An elimination diet is a diet that omits a food or food group that is suspected of causing an adverse reaction. food reaction, often called a “food intolerance”. By removing certain foods for a while then by reintroducing them during a ‘challenge’ period, you can learn which foods are causing symptoms or make them worse.
Steps to an Elimination Diet:
- Planning: Work with your health care practitioner to learn which foods might be causing problems. You may be asked to keep a diet journal for a week, listing the foods you eat and keeping track of the symptoms you have throughout the day.
- Avoiding: Don’t eat the foods whole or as ingredients in other foods. For example, if you are avoiding all dairy products, you need to check labels for whey, casein, and lactose so you can avoid them as well. This step takes a lot of discipline. You must pay close attention to food labels. Be particularly careful if you are eating out, since you have less control
over what goes into the food you eat.
- Challenge: To challenge your body, add a new food group every three days. It takes three days to be sure that your symptoms have time to come back if they are going to. On the day you try an eliminated food for the first time, start with just a small amount in the morning. If you don’t notice any symptoms, eat two larger portions in the afternoon and evening. After a day of eating the new food, remove it, and wait for two days to see if you notice the symptoms.
- Creating A New, Long-Term Diet: Eliminate all dairy products, including milk, cream, cheese, cottage cheese, yogurt, butter, ice cream, and frozen yogurt. Eliminate gluten, avoiding any foods that contain wheat, spelt, kamut, oats, rye, barley, or malt. This is the most important part of the diet. Substitute with brown rice, millet, buckwheat, quinoa, gluten-free flour products, or potatoes, tapioca and arrowroot products.
Benefits of an elimination diet
An elimination diet can make you aware of your specific food allergens – the ingredients you’re sensitive to – and can help identify a specific food allergy. Elimination diets can help uncover the cause of symptoms such as persistent dryness, itching, skin (dermatitis), and stomach discomfort. Knowing your food triggers and staying away from them is the safest way to deal with a food intolerance or allergy. Following an elimination diet carefully with the help of your doctor can help you create a healthy, safe, and personal meal plan.