The Whole You
How An Elimination Diet Works
That tiredness, bloating, skin rash or brain fog you've been experiencing could be the result of food intolerances. These discomforts we tend to write off as normalcy can be directly related to what you're eating, and the way to know for sure if what you’re eating is causing you trouble is to try an elimination diet.
To make it simple, an elimination diet consists of you avoiding certain foods for a few weeks. After you get these foods out of your system, you'll begin reintroducing them to your diet one at a time. If you have kids, it’s much like starting them on solids and watching for any symptoms of sensitivities, but in reverse.
Food Sensitivity Symptoms
Intolerances aren’t always a major allergic reaction with a swollen tongue and puffy eyes. In fact, the majority of food intolerances present themselves as common discomforts such as dry skin, itching, bloating, digestive upsets, headaches, fatigue, migraines, and achy joints and pains. You might only have one of these or a combination of them.
Yes, it sounds like just about every other illness, but you might find that with an elimination diet, you’ll pinpoint the source of that mysterious bloating that isn’t during your period and actually be able to do something about it, finally! You’ll feel more like yourself, and you’ll be aware of what foods cause inflammation for you.
Of top importance is getting rid of any chronic inflammation you may be dealing with. Over time, it can cause significant damage and lead to illness. Don’t panic if you only feel these symptoms once in a while, but if you feel like this daily, for example, fogginess when thinking, small aches, skin issues, or bloating, you should definitely try the elimination diet to see if you can get back to feeling like yourself.
How to Do It
Want to get started? The elimination diet has 2 phases. The first one is about eliminating while the second one is about reintroduction. You should keep a rigorous journal to help you spot any changes, good or bad.
The Elimination Phase
During this phase, you must eliminate any foods you think are triggering symptoms for about 2 or 3 weeks. Most of these are things like dairy, citrus, corn, nuts, eggs, seafood, pork, gluten, wheat, and nightshade vegetables. Generally, you’ll notice your symptoms clear up which will mean you’re ready for the next phase. If nothing changes, you should schedule a checkup with your doctor as soon as possible.
The Reintroduction Phase
Next, you’ll slowly start bringing those eliminated foods back onto your plate. Only introduce one food group at a time over a period of 2 to 3 days. Be watching for those symptoms we mentioned. If anything you reintroduce sets off your symptoms, then you know you need to eliminate it.
One word of caution though: some of you may find several groups of reintroduced food to bring your symptoms back. Should that happen to you, schedule a checkup with your doctor or see a dietitian to help you get the right nutrition while avoiding the foods that trigger your symptoms, so you don’t become nutritionally deficient.
All you need now is the willingness to devote the time. You will be saving yourself a lifetime of discomfort, and the time you invest is absolutely worth it.
This is how my Seasonal Detoxes or Cleanses work and they are one key ingredient to sustaining a healthy body through the onslaught of toxins that bombard us daily.
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Wendy Humphris, ROHP
I’m a holistic nutritionist and I transform health for a living.