Is an Elimination Diet Right for You?
How do you feel about gluten, sugar, dairy, caffeine, alcohol, soy, eggs and nuts? And how does your body feel about each of these? If you suspect a food intolerance, you may have considered an elimination diet. Elimination diets chiefly focus on eliminating the above or other items in order to lose weight, reduce headaches and fatigue, cure digestive challenges, or manage asthma and allergies. While challenging for many, elimination diets can help those with food intolerances identify any real issues. A typical elimination diet involves removing common food intolerances from the diet for about a month, and then slowly introducing one food/food group at a time so you can determine if your body reacts poorly over the next 48 hours. If you’re going to try an elimination diet, the key to success is prepare, prepare, prepare. Stock your kitchen, plan your meals ahead of time and ensure you have some tasty alternatives to your usual meals and snacks.
The challenge? In addition to giving up what may be favorite foods, identifying the symptoms of food intolerance can be challenging. While constipation, fatigue, headaches, bloating, rashes and brain fog can all be attributed to the food you eat, those same symptoms can also relate to stress, poor sleep and other issues. Likewise, it’s important to maintain key nutrients that your body may be missing out on during an elimination diet (find an alternative source of calcium, for instance, if you’re giving up dairy). Nevertheless, you may notice significant changes in your mood and energy level and may wish to make dietary changes following an elimination diet. You can also talk to your doctor or a nutritionist about the best plan for you, your body and your lifestyle.