Use the Elimination Diet To Heal Yourself From Head to Toe
When you realize that your digestion has become a pain all the way from one end to the other, it is time to do something about it. I can't explain why we wait until something in our life is so unbearable before we decide to make a change. Believe me, I've been there too. I had gassiness, bloating, cyclical constipation & diarrhea, cramping & nausea that started happening a lot. I was only 23! If I knew then what I know now, ooohhh how things would be different. Today, I would tell my 23-year-old self, to start a 30 Day Elimination Diet.
The Elimination Diet is an eating plan that allows you to figure out which foods you are sensitive to so that you can be an informed eater and keep your inflammation/digestive symptoms at bay. The gut is where the majority of your immune system lives and is considered to be the “second brain” in your body, so it is important to keep it healthy and keep things running smoothly. During the elimination diet, you start by taking away the common culprits of digestive upset, food allergens, and inflammation. You only eating real, nourishing foods. The Elimination Diet is used to determine triggers to allergies, migraines, IBS, food sensitivities and more inflammatory conditions. You can begin to feel the healing of your gut with a proper elimination diet in as little as two weeks, but the minimum time to allow for significant healing is 30 days.
The categories of food to eliminate include:
- Grains/Gluten/Fructans – The foundation of the Food Pyramid for decades. It is now known that many people have a hard time digesting grains, including corn. Gluten has been found to be one of the causes of leaky gut syndrome, autoimmune diseases, and a primary trigger for Celiac sufferers. Fructans are found in FODMAPS (short-chain carbohydrates) and can also feed those bad bugs in your gut.
- Processed Foods – There are many toxic chemicals (like MSG, artificial colors, and flavorings) and other undesirable ingredients (like GMOs, trans fats, and High Fructose Corn Syrup) in processed food that can impede digestion and cause disease and inflammation.
- High Glycemic Foods – Large amounts of starches and added sugars can feed a bacterial overgrowth (SIBO), candida, and other gut dysbiosis problems.
- Refined Oils – The most prevalent in the market due to their longer shelf life. These can cause inflammation throughout your body. i.e. canola, peanut, grapeseed, palm, safflower, just to name a few.
- Factory Farmed Meats and Dairy – Meats and dairy from the conventional food system are full of hormones, antibiotics, inflammatory markers, 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.
Do yourself a favor and go cold turkey off of everything I listed above for at least 30 days. You can even continue for 6 weeks if you feel like you have more healing to do.
Then when you're ready you can start the reintroduction phase. There is a 3/3 guideline for adding foods back into your diet:
“Do not conclude a food causes symptoms unless symptoms occur within 3 days of eating the food and occur consistently on 3 separate occasions after eating it.”*
You will know, as you begin to add foods back in, what works and what doesn’t. I suggest starting slow. Start by adding foods back in one group, or suspected trigger at a time. For example, don't get all hasty and have an omelet with cheese and biscuits right off the bat. You'll probably feel like crap and won't be able to distinguish which of the 3 possible triggers is the culprit. If a food causes symptoms on 3 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. Take the time and love yourself enough to figure out what really helps you thrive and what not so much.
*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
If you enjoyed this post and are wanting to THRIVE, not just survive, consider working with me as your personal health coach. Together we will make an actionable plan based on where you are and where you want to be. All of my plans include a comprehensive health history, food plan, recipes, shopping lists and a plethora of support materials, not to mention all the mindfulness tools & techniques I teach you to put those gremlins to rest for good! If your gut has become the baine of your existence then you might be interested in my 8-Week Vibrant Gut Restoration Program.
I invite you to also join me on my Facebook page, facebook.com/drlaramay, where I’ll be sharing more information, tips, and recipes to help you live a happier, healthier life.
To your wellness,
- Dr. Lara
Do you suffer from gas, diarrhea, or constipation? Is your tummy often not happy with you? Download this free e-book and start rebuilding your gut health ASAP.
Also, check out some of my past blogs on GI health...
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