Food freedom and Elimination Diets
Eating whatever you want and not getting fat (as great as it sounds) is not my idea of food freedom however knowing what food enables your body to thrive and what food is damaging your body…now that is true food freedom.
Elimination diets are coming up everywhere these days and for good reason. Lets take a closer look into what they are and how we can benefit from them.
What is an elimination diet?
Well, it’s all in the name. An elimination diet requires you to eliminate certain ‘trigger foods’ for a period of 21-28 day then slowly over time start to reintroduce these foods one by one back into your diet. This 3-4 week time period gives your immune system enough time to calm down from any reactions it had to food it doesn’t like. It is a great way to find out if you have any underlying food intolerances and helps alleviate many symptoms a lot of us struggle with daily but maybe have not linked to food.
Who could benefit from doing an elimination diet?
Do you go through the day feeling fatigued and have difficulty concentrating? Do you struggle with IBS symptoms like gas, bloating, etc.? Do you battle with acne or joint pain? Is brain fog a major concern? Then an elimination diet could be right for you.
Reasons to try an elimination diet
I think it is a good idea for everyone to do an elimination diet at least once in their life for many reason
Identify food intolerances
Improve symptoms related to food allergies or intolerances. You may not be experiencing any severe symptoms or have lived with feeling a certain way for so long that you think it is normal. It’s not until you eliminate the food and alleviate the symptoms that you realize how much better you feel.
It’s a way to get in touch with your body, start to listen and understand it on a deeper level. Elimination diets require you to pay close attention to how and what you see and feel throughout the day (skin, eyesight, breathing, digestion, joints, mood, etc). You are forced to bring daily awareness to your body in order to track progress.
How it works
1. Start by making a list of any symptoms you experience throughout all body systems (skin problems, join pain, digestive issues like gas, bloating, etc) this includes symptoms of the brain (mood, anxiety, brain fog, headaches, etc).
2. Cut out the major culprits
· Gluten (wheat, rye, barley,)
· Oats. To be safe a lot of people also eliminate oats. Even though these are normally gluten free, it is common for cross contamination to happen with oats during production as well as the fact some people are unable to tolerate them.
· Eggs (a common allergen)
· Peanuts (almonds, cashews, etc are fine)
· Sugar and alcohol
· Fast foods and food additives (Read all packaged food labels)
· Nightshades (Bell peppers, tomatoes, potatoes, eggplant) Sweet potatoes are fine
· Citrus fruits (Lemons are fine)
· Peanuts (almonds, cashews, etc. are fine)
3. Load up on nutrients. Eat lots of fresh veggies, nutrient rich grains like wild rice (my favorite), quinoa, and buckwheat (Doesn’t contain actual wheat or gluten). Healthy fats like olive, coconut, walnut and avocado oil. Plenty of seeds like chia, hemp, flax etc however it is best to keep nuts to a minimum as these could be problematic for some. Include fruit in your diet but keep it to a minimum as the fructose can irritate the gut flora (Good bacteria)
4. After the 23-28 day period, start to REINTRODUCE FOODS ONE BY ONE, I cannot stress this enough. Reintroduce one food then return temporarily to the exclusion diet for 2 days. Monitor how your body feels. If you don’t feel any different try it again (adding 2 portions in one day) and return to the exclusion diet for another 2 days. If you still notice no signs and symptoms it is safe to say your body can handle that particular food and you can keep it in your diet. Do this for each item you eliminated. If you find you have a reaction to any food once reintroduced it is a sign your body cannot tolerate it very well and is best to eliminate it permanently.
Consuming food that you are intolerant to can lead to serious health problems down the line and I speak from personal experience. For years I consumed food that I was intolerant to and it was poisoning my body to the point where I was basically a walking, toxic wasteland. The health risks and time it takes to regain your health after the damage done by food your body can’t handle is honestly just not worth it in the end. You may not realize it right now but there may come a day where you wish you had listened to your body and treated it with the love it deserves.
Think an elimination diet is right for you? Are you contemplating giving it a try but feeling scared to let go of foods that you love? Let me tell you it’s ok to be scared. It’s natural for our mind and body to fight change but I can promise you all that awaits you on the other side is personal growth and improved health.
Allow me to walk you through the steps, help you prepare to give it a go and guide you along the way. You may not be ready to dive in but would just like some more information, that ok. Reach out and let’s work together in eliminating any and all foods that are standing in the way of unleashing an UNLIMITED YOU.
Book recommendations: Whole 30: The 30-day guide to total health and food freedom by Melissa Hartwig
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