Elimination Diet Protocol
Feeling sluggish, skin issues, bloating, headaches? Do you have a bunch of weird symptoms that you are unable to pinpoint where they are from?
The elimination diet is a great way to help realize where certain symptoms are coming from and if they are linked to food sensitivities or intolerances. Some of these symptoms can be things like bloating, headaches, mood swings, or rashes. Food is a main source of information for our body- it sends signals, creates energy, and builds Qi/Blood. So, if the food we are ingesting is not being absorbed properly it often sends misinformation to the system.
Research now shows a huge link between the state of the nervous system, and emotions with the quality of the intestinal flora. Meaning the healthier your gut, the healthier your mood! The digestive system also is the home to the majority of your bodies immune system, the enteric nervous system and the main producer of serotonin, the happiness neurotransmitter. So lets find out what makes your gut happy!
The elimination diet is considered the gold standard when it comes to figuring out food sensitives. It is not necessarily an easy process but a very effective and specific one. So stay strong and use this guide for support.
Tips to get started
The first 2- 3 days are usually the hardest as the beginning of transitions often are. It’s important to go shopping before beginning this diet plan to have all available foods handy.
Plan your meals ahead of time, being hungry often leads to poor decision making.
Have a pot of rice available.
Use this time to eat simply and cook simply. I like to view these few weeks as a science experiment to get to know your body better.
Have prepared food on hand so you can grab something quickly if you are in a rush or hungry! Make a large pot of chicken-vegetable-rice soup to have easy leftovers. Make a large salad. Bake extra chicken and store it in the fridge for quick easy lunches and snacks.
Make sure to eat regular meals and small snacks.
You may also want to snack to more often than normal to keep your blood sugar levels normal. Carry healthy foods/snacks with you when you leave the house, that way you will have what you need and will not be tempted to stray off the plan.
Avoid any foods that you know/ believe you may be sensitive to, even if they are on the “allowed” list.
Try to eat at least 3 servings of fresh vegetables each day. Choose at least one serving of dark green or orange vegetables (carrot, broccoli, winter squash) and one raw vegetable each day. Variety is key!
This is NOT a weight loss program. If you need to lose or gain weight, work with your practitioner on a weight loss program at a different time :)
Buy organic produce whenever possible. Select fresh foods whenever you can. If possible, choose organically grown produce to help eliminate pesticide and chemical residue consumption. Wash all vegetable and fruits thoroughly.
There are three distinct phases of this diet plan- the elimination phase, the testing phase and the integrate/repair phase. The whole process may take about 5-6 weeks total to complete.
PHASE ONE (ELIMINATION)
This phase lasts 21 days and its all about cleaning up the diet, moving to a very simple eating regimen which consists of foods that have been shown to not cause adverse reactions or inflammation. Then specific foods are slowly introduced back into the diet, one at a time, observing if any possible reactions or unwanted symptoms arise (more on this during the testing phase)
It is very important to DRINK LOTS OF WATER, about 2-4 liters a day during this time. It can be seen as sort of a cleanse, as you are allowing the digestive tract to simplify and release any built up agitation or inflammation from foods you eat.
Foods to AVOID
GLUTEN, DAIRY, SOY, EGGS, CORN, PORK, BEEF, BEANS/LENTILS, COFFEE, GRAINS, CITRUS, NIGHTSHADE VEG.(tomato/eggplant/potatoes/peppers), ALCOHOL, PROCESSED FOODS, SUGAR, MIXED OILS
Foods to EAT
RICE, CHICKEN, TURKEY, LAMB, FISH, WILD GAME, FRUIT (besides citrus), ALL VEG (besides nightshades), single ingredient COCONUT MILK, OLIVE OIL, GHEE, FLAX SEED OIL, COCONUT OIL, HERBAL TEA, HERBS/SPIC
PHASE TWO (TESTING)
This phase is when you get to test specific foods to see how the body responds. By slowly reintroducing foods to the diet it is easier to observe how the body-mind reacts and feels. It is very useful to keep a diet diary or journal at this stage to keep track. (keep tract of what you eat/drink, when you eat/ drink, mood changes, bowel movements, any abnormal symptoms ie. headaches) This phase begins after the end of the three week elimination phase. The process is to reintroduce a single food group for one day only, then monitor symptoms for two days after when you go back to the simple diet. The day you are introducing a specific foods, or potential sensitivity such as dairy, eat a lot of it!
Day 1 of testing / Day 22 of diet plan)/ FOOD 1 Test Dairy- Eat a lot of it for one day, pick foods you normally would eat such as milk and unsweetened yogurt. Wait three days to notice if any symptoms arise.
IF NO SYMPTOMS ARISE- reintroduce another food group on day four.
IF SYMPTOMS ARISE- go back to the basic elimination diet for three days before testing another food.
DAY 4/ FOOD 2 Test Eggs- Same as above. Remember to keep a diary to help you keep track. You can continue this process for a couple of more weeks reintroducing one new food group every few days.
Some symptoms that may arise
Bowel changes/ GI pain/bloating
PHASE THREE (INTEGRATE AND REPAIR)
After three weeks of eating a simple diet, and a few weeks more of testing individual foods and keeping a diet diary, you will most likely have a clear picture of foods that work/don’t work well for your individual digestive tract. Often when eating foods that agree with our bodies and don’t lend toward unnecessary inflammation, we feel brighter, lighter, and over all more healthy.
This next step is a lifestyle step, its about finding a new norm, and a balance that works for you. Now that you have done the “research” and found out foods that are causing some adverse impacts on the body, its time to integrate this information into your new individualized diet plan. This does not necessarily mean that all foods you found you are sensitive towards must never be eaten again, but now you can go into eating these foods with more awareness and less often. You may choose to cut them out completely, or when you choose to indulge do so with the knowing what certain symptoms you may encounter. You can also have some things on hand to help mitigate symptoms such as digestive bitters or digestive enzymes.
Tips to help integrate and repair
Try to keep consumption of tested foods with side effects (food sensitives) to a minimum if at all.
Invest in a high quality probiotic supplement
Increase your consumption of bone broth
Indulge in more prebiotc foods such as sauerkraut, kimchi, pickeles, kefir, non processed yogurt, kombucha.
Keep stress to a minimum and drink more water!
Great recipe website - http://www.nourishingmeals.com/p/elimination-diet.html