With a huge variety of different diet plans (vegan, Paleo, Whole 30 etc.), finding out the right one for you can be a headache. The elimination diet is growing in popularity these days and more and more people switch to it majorly because of serious health issues.
If you suffer from any kind of food sensitivities, skin disorders, digestive issues, infertility, chronic anxiety, chronic fatigue, insomnia, obesity, autoimmune problems, and joint pain, an elimination diet can help you heal your body without turning to medicines. The key is to choose the correct meal plan, as there are several types of an elimination diet. Let’s take a closer look at what an elimination diet is and why you should go into it.
What’s an Elimination Diet?
Unlike other diet plans, an elimination diet isn’t the next trend in the food world. It’s one of the tools that you can use to live a healthier and longer life. The elimination diet involves the removal of all the foods and beverages that might be making you sick. It often helps people with food allergies and intolerance and can even help to ward off serious diseases like heart disease and cancer.
When you feel unhealthy after each meal, it may be a sign that you have certain food allergy or intolerance. In this case, your aim of following an elimination diet will be to figure out which foods trigger allergic reactions or define your biggest food intolerance.
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Why You Should Try an Elimination Diet
Despite being one of the most complicated diets out there, an elimination diet is worth a try. It boasts an amazing number of health, beauty, and weight loss benefits that you can reap. Check out why switching to an elimination diet is worth the candle.
1.It’s not “dieting”
The biggest misbelief about an elimination diet is that it’s just another diet where you should count calories and watch your carb intake. Nope. The purpose of this diet – yes, it’s referred as a “diet” – is to help people heal their bodies with their meals. The elimination diet helps us find delicious and nutrient-packed food medicine that makes us healthier.
With a wide range of food choices available these days, dietitians claim that there’s a big need of an elimination diet. They are worrying about all the people who spend their hard-earned money on the food items, which are gradually killing them.
Since an elimination diet involves the removal of processed and fast foods, it also requires the inclusion of whole food items. These whole food items are chock-full of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that fast and processed foods lack. No wonder, more and more people, especially kids and 20 somethings, have problems with getting enough nutrients. If you often have some nutrient deficiencies, try an elimination diet instead of supplementation. Supplements aren’t regulated by the Food and Drug Administration so you never know what chemicals you’re putting in your body.
3.Strengthen your immune system
Did you know why you catch the flu and cold so often – even when you stay home for weeks? A weak immune system is a green light to all illnesses and diseases, including cancer. Chronic inflammation is the major culprit here and it’s typically caused by the wrong food choices. That’s why people turn to different detox plans that help to flush out toxins and prevent chronic inflammatory processes inside the body. However, why not keep inflammation at bay all the time instead of dealing with the chronic form twice a year with the help of detoxification?
The elimination diet encourages you to remove all the foods that feed inflammation and negatively affect your immune system. Numerous researches have shown that an elimination diet helps to ward off the majority of the autoimmune problems.
4.Improve your gut health
Remember what did the father of medicine, Hippocrates once said? “All disease begins in the gut.” That was thousands of years ago, but modern scientists still say the same thing. The health of your gastrointestinal system greatly depends on your food choices. The leaky gut syndrome is now connected to over hundreds of untreatable and unexplainable dangerous medical conditions, including Schizophrenia, asthma, type 1 diabetes, inflammatory bowel disease, rheumatoid arthritis, and fibromyalgia.
The elimination diet has been shown to heal the gut health, reducing the risk of many chronic health problems. The elimination diet will teach you how to choose and eat the gut-healing foods and remove the major gut damagers.
5.Define and treat your food intolerances
The growing number of people keeps developing new food intolerances and sensitivities day by day. Some people are gluten intolerant while others are sensitive to dairy products. If you know your food intolerances or sensitivities, it would be easier for you to switch to an elimination diet. If not, then you’ll need to experiment with the meals you eat to determine when you feel your worst after having a meal or snack.
6.Create your lifetime eating plan
Depending on the type of an elimination diet you’ll choose to follow, you can create an eating plan that you’ll be sticking to for many years to come. This means, you won’t need to switch from one diet to another because of various health issues or because you hate the food you eat. The elimination diet helps you find out exactly which foods work best for your body and which foods make you sick and steals years from your life. The elimination diet let you re-design your current meal plan and create a lifetime eating plan that will fit for you and help you enjoy the healthiest version of yourself.
7.Ease the food allergy symptoms
Unlike food sensitivities, food allergies aren’t common, but if you’re suffering from any, consider an elimination diet. You can be allergic to eggs, fish, wheat, nuts, soy, and other popular groceries that we all have at home. If you have the most common food allergy symptoms, such as swelling of the tongue, trouble swallowing, shortness of breath, weak pulse, wheezing, coughing, vomiting, and stomachache, it’s a high time to reconsider what you put in your body.
