How To Start The Elimination Diet

The elimination diet is used to treat various gastrointestinal and digestive health issues. If a person has a food allergy or an intolerance the elimination diet is used to pinpoint the foods that are triggering the digestive symptoms through the process of elimination and reintroduction. An elimination diet should be planned with your doctor, practitioner, and/or nutritionist and tracked in a journal as well. There are four main steps to starting the elimination diet.

There are certain foods that cause certain symptoms for instance, with celiac disease the person cannot not consume wheat or any other food/grain that contains gluten. Different foods can be culprits to different conditions.

4 Steps To Starting The Diet

  • Planning : Together, with a healthcare professional, find the foods that might be causing the issues  - AKA - trigger foods. Keep a diet journal for about a week, tracking the foods you eat throughout each day, noting any symptoms along the way. It will also help if you answer these four questions.
  • What foods are you eating most often?
  • What foods are you or do you crave?
  • What foods do you normally eat to feel better?
  • What foods would you struggle with giving up?
  • Avoiding : It is what it says! You have to stay away from trigger foods or eliminated food for a total of two weeks. You cannot even eat foods that contain the ingredients you have to avoid. This gives your body time to be completely free of the possible triggers for two reasons.
        1. To see if there are any positive results from the lack of that food.
        2. To prepare the body for a reintroduction in order to monitor for any negative symptoms.
  • Challenge Mode : If symptoms start improving it’s time to start challenging the body with the eliminated foods, one food at a time. Use your journal to track everything just as you did with step one. The reintroduction to food will continue in a circuit one new food every three days. Start with small portions with one meal and if there are no negative symptoms double the portion later with your next meal. After three days without symptoms eliminate the food one more time, only this time for two days to check if symptoms return. 
  • Creating Your Personal Elimination Diet : Now that you’ve eliminated, reintroduced, tracked, and have results you can work with a professional and design your own personal elimination diet. Sometimes you only have to eliminate the food for a short time and other times it has to be eliminated for good, unless you’re ok with the digestive symptoms. 

  • Remember, the foods you have to eliminate will vary from one person to the next because the issues being dealt with are all unique.