In a previous post, I briefly mentioned the Elimination Diet. If you suspect you might have a food intolerance, but don’t want to spend the money on testing, then consider trying an Elimination Diet for 30 days. This is one of the most reliable tests and least invasive ways to determine common food allergies or intolerances. Also, it’s free so there is nothing to lose, only health to gain.
Remove the seven most common food allergies (gluten, wheat, dairy, eggs, soy, nuts and fish) from the diet for a minimum of 7 days, but preferably 30 days. Also, eliminate sugar and sugar substitutes. Don’t worry, you will be able to add some of these foods back into your diet, assuming they aren’t causing any illness. Focus on eating whole, unprocessed foods, like meat, vegetables, and fruit. Keep a daily diary of all your food intake, what time you ate it, and how you felt immediately afterwards, as well as a couple of hours later. Some things you will want to take note of are bloating, swelling anywhere in the body, abdominal pain, mental fog, acid reflux, fatigue, depression. This will start to give you clues as to what is causing your discomfort. Tracking your symptoms can also give you clues to other health issues, like low blood sugar, adrenal fatigue, hormone imbalances etc.
After the 30 day period, is when the fun begins because you get to start the reintroduction phase by adding back in one food group at a time. It doesn’t matter what order you start, just pick one and have a small amount in the morning. Still track your symptoms immediately after you eat it and a couple of hours later. If you experience any discomfort or symptoms you had prior to the elimination diet, then don’t eat anymore. There is a good chance you have an intolerance to the food and it might need to be removed for awhile. If you eat it in the morning though and don’t experience any discomfort, then have a larger portion at lunch and again in the evening. Don’t eat the food for the next couple of days, but continue to track your symptoms. Sometimes an intolerance doesn’t show up right away in the way you feel, but might a day or two later. If you do not experience any symptoms after two days, then it is safe to say that food is probably okay for your body. Wait until you have tested all other common food allergies before you add it back in permanently. After the two day waiting period from the introduction of the first food, try another food group. Repeat the steps until you have gone through all the allergens.
At the end, you will have a road map as to what foods are good for your body and what ones might be causing you illness. This is not a perfect test, but it can be a great starting point. As always, before starting a new diet consult with your healthcare provider first. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sample Food Diary
|Breakfast Time: 6:00||2 egg omelet with spinach, ½ c. blueberries||Immediately afterwards felt energized|
|Mid-morning||Started feeling tired and hungry around 10:00|
|Lunch Time: 11:30||Chicken curry with broccoli||Fingers felt swollen and stomach a little bloated.|
|Mid-afternoon: 4:30||24 almonds||Feeling tired and lightheaded prior to eating almonds|
|Dinner Time: 6:30||Hamburger, asparagus, ½ sweet potato with 1 tbsp ghee||Was “starving” before dinner, but satisfied after eating. No longer feel lightheaded.|
|Evening: 10:00||Feeling tired from the day, but wired. Having a hard time relaxing tonight.|