When you realise that your digestion is much less than optimal and you feel terrible, it is time to do something about it. I got to that point and started noticing that I had symptoms like gassiness, bloating, constipation, and sharp cramp-like pains that started happening a lot. I knew I needed a reliable way to find out WHY this was happening and, more importantly, WHAT was causing my discomfort. That’s when I found out about the Elimination Diet.
The Elimination Diet is an approach to figuring out which foods you are sensitive to so that you can eat mindfully and keep your digestive symptoms at bay. The gut is where the majority of your immune system is and is considered the “second brain” in your body, so it is important to keep it healthy and keep things running smoothly. In the elimination diet, you start by eliminating common culprits of digestive upset and common food allergens. You dial down your daily meals and snacks so that you are only eating real, nourishing foods that will not hurt your gut. In fact, you can begin to heal your gut with a proper elimination diet.
This diet is not about eliminating foods forever! The elimination diet requires you to eliminate certain foods for several weeks, then, one by one, you gradually bring them back into your diet, one at a time to see how your body responds.
The categories of food to eliminate are:
There is a 3/3 guideline for adding foods back into your diet:
“Do not conclude a food causes symptoms, unless symptoms occur within 3 days of eating the food and occur consistently on 3 separate occasions after eating it.”*
You will know, as you begin to add foods back in, what works and what doesn’t. I suggest starting slow; give the diet a few weeks to work, and start adding foods back in one at a time. If a food causes symptoms on3 different occasions, you will know that you are sensitive to that food and to avoid it for a while and try again later. Eventually you will come up with a plan that your body will love. Everyone is different and finding your own unique way of eating to feel good will change your life.
*Heizer, W D., Southern, S, McGovern, S. The Role of Diet in Symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome in Adults: A Narrative Review. JADA 2009; 109: 1204-1214
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