Lately, you’ve noticed a few things that didn’t seem to be there before. For example, all of a sudden, you start noticing more headaches, fatigue, joint pain, brain fog, or digestive issues. You’ve heard eliminating certain foods might help, but what is an elimination diet, and where do you even begin? 

More people are experiencing these unpleasant symptoms, and oftentimes it indicates an undiagnosed food sensitivity. 

Let’s start by clarifying that food sensitivities differ from food allergies.

Food Sensitivity vs. Allergy

Food allergies trigger a severe, often immediate immune response, leading to an extreme and potentially life-threatening reaction. Allergic reactions can include hives, stomach cramps, impaired breathing, and changes in your heart rate.1

Unlike food allergies, food sensitivities are much less obvious and more difficult to diagnose. Food sensitivities can result in a delayed immune response, which means your symptoms could take up to 72 hours to appear. When you consumer trigger foods regularly, you may experience ongoing symptoms, meaning that some of your favorite foods might be the root cause of your health issues! 2

The surprising thing is that food sensitivities can be the culprit of your symptoms even if you are eating a healthy diet. Many people think if they’re on a vegan, keto, or paleo diet, then they are in the clear. Unfortunately, this isn’t necessarily the case. 

While there are some usual suspects, such as gluten and dairy, you can develop an intolerance to a number of less common trigger foods.

An elimination diet can help you discover your unknown food sensitivities that may be triggering unwanted symptoms. By optimizing your diet based on your results, you can drastically transform your health.

What Is an Elimination Diet?

An elimination diet is a short-term eating plan to pinpoint exactly which foods are causing you problems. When I had my practice, many of my patients experienced reduced reactions several weeks after going without certain foods. 

The idea is that you remove specific foods from your diet for a relatively short period of time, then reintroduce these foods one by one. During the reintroduction phase, you monitoring your body’s reactions and symptoms. This helps you identify which foods you are sensitive to. 

The Myers Way® is a lifestyle incorporating elimination and reintroduction phases to help you enjoy better health. This scientific strategy works with your body to help determine which foods trigger unwanted symptoms and which foods benefit your overall health.

Elimination Diet vs IgG Food Sensitivity Blood Test

Getting an IgG Food Sensitivity Blood Test may seem easier than doing an elimination diet.  However, while functional medicine blood tests are undeniably helpful, they are rarely 100% accurate.

Your body knows best, so I always recommend trying an elimination diet first. It can also offer numerous long-term health benefits as a standalone measure. That said, there may be situations where you would benefit from pairing an elimination diet with a blood test. 

Knowledge is power, and the same principle applies to your health. Regardless of what the IgG test says, if you feel better eliminating a certain food, do it.

Food Sensitivity Symptoms An Elimination Diet Can Help With

Food sensitivities can produce a wide range of symptoms. Sometimes these symptoms can be random, and you may not have an official diagnosis to explain them. Other times many of these symptoms indicate an autoimmune condition or other health problem. 3

Common Signs of Food Sensitivity Include:

You may have one or several of these symptoms. The good news is that by following an elimination diet, you can quickly identify which foods are causing your mysterious symptoms. This is the first step to improving your health.

In my practice, I saw thousands of patients notice improvements in their health after following an elimination diet and they were able to maintain their success by making permanent dietary changes. 

Science has shown us that an elimination diet can greatly improve various health conditions, including:

How Does an Elimination Diet Work?

An elimination diet has two phases: the elimination phase and the reintroduction phase.

Elimination Phase

All toxic and inflammatory foods are removed from your diet during the elimination phase. This includes common culprits of food sensitivities and any foods you suspect your body may not e tolerate well. When in doubt, take it out and see how you feel after a few weeks.

The elimination phase also has two parts: permanently removing toxic foods from your diet and temporarily removing inflammatory foods you may be sensitive to in order to identify a possible trigger.

Toxic foods are unhealthy for all bodies. They lead to aches,pains, inflammation, digestive troubles, Candida overgrowth, leaky gut, autoimmune diseases, and other health conditions. 

These symptoms can be eliminated by removing toxic foods from your diet for good. This means you should not reintroduce them, ever. Toxic foods are neither part of The Myers Way®, nor do they have a place in any kind of healthy lifestyle.

Toxic foods:

  • Sugar
  • Alcohol
  • Caffeine
  • GMOs
  • Artificial sweeteners
  • Additives, preservatives, and dyes
  • High fructose corn syrup
  • Trans or hydrogenated fats
  • All processed food, junk food, and fast foods

The second component of the elimination phase is removing inflammatory foods. These vary from person to person, but there are certain culprits known to contribute to autoimmunity and other health issues.

Inflammatory foods:

*Gluten and dairy are the top two most inflammatory foods. I don’t recommend adding them back into your diet, particularly if you have an autoimmune or thyroid condition. Keeping these ingredients away can also help prevent these conditions.

You may also remove other foods that you suspect you may be sensitive to. For instance, if you think avocados or kiwi might be triggering your symptoms, add them to the “avoid” list and remove them for now.

