Elimination Diet

Even if you feel that you already eat a basically healthy diet, the majority will highly benefit from integrating elimination diet into their daily life. The idea is to eat whole, unprocessed or minimally processed non-allergenic foods free of GMO, chemicals, colorants, additives, etc. It is proven that the diet which is low in high-glycemic index carbs and rich in healthy fats makes people more energetic and functional. It also improves cognition and executive function, optimizes hormones, neurotransmitters, decreases inflammation, helps to lose weight and optimize body functioning.

It is also known that many health issues may be related to a specific food or foods that we  eaten frequently. Many people with food sensitivities don’t even realize how bad they were feeling themselves until the trigger foods are removed from their diet. Food reactions represent a serious cause of chronic health issues, which is often overlooked.

Some reactions occur immediately after eating the food (this is called an allergy, or an  immediate reaction), but in many cases, symptoms may be delayed by several hours or even days (which is referred to as food sensitivity or food intolerance, delayed type of reaction). The symptoms could include headaches, joint pain, indigestion and stomach problems, rashes, low back pain, brain fog, irritability and mood swings and especially fatigue. If a problematic food is consumed on a regular basis, the symptoms that it causes may overlap and might be seen as a “new normal”. While the trick is that the symptoms might go away and a person could feel much better if that food is removed from the diet.

Removing problematic foods from your diet will allow the body to recover and begin to function efficiently again.  Additionally, those with weakened immune systems may be more prone to food sensitivities. After some time of initiating the eliminating diet, many chronic symptoms should improve or disappear. There is a side benefit too – when the burden on the immune system is decreased, the body has an opportunity to heal other issues. Even the resistant symptoms that have failed to respond to a conventional medical therapy – will often resolve after following the Elimination Diet for only one month.

The ability to uncover the food(s)  that may be the culprits, make the Elimination Diet a useful tool for treating adverse food reaction whether they may represent as allergies, intolerance or sensitivities.

Elimination Diet Features:

  • No Calorie Restriction
  • Promotes Body Awareness of Foods
  • Identifies Food Triggers
  • Reduces inflammation
  • Repairs Intestinal Permeability
  • Reduces Toxic Burden
  • It is not a weight loss program, but it frequently helps to lose weight

Foods to Remove:

  • Corn
  • Cow’s milk
  • Eggs
  • Gluten Grains (Barley, Rye, Spelt, Wheat)
  • White (table) Sugar & Sweets
  • Sodas
  • Legumes
  • Artificial sweeteners
  • Shellfish
  • Beef
  • Pork
  • Processed Food
  • Food Colorants
  • Soy
  • Energy drinks

Foods To Eat:

  • Fruits
  • Healthy Oils
  • Lean Meats and poultry
  • Fish (preferably wild)
  • Nuts
  • Seeds
  • Vegetables
  • Non- Gluten Whole Grain

Please, make sure that real food from wholesome sources comprises the bulk of your diet, and consume (if your body allows it) at least one-third of these real foods in a raw, or uncooked, state.

Nearly everyone would benefit from eating as many non-starchy vegetables as possible. Raw vegetables are a top choice. Leafy green vegetables in particular are rich in valuable nutrients and minerals, such as Folate and Magnesium. They helps to keep your metabolism running efficiently, reduce the risk of diabetes and cancer, and promote higher bone density and better sleep.

Make sure that you’re consuming fresh, organic, non-GMO vegetables. If you need to make preference, buy fruit and vegetables according to the ‘Dirty Dozen” findings:

The Environmental Working Group (EWG) formulated the 2022 Dirty Dozen list based on the test results of nearly 45,000 USDA samples of 46 common fruits and veggies. According to the EWG, more than 70% of conventional produce contains one or more potentially harmful pesticides, such as bee-killing neonic insecticides (which have been banned in Europe), due to their harmful effects on both the environment and human health.


