An estimated 15 million adults suffer from food allergies, but that doesn’t account for all the people who have food intolerances or sensitivities. These sensitivities don’t show up on allergy tests; rather, they cause certain reactions or symptoms, which people may pass off as “something that just happens,” so to speak.
Let us explain something: Things don’t “just happen.” Skin flare-ups, inflammation, motility issues, microbial imbalance, or digestive issues are common symptoms of food intolerances or sensitivities. The foods that cause these symptoms can be difficult to identify, especially if you eat a wide variety of foods. Doing a food allergy test may be illuminating for some people, but the rest can greatly benefit from an elimination diet.
The elimination diet is a short-term program that forces you to eliminate certain foods, which may be causing allergic or digestive reactions, from your diet. After about a month without the foods in your diet, you can reintroduce them in order to identify which foods the body does not agree with. People do elimination diets to figure out what is causing certain symptoms or health-related issues, such as acne, diarrhea, constipation, eczema, or bloating.
Eliminate The Usual Suspects
Roughly 90% of all food-allergy reactions are caused by eight foods: eggs, nuts, wheat/gluten, soy, fish, shellfish, and dairy products. Elimination diets typically cut out all of the following foods:
- Refined/added sugars
- Certain nightshades (tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, or potatoes)
- All processed, packaged, or fast foods
Elimination diets last for about three to six weeks because it is believed that the antibodies, which your immune system makes upon disagreeing with certain foods, take about three weeks to go away. This allows the person time to heal from sensitivities and notice any improvements without certain foods in his/her diet.
When the body doesn’t agree with something, it constantly sends out inflammatory responses, which can cause harm to the entire body, especially if they are continually being sent. Before you start eliminating foods, take stock on certain things you experience, such as digestive issues, allergies, energy levels, skin issues, or brain fog.
What Do You Eat?
Your diet should be comprised of fresh vegetables, fruits, legumes (like beans and lentils), seaweeds, and gluten-free items like quinoa. You are essentially consuming a vegetarian diet, but make sure that you avoid processed, packaged, or fast food, even if it is vegetarian. Keep this diet for at least one month before reintroducing old foods back into your diet.
How To Reintroduce Food The Right Way
After about a month, pick one food item, which you eliminated, and eat it. Only introduce one eliminated item at a time. You can’t introduce multiple items at once because you won’t know which food gives you a reaction, provided you get a reaction. See how you feel for the next 48 hours. If you don’t experience a reaction, it’s up to you which food you decide to introduce next. Follow the same steps and hopefully nothing happens. If you do notice a reaction, perhaps it is time to stop consuming that specific food or beverage.
Remember that not every blood test can tell you what you are allergic to. By doing an elimination diet, you may discover how to have a healthier body.