When an elimination diet is done well, with guidance and support, it can be the gold standard when it comes to figure out food reactivity and sensitivities. It is important to note there is a difference between food sensitivities and food allergies and even food intolerances, and I am discussing sensitivities here. For some, doing food sensitivity testing may be done to give some direction initially as we draw out a plan for which foods to eliminate.
So who would benefit? And why bother? And what the heck am I going to eat?
Digestive concerns like bloating, gas, reflux and skin concerns like eczema and acne probably benefit the most in my opinion. If the food sensitivities have been consumed chronically then deeper symptoms of inflammation can start to surface like brain fog, joint pain, and migraines. In my initial naturopathic visit we discuss if anything makes symptoms better or worse. Most people already have an idea that a particular food bothers them so they try eliminating it for a week and report that they notice no change. This is where the guidance and individualization and support is key!
A great example and one I see frequently is how dairy aggravates acne. Dairy increases IGF-1 (insulin growth factor 1) which is inflammatory. Eliminating dairy for a week OR eliminating just lactose-free dairy products OR eliminating just milk but continuing to drink milk will not yield any results. Now there are many root causes of acne that I explore with a patient; eliminating dairy for clear skin is never going to be the only actionable item in the plan.
Most of the time I see that without proper guidance not enough foods are eliminated at once or too many for too long causing nutritional deficiencies or imbalances. Support to know what the heck you are going to eat is key.
This is truly why I wrote Delicious Detox. In my early years of practice, after a few years of sending patients recipes while doing elimination diets, I realized people need support if they are going to have success! That's why I wrote a cookbook and included a 2 week meal plan and 80 recipes that are all anti-inflammatory, and delicious.
We always discuss individual obstacles and try to come up with practical solutions. What if I have a wedding during an elimination diet? What will I eat for breakfast? I am too busy to cook so what do I do?
APO: Anticipate, Plan, and Organize. Once we go through this we can also decide how and when to reintroduce these foods as reintroduction/food challenges are another key to success in figuring out what foods may be the culprit in your health frustrations.
Doing an elimination diet doesn't have to be stressful. I can offer resources, recipes, and guidance to be successful, be happier and feel great!