According to the EWG, the crops and produce treated with the highest volume and variety of pesticides are as follows (Dirty Dozen):

#1 Strawberries

#2 Spinach

#3 Kale, collard & mustard greens

#4 Nectarines

#5 Apples

#6 Grapes

#7 Bell & hot Peppers

#8 Cherries

#10 Pears

#11 Celery

#12 Tomatoes

#9 Peaches

Other fruits and veggies are deemed “clean” (clean dozen). Therefore, these foods are safer to purchase in their conventional form than pesticide-rich foods like berries and leafy greens. This is EGW clean list:

#1 Avocados

#2 Sweet corn*

#3 Pineapple

#4 Onions

#5 Papaya*

#6 Sweet peas (frozen)

#7 Asparagus

#8 Honeydew melon

#9 Kiwi

#10 Cabbage

#11 Mushrooms

#12 Cantaloupe

#13 Mangoes

#14 Watermelon

#15 Sweet Potatoes

If for some reason you cannot obtain organic vegetables, then rinse thoroughly non-organic fruit and vegetables (Dirty Dozen ones) and submerge them in a basin of water with 4 to 8 ounces of distilled vinegar for 30 minutes.


  1. Eliminate all wheat, gluten and highly allergic foods from your diet.

There is an epidemic of gluten intolerance today. Found in wheat, this protein contains gliadins, which are molecules that can cause toxic reactions and trigger an unwanted immune response. If you are gluten sensitive, your body will produce antibodies that will attack the cells that gliadin has attached itself to, treating them as a foreign and causing a pro-inflammatory response.

Another important reason to avoid gluten is that it stimulates opioid receptors (gluteomorphs) that will impair your immune response and make you more susceptible to autoimmune diseases and infection. Casein (milk protein) also has similar challenges as it stimulates caseomorph receptors. It is best to completely eliminate gluten from your diet, especially if you are suffering from auto-immune illnesses.

Other grains such as rice, buckwheat, quinoa, oats, millet and amaranth are usually safe.

However, do not expect to feel completely healed immediately after eliminating gluten, as it may take 30 to 60 days for the inflammation to subside, and nine to 12 months for the lining of your small intestine to heal.

Food sensitivities lead to decreased serotonin levels, which can negatively impact your mood and prompt you to turn to simple sugars and carbohydrates for a pick-me-up. That’s  why when you eliminate gluten and other allergenic foods from your diet – your cravings will decrease, your weight will drop and your overall health will improve.


Highly allergenic foods you need to avoid include: wheat, all wheat products (pasta, baked goods, cookies, pastries, etc.), rye, soy, teff, spelt, kamut, barley, couscous, pasteurized cow’s milk products.

Substitutes: Gluten-free (GF) whole grains, or those with an intact bran outer coat, are essential for those on the Elimination Diet, as they provide an excellent source of fiber and other phytonutrients to assist with the detoxification. When purchasing oats, look for “certified gluten-free” on the label due to concerns of cross-contamination.  Pasta: I like Jovial organic pasta from Italy, made with organic rice. Be sure not to substitute pasta made of beans, because of its high lectin content. Baked goods: anything made of nuts, seeds and nuts flour (almond flour – most commonly), oats, quinoa, buckwheat, coconut, rice.

However, please, check out sugar content on those (especially baked goods and cereal) as well since it’s a common culprit.  I personally like Mary’s Gone crackers.

  1. Fats and Oils:

Lately, many people have turned away from good fats like butter, eggs, and full-fat dairy and shifted to high glycemic index carbs and cereals instead.  However, many recent studies have found that replacing saturated fats with carbohydrates actually leads to detrimental cardiometabolic consequences, as well as increased risk of obesity, inflammation, heart disease, and cancer.

Overindulging in sugar and grains overwhelms your brain too, as having consistently high levels of glucose and insulin blunts its insulin signaling, which can lead to impaired thinking and memory, eventually contributing to permanent brain damage – a key factor in diseases like Alzheimer’s disease (which has even been dubbed as “type 3 diabetes”).

So it is better to replace the calories you were getting from wheat and other common allergens with healthy saturated and unsaturated fats from whole food, animal, and plant sources.

The good sources of healthy fats include: avocado, organic, grass-fed butter and ghee, coconut oil, raw cacao butter, organic extra virgin olive oil, organic pastured eggs (when they could be brought back into your diet after 3-4 weeks), nuts, especially macadamia nuts and pecans, seeds like pumpkin seeds (high in magnesium), chia seeds, freshly ground flax seeds, black sesame and black cumin (about 1 to 2 tablespoons of each a day, but soaked for eight hours prior to using), olives. Choose Non- refined, cold-pressed, organic, non-GMO fats and liquid oils (Extra Virgin Organic Olive oil, Avocado oil, MCT oil & Coconut oil) whenever possible, including for cooking.

