Elimination Diet: What Is It and How to Implement It?

Millions of people struggle with their weight, their digestive system, and their overall health. It is incredibly frustrating to eat a meal only to have discomfort and painful symptoms afterward. For many people, the root cause of the problems may be allergies, intolerance, or sensitivity to certain foods. Unfortunately, doctors cannot always determine what foods are causing the problems, unless the person has Celiac Disease, which is an allergy to gluten.

People have increasingly started to look to the elimination diet for help. The elimination diet claims to have the key to unlocking better health, but the traditional elimination diet is not the best option for everyone. In this article, we will address the confusion over the traditional elimination and propose a real elimination diet, one which will remove troublesome foods from your diet for good.


What is the “elimination diet”?

The idea behind the elimination diet is that in order for a person to get to the heart of their problem, they need to identify and eliminate the foods that cause trouble. The diet requires you to remove specific foods from your diet - like dairy, for example - for a few weeks, just to see how your body reacts. If you don’t notice any symptoms after a few weeks without the food, you reintroduce the food back into your diet. Then you choose another food or food group to eliminate, and start the cycle over again. If you start to have symptoms when the food is reintroduced, then it may mean you have a sensitivity to it.

What kinds of symptoms do people with allergies, intolerance or sensitivities experience? Symptoms can include:

There is no hard and fast rule about which type of food gets eliminated first. Some people focus on eliminating gluten, while others select dairy or sugar. This process can feel pretty cumbersome, since it requires months of removing and reintroducing different foods, often in combination with each other.


Why you shouldn’t go on a traditional elimination diet

The biggest problem with the elimination diet is that in order to find your triggers, you have to remove and then reintroduce almost every type of food you eat. This is a poor way to find the culprit. Moreover, it involves removing foods that are problematic and then deliberately reintroducing them into your diet, thus causing the very symptoms you sought to avoid.

Thankfully, we already know which foods tend to be problematic. A better approach - a real elimination diet - will target the foods we know have poor nutritional value. If you struggle with stomach problems, your symptoms are most likely caused by foods that are problematic, like animal proteins (i.e., dairy products, eggs, pork, red meat, fish, poultry), genetically modified (GMO) crops wheat, corn, and soy; processed food, sugar, alcohol, and caffeine. The biggest reason is the following items are extremely dehydrating and acidic inside of our body since they require an extensive amount of water in production.

They are also exposed to the highest concentration of pesticides and chemicals found in groundwater, including heavy metals, synthetics, and other toxic agricultural additives:

#1.  All animal protein especially since they are always fed arsenic & GMO crops in their feed (irrelevant if pasture-raised, cage-free, grass-fed, wild, or organic) at some point during their life.

#2.  GMO crops’ seeds are genetically modified and no longer recognized by the microbiome of the human body. They are also sprayed heavily with the potent pesticide Glyphosate causing critical cell functions to no longer occur.

#3.  Processed food and drinks (organic and inorganic) since they are often loaded with GMO crops, synthetic chemicals and gasoline additives.

#4.  Alcohol

#5.  Caffeine since it is very dehydrating and cause the depletion of water-soluble vitamins which are critical for cell function.

#6.  Nuts especially when eaten raw.


How to eliminate toxic foods

To start feeling better about your eating habits, you should try to eliminate foods that are harmful. The following foods should be removed from your diet or limited, even if they don’t have stomach issues:

#1.  All animal proteins

#2.  Processed food and drinks covered in plastics

#3.  GMO crops wheat followed by corn, soy, and to a lesser extent, rice

#4.  Alcohol and caffeine

#5.  Sugars, including natural sugars from alcohol, agave, maple syrup and honey

#6.  Raw nuts, nut milks and nut butters. Have nuts sparingly only in cooking and not on a daily basis.

#7.  Limit items grown underground since they are exposed to high concentrations of contaminated groundwater (i.e., potatoes, sweet potatoes, onions, garlic, and ginger).


Stick to foods grown above ground since they are rich in nutrients, oxygen, and water: critical for cell function.

This can be a difficult transition, but eliminating one category at a time will help. Just be sure you do not reintroduce them once they’re gone.


Preparing for your new healthy eating lifestyle

When you eliminate the top  3 to 5 food categories noted above, be aware of the following tips:

Consider consulting with a professional with experience in eating a healthy well-balanced diet. Consulting a doctor before you begin will make sure you are screened for a health issue that could be the underlying cause of your symptoms.

Be aware of your nutritional needs and start meal planning to make sure you are getting a balanced diet.

Avoid eating out, especially at the beginning, so that you can be sure you aren’t consuming bad food. Your body will thank you for it.

Think about what you are drinking. Soda is filled with caffeine, sugar, and other additives. Most beer has gluten, although some beer and wine makers are now serving gluten-free drinks. Carbonated water is actually dehydrating and acidic.

Don’t think of your new eating habits as a diet or weight loss strategy. The purpose is to make sure you take better care of your body, eliminating the troubling symptoms you experience after you eat, preventing premature aging, and optimizing  your overall health. Weight is just a number; health is a lifestyle. You are making choices that your body will appreciate. These choices are not just for the time-being, but will pay off in the future as well.


Need help with your elimination diet?

Advanced Health is here to help. Our Holistic Nutrition Coach, Nicole Bianchi, N.C. will discuss your symptoms with you and help you decide whether an elimination diet is going to be of benefit to you.  She can recommend the best course of action and put together a meal plan to ensure that you are getting the right number of vitamins and other nutrients.

CONTACT US TODAY!  Let us help you get on the path to lifelong wellness.

Nicole Bianchi, N.C. Nicole Bianchi, N.C. is a certified nutritionist who helps clients strategically develop food plans for themselves and their families according to their individual needs, situations, health challenges and preferences.

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