This is a dietary program designed to clear the body of foods and chemicals you may be allergic or sensitive to. In doing so you actually improve your body’s ability to handle and dispose of these substances.
This is called an Elimination Diet because the first step is removing certain foods, and food categories, from your diet. This allows your body’s detoxification machinery, which are likely overburdened or compromised, to recover and begin to function efficiently again. The dietary changes help the body eliminate or “clear” various toxins that may have accumulated due to environmental exposure, foods, beverages, drugs, alcohol, or cigarette smoking.
Clinical experience has shown this process to be generally well tolerated and extremely beneficial. There is really no “typical” or “normal” response. A person’s initial response to any new diet is highly variable, and this diet is no exception. We are all different physiologically, mentally, and even on a biochemical level, and the degree of exposure to “toxins”, as well as the “toxin” types.
Most often, individuals on the elimination diet experience:
- Increased energy
- Mental alertness
- Decreased muscle or joint pain
- Improved sense of well-being
However, some people report different initial reactions to the diet, especially in the first week, as their bodies adjust to a different dietary program. This phase can be considered a detoxification stage where the body is trying to free itself of the toxins and so some symptoms you may experience in the first week or so are:
Changes in sleep patterns
- Joint or muscle stiffness
- Changes in gastrointestinal function
Any time you change your diet significantly, you may experience such symptoms they rarely last for more than a few days. Your body needs time as it is “withdrawing” from the foods you eat on a daily basis. Your body may crave some foods it is used to consuming. Persevere. Those symptoms generally don’t last long, and most people feel much better over the next few weeks.
You can often minimize the duration and severity of these symptoms by encouraging the body’s natural detoxification processes. The natural processes to eliminate waste or toxins include sweat, and urine production. This is why it is important to stay hydrated, drinking 2.5 Liters of water daily and to sweat, either through regular exercise or through use of an infrared sauna. To learn more about how you can help your body detoxify check out this page here.
Changing food habits can be a complex, difficult, and sometimes confusing process. It doesn’t have to be, we have included Elimination Diet Recipes which even comes with suggestions for snacks! Remember this is NOT a calorie restricted diet!
The Elimination Diet Shopping List can help you navigate the grocery store easily and efficiently.
- You should, of course, avoid any listed or unlisted foods that you know you are intolerant or allergic. Some of these guidelines may be changed based upon your personal health condition and history.
- The “7-Day Menu Plan” may be used “as is” or as a “starting point.” This is a suggested menu that you might find useful while you are following the elimination diet. Feel free to modify it and to incorporate your favorite foods, provided that they are on the shopping list.
- Feel free to use leftovers for the next day’s meal or as part of another meal, e.g., leftover broiled salmon and broccoli from dinner as part of a large salad for lunch the next day.
- It may be helpful to cook extra chicken, sweet potatoes, rice, beans, etc., that can be reheated for snacking or another meal.
- Most foods on the menu plan freeze quite well.
- Add extra vegetables and fruits as needed. The menu is a basic one and needs your personal touch. This is not a calorie-restricted diet. Use the suggested snacks as needed for hunger or cravings; leftovers are also handy to eat as snacks.
- If you are a vegetarian, substitute other sources of protein such as split peas, lentils and legumes.
- Breakfasts that need cooking are easiest to incorporate on your days off. Muffins can all be made ahead of time, frozen, and used as needed.
- If you are consuming coffee or other caffeine containing beverages on a regular basis, it is always wise to slowly reduce your caffeine intake rather than abruptly stop it; this will prevent caffeine-withdrawal headaches. For instance, try drinking half decaf/half regular coffee for a few days, then slowly reduce the total amount of coffee.
- Select fresh foods whenever you can. If possible, choose organically grown fruits and vegetables to eliminate pesticide and chemical residue consumption. Wash fruits and vegetables thoroughly.
- Read oil labels; use only those that are obtained by a “cold pressed” method.
- If you select animal sources of protein, look for free-range or organically raised. Cold-water fish (e.g., salmon, mackerel, and halibut) is another excellent source of protein and the omega-3 essential fatty acids, which are important nutrients in this diet. Fish is used extensively. If you do not tolerate fish, consult with your practitioner who might suggest supplemental fish oils. Avoid shellfish, as it may cause an allergic reaction.
- Remember to drink the recommended amount 2.5 L of plain, filtered water each day.
- Strenuous or prolonged exercise may be reduced during some or the entire program to allow the body to heal more effectively without the additional burden imposed by exercise. Adequate rest and stress reduction is also important to the success of this program.