And the fats you want to avoid altogether, as they are high in omega-6 fats that promote inflammation, are: all processed vegetable oils/ seeed oils, such as canola, sunflower, safflower, and grapeseed, corn oil and also palm oil, peanut oil since they are rich in saturated omega-6 fats. Please, carefully read the labels of the packaged foods, since many otherwise healthy packaged foods are made with sunflower/safflower or palm oil.

Also please avoid trans fats at all cost — which are listed as “partially hydrogenated” on the labels.

Omega-3 fats in particular are essential for optimal brain health. Many people eat too much inflammatory omega-6 fats (like vegetables oils) and too little anti-inflammatory omega-3s, setting the stage for diseases and health problems.

Keep in mind that the ideal ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fats is 1:1.

One of the easiest ways to maintain your favorable omega-6 to omega-3 ratio is to regularly eat healthy fish like wild salmonsardines, cod, herring, halibut,  anchovies as these kind of fish are lower in toxins. Wild fish is much preferable over to farmed fish.

It would be best to strive for fats as the source for at least 50 and up to 85 percent for your overall energy intake. Human body works more efficiently if the main fuel source comes from fats versus carbs. Other benefits of eating healthy fats may include: normalizing your glucose and insulin levels, reducing free radical damage and inflammation throughout the body, (fat is a cleaner-burning fuel than grains, starches and sugars),  lowering triglycerides, raising HDL levels , decreasing the cravings that lead to weight gain and improving mental clarity.

Please, keep in mind that fats are high in calories but low in weight, so make sure that portions are smaller.

For nuts and seeds, one to two servings daily are recommended unless one is allergic.


Protein helps to stabilize your blood sugar, which in turn keeps hunger at bay. When possible, include some protein in every meal. High-quality proteins of any kind are the best choice, including lean, grass-fed, organic, non-GMO sources.

The first step in ensuring sufficient protein intake is to get it from a mixture of plant and animal sources. This is why I do not recommend following a strict vegetarian or vegan diet, because eliminating all animal foods from your diet puts you at risk of nutrient deficiencies, as there are some nutrients that simply cannot be obtained from plant foods.

As a rule of thumb – you likely need about one gram of protein per kg of lean body mass.

Most men who don’t look fat, but don’t exercise regularly still have approximately 20-25% of body fat, for women the ratio is even higher – most likely 25-30%. This translates to 30 to 70 grams of protein a day, spread out throughout the day. If you’re aggressively exercising or competing, or pregnant (or lactating), your daily protein requirement may be 25 to 50 percent higher.

30 to 70 grams of protein is not a large amount of food. Check out this chart as a simple guide on the grams of protein in foods:

Red meat, pork, poultry, and seafood average 6 to 9 grams of protein per ounce.

An ideal amount for most people would be a 3-ounce serving of meat or seafood per meal (not 9- or 12-ounce steaks!), which will provide about 18 to 27 grams of protein.

Eggs contain about 6 to 8 grams of protein per egg. So an omelet made from two eggs would give you about 12 to 16 grams of protein.

If you add cheese, you need to calculate that protein in as well (check the label of your cheese).

Seeds and nuts contain on average 4 to 8 grams of protein per quarter cup (packaged with valuable fiber). Cooked beans average about 7 to 8 grams per half cup.
Most vegetables contain about 1 to 2 grams of protein per ounce.

Eggs are good source of protein and they contain complete proteins, meaning they provide the eight essential amino acids. The free-range eggs, also referred to as pasture-raised, contain two-thirds more vitamin A, three times more vitamin E, two times more omega-3 fatty acids and seven times more beta carotene.

There are certain fish varieties that are ideally safe in terms of contamination, and would benefit you if added to your health diet. Wild-caught Atlantic salmon and sockeye salmon are some of your best choices, as neither are allowed to be farmed. Cod and halibut are good choices too. There are also acceptable choices as Vital Choice and Wild Planet. Their short lifespan prevents contamination by mercury and other toxins, while providing you with nutrients like protein and omega-3s.

