An elimination diet is the most accurate test for uncovering food sensitivity and a fantastic tool for you to understand your body and health.
Through this process you determine your individual food triggers and your specific responses to particular foods. This sets you up for a diet that supports you and your optimal health moving forward with ample time to integrate the learnings into your body and lifestyle.
What is an elimination diet?
In an elimination diet, you remove foods that commonly cause inflammation within the immune and digestive systems to test what impact they have on you when they are re-introduced. We sometimes call these “trigger foods”. Introducing these foods back into your diet one at a time will allow you to better monitor your body’s unique reaction, should one occur. This will give you a better understanding of how foods are effecting you physically, emotionally or mentally. The intention of this is to identify what foods work for you and your health at this point in your life.
What foods should I eliminate?
Suggested foods to eliminate include: dairy, eggs, yeast, gluten, sugar, caffeine, alcohol, corn, soy, citrus, pork, beef, nightshades. While it may seem overwhelming to remove these foods, a well-structured and guided program will provide you ample recipes and ideas to feel nourished and supported without feeling like you are lacking.
How long should I eliminate foods?
To conduct a proper elimination diet, you need to give yourself time to release the inflammatory foods that may be causing dis-ease within your body. The timing of this is different for each person based on their current diet and lifestyle, metabolism and other factors specific to them. In general, at least 20 days is recommended if your focus is exclusively on testing for food intolerance.
What can I expect from an elimination diet?
As you cleanse, you may observe toxins releasing from your body. If this happens, it’s usually within the first 5 days and subsides with proper hydration, nutrition and time. I often encourage people to let this be motivation to be even more loving during this time with more self-care and positive relaxation.
Once the cleanse is over, how do I know what to reintroduce?
So you’ve made it through a month. Congratulations! You must feel fantastic. Now it’s time to reintroduce the foods you eliminated. The reintroduction phase can be really illuminating. You want to reintroduce foods progressively so that you can isolate and understand what foods cause what issues. The order I suggest introducing is: eggs, nightshades, dairy, and gluten. I often suggest introducing gluten very last, since for a lot of people gluten products cause issues.
What if I know I don’t want to continue eating a certain food after the cleanse?
If one reason why you decided to a cleanse like this was to kick your habit of caffeine, sugar, dairy or gluten and you’re certain you don’t want to try, well then, don’t re-introduce it! If you ever do have that food in the future, you are likely to feel it’s effect if it does cause a sensitive reaction for you.
What if I find I am sensitive to a specific food?
First, it depends on how strong your reaction to the removed food. You might not have to give up your dreams of apple pie ala mode, pizza parties or omelette breakfasts just yet.
There are two courses of action to take in the short term.
- Remove Sensitive Foods. Your body might be telling you that this food shouldn’t be around. It might not be easy, but if your body reacts strongly, the long-term benefits of cutting it out outweighs the gratification of a few bites. You can find greater health by removing this food. Having support and accountability if this is challenging for you and continually cleansing your system can have a big impact.
- Limit Sensitive Foods. If your reaction was mild, it might not be necessary to eliminate it forever. Your health and body will thank you greatly if you reduce how much you eat it, though. Rotate your choice of foods and cut out major offenders so you’re not eating the reaction trigger more than once a week.
Why should I consider a food-based cleanse?
Cleansing to understand deeper then needs of your body can be an incredible process of discovery. From preparing for the diet, shopping, cooking, navigating your way through it and finally arriving to the reintroduction phase can bring up a lot of challenges and emotions and is one reason a guided, supportive program is helpful. I fully believe and support deep, personal transformation and using food to heal yourself. AND I believe there is immense power in community and learning together.
This is why I recommend group cleanse programs and offer multiple options for you to heal in community.
If you’re interested in an elimination diet to understand if specific foods are impacting your immune system, learn more about The 30-Day Illumination Cleanse, which combines an elimination diet with personalized coaching, meditation and lifestyle practices with course materials and resources to provide you with the information you need to carry the tools of self-healing into your life.
or if you’re interested in a shorter course on seasonal eating and detoxification, learn more about The Joyful Cleanse Programs, 5 seasonal-focused healing courses to guide you into a more intuitive relationship with your world.