So what is an elimination diet?
You may have heard this term used but not known its health benefits. Let me explain a little bit about them and why we use them.
There are different types of elimination diets. A single elimination includes avoiding one food group like gluten or dairy and a comprehensive elimination requires avoiding multiple food types. Many chronic health problems can be related to a specific food that is eaten frequently. Often people with food sensitivities or intolerances don’t even notice their symptoms until the trigger foods are removed from the diet, and they feel better.
You have probably heard the terms food “allergy”, food “sensitivity”, and food “intolerance.” Often these are used interchangeably but they are actually very different. True food allergies cause immediate symptoms such as hives, swelling of the face, hands, tongue, or throat. They can be life threatening and require immediate medical treatment. Symptoms from food sensitivities or intolerances typically take hours or even days to manifest. Common symptoms of food sensitivities are headache, fatigue, insomnia, abdominal pain, bloating, diarrhea, and distractibility.
In general, most people eat the same foods day after day. This can result in sensitization to these foods and lead to adverse reactions. An elimination diet helps you discover which foods may be causing unwanted symptoms. Many times, symptoms that have failed to respond to conventional medical treatments will improve on an elimination diet.
Another advantage to elimination diets is the potential to develop a new relationship with what you eat. You may uncover unhealthy eating habits you didn’t even know were there. Through participating in an elimination diet, you can gain a new understanding and appreciation of eating whole, healthy food.