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 that are known to cause issues which allows the body to remove symptoms it may have. Later you will reintroduce certain planned 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!
How does the elimination diet work?
The elimination diet works in two phases: The elimination phase and the reintroduction phase. I will explain both.
Phase one - Elimination: During the initial phase of an elimination diet, you will remove common culprits of digestive upset and common food allergens from your diet for 2-3 weeks. Most commonly you would remove some of the top 8 allergenic foods: soy, dairy, corn, egg, gluten, peanuts, tree nuts and shellfish. As well as any other food you think you may have an issue with such as nightshades, citrus fruit, yeast, legumes, etc. Please note: You should not test any foods that you believe you may have anaphylaxis reaction to.
This is so you can allow enough time for food allergens as well as other gut irritants to fully get out of your system. During this period you will naturally reduce inflammation in order to allow any symptoms to go away. 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.
You will want to be strict during this phase in order to have success. Keep a list of all the foods you can and can't eat during the elimination phase 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 keep meals simple and stay on track during this time so your body will be somewhat of a blankslate making it easy to figure out which foods work best for you!
Phase two - Reintroduction: Then after the 2-3 week elimination phase is over, you will enter the reintroduction phase. Gradually reintroduce the foods you removed during the initial elimination phase back into your diet one-by-one to see how your body reacts. We always suggest that our clients add back in the one food that they missed the most during the elimination phase but you can add them back in any order that you would like!
With certain food, you may notice reactions from it immediately and with others you may feel the effects a day or so later. During this phase, you will keep a food reaction journal so that you can pinpoint exactly how you are feeling both mentally and physically. Take note of any headaches, muscle aches, joint pain, constipation, gas, bloating, low energy, mood swings, fatigue, foggy thinking, etc.
Pinpointing the way these foods affect you are the key to your health success! This helps you to discover your personalized eating plan and you now know which foods to avoid in your daily life in order to avoid symptoms that may make you feel bad plus get healthier while at it!