8.Increase your energy levels
There are a lot of factors that contribute to the low energy levels. Chronic fatigue and sleep deprivation are just a couple to name. The biggest trigger though, is the food you eat. If your meal consists of empty calories, zero or almost zero nutrients, and tons of fats, you’re more likely to experience the lower energy and productivity levels, as well as the weaker brain power. The elimination diet includes only good-for-you foods that provide your body with all the essential nutrients it needs to function at its best. The key is to create an elimination diet plan that won’t lack any vitamins and minerals.
9.Promote the skin health
Both women and men spend tons of money on acne-fighting medicines, concealers, primers, and foundations to cover and hide all those zits and breakouts. That’s insane, right? The skin problems usually occur when your gut health is weak and your body is loaded with unhealthy stuff.
The elimination diet includes a good amount of fruit, berries, and vegetables, which all are known for ensuring a healthy, glowing skin. This diet can also help to treat more serious and chronic skin conditions, such as adult acne, sunburn, rosacea, eczema, athlete’s foot, dark circles on the face, psoriasis, groin rash and many more.
10.Lose or gain weight
The elimination diet removes all the unhealthy food items from your eating plan and plus it prevents and treats chronic inflammation. As soon as you calm the inflammatory process in your body, you’ll be able to finally start shedding pounds. When created correctly, an elimination diet can also help to gain weight. It depends on your metabolic rate, food sensitivities and allergies, and any intolerance you have. Just make sure you don’t overdo it. When you eliminate the majority of the food items in order to lose weight faster, don’t forget to replace those items with nutrient-dense, healthy foods.
11.Tame your cravings
Almost every diet plan leads to intense and frequent cravings that leave you stuffing your mouth with unhealthy snacks. Intense cravings are hard to handle as it seems they block your mind and all you can think about is chocolate, potato chips, or rainbow ice cream. The elimination diet plays an exchange game and tricks your stomach and brain. Since you give your body all the nutrients it needs and you eat all the foods that are right for you, your cravings gradually disappear.
12.You learn more about the food you eat
Whether you want it or not, an elimination diet makes you read those labels and see what you’re going to place in your stomach. It teaches you to consider the amount of vitamins and minerals you need to eat throughout the day and it helps you control your portions. The elimination diet is overwhelming, but you don’t become a teacher overnight, right?
Where to Start
The elimination diet isn’t a simple eating plan that everyone sticks to. You should consult a dietitian and a doctor and experiment with various food choices and swaps. It may take from several weeks to several months before you will finally create a diet plan that will heal your overall body and help you lose or gain weight (if it’s your goal).
How to Do an Elimination Diet
The simplest elimination diet takes about 21-23 days, while the more complicated ones (for people with serious health issues) take up to 100 days. If you have some digestive issues like bloating, gas, or intermittent constipation, start with the simplest diet plan.
1.Eliminate foods that cause allergic reactions
Remove dairy, gluten, soy, eggs, alcohol, and fast food for the next 21-23 days. If you know you’re allergic to certain food items, eliminate them too. This is the time when antibodies react to foods you put into your body. Since you’re going to eliminate plenty of food, you need to stock your pantry and fridge with healthier foods, such as fruit, veggies, mushrooms, gluten-free grains like quinoa, nuts, seeds, and fish.
2.Add those foods back
After 21-23 days, start adding one food category every 3 to 5 days and see how you feel. If you notice that you feel bloated or you have skin problems after you start eating gluten or eggs again, remove them from your eating plan for good.
If you don’t have any reaction after 3 to 5 days, eat that same food group again, and notice how you feel. Keep reintroducing all the foods you eliminated earlier to figure out which ones aren’t for you.
When an Elimination Diet Isn’t Right for You
Despite being the most versatile diet, an elimination diet might not be right for you. First of all, you should know all of your health issues you have. Secondly, you should know your gut health and metabolic rate really well. Some people start following an elimination diet without knowing their bodies and thus they end up experiencing diarrhea, nausea, weakness, and dizziness.
The elimination diet isn’t recommended for pregnant and breastfeeding women, unless you create a meal plan with a dietitian. Unfortunately, women believe they know what to put in their bodies but this often leads to malnutrition and problems with a fetus.
The bottom line is to never experiment with your eating plan when you have problems with your health or you’re pregnant. Only a professional dietitian can create an elimination diet plan for you in this case.
Today, an elimination diet is considered one of the most effective diets when it comes to restoring health and getting rid of food allergies and intolerances. However, not everyone can follow this type of diet without a professional dietitian. It’s also important to remember that an elimination diet has nothing to do with starvation. You still need to get your daily dose of all the nutrients and you must remove certain food items from your meal plan gradually. When you do it correctly, an elimination diet will give you the key to the door of a healthy and long life.