Trying The Elimination Diet To Fix Allergies

Trying The Elimination Diet To Fix Allergies

The New Year is here and with it comes the resolutions for all sorts of things: losing weight, eating right, and in general being healthier. But for some it marks the beginning of a weeks-long regimen know as an elimination diet. Elimination diets are where you eliminate certain foods that could be causing yourself allergic reactions. These diets, also called exclusion diets, can help target foods and ingredients that may be causing symptoms like irritable bowel, rashes, abdominal pain, headaches, and a host of other maladies. Of course it is always recommended that you speak with your doctor about how to approach an elimination diet, but here is a little bit more on how they work.

Most Likely Suspects

Some of the foods most likely to be allergic triggers are dairy, soy, gluten, sugar, shellfish, nuts, and alcohol. Of course there are a host of other triggers that could cause your allergic reaction and hopefully you and your health care professional have narrowed down the suspects. All of these questionable foods that you and doctor have chosen may be targeted one by one during your elimination diet to try to figure out which ones are causing the reaction.

How It Works

To put it simply: you will have to stop eating food that may cause reactions. To do this it is often recommended that you scan the labels of all the food you eat very carefully to make sure you are not ingesting any of the suspect foods. It is also wise to track you foods in a food diary, as a way to keep a record that you and your doctor can then go over later. The most important part is keep up your health by ingesting the same amount of nutrients that you would normally be eating. If you find it hard to design meals that do not have the foods you are trying to get rid of a registered dietician could be helpful in planning out your meals for you. Ideally you should continue the diet for two weeks.

The Challenge Phase

After you have eliminated your targeted foods, it is then time to put them back in your diet one by one. By doing this you and your doctor can ascertain which food are causing the symptoms you want to get rid of. As you slowly add them back, remember to write down any indications of allergies that occur and let your health care professional know. Once your symptoms improve, the challenge phase begins. By adding back those foods one at a time, and keeping a close record of it you can begin to really see what is impacting your health.

Add Them Back, Slowly.

To complete the process, you will want to add one of your previously withheld foods back to your diet every three days, beginning with a small amount in the a.m. and then easing into larger helpings throughout the day. After you eat the challenge food, stop and wait for a couple of days for any reactions. Some symptoms can come back within minutes while other may take hour or days to appear. Monitor and record what happens to you when you add those foods back in and go over the list with your doctor. At the very end, you will be asked to quit eating the foods again one by one that your health care professional thinks you are allergic too. At this point the list should be very small and the objective is to the symptoms cease completely.

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E.H. Rossman is freelance health and lifestyle blogger in the Pacific Northwest. He learned about elimination diets from Salem, Oregon orthodontist Ana Castilla.

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