Do you think you might have a food allergy or sensitivity, but you aren't sure which foods to blame? Are you experiencing skin flare-ups, digestive issues, moodiness, or brain fog after meals? An elimination diet might be just what you need. Elimination diets are "short term eating plans that eliminate certain foods that may be causing allergies and other digestive reactions--then reintroduce the foods one at a time in order to determine which foods are, and are not, well-tolerated." It's estimated that over 15 million adults in the U.S alone suffer from food allergies and sensitivities. An elimination diet can help you pinpoint what is causing yours, and guide you in taking steps to heal your digestive system.
Which foods are removed during an elimination diet?
Eight foods account for almost all food reactions: milk, eggs, peanuts, nuts, wheat/gluten, soy, fish, and shellfish. Though elimination diets can vary in terms of exactly what foods are excluded, most will cut out:
- refined/added sugar
- all packaged, processed, and fast foods
How long does an elimination diet usually last?
Most diets last about 3-6 weeks. Antibodies--the proteins your immune system makes when it reacts to food--take about three weeks to dissipate. This is the minimum time needed for someone to fully heal from sensitivities, and notice improvements.
What are the benefits of an elimination diet?
There are so many benefits to doing an elimination diet. Here are just a few:
- uncovers unknown food allergies
- helps reduce digestive syndromes such as IBS and Leaky Gut
- relieves skin irritations like eczema and acne
- can help treat disorders such as ADHD, ADD, Autism, anxiety, and depression
- calms inflammation, boosts your body's energy, and strengthens your immune system
- increases awareness of the foods you eat, and which ones work best for your body
Elimination diets are not for losing weight, so don't think of them as quick ways to drop pounds. The goal is to heal your body.
This diet shouldn't last for more than 6 weeks--stay on it just long enough to pinpoint foods that aren't working for you. Continuing to follow such a strict diet for longer than 6 weeks can begin to deprive your body of the nutrients it needs to keep functioning at 100 percent.
Not sure how it's possible to cut so many foods out of your diet for 3-6 weeks, without running out of meals to make? There are tons of good websites that have elimination diet recipes, tips, and advice available to you for free. Or, you can stop by Nature's Finest Nutrition--we're always happy to help!