What Is The Elimination Diet?

Image By JENNIFER BURKE

Image By JENNIFER BURKE

Sometimes in life you just get run down. You focus too much on other people, your work, your to-do list… You find yourself stressed, fatigued, and moody. You feel like your digestion is less than optimal, and you may have even gained a few extra pounds… whatever your current situation, you know you want to feel better. And you’re ready to make it happen.


We all have our own stories and symptoms… depression and anxiety, debilitating pms, stomach-wrenching digestion issues, emergency brain surgery… at some point we all learn we need a real, sustainable way of improving and maintaining our health. No more fad diets, deprivation, or gimmicky hacks - we want to know WHY this is happening for us, and more importantly, HOW we can nourish our body back into balance.

Enter the Elimination Diet

The Elimination Diet is an approach to figuring out which foods you are sensitive to so that you can eat mindfully and keep negative symptoms and reactions at bay. The gut is where the majority of your immune system actually lives, and is considered the “second brain” in your body, so it is important to keep the digestive system healthy and running optimally. During the elimination diet, you forego common food allergens and culprits of digestive upset. By focusing on simple, easy-to-digest meals you allow your body to regenerate on a cellular level, which not only benefits your health, but your life, relationships, and work too.

Some foods to test your sensitivity to:

Grains

The foundation of the Food Pyramid for decades, 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 HFCS) 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 (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.


Unrefined Oils

These can cause inflammation throughout your body.


Feedlot Meats and Dairy

Meats and dairy from the conventional food system are full of hormones, antibiotics, and even poisons such as arsenic.


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.


Additional guidelines

There is a 3/3 ‘rule’ for adding foods back into your diet.

“Do not conclude a food causes symptoms, unless symptoms occur within 3 days of eating the food and occur consistently on 3 separate occasions after eating it.”*

You will know, as you begin to add foods back in, what works for your unique body, and what doesn’t. I suggest starting slow; give the diet a few weeks to work, and then begin adding foods back in one at a time. If a food causes symptoms within 3 days, on 3 different occasions, you’ll know for sure that you’re sensitive to that food and to avoid it for a while. Don’t worry, you can try again later! Through trial and error, you’ll discover an eating plan that your body and taste buds will love. Everyone is different and finding your own unique way of eating - that makes you feel good - will revolutionize your life.

*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

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