Looking back on how I did my elimination diet, I can see a number of things I did wrong. This is a post describing how I would do an elimination diet now (pretty much what I’m doing now anyway).
This might seem extremely strict… and it is. Not much I can say about that except that it’s only a month, and you might be able to reintroduce most things back in right away. This is the diet that helped my dad, and I. I tried to do a less restrictive one with dad, but it wasn’t good enough.
I would do this if you are suffering from a number of the following symptoms:
– extreme fatigue (you nap every day)
– itchy skin
– skin problems (acne, rashes, etc)
– severe depression and/or anxiety – or other mental problems (OCD, schizophrenia, etc.)
– joint pain
– nerve pain
– muscle pain
– mouth ulcers
– bleeding gums
– digestive distress (stomach pain, bloating, constipation, diarrhea)
– you’re overweight or you seem to gain weight easily and quickly in a bad way
– autoimmune disease/s
– you’re taking prescription medication long term (e.g. proton pump inhibitors)
– you’ve been prescribed antibiotics multiple times
– anything else I haven’t mentioned that really bothers you
or if you feel like you could feel better.
This beginning part will take you about a month to feel better. It took me 24 days. Keep on this strict diet for a month and then SLOWLY reintroduce foods to see how you feel (read more posts to see how to reintroduce foods).
What to be prepared for (warnings):
- you won’t eat out for at least month (you can’t cheat, and eating out takes practice when you’re restricted)
- if you’re not used to cooking, it’s going to be some work at the beginning but I have very simple recipes that take no time. (e.g. take chicken out of package, put in oven at 400 for 50 minutes, eat)
- your friends might think you’re weird
- people might be angry. (people are very attached to their foods. Even if someone else is changing their diet)
- buying meat and vegetables can seem more expensive but remember you’re not eating out
- you might (probably will) experience some withdrawal symptoms
- you might feel worse for the first 1-1.5 weeks (I didn’t, but some people do)
- some people who cut out dairy for even just a month end up becoming lactose intolerant. My strong belief is that dairy is terrible for you, and if you end up lactose intolerant, good, but that is something that might happen.
- If you suffer from anxiety and/or depression, and you reintroduce something that was giving you trouble, you might experience a significantly worse reaction than you have experienced before. By reaction, I mean a bout of brain fog and depression that is more intense than what you’ve been experiencing. I don’t know why this happens but it does sometimes. It did to me, my father and a couple of my friends. This is something to seriously think about. It’s avoidable, but it can be scary if you don’t realize what’s going on. These are IgG reactions and I’ll go into more detail about them later.
- If you mess up and eat something you’re not supposed to, you have to start again. You can’t do this for a week, and go out for a slice of pizza and then continue onto day 8 of the diet. After the slice of pizza you are at day 1 again.
- Chances are you will feel better by week 3. This is the best thing I’ve ever done. Cutting out foods was the best thing my family has done. If done properly, this can improve your life indescribably. I would recommend this to anyone but you have to be careful.
Step 1: If you can afford it, or even if you can’t really afford it, find a naturopath (or if you’re lucky a doctor) and do an IgG food sensitivity test. Try to get the one that tests for over 200 foods. This will set you back approx. 450$ in Canada but it’s worth it. This is most important for people with mental problems that they’re trying to control (but still important for everyone). This will save you a lot of pain and suffering down the road. I know it’s expensive but if you can do it, do it. Seriously. Skip your skepticism (unlike what I did), and do it. It’s also a test that is much more accurate when everything is still in your diet. That’s why it’s the first step.
Step 2: If you have your IgG results, avoid everything you score above 22 on. Some of them will show up as green and supposedly okay, but anything above 22 (I believe) is a no-no. Even if they’re on my list of okay foods, avoid them, everyone’s a bit different. I’d be surprised if they showed up on the foods that I’m okay with though. Most people with IgG responses have similar responses (showing that some foods aren’t good for anyone).
If you’re not going to do the IgG test (or if you have your results) get started on grocery shopping!
Step 3: Cooking – I’ll add some recipes tomorrow or tonight that are super easy. Literally so easy that someone who has never cooked couldn’t mess it up. They also take no time. They’ll be for 2 people (I would recommend cooking this much even if you’re alone so you don’t have to cook so often), or double them for 4 people. Always make more food than you think you need. If you’re used to snacking, this will help with the anxiety of feeling like you don’t have enough food. Here’s a sample menu for a week (coming soon – this weekend):
Step 4: Follow for a month. Do not cheat. Feel insanely improved by week 3-4.
Step 5: Very carefully start to reintroduce foods.