Other safe seafood choices include sardines, herring, and anchovies. These are among the most concentrated sources of omega-3 fats. They are also rich in nutrients like vitamin B12, selenium, calcium, and choline. One caveat, though, these are very high in histamines so back off if you notice a histamine reaction.


Legumes give a sense of fullness and stabilize blood sugar but are problematic for many because of high lectin content and they are not easy to digest. If you like to have them, it is the best to use a slow cooker to make them. Keep in mind that cheek peas are high in Round-up, a compound that could be damaging to your microbiome, so opt for organic hummus and other foods made out of cheek peas.

Non- Starchy and Starchy Vegetables:

Switch the bulk of your diet to fresh, organic raw vegetables. These are good carbohydrate sources that can improve your health, as they can shield you from various diseases and provide your cells and tissues with bio-available vitamins, nutrients, and minerals.

Ideally, it would be best to get 10-15 servings of vegetables per day. A serving is ½ cup cooked vegetable or 1 cup raw vegetables. Green vegetables, especially members of the cabbage family, are particularly nutritious. Eat a “rainbow of colors” in addition to greens: red beets, red peppers, radishes; orange carrots, orange pepper, yams, sweet potatoes, and winter squash; yellow summer squash, yellow peppers; white onions and garlic.

Limiting net carbs will be a very importan.  Net carbs are defined as total carbs minus fiber. This is NOT a low TOTAL carb diet, but a low NET carb diet.  A large amounts of fiber carbs is helpful, since fiber is used as a prebiotic for your beneficial bacteria, and most of the fiber is converted to short chain fats that can be used as fuel for your cells in place of sugar.

Most people are burning carbs as their primary fuel. The problem with this is that carbs do not burn as cleanly as fat and produce 30 to 40 percent more free radicals than fat. These free radicals damage important cellular structures, such as your mitochondrial DNA, cell membranes, and proteins like the mitochondrial electron transport chain.

Aside from eating your vegetables as fresh as possible, eating fermented vegetables (kim chi, sauerkraut, pickled (in brine) veggies) can yield significant benefits since those foods are potent chelators or detoxifiers and they help your gut flora. They are also very rich sources of probiotics – or good bacteria.

Another way to consume more vegetables is by juicing them or making smoothies. This works for people who find it challenging to eat raw vegetables. Smoothie, if made with a protein (whey protein) and good fat (avocado) could be a complete meal and works well as a meal replacement.  Vegetable juice in itself has various vitamins, minerals, and enzymes, so it’s easily digested. I like Suja brand, but you can use other organic readymade vegetable juices.

Dairy Alternatives:

There are several dairy alternatives, mostly in the form of nut milks. When buying dairy substitutes like coconut, or the boxed variety of almond, hemp, oat, or rice milk, read the label carefully to ensure there are no sweeteners are added especially, such as brown rice syrup and evaporated cane juice in these products. Also great is goat milk and goat yogurt.


Fruits are helpful for when needing something sweet, especially when one is used to regular eating of desserts and other sweets. It’s always better to couple fruit with a little bit of protein to offset any blood sugar spikes.


Drinks like soda, and energy drinks should be eliminated as they contain processed sugar and/or artificial sweeteners, food coloring, high amounts of sodium, and sugar, particularly fructose. Fructose in these drinks is a problem since it is the source of empty calories and contributes to weight gain, obesity, and metabolic dysfunction, such as diabetes.

There is  a considerable amount of evidence that excessive amounts of sugar – all forms of sugar, but fructose in particular – is the primary driver of obesity, as well as many if not most chronic and lethal diseases like diabetes.   In type 2 diabetes, pancreas continues to produce insulin, but body is unable to recognize and use it properly. This advanced stage of insulin resistance is typically caused by a diet that’s high in sugar and sugar-releasing foods like grains and simple starches.

So it is beneficial to cut way back on sugar from all sources and to limit your TOTAL fructose consumption to below 25 grams per day. However, for most people, it would also be wise to limit fructose intake from fruits to 15 grams or less, as you’re virtually guaranteed to consume “hidden” fructose from packaged or processed foods.

