Is an elimination diet right for me?

The health world has become increasingly overwhelming as information is rapidly changing and overly accessible. Between your neighbor’s success, social media posts, and buzzwords, how do you know what’s truly right for you?

Elimination diets have become popular in the wellness community, especially in the treatment of auto-immune conditions and chronic illness. Naturally, you might be wondering if eliminating certain foods could be right for you. It’s important to understand when it might be appropriate to consider an elimination diet and when it’s best avoided.

What is the Elimination Diet?

This “diet” is typically a short-term (about 4-6 weeks) diet designed to remove possible inflammatory foods from your diet and reintroduce them slowly to determine whether they may be contributing to your symptoms. Safe foods are then systematically added back to the diet while problematic foods may be eliminated long-term.

Foods that may be removed from your diet include:

  • Wheat (gluten)
  • Dairy products
  • Eggs
  • Beef
  • Pork
  • Soy products 
  • Processed meats
  • Corn
  • Vegetable oils 
  • Coffee 
  • Chocolate 
  • Sugar 
  • Peanuts
  • Alcohol

In some cases, your practitioner may also suggest the removal of FODMAPS, high histamine foods, nightshades, or other foods that could be causing symptoms.

 When it might be appropriate to do an Elimination

It’s always important to work with your functional medicine practitioner to address the root cause of your symptoms. However, if you suspect you may have a food sensitivity or continue to have symptoms despite conventional treatment, an elimination diet could be appropriate for you.

There are a number of symptoms that can be caused by a food sensitivity or intolerance including;

  • Headaches 
  • Brain Fog
  • Fatigue
  • Bloating 
  • Diarrhea or constipation
  • Chronic congestion or drainage 
  • Asthma
  • Anxiety and Depression
  • Skin conditions such as acne or eczema

When to Avoid an Elimination Diet

The elimination diet is intensive and takes commitment.

There are a few instances when it might be best to AVOID doing an elimination diet such as:

  • You have a history of disordered eating
  • You have severe anxiety and/or depression
  • You have known food allergies (not sensitivity or intolerance)
  • You are already underweight

The best way to determine if you have food sensitivity is through the removal and reintroduction of said food.  Many people with persistent symptoms have seen positive results from the removal of inflammatory foods. 

If you suspect this could be right for you, reach out to your functional medicine team to get support through this process.

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