During this phase, you will stop eating these foods entirely. I know it seems strict, but I want to emphasize that you must stick to this regimen. Even a tiny bit of bread with gluten or yeast, a sip of milk, or a thin slice of tomato can set off a potential immune response. This sends you right back to where you were before. The elimination diet only works if you stay away from these foods 100%.

I understand that these foods are everywhere. You may be wondering what you CAN eat during this phase. Trust me when I say there are a wide range of nutrient-dense foods you can still enjoy while improving your health.

Here are some foods to fill your pantry while on an elimination diet:

  • Most vegetables, except for nightshades
  • Most fruits, except for citrus
  • Grass-fed, pastured meat, and wild-caught fish
  • Dairy substitutes, such as coconut milk
  • Healthy fats, such as coconut oil and avocados
  • Spices and herbs
  • Green juices and smoothies
  • Herbal tea and water

Don’t worry, you won’t feel deprived while you focus on healing your body. Download my free eBook Foods to Toss, Foods to Enjoy which also includes delicious recipes.

Die-Off Symptoms

Many believe that you’ll immediately feel better once you eliminate triggering foods. For some, that may be the case later during the elimination phase. When you begin an elimination diet, your body may experience “die-off” symptoms. Also known as the Herxheimer reaction, this is a biological process triggered by the release of endotoxins. 

Endotoxins are toxins located inside your cells. When these cells disintegrate, the toxins inside are released. Bacteria in your body produce small amounts of endotoxins every day. However, as you eliminate inflammatory foods, endotoxins can rapidly increase and flood your system. This can send your immune system into hyperdrive, leaving you with flu-like symptoms. 

Don’t be discouraged; this means you’re on the right track! I know how important eliminating triggering foods is. Adding certain foods and supplements to your diet during this time can help reduce or eliminate the severity of die-off symptoms you feel. 

My first recommendation for overcoming die-off symptoms is to take coconut charcoal with your meals. Charcoal is known for helping your body bind and eliminate toxins. In addition, the natural coconut fibers assist healthy digestion, which has its own gut-healing merits. Glutathione is another product I recommend. This powerful antioxidant facilitates healthy detoxification, helping you flush out irritants that much faster. 

Taking one or two supplements can definitely help, but if you’re looking for a complete kit that tackles gut repair from beginning to end, my Leaky Gut Breakthrough Kit can help. It includes everything you need to ease uncomfortable die-off symptoms while repairing your gut at the same time.

Reintroduction Phase

After the elimination phase, you are ready to reintroduce certain foods back into your life. You won’t be adding them back all at once, however. The reintroduction phase is a very specific process where you will be reintroducing foods one at a time. 

As you reintroduce certain foods you’ve removed (with the exception of toxic foods!), pay attention to your symptoms. Do you flare up a few days later? If so, you may very well be sensitive to that food. If not, you can likely enjoy that food again with no negative repercussions.

Start by choosing one food to reintroduce. Eat it three times a day for three days. You want to intentionally bombard your system to see if there is a noticeable and definitive immune response. You’ll know, because symptoms will reemerge within a few days. 

If the food is causing inflammation, it will result in some form of bodily reaction or symptom. Once you know the result for this food, go back to the elimination phase for three days before reintroducing a new food. After three days, you can move on to the next food item following the same process. Just go one by one.

Exact Reintroduction Process:

Food Reintroduction Process - Infographic - Amy Myers MD

  • Introduce one food at a time.
  • Eat each reintroduction food three times a day for three days.
  • Keep a food journal and record whether or not you experience any symptoms.
  • Return to the elimination phase for three days between each reintroduction of a different food.
  • If you have a negative reaction, take out the food and return to the elimination phase until you are symptom-free.
  • If you don’t have a negative reaction, you can continue to enjoy that food.
  • Add all safe foods back in after you’ve completed the reintroduction phase (I don’t recommend adding gluten or dairy back into your diet, even if you didn’t notice any major symptoms).

As you are reintroducing foods, paying close attention to your body’s signals is important to see which foods trigger a reaction. Keeping a food journal, eating slowly, and staying in tune with your body are all very helpful during this phase.

Identify Your Triggers

Embarking on an elimination diet is both an enlightening and empowering process. Your body knows best. Listen and pay attention to it. Upon completing an elimination diet, you will identify your personal triggers, putting an end to your uncomfortable everyday symptoms. In turn, you can finally reclaim your health!

With an elimination diet, you’ll be empowered to:

  • Identify foods that are inflammatory triggers for you
  • Formulate a tailored eating plan for life to optimize your nutrition and your health
  • Support weight loss, mental clarity, healthy skin, clear skin, optimal energy, and vitality
  • Optimize your energy levels, immune balance, digestive functions, skin health, and overall health and well-being

Are you ready to reclaim your power, take control of your health, and regain your energy and vitality? An elimination diet such as The Myers Way® 30-Day Transformation will help you uncover your personal food sensitivities and put you on the road to optimal health. Sign up by clicking here to get started on the path towards reclaiming your health!

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