In addition, it is wise to avoid artificial sweeteners such as aspartame at all cost. Research shows that they can worsen insulin sensitivity to a greater degree than sugar, and may even disrupt your intestinal microflora, which raises your risk of both obesity and diabetes. Also, avoid table sugar and other highly processed sweeteners such as brown sugar because they cause a dramatic surge in blood sugar and lead to inflammation.  High fructose corn syrup (HFCS) and corn syrup are not acceptable under any circumstances.  Please, always check food labels to see if it contains artificial sweeteners.


Natural sweeteners like stevia, monk fruit sweetener and Luo-Han in moderation are typically fine. Note that stevia is a high-intensity sweetener that requires no more than a pinch for maximum sweetness. Erythritrol in general is fine too, unless there is an issue with digestion. Other sweeteners that can be used: pure maple syrup, raw honey, coconut sugar, agave nectar. Please, use no more than two teaspoons daily of all sweeteners combined.


What to Drink on the Elimination Diet:

Water: It is important to drink an adequate amount of water every day; about six to eight 8 oz. glasses daily are suggested.

Tea: Many flavors of herbal tea are acceptable, especially Green tea it is recommended to drink 60oz a day.

Coffee: Coffee is allowed but only with a milk substitute and only a cup of 8oz.

Alcohol: All alcoholic beverages are omitted from the Elimination Diet. 

Soft Drinks: Both artificially sweetened and regular soft drinks should be eliminated for the duration of the Elimination Diet. Try substituting them with seltzer water mixed with some fresh juice with no added sugar or a squeeze of lemon, lime, or coconut water.

Non-Dairy Beverages for Tea or Cereal: It is important to avoid non-dairy creamer as it contains refined sugars, along with unhealthy hydrogenated fats. Instead, use one of the nondairy milk substitutes such as almond or coconut milk to add to tea or use in gluten-free cereal

Food Substitutions

When you want this …. …. eat this
Milk (for cereal or shakes) Yogurt, Cheese Milk Substitutes: Unsweetened Rice, Oat, Hemp, Almond, Sunflower, Hazelnut, and Coconut Milk; Unsweetened Coconut Yogurt or Kefir; read labels to ensure substitute is lactose/casein-free. Goat milk and cheese in general is fine.
Hot Cereal, such as Wheatena or other hot cereal Old fashioned Oatmeal or Steel-cut Oats, Oat bran, Rice Cereal, Buckwheat, Quinoa, or Apple Cinnamon Amaranth Porridge.
Cold Cereal Puffed Rice and Millet, Crispy Brown Rice, Amaranth Cereals; Puffed Quinoa, all labeled gluten-free (note that there tends to be corn in foods labeled gluten-free). Please, check out added sugar on the label. Please, avoid cold cereal if it is high.
Bread, Crackers &Pasta Gluten-free Breads, Crackers or Pasta made with Brown Rice, Oats, Teff, Millet, Quinoa, Amaranth, Tapioca, Buckwheat, Sorghum, Potato Flour, and Garbanzo Bean Flour; Cellophane Noodles from Bean Threads. Many people like Mary’s gone crackers.
Breading Grind any allowable Rice Crackers or Bread, or use Almond Meal (any nut meal), Grounded Chia Seeds, Coconut, or Coconut Flour.
Eggs Store-Bought Egg-replacer, or blend 1 Tbsp. Flax Meal or Chia Seeds in blender with 1/4 cup of water and allow to thicken for a few minutes.
Peanut Butter Nut Butters made from Almonds, Cashews, Macadamias, Walnuts, Hazelnuts or Pumpkin and Sesame Seeds (Tahini).
Ice Cream Various brands of Rice or Coconut-based frozen desserts or sherbet . Please, check it out for added sugar.
Soft Drinks Sparkling, Mineral Water, Filtered or Purified water Mixed with a squeeze of Lemon or Lime, or with a small amount of your favorite juice (3/4 Water, 1/4 Juice); Unsweetened Coconut Water. Lemon water works well.
Butter or Margarine Coconut Oil or organic Ghee (Clarified Butter)
Sugar and Sweeteners Unsweetened Apple Butter, Brown Rice Syrup, Blackstrap Molasses, Pure Maple Syrup, Raw Honey, Coconut Sugar, Agave Nectar, Erythritol, monk fruit sweetener and Stevia.
Condiments All types of Vinegar , All Spices, Including Salt, Pepper, Basil, Carob, Cinnamon, Cumin, Dill, Garlic, Onion, Ginger, Mustard, Oregano, Parsley, Rosemary, Tarragon, Thyme, Turmeric, ect.

