Our digestive systems are very complex…and smart! That’s why it’s called our “second brain.” Everything from hormone regulation to immune function is a result of how our digestive system treats the food and liquids we put into it. Put in the right combination and we live longer, healthier, happier lives. Put the wrong combination in and, at best, we’ll have diarrhea; At worst, we’ll be sent to an early grave due to an illness or disease. So, what to do? We need to figure out which foods our bodies like and don’t like. Sounds simple enough but it can be time consuming. Be patient young grasshopper. You will learn!

 

(Side Note: You can always have food sensitivity and pathogen testing done but they can get expensive….$300-$1500 depending on the test)

 

First, we need to know what are signs of GI (gastrointestinal) dysfunction. Remember, our digestive system is like a beautiful garden. It wants to be in symbiosis (aka balance). Too much or too little of one thing (good or bad) and it’ll rot. Some good “telltale” signs your body doesn’t like what you’re putting into it are:

 

  • Nausea
  • Heartburn symptoms
  • Bloating
  • Foul smelling stool
  • Undigested food in stool
  • Gas
  • Burning in stomach
  • Constipation
  • Loose stools or diarrhea
  • Bad breath

 

Next, it’s important to understand WHY we want good gut health; aside from avoiding the previously mentioned issues. When our GI tract is out of whack it can cause hormonal disruption, metabolic problems, and weakened immune system. All this can lead to:

 

  • Asthma & Allergies
  • Arthritis
  • Mood Disorders
  • Addictions
  • Kidney Problems
  • Brain Fog
  • Autoimmune Disorders
  • Heart Disease
  • Narcolepsy
  • Migraines
  • ADD/ADHD
  • Neurodegenerative disease

 

Get the hint? It’s VERY important to feed your body what will help it perform optimally and avoid those issues. There’s no guarantee it will work but, so far, the overwhelming data show that if we have a healthy gut we will have a much better chance of living happier, illness/disease free lives.

 

So, how do we do an ‘Elimination Diet’? Simple. The first 3 weeks you will eliminate all of the following foods:

 

DO NOT EAT THIS

  • Citrus Fruits
  • Tomatoes, eggplants, white potatoes
  • Wheat, corn, barley, spelt, kamut, rye, oats, all gluten-containing products
  • Soybeans, tofu, tempeh, soy milk, all beans, peas, lentils
  • All nuts and seeds
  • Beef, chicken, pork, eggs, cold cuts, bacon, hotdogs, canned meat, sausage, shellfish, meat substitutes from soy
  • Milk, cheese, cottage cheese, cream, yogurt, butter, ice cream, non-dairy creamers
  • Margarine, butter, processed and hydrogenated oils, mayonnaise, spreads
  • Alcohol, caffeine (coffee, black tea, green tea, soda)
  • Chocolate, ketchup, mustard, relish, chutney, soy sauce barbecue sauce, vinegar
  • White or brown sugar, honey, maple syrup, corn syrup, high fructose corn syrup, desserts

 

That’s A LOT of stuff to eliminate! I know what you’re thinking. “If I eliminate all this, what’s lefts?!” Here’s a list of all the foods that you may continue eating:

 

EAT THIS

  • All fresh fruit
  • Almost all fresh, raw, steamed, sautéed, or roasted vegetables
  • Rice and buckheat*
  • Fish, turkey, lamb, wild game
  • Unsweetened rice milk*, coconut milk
  • Cold-expeller pressed olive oil, flaxseed oil, coconut oil
  • Water and herbal teas
  • Sea salt, fresh pepper, fresh herbs and spices (i.e. turmeric, ginger, dill, thyme, oregano, etc.)
  • Stevia

*Eliminate you are fairly certain or know you have an intolerance to these substances

 

After the first 3 weeks you’ll begin to reintroduce the groups of food listed in the “DO NOT EAT THIS” section. You can begin with the fruits that were eliminated and monitor any changes in your mood, bowel movements, and overall health. After several days you may begin to add another group of foods such as nuts. Again, eat for several days and make note of how you are feeling. Repeat this process ever 2 or 3 days until you’ve reintroduced all the previously eliminated foods. The ones that caused you distress, illness, etc.? Remove them from your diet. The key is patience. The overall process should take 6 weeks and that’s nothing in the long term of your health.

 

Some signs to look for when reintroducing food groups are:

 

  • Insomnia
  • Fatigue
  • Joint Pain
  • Bloating
  • Brain Fog
  • Skin Breakouts or Rashes
  • Headaches
  • Bowel Changes or GI Pain
  • Sinus or other respiratory issues
  • Marked increase in energy (this can actually be a physical sign of stress)

 

Preparation is KEY to succeed in any field. The same is true for any diet program. Before you begin the first 3 weeks of the ‘Elimination Diet’ spend the week prior removing all the foods listed in the ‘DO NOT EAT THIS’ list from your house. Look up a few “go to” recipes to follow and buy the foods that a permitted on the diet the weekend before you begin the program. Finally, keep a journal! I cannot stress this enough. Knowing how you feel day-to-day and RECORDING that information will help you evaluate the experience and remember which foods (when they’re being reintroduced) cause you distress and illness.

 

STAY FIT MY FRIENDS!