Over the past few months that I have been writing about my elimination diet I have received a lot of questions. I hope that this post will address most of these questions and provide further information. My Rheumatologist suggested that I do an elimination diet to see if I had any food sensitivities that could be making by fibromyalgia or IBS worse. These types of diet, sometimes referred to as exclusion diets, can also be done to check for food allergies. After meeting with the Registered Dietitian (RD) who lead my elimination diet, she also wondered if I might have sensitivities that have been contributing to my body having such a hard time loosing weight.
To first part of the elimination diet, detox, is the roughest, as it requires a very strict diet. The purpose is to detox your body from any ingredient that your body may be reacting to. For 2-4 weeks (for me it was 3.5 weeks) you remove foods such as all grains, all dairy, all soy, chicken, beef, pork, citrus fruits, dried fruits, peanuts, corn, nightshade plants (pepper, tomatoes, eggplants & white potatoes), yeast, most condiments, sugars, sweeteners, chocolate and other processed foods. This leaves you eating mostly seafood, lamb, buffalo, turkey, vegetables (except nightshades & corn), fruits (except citrus), seeds, nuts (except peanuts) and beans (except soy). Some people may experience withdrawal symptoms from foods they commonly eat. Luckily, that did not happen to me. Before and after detox I was asked to fill out a form with all sorts of symptoms listed, to see if there had been any areas of change.
The next part is where you start seeing if you react to particular foods. You begin doing food challenges, where a specific serving size of food is eaten three times in one day. Bodies react to some foods more quickly than others, so the amount of time you have to wait between new challenges changes. How long this part takes depends on how much your body reacts, because you have to wait until your body is feeling good before moving to a new challenge. Generally, it takes 3-4 weeks. For each food challenge you fill out a symptom form, like the one done before and after detox. The reactions you test for are wheat, gluten (rye), oats (oatmeal), yeast (bread), beef, pork, chicken, casein (sharp cheddar cheese), lactose (milk), peanuts, nightshade plants, corn, citrus (grapefruit/orange), egg, soy (tofu/edamame), chocolate, sugar, sulfites (dried fruit), caffeine, alcohol. If you complete a specific food challenge and had no negative reactions, you may begin eating that food again. Based on how you respond to all the challenges, your RD will figure out all the specifics about what your body is sensitive to and make recommendations on how you could move forward.
Stay tuned for Fibro Feelings – Elimination Diet for more about my personal experience with this process.
Have you ever done an elimination diet?
*Image Credit: from www.flickr.com by sun dazed