An elimination diet may sound boring and gross...but don't be turned off straight away. What is it, exactly? An elimination diet is simply a tool for helping people discover food sensitivities and even allergies by temporarily removing common allergens, then gradually reintroducing them, keeping track of any positive or negative symptoms experienced along the way.
The most common allergens can be summarized into 6 categories:
Gluten (the protein found in wheat, barley, and rye)
Dairy (all milk-based products)
Seafood (specifically fish and shellfish)
Nuts (specifically tree nuts and peanuts)
What are some signs that an elimination diet might be a good idea for you? If you are experiencing negative symptoms such as excessive gas, frequent breakouts, fatigue, irritability, bloating or other digestive problems, or difficulty loosing those "last 10 pounds", you may have a food sensitivity. If you are considering an elimination diet, I would recommend setting yourself up for an 8 week project. In a proper elimination diet, the individual goes off of all 6 common allergens for 2 weeks. For each week following, he or she reincorporates one of the possible allergens. For instance:
Weeks 1 and 2: Remove all 6 possible allergens.
Week 3: Reincorporate dairy, noting any changes in mood, weight, complexion, respiration, and digestion.
Week 4: Follow the process with gluten,
Week 5: ...then eggs,
Week 6: ...then seafood,
Week 7: ...then soy,
Week 8: ...and finally, nuts.
The reason I mention preparing yourself for an 8 week project is because although such a restrictive diet can be intimidating, if you go in with a positive mindset, knowing your pantry and recipe arsenal are stocked for successful, tasty meals within these bounds, the process can be less than painful. It can be enjoyable, even. After all, you're taking an incredible, natural step toward healing yourself with food!
If you think you may have a food sensitivity and are looking for someone to help guide you through an elimination diet, please consider reaching out to contact me. I'd love to enroll you in a 6 month program with a special elimination diet track, if it's what you need!
Here's to feeling healed, whole, and symptom free!