The elimination diet is a cheap and simple way of finding out what your body is intolerant to.
If you suffer from disorders such as Crohn's, ulcerative colitis, acne or arthritis, then you may have an intolerance.
This is quite different to an allergy, as an allergy requires an immune response. An intolerance can be developed over time and is when the body does not approve of a particular food or substance and its response is to develop symptoms.
The elimination of this food over a long period of time, may re-establish tolerance. So don't be too worried about eliminating your favourite food, you still may be able to eat it again.
An intolerance may develop with overuse of an item and a lot of people say that the food they are intolerant to is usually the one they crave.
Some Symptoms of Intolerance
• Inflammation (arthritis, fibromyalgia etc)
• Gastric upsets (Crohn's, ulcerative colitis)
• Bowel changes (IBS)
• Skin problems (acne, psoriasis)
To find out what your body is intolerant to you must first sit down and write a diary of the foods that you generally eat every day.
Out of this list you may pick certain foods to eliminate. There is a group of foods that are known to cause intolerance and these may be eliminated first.
• Processed food
These are just some examples but in your eating diary, you may have some inkling as to which foods may be causing your symptoms.
1. First you must write down everything you normally eat
2. Write down all of your symptoms
3. Make a list of all the foods that you intend to eliminate and if possible, avoid these foods for a minimum of 1 week, preferably for one month.
4. After the week or month of elimination, re-introduce one food at a time, for 2 days.
5. If this is a food that may be causing your problems, then your symptoms may return worse than what you had them before.
6. If the symptoms do return after the re-introduction, then you will know to eliminate this food for an extended amount of time.
7. If they do not return in a period of 72 hours after re-introduction, then you will know that it may not be that food that is causing the problems.
8. If your symptoms do not return then keep eliminating foods and re-introducing them until you find the offending food.
If you intend to do an elimination diet then be prepared to feel unwell when you start. When you eliminate, your body can go into a withdrawal state and you may experience some symptoms such as headaches and nausea.
You also may notice that your original symptoms may worsen when doing an elimination. For example, acne may worsen during elimination but will improve after a few weeks.
Some people like to begin their elimination diet with what is called an OLIGOANTIGENIC DIET.
This diet is very bland and almost never causes symptoms unless you are allergic to one of the food items. The oligoantigenic diet consists of only eating the following foods.
It consists of:
• Brassica vegetable e.g broccoli
If you follow the 8 steps above until you have eliminated all offending foods and you are as close to symptom free as you can be, then you will know that your body has an intolerance and you must keep avoiding this food until you feel you would like to re-introduce it and see if you have re-established a tolerance.
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