How long will it last?

The Elimination Diet should be followed for four weeks. Anything less may not yield the same results, as the body needs time to clear its reactivity to foods that are triggers of your symptoms. Initially, current symptoms may worsen for a short time, rarely more than a few days, due to withdrawal from the foods commonly eaten. Transient reactions may be experienced in the first four to seven days as the body adjusts to the intake of different foods. These reactions include: changes in sleep patterns, fatigue, lightheadedness, headaches, joint or muscle stiffness, and gastrointestinal complaints. Such symptoms rarely last for more than a few days and will vary depending on the person’s body and lifestyle factors

Which foods can be eaten?

It is necessary to eat ONLY the foods that are on the food list. If a food is not on the list, then do not eat it. By the end of the prescribed period of the Elimination Diet, it is common to note improvements in many symptoms. People report increased energy and mental alertness, decreased headaches, decreased muscle or joint pain, decreased GI symptoms, and a general sense of improved well-being.

What about snacking and eating out?

It is typical to snack on whatever is available at work or at home. When following the Elimination Diet, have only acceptable foods around in the event of hunger. Have snacks and salad dressings at work for a quick snack or lunch salad. Eating out is generally not recommended since you will not be aware of all that is in the food served, but you can still go out as long as you stick to the diet (Example: order a salad with an olive oil dressing).


Helpful Hints:

  • Don’t go hungry- Be sure to eat enough food to avoid hunger when there is no food available.  Or have approved snacks available with you at all times.


  • Eat enough food: Add extra vegetables and fruits as needed. The menu is a basic one and needs a personal touch. This is not a calorie-restricted plan. Be sure to eat adequate calories for adequate nutrient intake.


  • Eat regular meals: Eating consistently throughout the day will help keep blood sugar stable. Use the suggested snacks as needed for hunger or cravings.


  • Choose organic: Whenever possible, select fresh foods and organically-grown fruits and vegetables to reduce the intake of pesticides and chemical residues. Wash fruits and vegetables thoroughly.


  • Drink enough water: Remember to drink adequate amounts of plain, filtered water each day: six to eight 8-oz. glasses daily should be your goal. Add freshly squeezed lemon or lime for extra flavor.


  • Get rest: Strenuous or prolonged exercise may be reduced for part of this program or, in some cases, for the entire program, to allow the body to heal more effectively without the additional burden from exercise. Adequate rest and stress reduction is also important to the success of this program. A light, daily walk may be the perfect exercise during this time or a moderate exercise could be a good option for some.

Anti-inflammatory Foods to Include:

In general, fresh fruits and vegetables, and foods that provide omega-3 fats are the best way to provide anti-inflammatory support to your body. The typical America diet contains a higher percentage of omega-6 fats which can be pro-inflammatory when they are out of balance with omega-3 fats.

These are the features to consider:

  1. Fatty fish, such as wild-caught salmon, mackerel, cod, tuna, and sardines, will provide a balance of essential fatty acids high in anti-inflammatory omega-3 fats.


  1. Grass-fed lamb or buffalo contain significant amounts of omega-3 fats that grain-fed animals are lacking.


  1. Nuts and seeds, especially almonds, walnuts, and flax seeds contain omega-3 fats and healthy fiber.


  1. Dark leafy greens, such as kale, spinach, broccoli, collards, cabbage, and other cruciferous vegetables high in fiber, may protect the body from pro-inflammatory molecules called cytokines.


  1. Red and blue colored fruits and vegetables such as red cabbage and onion, red bell pepper, all berries, red grapes, cherries, and plums contain anti-inflammatory phytonutrients.


  1. Extra-virgin organic olive oil (EVOO) and olives contain anti-inflammatory phytonutrients called polyphenols.


  1. Moist heat cooking under low temperatures, such as crock-pot cooking, creates fewer inflammatory by-products.


  1. Certain spices, such as turmeric, ginger, oregano, garlic, onion, rosemary, cayenne, cloves, and cinnamon have anti-inflammatory properties due to the inhibition of pro-inflammatory molecules in the body. Use them in combination with food, especially when using high-heat cooking methods.


