All About The Elimination Diet
Have you heard of the elimination diet? No, it is not a weight loss diet. It is followed by people who have gastrointestinal complaints, food sensitivities and allergies.
What is an elimination diet?
As the name suggests this diet, you have to eliminate certain foods for about 3-4 weeks and then slowly reintroduce certain foods and closely watch for any possible reactions. Following this diet has proved to be miraculous for some people.
How to go about an elimination diet?
A good elimination diet is one that removes a larger number of foods. Foods that will be removed include gluten, soya, dairy, eggs, corn, chicken, beef, beans, lentils, coffee, citrus fruits, nightshade veggies and nuts. Now you must be thinking that you are leaving out a lot of food options but you can primarily enjoy rice, non-veg (fish, lamb and turkey), most of the fruits and many veggies.
You can do self-experimentation with the elimination diet. You can try different things and see what works well for you. The more foods you remove from your diet, you are more likely to discover the foods you are intolerant to.
For how long should you follow the diet?
The elimination diets length can vary according to age and the severity of symptoms. For children, a seven to ten day elimination diet is beneficial. For adults, it would be good to follow the program for 3 to 4 weeks.
You should not complicate things. You need not take macronutrient ratio and calorie intake into account. You just need to completely avoid the foods mentioned. Make it a point to keep yourself hydrated during the diet. 2 to 4 litres of water a day will be a good idea.
Reintroduction of the food
Going on an elimination diet does not mean that you are going to get rid of all the foods mentioned forever. The point is to eliminate the foods and then reintroduce them slowly, one at a time. This will enable you to monitor yourself for any symptoms.
At the end of the 3 weeks elimination diet, try to reintroduce a single food for a single day. Then closely watch for any symptoms for the following two days.
For example, if you plan to reintroduced dairy on Monday, you can eat ice cream, drink a glass of milk or eat cheese. Get back to your elimination diet and monitor yourself for any abnormal reactions for two days i.e. on Tuesday and Wednesday.
If nothing happens you can reintroduce another eliminated food on Thursday. This process can continue for a few more weeks. You can reintroduce a new food after every few days till you find out which food is causing an issue. This process may take around 5 to 6 weeks and by the end of this self-experiment, you will know a lot about the way your body responds to different foods.
What should you look out for?
During the elimination phase, you need to pay attention to the way you feel. You would want to monitor your mood, sleep, digestion, energy and bowel habits. It would be better if you maintain a journal and keep track of physical, emotional, mental signs and symptoms. If you feel better during the elimination phase, it clearly indicates the food that is commonly consumed by you is causing trouble.
During the reintroduction phase, you need to watch out for negative or posistive symptoms that include:
- Rashes, skin breakout
- Inflammation or joint pain
- Changes in bowel habits
- Sinus and other respiratory issues
- Brain fog
Just keep an account of how you felt (positive or negative) when a particular food was reintroduced.
The pulse test
During the reintroduction phase, you can do the pulse test. Here is how to go about it:
- As you get up in the morning, rest for 5 mins and take your resting pulse rate for a minute.
- Consume the food you have decided to reintroduce and take your pulse again after a time gap of 20, 40, 60, 90 and 120 minutes after taking the food.
A change in your pulse, i.e. an increase or decrease greater than 10 beats a minute can be a sign of sensitivity t the food. Repeat the test later in the day after consuming the food for the second time. If the same thing happens again it can suggest food intolerance.
Eat better and live better
The elimination diet can really help you out when it comes to finding out food sensitivities and allergies. Just don’t confuse yourself and you can actually find the root of your problem and knock it off. Eat foods that benefit you and stay healthy.
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