, or are in need of a proven nutrition and fitness plan to get you out of a rut, then sign up for our 28-Day Beat Belly Bloat Program today!

 

How To Drink Apple Cider Vinegar Without Gagging
 

How To Drink Apple Cider Vinegar Without Gagging

Disclaimer: I earn a small commission if you use some of the highlighted links to purchase products mentioned in this blog/website. I recommend only products that I would use my own home or that I would recommend to clients. 

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3 Scary Reasons To Avoid Gluten NOW

I'm sure you know at least a handful of friends by now that are "Gluten-free". Am I right? Nowadays, "gluten-free" is definitely a buzz word we hear a lot. Everyone seems to be going gluten-free and for good reason.

Did you know that more than 55 diseases have been linked to gluten?

Or that 1 in 30 people have a gluten sensitivity and don't even know it?

That means that YOU could be walking around with a gluten sensitivity that's making you sick!

This reminds me of my good friend and detox partner Jill Hoffman's story. Several years ago before Jill became a health coach, she actually worked with her own health coach. After her coach recommended that she take out gluten from her diet, her life changed. She had more energy, her brain was clearer, her digestion improved AND she lost those last pesky pounds that would never budge.

I seriously hear stories like this time and time again.

So, if you still eating whole wheat bread and whole grain pasta and think you're doing yourself a favor, then keep reading.

 
gluten word written  in wheat flour on wooden board
 

What's the deal with gluten?

Gluten is a mixture of proteins commonly found in wheat products such as bread, pasta, and cereal and it's used mostly as a binding agent and provides that doughy texture we love so much.

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3 Reasons To Avoid Gluten If You Are Sensitive:

1. Gluten sensitivities can lead to auto-immune disease. Gluten can cause an auto-immune response in your system where your body attacks itself. This happens because the protein in gluten resembles human tissue. So, when your immune system is trying to attack the foreign gluten invader, it might accidentally attack your other organs or tissues such as your thyroid or even your brain. There is massive research that connects the increase of auto-immune disease in people with the rise of gluten-containing foods.

2. Gluten is often responsible for resistant weight loss, poor sleep and skin conditions such as acne and eczema. Gluten causes an inflammatory response in your body which, over time, becomes chronic. Chronic inflammation, whether due to stress, food sensitivities or environmental toxins, almost always show up as weight and skin problems.

3. Gluten messes with our brain. Because gluten is hard to digest, our gut gets full of undigested food particles...yuck! This can lead to an imbalance of bacteria (dysbiosis) and eventually lacerations in our gut lining (leaky gut). Also, yeast feed on the undigested particles and so we can develop issues like candida, which can be extremely problematic. What does this have to do with your brain? Well, your brain and gut are very intimately connected especially when it comes to your mood. About 90% of your serotonin (a.k.a. happy hormone) is produced in the gut. When you have all this chaos on in your gut, then your brain is not getting enough serotonin, and then you're feeling the "Monday Blues" every single day.

How do you know if you are sensitive to gluten?

Based on my research and experience's that I've had with clients, the best way to determine if you have a gluten sensitivity is to go through a strategic elimination diet. This is where you would remove the food you are challenging (gluten) for a period of time and then reintroduce it back or "challenge" the food to see how your body reacts. A few notes about this:

  • Gluten is something that can stay in your system for a long time because it is a large protein. So, to really test it out, you may need to remove it for more than the usual 2-3 weeks, perhaps even a few months to really get it out of your system.
  • Many people who are sensitive to gluten are often sensitive to other foods such as dairy because the proteins mimic each other. What this means is that if you only do an "elimination" for gluten, then you might not see much of a change because you're still eating dairy and other possible allergens. It's recommended to do a full elimination diet for best results.

Gluten Free: Yay or Nay?

I think it goes without saying, that if you know you're sensitive to gluten then you should definitely avoid it as much as possible, if not completely. In our modern "fast food" world it can be difficult if not impossible to be 100% gluten-free.

But, for most of us, eliminating 90-95% of gluten from our diets can have a dramatic effect on how we feel and our susceptibility to disease.

