The Elimination Diet – Uncover Your Food Reactions!
The Elimination Diet is a way of seeing the true effect the food you eat has on your body! Not only does the Elimination diet allow you to see what foods effect you, but it shows you HOW they make you feel.
Why the Elimination Diet?
Did you know some foods can trigger different reactions in your body? These can include food intolerances, allergies or a sensitivity towards foods that have higher amounts of things like – histamines (fermented foods, avocado, bone broths, aged cheeses and meats, dried fruit), salicylates (almonds, berrries, coffee, stone fruit, most herbs and spices) or oxalates (spinach, field greens, nuts, tea, buckwheat).
That’s right, foods, even the seemingly ‘healthy’ ones, could be the culprit of your ill health!
Some symptoms of these reactions include:
- Hyperactivity & bedwetting
- Allergies (itching, hay fever, runny nose)
- Stomach pain/ Diarrohea
- Weight gain
- Brain fog
- Joint pain
- Plus, more!
Experiencing these symptoms can be distressing. We often see people trying to chop and change their diet to find the culprit, only to become more and more confused. This is where the Elimination diet steps in!
How Does the Elimination Diet Work?
The Elimination Diet helps you determine if you are sensitive to anything in your diet. This is done by eliminating the foods most common to producing the signs and symptoms you’re experiencing – which is different for everyone! The biggies can gluten and grains, dairy and specifically for mood stuff such as anxiety caffeine related foods like coffee and black tea can be significant. The other more specific eliminations can be tailored by what you symptoms are.
These foods are eliminated for usually 3 weeks but sometimes up to 3 months. This elimination phase is important because foods can produce reactions in your body that can last up to 21 days! This means you could eat a certain food and still feel its effects 3 weeks later.
The goal of the elimination phase is to get you feeling your absolute best! Once we get to this stage, the ‘challenge’ can begin…
The Challenge phase is the most exciting part of the diet – Get ready to REALLY understand your body!
Challenging foods includes strategically reintroducing foods, one at a time, and only one, every 2 to 3 days. You need to carefully note any symptoms you experience on each reintroduction. Any new or returning symptoms experienced are likely to be due to that food. When a ‘problem’ food is found, we can then test different forms of that food and really pin-point where the reaction is coming from. This phase can take from a few weeks to a few months, depending on the amount of foods initially eliminated.
Important – Just because we find a ‘problem’ food, it doesn’t mean that food should be eliminated from your diet forever! By working on other areas of your health, specifically your gut health, this can be a major reason for you reacting to certain foods, we often find that you can begin to enjoy some of your favourites again – just may be in moderation! Each case is very different but working holistically you can usually see great results.
What to Expect
In the first few days, some people may feel tired, experience cravings or headaches. This can be a withdrawal reaction from caffeine or the foods you’re intolerant to as your body readjusts. This is a perfectly normal response and usually only lasts 2-5 days.
After this initially reaction, eliminating ‘problem’ foods often results in you feeling, well, fantastic! After only a week or two, people often report their symptoms improving. They have more energy and their headaches, mood, skin and bloating get much better. Our clients often say something like “I didn’t know I could feel this great!”
Are Nutrient Deficiencies a Risk on The Elimination Diet?
Nutrient deficiencies are unlikely if The Elimination Diets is short term. We recommend eating foods from all the allowable food groups to get a wide variety of nutrients! If the Elimination Diet needs to be extended, we need to work out what you may be missing by analyzing exactly what you are eating, running specific nutrient lab tests and then supporting you through targeted supplementation.
It’s important to remember that elimination diets are not designed for long term use and you should always undertake this process with a qualified and experienced practitioner.
Tips on How to Make Elimination Easy!
- Involve the whole family (to an extent!): The elimination diet involves lots of beautiful wholefoods. This means you can cook healthy meals and just add in some ‘extras’ for the family. This will make meal planning much easier.
- Pick your timing: Try to start the diet at a time where you are free from social engagements and when stress levels are low. This will make the adjustment easier.
- Supervise children: For children on the elimination diet, close supervision is needed to ensure they do not sneak in ‘unhelpful’ foods. Sometimes it’s best to wait for school holidays before starting.
- Diet break: If there’s an important dinner or a party that can’t be postpone, you can stop your diet for a day if needed. When you return to your diet, you may need to stick to your diet for another 5 days until your symptoms clear once again.
- Reduce caffeine gradually: Sometimes it’s worth gradually reducing your caffeine intake over the first week of the diet to reduce withdrawals symptoms.
- Plan ahead: Cook larger meals so you can have leftovers ready to go! Planning your week in advance can also be very helpful. Need help planning your meals in advance? Download our Meal Planner bundle for free! This includes even more tips to help you stick to a new diet.
What About Food Intolerance Blood Tests?
Although it may seem easier to get a blood test, this isn’t always the best way to get to the bottom of your food symptoms.
Food Intolerance Testing can be expensive (ranging from $200 – $400+) and may produce false positive results. These tests only include certain foods and don’t test for all the different kinds of food reactions. We do sometimes also use specific testing and it can be quick and simple, but they lack something important… The experience of good health!
That’s what we love about the Elimination Diet, it gives you the opportunity to experience your best health and understand how certain foods make you FEEL. The Elimination diet can be a challenging and tedious process but its important to remember the long-term benefits!
Starting an Elimination Diet is a very personal decision that is not always warranted in some cases. Working with a qualified and experienced practitioner can set you up for success by helping you choose the right path and support you every step of the way. Do you think you may have food reactions? Contact our friendly reception on (08) 8332 2271 or click here to book an appointment with one of our practitioners.