If you think you may be suffering from some form of food intolerance or sensitivity, an elimination diet is an excellent way of determining if you are right.
What is an elimination diet?
An elimination diet is a simple way to find out which foods you are sensitive to. Here is how it works.
As the name suggests it works by eliminating certain foods from your diet and looking for signs that your symptoms of food allergies and intolerances are subsiding. There are several tried and tested diets you can follow to work out which foods you are intolerant of or allergic to.
Here we look at the two main approaches. Which is right for you is dependent on several factors. This includes the intensity of your symptoms, how many foods you think you may be allergic tom and your current state of health. We talk more about choosing the right food intolerance diet for you at the end of the article.
Here is an overview of the two main types of food intolerances diets. I plan to write more about the subject with detailed instructions for going on an allergy detection diet. When I do, I will include links out to those pages here. In the meantime, here is some basic information to get you started.
Removing suspect foods from your diet
By far the easiest approach is removing suspected foods from your diet.
Naturally, for this option to work you need to have an idea of which foods cause the symptoms of food intolerance in you. Most people do know which foods affect them or have strong suspicions. Normally, those suspicions prove correct. You will be surprised at how in tune with your body you actually are. In many cases, you just need to listen a bit more carefully.
Taking this approach is relatively easy. You only need to eliminate the foods for a few weeks to see positive results and pin down which foods you are actually intolerant of.
If your symptoms lessen or abate when you are not eating the foods you suspect you are allergic to add them to a list. You will need to stop eating those foods in the future.
To be sure, eat a small portion of the food and look for a re-occurrence of the symptoms. Remember it may take up to 48 hours for the symptoms to re-emerge.
If your intolerance is mild, you may find that the symptoms only occur when enough of the chemical that irritates your body has built up in your system. Therefore, it may take a few weeks before the symptoms start to re-manifest themselves.
Eliminate the biggest allergen suspects first
Some people have no idea of what foods they are allergic to. For those people using a food sensitivity detection diet may still be a good approach.
It is just that they would have to do it slightly differently. People in that situation should consider eliminating the most likely candidates from their diet.
Food allergy specialists have built up a huge body of evidence. A subject has been studied closely. Therefore, it is well understood which foods are most likely to cause allergies and intolerance issues. Eliminating these foods from the diet and reintroducing them gradually is a great way of working out which foods your body cannot tolerate well.
The way it works is that you drop the most common allergy-causing foods from your diet then re-introduce each group gradually. If you have no symptoms, you can introduce the next food group. However, if you do have a reaction when you introduce a food or group of foods back into your life you simply re-eliminate it and see if the symptoms fall away. If they do, stop eating that food group in the long-term and re-introduce another food group, of if you are confident that is the only food group you need to eliminate from your diet you can resume normal eating. However, personally, I would see things through and carry on re-introducing new food groups gradually. Many people are intolerant of several different foods, not just one. The last thing you want is to have to start an elimination diet from scratch. It is a time-consuming, but worthwhile, process but you do not really want to have to repeat the process too often during your life.
Removing the biggest suspects from your diet is how oligoantigenic diets work. These diets are used to treat the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), Crohn’s disease and sometimes ADHD. However, this diet also works for those who do not have these diseases but are sensitive to certain foods.
The Right Elimination Diet for You
Choosing the right elimination diet is important. To find out which foods are causing your allergic reactions you will need to stick to the process. If you take a half-hearted approach to a food intolerance elimination food plan you will not find out which foods are causing you problems and will have to eventually repeat the process.
If you are being treated for food allergies or intolerances, you should follow the advice of the doctors or specialists who are treating you. They know this health issue inside out, so offer the best possible advice. You should always follow their advice before you try anything else. This is definitely the fastest way to solve health issues related to food intolerance.
However, if you do not have the luxury of comprehensive help from the medical profession the following advice will help you to choose the right diet for you.
Choose the diet based on your lifestyle. You need to be able to stick to the diet to succeed, so this is the primary consideration.
Get help from a food intolerance support group
If you see a diet offered with support incorporated this is a great approach. Sticking to a diet that offers you the support of a group of people with similar problems will greatly help you to stick to that diet.
Managing the cost of an elimination diet
For those on a tight budget, the cost of following the diet is a consideration. Some allergen free food manufacturers offer dietary advice. Normally it is great advice, but the diets they recommend tend to feature their products, which can make them expensive to follow.
Losing weight using an elimination diet
If you need to lose weight, you need to ensure that the elimination or oligoantigenic diet you are following is low in calorie. Taking this approach will enable you to tackle two health issues at once.
Because most allergy diets eliminate wheat, dairy and other high-calorie foods you should be able to find one that will enable you to lose weight as well as work out which foods you are allergic to. It is also a great way of increasing your consumption of fresh vegetables, so this kind of diet can bring you many health benefits and other benefits.
Other reasons to eliminate certain food groups from your diet
As you can see this type of diet is quite drastic and potentially disruptive. However, it really is worth doing. If you need a bit more motivation to get you to take the step of eliminating foods from your diet, think about the following additional benefits:
Reduced food bill
Better understanding of your body and health
Strong feeling of well-being
Going on an elimination diet may seem daunting, but it really is worth doing. It is the most reliable way to work out which foods you should not be eating. Once you start doing that you will feel better and your health will improve.