Once you get over the initial hump of "gluten withdrawal" and discover a whole new world of delicious foods that can give you the same satisfaction as a bowl of cereal (sans the gas and bloating), you will never want to go back.

If you find out that you are not sensitive to gluten, then you have more wiggle room. BUT, gluten is very hard to digest and because of all the issues I mentioned above, you can develop a sensitivity that can eventually lead to symptoms and disease.

So, my recommendation, is to either minimize it or eliminate gluten completely from your diet if you want to stay healthy and symptom free. You want to do this by adopting a whole foods diet that's rich in organic veggies and fruits, along with healthy fats, clean protein, and gluten-free grains, if tolerated. I highly caution you to be skeptical of the "gluten free" products out on the shelves. If you flip over the box and look at the list of ingredients, very often you'll find a large list of processed and sugary ingredients that do more harm than good.

Stick to real food and you're good to go!

What are your experiences with gluten? I want to hear the good, the bad and the ugly down in the comments below!

 


Resources: Amy Meyers, MD

Makeover Your Health With the Elimination Diet

When I first started on my health and fitness journey about 4 years ago, I started experiencing uncomfortable and embarrassing digestive issues which was starting to drive me crazy! I had never experienced these issues before or at least I never noticed because of all of the junky nutritionally void foods I was dumping into my body the many years prior. I was determined to figure out the foods that where working with and those that worked against my body in order to lose weight and be healthier. When you realize that your digestion is much less than optimal and you feel terrible, it is time to do something about it. I got to that point and started noticing that I had symptoms like gassiness and belly bloat that started happening frequently. I knew I needed a reliable way to find out WHY this was happening and, more importantly, WHAT was causing my discomfort. That’s when I found out about the Elimination Diet.

 
Elimination diet
 

The Elimination Diet is the approach I use in my 28 Day Beat Belly Bloat program to help my clients figure out which foods they are sensitive to so that they can eat mindfully, keep their digestive symptoms at bay and start losing weight. About 80% of your immune system is in your gut and is considered the “second brain” in your body, so it is important to keep it healthy and keep things running smoothly. It's also been discovered that if your body is in a constant state of inflammation, it can prevent you from being able to lose weight.

In the elimination diet, you start by eliminating common culprits of digestive upset and common food allergens. You dial down your daily meals and snacks so that you are only eating real, nourishing foods that will not hurt your gut. In fact, you can begin to heal your gut with a proper elimination diet. The categories of food to eliminate are:

  • Grains – The foundation of the Food Pyramid for decades, at one point the government suggested we eat 6-11 servings of grains per day. It has now been discovered that many people have a hard time digesting grains, including corn.
  • Processed Foods – There are many toxic chemicals (like MSG, artificial colors, and flavorings) and other undesirable ingredients (like GMOs, trans fats, and high fructose corn syrup) in processed food that can impede digestion and even cause disease.
  • High Glycemic Foods – Large amounts of starches and added sugars can feed a bacterial overgrowth (small intestinal bacterial overgrowth aka SIBO) and other gut dysbiosis problems.
  • Gluten and Fructans – Found in many grains, gluten has been found to be one of the causes of leaky gut syndrome and autoimmune diseases. Fructans are found in FODMAPS (short-chain carbohydrates) and can also feed those bad bugs in your gut.
  • Soy - Over 90 percent of all soy grown is genetically modified and is wreaking havoc on our bodies. Many people can't tolerate soy but have no idea because they eat so much of it on a daily basis via processed packaged foods. Soy phytoestrogens cause infertility, breast cancer and hypothyroidism. It contains high levels of phytic acid which reduce absorbtion of calcium, magnesium, copper, iron and zinc. Soy foods contain high levels of aluminum, which is toxic to the nervous system and the kidneys.
  • Hydrogenated and Partially Hydrogenated Oil – The top offenders are corn, soy, safflower, canola and vegetable oils.  These can cause inflammation throughout your body and destroy your health.
  • Feedlot Meats and Dairy – Meats and dairy from the conventional food system are full of hormones, antibiotics, and even poisons such as arsenic. These animals are sick and stressed form living in confined polluted spaces.
  • Eggs, Peanuts, and Shellfish – All are common food allergens.
  • Gut Irritants – Caffeine and alcohol can wreak havoc on your gut. Avoid these while you are healing.

