Do you experience any of the following symptoms, and you are unsure why? You may be having a negative reaction to some of the foods in your diet.
SYMPTOMS OF FOOD INTOLERANCE:
Although they can be difficult to enact, elimination diets are a fundamentally simple method of utilizing a strategic removal of specific foods from the diet. They are used to discover any foods that may be triggering your symptoms.
COMMON FOODS THAT CREATE SYMPTOMS
YOUR UNIQUE FOOD SENSITIVITIES
To become more familiar with the foods that are causing you problems, its important to take a close and intimate look at your diet to determine links between foods consumed and symptoms experienced. Here is a general outline of how to do the elimination diet protocol.
The first part of the elimination diet is to pay attention with a food journal and to do some reflection on your relationship to different foods so that you can create a list of any and all foods that may be causing you problems.
1. For one week, keep a log of the things that you eat as well as the symptoms you have during the day.
You should also consider these questions:
Often times, it is the foods that we crave and our comfort foods that are causing us the most problems. If this makes you want to close this page right now, then you are onto something! Be brave and take a closer look. Although it can be challenging to make changes to your diet, it will be a relief to know what’s in your diet that is complicating your health.
Continuing with the elimination diet, once you have a thorough list of all of the foods that you notice any symptoms with from your log, then you will avoid them.
2. For two to four weeks, avoid all of the foods on your list without any exceptions.
You will have to look at all food labels of any processed or packaged foods you wish to consume. You may consider only eating foods that you have cooked at home during this time, as it may be difficult to know or control what is being put into the recipes when you eat out. If you do eat out, you will need to pay special attention. You will need to learn about the foods that you are sensitive to so that you can ensure you are not getting them into your diet unknowingly. For example if you are avoiding dairy then watch for casein, lactose and whey.
It can take several days for the symptoms to improve after you take out an offending food. You may even feel worse for the first few days. Be patient and stay with the program.
After your system is cleared of offending foods, you will notice your symptoms improving, and eventually clearing up if indeed it is a food that is bothering you. Once this occurs, you can begin the next phase of the process - a reintroduction of the foods in question.
3. Add the foods back ONE AT A TIME
Start with one food, eat a meal with a small amount of it, and watch for symptoms. The next day eat a meal with a larger amount of the food. Note any symptoms.
After you eat the food for a couple of days, you will again remove the food from your diet until you are completely finished with the elimination diet. If any symptoms have arisen, wait for them to clear before trying the second food on your list.
Move to the next food and repeat the process: a small amount of the food introduced, note symptoms, next day a larger meal with the food and note symptoms. Allow the food to clear from your body after you finish for at least a day, or until all symptoms have been eradicated.
The key is to introduce each food, one at a time. Even if you do not find any symptoms from a food that you have tested, take it out until all the other foods that you are eliminating have been tested.
NOTE: some patients have found that it can take more than one or two meals of a food to cause symptoms. For example, one patient describes digestive complaints, foggy mind, as well as joint popping and muscle tension after eating gluten for several meals. The symptoms do not appear until multiple meals with the food have regularly been consumed. You may wish to take the time to eat some of these specific foods for longer periods of time, when they are foods that become more regular parts of your diet like a grain may become.
After you have found which of the foods are promoting your symptoms, now its time to create a diet that eliminates the foods. The good news is that you should try the food again in 6 months. There is a good chance that with giving your body a break from the food, you won’t be so reactive to it in the future!
If you are interested in lab testing, I do offer food sensitivity testing for patients in Sebastopol and the surrounding areas of Graton, Occidental, Forestville, Rohnert Park, Santa Rosa and Bodega. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to call for a free 15 minute consultation.
SOME IMPORTANT THINGS TO CONSIDER
Chase L. Desso, LAc