Personalize Your Approach to Food: Overview of the elimination diet and why it can help you feel better

Why are some foods good for one person and not another?

Humans are bio-individual and we see this in all aspects of life, each of us with our own set of experiences, upbringing, age, gender, emotions, beliefs and so on. The complex systems that make up each of us will react in a unique way to any situation or food. Genetics and family traditions also impact our ability to digest and tolerate particular foods.  Some cultures simply tolerate some foods better than other cultures. Some individuals have sensitivities, for various and sometimes unknown reasons. So many factors influence us as individuals, it's no wonder there is no single approach to eating that works for everyone! 

How can a person know what to eat with so much conflicting information? 

Because we are each unique, creating an individualized eating plan makes so much sense! 

Progressive practitioners use a method for eliminating inflammation-provoking foods in order to identify any food or foods that you might not realize you are sensitive to. 

There is a wide range of reasons your body might react to food including chronic health challenges such as auto-immune disorders, leaky gut and low levels of healthy bacteria in your digestive system.  It could be genetic sensitivities or even a true food allergy. 

Often times, symptoms can improve dramatically when we identify where our immune system is over-reacting to a particular food and then avoid that food. 

This reaction causes our immune system to create antibodies designed to protect against the "dangerous" food.  The antibodies cause inflammation.  The continued exposure to food generating antibodies means continued inflammation. This can cause pain and discomfort, bloating, gas and other issues.

Eliminating the trouble-maker food from the diet will allow the body to stop making antibodies and the damaged tissue will begin to repair.

Once you stop exposing yourself to the culprit, the body has a chance to heal. 

The Elimination Diet is relatively simple and available for anyone to try. You will want to meal plan in advance. 

Most common problem foods include:

  • dairy
  • gluten
  • soy
  • corn
  • eggs
  • coffee
  • alcohol
  • processed foods especially white sugar or high fructose corn syrup

You will want to focus on what you can eat:

  • leafy greens
  • all vegetables especially those with color
  • fruits
  • healthy fats like avocado,  nuts, and seeds
  • healthy lean proteins including beans, fish, tempeh, free-range chicken and lamb
  • sweet potato is one of the most tolerated foods

Good news, it's only for 3-4 weeks without the inflammatory items. After that, you can reintroduce foods one at a time and slowly to check for reactions.  In this manner, you can identify exactly what foods feel good to you and what foods do not. 

I like to call it a jumpstart to health, or a reset for your system.  It might also be called a cleansing diet, though it isn’t entirely the same.  Typically, a cleansing diet is looking to support the liver and general detoxification while the elimination diet focuses on identifying which food or foods cause inflammation in an individual.  The elimination diet is however also detoxifying. 

If you feel overwhelmed and wish to have help for getting through such a task, I encourage you to look for functional medicine doctors, nutritionists or a health coach, like myself, for support. 

BOOK your free introductory phone consultation now to find out how I might help you figure out the best diet for your body. 

 

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