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How to Do an Elimination Diet

elimination_dietDo you feel sick all the time? I was right where you are a little over ten years ago. If it wasn’t for an elimination diet, I would have never known that the chronic diarrhea, brain fog, muscle aches, yeast infections, mood swings, and anxiety were related to gluten intolerance.

Gluten was literally killing me.

This protein found in wheat, barley, and rye can do horrible things to your body and mind if you’re intolerant to it. That’s why, if you’re suffering from mystery symptoms you can’t explain, whether mental or physical, it is vitally important to do an elimination diet.

Why can’t you just do a blood test? Because, oftentimes, blood tests show false negatives, meaning you actually are intolerant to the food, the antibodies just aren’t showing up.

Food Allergies are Not Fake

First of all, food allergies are not fake. This is so important to remember. You may have been told that your chronic fatigue, aches, pains, depression, sinus problems couldn’t possibly be related to something as innocent as food, right?

Wrong.

It isn’t about the food. It’s about your own unique body chemistry. We may look basically alike as humans; two eyes, two ears, ten fingers, ten toes, but inside, we’re all different. Our digestive and immune systems especially can be very different.

For example, many people can eat peanuts with no problem. Others will drop dead from just touching one because their immune system sees this food as a deadly toxin and will produce histamine that causes anaphylaxis that keeps the offending legume out.

How to Do an Elimination Diet

The first step to doing an elimination diet is learning about the 8 common food allergies and intolerances you might have.

To do an elimination diet properly, you must eliminate all traces of:

  • Gluten
  • Lactose
  • Nuts
  • Fish
  • Corn
  • Soy
  • Eggs
  • Citrus

When you first look at that list you might wonder what the heck you can eat on an elimination diet but it’s really not as difficult as it looks. You won’t starve but you won’t be able to go out to a restaurant for the next 6-8 weeks.

Believe me, this is worth it.

You may be tempted to scroll away right now, pop another antacid, and just live with the pain. Don’t. Ignoring food allergies will only lead to serious health problems down the line. You have no idea how good your body is designed to feel but you’re about to find out.


When you’re on an elimination diet, you can eat:

  • Organic vegetables (no tomato, potato, eggplant or corn)
  • Organic fruits (no citrus)
  • Quinoa
  • Amaranth
  • Millet
  • Brown rice
  • Olive oil
  • Coconut oil
  • Organic meat, chicken, and turkey
  • Unsweetened rice milk
  • Fresh herbs
  • Stevia

Yes, this diet is extremely restrictive but the goal here is to find out exactly what it is your body is reacting to. If you think of it as basically going on the “Paleo Diet” for a couple of months, it’s not so bad. You can eat plenty of meat and chicken and pair it with brown rice, quinoa, and vegetables.

If the diet is too restrictive for you and you’re almost positive that gluten or lactose products for example, are the culprit, cut them from your diet for 6-8 weeks to see if your symptoms improve. When you’re on any kind of elimination diet, the goal is to clear your system of toxins and figure out what food or foods is causing your chronic symptoms.

No matter what type of elimination diet you’re doing, cut out all processed foods. Many people have reactions to food additives and preservatives such as food dyes and monosodium glutamate.

Reintroducing Foods on the Elimination Diet

After the 6-8 week period is over, you’ll probably be angrier but thinner than you’ve been in a while. I’m not going to lie to you. I did this diet back in 2002 and it drove me about bonkers, especially considering I was also a vegetarian and refused to go back to eating meat at that time.

My doctor let me substitute with cooked dried beans but I didn’t know how to cook them so they were hard as rocks and tasted terrible. The thing that made me stick with it was the pain that I’d felt from birth had started to disappear. Even my chronic brain fog went away. It was incredible.

The good news is, after the two-month period is over, you get to reintroduce foods. On the first day after your elimination diet, eat gluten foods and plenty of them. If there is no reaction, eat more of it the second day and see how you feel. Wait two days then reintroduce lactose products to test for a reaction. Keep doing this with each of the common food allergens to see how you react to them. When you find the offending food or foods, you’ll know.

Remember, this is two months of your life. Two months to sit back, relax, eat healthier than perhaps you ever have in your life, and finally, finally stop feeling so horrible all the time. Don’t worry if your friends or family don’t “get it”. This is your life here. Once you figure out what’s been making you sick all this time, you can get rid of it and start fresh and there really is no better feeling in this world.

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