Perhaps you've heard about the Elimination Diet. Or maybe not. The Elimination Diet is an approach to figuring out which foods you are sensitive to so that you can eat mindfully and keep your digestive symptoms at bay. The gut is where the majority of your immune system is and is considered the “second brain” in your body, so it is important to keep it healthy and keep things running smoothly. In the elimination diet, you start by eliminating common culprits of digestive upset and common food allergens. You simplify your daily meals and snacks so that you are only eating real, nourishing foods that will not hurt your gut. In fact, you can begin to heal your gut with a proper elimination diet.
The categories of food to eliminate are:
- Grains. Ironically, it's been the foundation of the U.S Government Food Pyramid for decades. Now they've discovered that many people have a hard time digesting grains, including corn.
- Processed Foods.– There are many toxic chemicals (like MSG, artificial colors, and flavorings) and other undesirable ingredients (like GMOs, trans fats, and HFCS) in processed food that can impede digestion and even cause disease.
- High Glycemic Foods. Large amounts of starches and added sugars can feed a bacterial overgrowth (SIBO) and other gut dysbiosis problems.
- Gluten and Fructans. Found in many grains, gluten has been found to be one of the causes of leaky gut syndrome and autoimmune diseases. Fructans are found in FODMAPS (short-chain carbohydrates) and can also feed those bad bugs in your gut.
- Unrefined Oils.– These can cause inflammation throughout your body.
- Commercial Meats and Dairy.– Meats and dairy from the conventional food system are full of hormones, antibiotics, and even poisons such as arsenic.
- Eggs, Peanuts, and Shellfish. All are common food allergens.
- Gut Irritants. Caffeine and alcohol can wreak havoc on your gut. Avoid these while you are healing.
Learning which foods are friendly to your body can be life changing. My seasonal cleanses, like the Fall Cleanse right now, is based on an elimination diet. We eliminate common allergen foods for 7 days and then slowly add back foods. You will know, as you begin to add foods back in, what works and what doesn’t.
If a food causes symptoms on three different occasions, you will know that you are sensitive to that food and to avoid it for a while and try again later. Eventually you will come up with a plan that your body will love. Everyone is different and finding your own unique way of eating to feel good will change your life.
*Heizer, W D., Southern, S, McGovern, S. The Role of Diet in Symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome in Adults: A Narrative Review. JADA 2009; 109: 1204-1214