Anyone who has experienced digestive pains, cramps, skin issues, joint pains, allergy symptoms, mood changes, and bloating knows how frustrating and uncomfortable these symptoms can feel. Though there are many causes of digestive problems, food is often a culprit.

The elimination diet helps us pinpoint which foods might be causing these symptoms, so we can finally feel better.

So, what is the elimination diet?

Food intolerances, sensitivities, and allergies are far more common than you think. Foods that trigger an immune response don’t necessarily have to break you out in hives. Trigger foods can cause even the mildest yet uncomfortable symptoms, such as constipation or bloating. The elimination diet involves eliminating the most common triggers for food sensitivities and intolerances for a few weeks so you can do some investigative work.

Common trigger foods include nuts, soy, eggs, citrus, corn, shellfish, dairy, and wheat. If you feel better or symptoms improve after eliminating these foods, you’ll know one (or more) of these foods is the cause. You have to be consistent here— this isn’t the type of diet you can do halfway.

Even the smallest amount of your trigger foods can lead to an immune response. After a few weeks pass, you can reintroduce these foods one by one, hopefully identifying which ones are causing your digestive problems or other symptoms. Give each food a few days before introducing the next.

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The next phase of the elimination diet is planning meals without trigger foods that may have been a significant part of your diet in the past.

For example, if you react to dairy, you might have an adjustment period eliminating that entire food group from your diet. You may want to work with a nutritionist or physician to ensure that you’re still getting all the necessary nutrients into your diet.

This elimination diet shouldn’t feel restrictive, and it’s not about weight loss— the benefits should motivate you not to want to eat your trigger foods.

It’s all about choice! If you have cravings for your trigger foods, it’s comforting to at least know the cause of the symptoms that follow. Once you’ve eliminated and reintroduced the trigger foods, you should hopefully have a better understanding of which foods cause your symptoms. Surprisingly, foods you previously considered healthy might not be beneficial for you. Food is not good or bad— everyone is different, and everybody reacts differently to certain foods.

The elimination diet helps you understand what your body needs and what it can do without. You may notice improvements in your well-being that you didn’t even think to associate with food, such as energy levels and skin texture. Keep a food journal throughout the process to take note of any changes.

You’ll get to know your body better than before, learning a new meaning for healthy foods.

Ready Give Your Body a Reset?

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