Have you ever thought, “I eat healthy so why don’t I feel better?” It may be displeasing to realize that even “healthy” foods can slowly corrupt the digestive tract with toxins and inflammation leading to uncomfortable symptoms – gas, bloating, brain fog, achy joints, skin issues – and even more serious diseases.
In Boulder Colorado the clients I work with often come to me well versed in “health food lingo”. They’ve tried bone broth, pop a daily probiotic, steer clear from processed foods and most sugars but still their symptoms persist.
In some cases we’ll dive right into food allergy testing. But, for most, my front line recommendation is an elimination diet. The reason being is that while food sensitivity tests can offer information the “Gold Standard” is to rid the body of potential allergens for 23 days and then reintroduce and observe symptom changes.
So how can you do this at home and have success? Below you’ll see a simple self-guided elimination diet.
The 5 Step Self-Guided Elimination Diet:
- Decide what to eliminate. The usual suspects include gluten, dairy, eggs, corn, sugar, soy, fast food, and alcohol. Do not consume these foods for 23 days. This will allow for the antibodies created by the immune system as a reaction to the food to fully clear from your body before you reintroduce foods. (Note: eliminating alcohol is partly to detox and also due to its high sugar content which encourages unhealthy gut bacteria and yeast and can damage the intestinal lining).
- Track your symptoms. Before you start begin to track your symptoms for a least a few days. From head to toe note any brain fog, mood swings, digestive issues, skin rashes, joint aches, energy dips and so forth. These are the symptoms you’ll be tracking throughout your cleanse and then in the elimination phase to observe for food-related changes.
- Eat clean. For most, cutting out the foods above can feel like a highly restrictive diet, especially for 23 days. So, it’s important to lean into delicious new options mainly vegetables, proteins, gluten-free grains and healthy fats. This includes organic vegetables, fresh fish, legumes, nuts/seeds, healthy organic free-range poultry, grass-fed beef, and healthy fats such as ghee, olive oil, and coconut oil.
- Avoid these foods. Avoid all processed foods – those found in a bag, box, or wrapper with more than one ingredient on the label. If you are choosing something gluten free, great but don’t be fooled by the marketing. Gluten free does not equal healthy in many packaged-food scenarios.
- Reintroduce Foods. On Day 24 choose one of the foods you’ve eliminated and add it back in to your diet. For the next 2 days eat that food in average (not excessive portions) 2x/day and notice the symptoms. Then after 2 days of eating that food, remove it from your diet and, again, note any change in symptom. Repeat with the next food. Each food will take 3 days to test – 2 days on and 1 day off – while you note symptom changes. Then, based on your symptom changes choose whether to eat that food going forward or drop it from your diet. (Note: If you eliminate a food and further heal your gut there is chance you’ll be able to reintroduce that food again in the future without provoking symptoms).
The key to being successful with the elimination diet is to notice your symptoms. Paying close attention will tell you the effect certain foods have on your body. Eliminating them eliminates not only the symptom in short-term but in some cases even life-threatening diseases long term.
At Alpine Fit we offer custom elimination diets and structured support for those that need it. Curious to know more? Let’s Talk.