How to Do an Elimination Diet and Why You Should!

Advice from a DietitianJackeline Lopez, RD

What is an Elimination diet? If you’ve made it to BodyHealth IQ, chances are you already know and are looking to facilitate the long arduous process of eliminating food groups, hidden ingredients, and/or specific foods or dishes from your daily life in order to feel better. Therein lies the answer to our first question: an elimination diet is a temporary diet regimen lasting 4-6 weeks, used as a tool to identify food sensitivity triggers or allergens that may be causing you adverse side effects, such as gastrointestinal intolerances, joint pain, and even Eczema and psoriasis. (Visit our own Learning Center for a comprehensive list of common food intolerances and symptoms.)

What needs to happen in an elimination diet?

The “how-to” to starting and completing an elimination diet is pretty standard across the board. The process is comprised of 3 phases (Planning, Elimination, and Challenge or Re-introduction) that must be followed without fail or “cheat days”. 

While these 3 phases of the diet are standard, not one elimination diet may look the same. You may suspect ice cream is a culprit of your bloating and opt to remove dairy from your diet, but your neighbor who eats crab cakes every week may have to eliminate that specific food.  

The bad news is that often our favorite foods can be the culprit of a sensitive diet.  The good news, however, is that we don’t need to discuss the 3 phases of the elimination diet for the sole reason that completing a food sensitivity test does away with the 4-6 weeks of eliminating, testing, and re-testing your suspicions. 

Why do an elimination diet?

Why someone would embark on a quest to discover food sensitivities or allergies is simple to us and hopefully you.  It allows us to increase our health IQ and to understand the body better so that the patient may make more informed and calculated dietary decisions. In short, discovering and eliminating foods allows the individual to feel better and empowered. 

At BodyHealth IQ, we don’t just want to help you improve your health, but want to help you achieve mental and emotional wellness too by providing you the ease with which you will arrive at your new diet & lifestyle. 

It is important to understand that the food sensitivity test at BodyHealth IQ does not diagnose you or provide you with medical treatment or prescriptions. We advise you to speak with your primary care physician about your options once you suspect you may have a food sensitivity or allergy.   A qualified health care provider can help to determine if the food sensitivity is simply a sensitivity or a more serious allergy. If you jointly decide that food sensitivity testing is the best way to delineate the potential causes of your symptoms, then the test kits available through BodyHealth IQ will surely provide you with a roadmap to managing your chronic health condition(s).

Results from your elimination diet are in. Now what?

Once you receive your results of the IgG Food Sensitivity test identifying potential positive sensitivities you had to any of the 96 foods tested, you then prepare for the more permanent – and less talked about – portion of this elimination journey. And that is the lifestyle portion. 

Many sources fail to provide you with guidance in tailoring your new diet to your cultural preferences, daily schedule, financial restraints, and other social and environmental factors. For example, if you test with positive sensitivity to legumes, you are to avoid legumes from your diet indefinitely (unless you want to continue experiencing those unwanted symptoms). But this may prove highly challenging for those who rely on beans and legumes as primary sources of calories, starch, protein, and even fiber and minerals. Those most affected may include vegetarians, Hispanic groups, Middle Eastern or Indian groups, and/or those with financial restraints who afford themselves these filling, readily available foods.

Our professional team at BodyHealth IQ understands that our clients want the most individualized path possible, and we are prepared to listen and guide you in your roadmap to successfully maintaining your new daily regimen. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND) trains their Registered Dietitians in a wide variety of settings to utilize evidence-based approaches in the nutrition therapy of chronic GI intolerances and related chronic diseases. And personalizing diet plans to fit individual needs is a critical competency of the AND’s scholars.

Final thoughts

An at-home food sensitivity test may be the fastest and most accurate method of pinpointing problem areas in your diet. The goal is to more accurately understand how your body responds to certain foods so that you can confidently make decisions about what to eat. Such decisions can have an immense and lasting impact on your health and wellness. 

Ultimately, an elimination diet is much more than the planning, testing and re-testing it sets out to be. Those may be the steps involved in identifying food triggers, which all-in-all is step number one. But maintaining health and wellness begs the more important considerations of personal preferences, cultural habits, and circumstantial hardship and limitations. Keeping this in mind will only help you maximize the results that you can have in this journey. 

References:

Elimination Diet. (2018, November). Retrieved from https://integrativemedicine.arizona.edu/file/11270/handout_elimination_diet_patient.pdf 

FMSW: Food Allergies/ Elimination Diets. (2015, June). Retrieved from https://peacehealth.org/sites/default/files/Documents/fmsw-elimination-diet-approaches.pdf 

Nutrition Information From Your Dietitian. (2016). Retrieved from https://intermountainphysician.org/_layouts/Custom/KnowledgeRepository/KrDocumentFetch.aspx?target=document&ncid=529333758&tfrm=default