The Elimination Phase

All of the common known gut irritating foods we talked about above will be eliminated for an initial 14 days. This is so we can allow enough time for food allergens and other gut irritating foods to fully get out of your system and your symptoms to go away. Make sure to write yourself a list of all the foods you can and can't eat during the elimination period so that you are very clear on which foods you need to avoid. It's very easy to forget and slip up on the foods you are used to eating. It's important to stay on track during this time so that you can really figure out which foods work best for you!

Then, you will gradually reintroduce these foods back in your diet one at a time to see how your body reacts. With certain food, you may notice reactions from it immediately and with others you may feel the effects a day or so later. It is important to keep a food reaction journal during this time so that you can pinpoint exactly how you are feeling both mentally and physically. The entire elimination could take up to 35 days or so depending on how many foods you introduce back in. The great thing about the elimination diet is that it can be tailored specifically to your personal needs with your health coach or practitioner. In my Beat Belly Bloat program we start with only 28 days and then my clients have the freedom to add in extra foods if they would like to. I think this is more manageable for clients and their busy lives! 

The Reintroduction Phase:

For two weeks, follow the elimination diet without any exceptions. It is best to have your meals and snacks prepared ahead of time because you don’t want to risk eating foods that may be cooked with unapproved ingredients. If you do eat any packaged foods, you will need to check the labels very carefully for hidden ingredients such as soy, dairy and gluten.

After you have completed the 14 day food elimination diet, you will now start to add foods back in one by one. Introduce one allergenic food in two days increments for 3 meals per day (morning, noon, and night). You will then go back to the strict elimination diet for the next 2 days and monitor how you feel. Take notes on how you are feeling before, during and after the reintroduction. If you notice a server immediate reaction from a food, you can stop there and go ahead and remove the food from your diet and go back to the elimination diet.

Below is the schedule I use during my program with clients who do a general elimination diet of the top known allergenic foods. Follow the schedule below to keep track of what days you will reintroduce each food. Log your food during the elimination and reintroduction phases so you can go back and use it as a reference point.

During this time you will need to document how you are feeling, both during the two reintroduction days and the two days following it. Take note of any headaches, muscle aches, constipation, gas, bloating, low energy, mood swings, fatigue, foggy thinking, etc.

Day 15: Gluten

Day 16: Gluten

Day 17: Back to elimination diet

Day 18: Back to elimination diet

Day 19: Dairy

Day 20: Dairy

Day 21: Back to elimination diet

Day 22: Back to elimination diet

Day 23: Soy

Day 24: Soy

Day 25: Back to elimination diet

Day 26: Back to elimination diet

Day 27: Corn

Day 28: Corn

Day 29: Back to elimination diet

Day 30: Back to elimination diet

Day 31: Eggs

Day 32: Eggs

Day 33: Back to elimination diet

Day 34: Back to elimination diet

Day 35: Discuss

Eventually you will come up with an eating plan that your body will love. Everyone is different and finding your own unique way of eating to feel good will change your life.

If you think the elimination diet might be just what you need to jumpstart your health and relieve annoying belly bloat, then click the button below to grab my freebie 5 Steps to Beat Belly Bloat!

Amber Hale, health and nutrition coach
 


Sources:

Dr. Mercola - http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2010/12/04/soy-dangers-summarized.aspx

Dr. Axe - http://draxe.com/canola-oil-gm/

Dr. Mark Hyman - http://drhyman.com/blog/2012/01/27/inflammation-how-to-cool-the-fire-inside-you-thats-making-you-fat-and-diseased/

Eat Wild - http://www.eatwild.com/basics.html

*Heizer, W D., Southern, S, McGovern, S. The Role of Diet in Symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome in Adults: A Narrative Review. JADA 2009; 109: 1204-1214

CalorieLab - http://calorielab.com/news/2011/01/01/big-8-food-allergies/