We’ve written articles recommending that you eat or don’t eat a variety of foods based on research. However, it’s important to remember that everyone’s different and each person reacts to foods differently. That’s why elimination diets are becoming increasingly popular.
The Elimination Diet:
An elimination diet is considered the “gold standard” in determining food allergies and intolerances. Basically the idea is that you remove every food type that could cause you problems for 2-3 weeks and then slowly introduce the foods you eliminated to see how you react to them. Here’s the 4 step process:
1. Assess your symptoms:
Before you start, take note of any symptoms you are currently experiencing. Here’s a list of symptoms that have been tied to food allergies and intolerences:
- joint pain and/or inflammation
- skin breakouts or rashes
- bowel changes or GI pain
- brain fog
- sinus or other respiratory issues
2. Remove all suspected foods.
The next step is to remove all foods that could be causing problems for at least 2 weeks. Elimination diets differ in the number of foods they eliminate, with some just eliminating major culprits like dairy, wheat, eggs, and soy. We recommend a stricter elimination diet from Precision Nutrition to increase the likelihood that any problem food is identified (see below). The diet primarily involves eating fruit (except citrus fruit), vegetables (except tomatoes, eggplant and white potatoes) and some meats. We would also recommend taking out the lamb because of the health hazards of red meat.
3. Reintroduce foods
Once your targeted symptoms have disappeared for 5 days after a minimum of 2 weeks you begin introducing the eliminated foods back into your diet. Introduce 1 food at a time and then note your symptoms for 3 days. If you notice your symptoms worsening, remove the food from your diet and wait for your symptoms to improve before reintroducing another food. If you have no symptoms, then continue adding back 1 food at a time. Keep track of your results.
4. Enjoy your new diet
At the end of the diet, only foods that cause you no symptoms should remain. Take a look at the list of foods that cause you problems and be sure to avoid them going forward. Your diet should be far less strict at this point.
An elimination diet could end up being one of the best things you ever do. It can be a difficult in the beginning and will require a lot of preparation and likely requires you to cook most of your meals. However, it can allow you to identify foods that are causing you a host of negative symptoms.