Hello again! In my first Elimination Diet post I talked about why you would want to do an elimination diet, some of the symptoms food sensitivities can create and the basic structure of an elimination diet. Here are some general guidelines to help you get a better idea.
1. Diligently avoid all foods and additives that you or your health care practitioner suspect may be contributing to your symptoms. You may decide to just avoid one food (i.e. eggs) OR you may decide to avoid a list of ‘usual suspects’ (gluten, diary, soy, corn, eggs, sugar) OR you may decide to go beyond this. Remember that cheating on an elimination diet will confuse the results meaning time and energy spent without reliable new information gathered.
2. Read labels very carefully. Vegetable oil may mean corn or soybean oil. Gluten free products often contain corn, soy or potato. Casein, lactose and whey are dairy products. Sorbitol and corn starch are corn. (Check out these two websites that have some great tables showing what strangely named ingredients are related to what foods – here for hidden egg, milk, soy, wheat and peanut. Check here for hidden corn.) In general the less processed foods, including condiments, the better. By avoiding processed foods it is much easier to avoid accidental consumption of the foods you are trying to avoid.
3. Supplements and medications may contain possible food allergens such as lactose. Another common example is whey (dairy) in protein powders. Talk to your healthcare provider before going off of any prescription medications.
4. Withdrawal symptoms can often occur during the first days or week of the elimination diet. Your symptoms may increase during this time or you may feel new symptoms, fatigue, increased food cravings, irritability and emotional releases. Do not worry! This is a detoxification process during which you may feel worse before feeling better. To help decrease detox reactions be sure to:
-Drink lots of pure water – at least 8 glasses a day
-Get lots of sleep – naps are great too!
-Try Epsom salt baths – use at least 2 cups of salts per bath
-Sweat – saunas or mild exercise such as walking
5. The elimination phase of the diet should be followed for two to three weeks. In general, when you experience 3-5 days in a row of significantly reduced or no symptoms you are ready to move on to the challenge phase. If it has been 3 weeks and you have noticed no significant change in your symptoms it is still time to move to the challenge phase.
Also check out:
Elimination Diet – Part 4 – What To Eliminate?
Elimination Diet – Part 5 – The Challenge Phase