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What the Elimination Diet is & How it Can Help You

By Heidi Baldwin, MS, Holistic Health Coach

Do you ever feel like something is off with your body but can't put your finger on it? You may have a food intolerance or sensitivity. To find out what's causing your digestive discomfort, aches, pains, or headaches, you might want to try an elimination diet.

You'll start by removing certain foods from your diet - the foods that are well-known for causing symptoms. Then, you'll reintroduce the foods you eliminate one at a time and take note of any symptoms. The process takes about six weeks, and if you have a food sensitivity or intolerance, you'll be able to see which food is causing your body distress and avoid it.

The Way Elimination Diets Work

There are two phases to the elimination diet. The first is elimination, where you remove the foods that could trigger the symptoms you're experiencing. You'll stop eating them for 2 to 3 weeks. These foods are commonly known allergens such as dairy, nuts, wheat, gluten, eggs, and seafood. I also recommend eliminating sugar during this time frame as well because sugar can really cause distress in the body and unstable blood sugar levels can bring on a slew of unwanted symptoms.

After the first three weeks, you'll reintroduce the foods you eliminated – ONE AT A TIME. You'll take your time observing for 2 to 3 days after reintroducing each of the eliminated foods to see if any of them cause a reaction before re-introducing the next food.

Common symptoms of food sensitivities and intolerances are rashes or changes in the skin, pains in the joints, headaches, fatigue, insomnia, bloating, and stomach pain or cramps. When you don't have any symptoms after reintroducing a certain food group, you can safely continue to eat it. But if you notice these symptoms, you've found your trigger food, and can now work to keep it out of your diet.

How Elimination Diets Help

If you've been experiencing these symptoms of discomfort for a long time and are ready to figure out what's causing them, this is a great way to do that in the comfort of your own home.

It can significantly benefit you to determine if something you're eating is to blame for the way you feel. Those that eliminate foods that cause reactions in them start feeling better within days, and in weeks, they can feel completely reborn.

Benefits include:

  • Your uncomfortable bloating will dissipate.

  • Your skin will look radiant and healthy.

  • You won't need coffee to give you energy in the morning.

  • You may lose weight naturally by ridding any problem foods from your diet.

  • Your menstrual discomfort may improve (and who doesn't want less pain?)

  • Your achy joints will start to feel better, and it will be easier to move your body.

Believe it or not, food intolerances and sensitivities are more common than you think. If you uncover some intolerances or sensitivities, know that you are not alone. Knowing which foods set you off is an extreme asset, which is why choosing an elimination diet can help you find out once and for all what's going on with your body and how to restore balance.

Not sure you are ready to try this on your own without support? Anyone is welcome to see me in the office for nutritional health coaching; you’d don’t have to be a medical patient in the practice to have my support to help you find the foods that work best for your body! Interested in learning more? Email me at or call the office at 315.741.5774.

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