Inflammatory Foods to Exclude Even After the Elimination Diet is over:

Focusing on anti-inflammatory foods in the diet is not the only aspect to consider. What is not eaten is as important as what is eaten.

During the Elimination Diet, and even afterwards, reduce or eliminate the following:


  1. Trans-fats: Found in processed foods like cakes, cookies, bagels, chips, etc.


  1. Refined sugars: Added refined sugars are pervasive in processed foods. Read the labels very carefully for sugars such as HFCS, corn sugar, corn syrup, and sucrose.


  1. Foods with a high glycemic response: High glycemic index foods create blood sugar spikes after eating; these can stress the body to overproduce insulin, which is not healthy. Over time, the body becomes less equipped to handle high-sugar foods, and inflammation increases from the excess sugar and insulin produced. Examples of foods with a high glycemic response are refined grains and breads, rice, bananas, desserts, sweetened beverages, and highly processed prepared foods.


  1. High omega-6 oils such as corn, sunflower, safflower, palm or soy oils: Most people eat high amounts of refined vegetable oils in their diet through the consumption of processed foods. These oils have high amounts of omega-6 fats and too little omega-3 fats. When the omega-6 fat level in the diet is too high compared with the omega-3 level, enzymes involved in inflammation can be activated. The goal is to balance those two types of fats.


  1. Gluten-containing foods (wheat, rye, barley, spelt, kamut): More people are learning that they have gluten intolerance. While it is unknown why there is such an increase, it has been thought that the genetic modification of these grains in the modern era of agriculture has led to changes in how most people digest them in the gut. For some people, wheat may be more of an issue; for others, all of these grains could provoke inflammatory-related symptoms.


  1. Saturated animal fats from grain-fed red meats: New research suggests that a high-fat meal, especially from animal foods, could lead to inflammation in the body. Adding vegetables to the meal can help to offset the inflammation. This finding does not mean that one should not eat animal foods, but that if they are eaten grass-fed option is preferred and vegetables should be included with the meal.


To help identify potential problem foods once the Elimination Diet has been completed, the foods thought to be associated with symptoms (“challenge foods”) should be reintroduced into the diet after 1 month.


  1. On the first day of the reintroduction phase, choose whatever food is missed the most or craved the most, or eaten most often. The order of reintroduction of foods is not critical. I found that it is best to challenge Gluten last.


  1. Eat a small amount of that food throughout Day 1 (1/2 average size portions), while continuing to eat the other foods from the Elimination Diet. (Example: Twice a day for 3 days eat dairy). During that time record any symptoms.


  1. If there is no reaction to the food during the 4 day period, keep that food in the food plan and increase 2x the intake of it but making sure there is still no reaction after 7 days. Then reintroduce a second food in the same manner after a week. If no reaction, keep that food in the diet and add the third challenge food and so on. Remember to always record your progress.

If any food is associated with symptoms, stop eating that food immediately, wait till the symptoms clear, and reintroduce the next food after the period of 3 days.

Remember to challenge only one type of food at a time. For example you can’t have pizza because it has both dairy and wheat/gluten making it hard to tell which you might of had a reaction to, if any.

Reactions to Challenge Foods:

Stop eating any foods that produce a clear negative reaction:

Potential reactions include diarrhea or constipation, fatigue, depression, anxiety, gas, bloating and/or abdominal pain, headache, muscle or joint pain, skin irritations or break outs, insomnia, sinus congestion or runny nose, itching, flushing, sleepiness, memory problems, etc.

** Please remember when there are symptoms after challenging food, it advisable to stop eating that food immediately to allow symptoms to completely clear before introducing the next food.  Please, allow at least 3 months to re-challenge that food again.

Removing Food Associated with Symptoms:

After completing the initial testing of all the foods that have been removed during the Elimination Diet Food Plan, it may also be useful to test individual foods within a single food grouping to see if there exists sensitivity to certain forms of the food. For example, within the dairy grouping, test cow’s milk cheese, sheep cheese, and goat cheese. Yogurt and butter may often be tolerated, when milk is not.


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