The purpose of a food and allergy elimination diet is to identify foods in your diet that may be contributing to your symptoms.
By avoiding common allergens for 7-10 days, symptoms may diminish and your body will become more sensitized to the symptom producing foods.
Assuming improvement during this elimination period, symptoms may reappear when you gradually re-introduce these foods. You will better be able to identify the foods to which you are sensitive.
A food and allergy elimination diet will only reveal food sensitivities if all suspect foods are eliminated together.
If you are sensitive to more than one food, but only eliminate one food at a time, you will likely continue to have symptoms and be unable to determine which foods are giving you a problem. Although staying on this program takes time and patience, the information you will get can help your health immensely.
Grains: Rice and rice products (rice cakes, crackers, flour, puffed rice), millet, soba noodles (only 100% buckwheat), amaranth. Rice milk contains no casein (milk product), soy or corn oil—check the label. Breads made from millet, rice or potato flour, as long as they don’t contain wheat, dairy, eggs or sugar.
Beans and Legumes: Anything other than soybean is allowed. Soak and rinse beans before cooking, read labels on canned beans for prohibited ingredients or additives. Enjoy soups and stews as long as they don’t have prohibited ingredients or additives.
Meat:Lamb, Ostrich, Wild game (all organic).
Poultry:Turkey, unless eaten several times per week or known to be allergenic. It should be organic and free range.
Seafood:All fish except tuna; shellfish, unless known to be allergic. Avoid canned shellfish, it usually contains sulfites.
Personal Note: Instead of tuna salad (tuna, mayo and dill pickles), we would make “salmon tuna” -- salmon, canola mayo and chopped cucumbers.
Nuts and seeds: All but peanuts are allowed unless eaten frequently or known to be allergenic. Nut and seed butters must be made from fresh sources to avoid possible mold contamination.
Fruits: All fruits are allowed except banana, citrus and dried fruits.
Vegetables: All vegetables are allowed except corn and vegetables in the nightshade family – see below.
Spices and condiments: Sea salt, pepper, white vinegar, kelp powder, honey, maple syrup, stevia (herbal sweetener, mustard, fruit jams without added sugar.
Oils: Olive, sunflower, safflower, canola, walnut, sesame and flaxseed. Use cold-pressed or expeller-pressed oils. Avoid vegetable oil since it is usually soy or corn oil.
Beverages: All beverages should be without sweeteners or additives.Herbal teas-other than citrus, spring water, sparkling water, Vegetables juices-other than tomato,Fruit juices-other than citrus, apple or pineappleDilute fruit and vegetable juices with half water, half juice to avoid swings in blood sugar.
Thickeners:Rice, millet, potato, aramanth, arrowroot or agar.
Dairy products: Milk, cream, cheese, sour cream, cottage cheese, yogurt, ice cream, butter, any product listing casein, casienate, whey, or lactalbumin on the label.
Wheat: Breads, crackers, noodles, pasta, cereals, semolina, farina, gravies, spelt, baked goods, wheat germ, flour tortillas.
Corn:Popcorn, corn oil, high fructose corn syrup, corn tortillas and chips, corn (vegetable) oil, margarine, dextrose.
Eggs:Avoid both whites and yolks.Mayonnaise, hollandaise, and béarnaise sauces, most baked good, French toast, pancakes, waffles noodles, and any product listing albumin on the label.
Soybean:Tofu, tempeh, soy milk, soy cheeses, soy oil, textured vegetable protein (TVP), vegetarian meat substitutes.
Meat: Beef and porkHot dogs, burgers bacon, cold cuts,
Seafood:Avoid the following unless very rarely eaten and are not known allergens: shrimp, mussels, clams, scallops, crab, lobster, tuna.
Nuts and Seeds:Peanuts, a common allergen and often contains high concentrations of mold.
Fruits:All dried fruits since they may contain mold. Avoid bananas, apples, pineapple, oranges, lemons, grapefruits, limes, tangerines, foods including teas that contain citrus.
Vegetables:Nightshade foods that include white potato, peppers, eggplant, tomato, paprika, cayenne and tobacco. Also avoid onions, garlic, mushrooms and corn.
Caffeine:Coffee including decaffeinated, black tea, chocolate, soft drinks, some prescription medications.
Sugar:Table (white) sugar, and any foods containing it—candy, soda, desserts, etc.
Alcohol:Alcoholic beverages, alcohol used in herbal and homeopathic tinctures, and some liquid prescription medication.
Additives: Processed, packaged and conned foods containing artificial colors, flavorings, artificial sweeteners, preservatives, e.g. sulfites.
Avoid any food on the normally permitted food list above that you eat frequently and/or crave to a large degree. These foods are likely to be a problem for you. Also, be sure to check all labels for added ingredients.
In general you will be more successful on this food and allergy elimination diet if you eat most, if not all, your meals at home. Hidden ingredients are numerous in restaurant meals.
WEIGHT LOSS:It is not uncommon during this food and allergy elimination diet to lose a small amount of weight, usually water loss. This is temporary assuming you are not limiting your calories.
Be sure to eat enough of the allowable foods to appease your hunger. Eat frequently – every 3 hours – and drink plenty of water.
Eating too little can lead to low blood sugar, fatigue, headaches and irritability. (Who wouldn’t be irritable eating like this for a week---that's why its beneficial to get the cook book.)
A few people will experience withdrawal symptoms for a few days after starting the food and allergy elimination diet. These can include, although not limited to, headache, fatigue or a worsening of symptoms that you experience from time to time.
The withdrawal symptoms are usually temporary, only lasting 2-5 days and are typically followed by an improvement in your overall health and sense of well-being.
These reactions are signs that you are on the right track so stick with it. They are letting you know that something was bothering your body.
It the withdrawal symptoms are too uncomfortable, buffered vitamin C (1000 mg, a few times a day) may help reduce them. Try to avoid a return to foods in your usual diet.
The worsening of symptoms likely indicates an allergy to foods in your diet. If you continue the elimination of these foods, it will lead to improved health.
Now that you have gotten through the first part of the food and allergy elimination diet, if you feel better than most likely you had some foods in your regular diet that you are sensitive to.
During the food and allergy eliminating diet period, your body has become sensitized to these foods so reintroducing them after 10-14 days may create noticeable aggravations.
Only test one food every two days while staying on the food and allergy elimination diet. The reason for this is that the reaction to the problem food may not be evident until the following day.
Try to eat large amounts of the food on the day you test it, for more than one meal, unless you have symptoms immediately. Avoid the food on the second day.
You might want to introduce your favorite foods first, so if you have no symptoms then you can add it back into your eating program while staying on the elimination diet with the rest of the foods.
Eat the food by itself, separate from other ingredients to avoid any confusion. For example, test wheat by eating cream of wheat with rice milk rather than adding bread that contains other ingredients as well.
If you develop symptoms on the day you try a food, or the next day, you may consider yourself sensitive to the food and should take it out of your diet for a period of time.
Return to the food and allergy elimination diet until your symptoms are gone again before trying the next food. Continue testing each food until you have tested all suspect foods.
The food and allergy elimination diet process requires plenty of discipline but improved health can be a great motivator. (My son was 3 ½ when we did the food and allergy elimination diet with him, so it can be done for any age.)
Now that you have discovered some foods your body has a hard time with, stay away from them for several months, let your body recover and the sensitivity to those foods may diminish.
Over time, it is possible to return the food to your diet without triggering symptoms. This can best be done with a rotation diet with which you only eat the formerly symptomatic food every four to seven days.