What You Need To Know About Elimination Diets
Welcome to another Thriving Thursdays with Amelia! Today we're talking about elimination diets. Diets like Whole30 are really popular, especially this time of year. And while they can be a really powerful tool, often they're not used to their full potential or in the proper way to really help create a healthy relationship with your body and mind. That's why in this video, I talk about what an elimination diet is, whether an elimination diet might be right for you, and what an elimination diet is NOT meant to be. Let's dive in!
What is an elimination diet?
An elimination diet is a very powerful (and free) diagnostic tool. It's a period of time where you eliminate certain foods in order to uncover possible food sensitivities or intolerances. For example, with Whole30 you eliminate added sugar, processed food, grains, legumes, soy, and alcohol for 30 days. There are a huge number of different elimination diets out there that remove different food categories depending on the symptoms that you're experiencing.
What are some signs of a food sensitivity or intolerance?
- GI discomfort (bloating, gas, diarrhea, constipation, IBS, reflux, etc)
- Low energy or brain fog
- Allergies and congestion
- Skin problems
- Achy joints
What is an elimination diet designed to do?
An elimination diet is designed to identify the causes of signs you're suffering from. It serves as a restart for your body. By eliminating possible causes of the food sensitivities, you are able to calm down the body's inflammation and reaction to that food. Once your body's reaction has subsided, you can start to reintroduce food to identify the culprit.
I often see one of two mistakes happen at the end of an elimination diet:
- At the end of the elimination diet, like Whole30, people celebrate and immediately go back to eating all of the food they miss.
- People feel so great that they're afraid to reintroduce any food so they continue eating with all of the restrictions.
What's wrong with going back to how your were eating abruptly?
An elimination diet helps to calm down the inflammation and reaction that your body was having to a food. Once your body is feeling better, this is the most valuable part of the entire process. This is how you learn which foods were causing you to not feel great in the first place. If you immediately reintroduce all of the foods, you likely will go right back to not feeling great, but you'll have no idea which food was the culprit.
If you want to get the most out of an elimination diet, once you're feeling better reintroduce one food category back at a time for just one day. After that day of reintroducing dairy, for example, go back to eating as you were on the elimination diet for 2-3 more days. Why? Because sometimes the signs and reactions from a food sensitivity don't show up until a couple of days after consuming it. By just reintroducing dairy for one day, you're able to observe the full effects of that food.
If you do react to dairy, then go back to the elimination diet until you are feeling better again. At that point, you can reintroduce a different food category OR you can reintroduce one type of dairy. Just because you react to cow's milk doesn't mean you'll have the same reaction to goat cheese, so it can be worth dialing in on the specific foods that don't work for you.
What's wrong with sticking with the elimination diet plan forever?
Elimination diets can be restrictive. Often times perfectly healthy foods (like quinoa, beans, oats, and even certain vegetables) are eliminated with these diets. The reintroduction phase is worth doing so that you don't restrict yourself from perfectly nourishing options. Variety is a really important way to get a wide array of micronutrients in your diet. An elimination diet should be a tool to help you feel empowered to understand what works best for your body. It should not make you afraid that the only way to feel "better" is to stay on a very restrictive diet.
What should you do if you think an elimination diet might be right for you?
I have exciting news! I now have a self-guided 5 week Life Boost Jumpstart Program that's designed to be a great place to start if you're suffering from GI issues, low energy, headaches, or just feeling like your body needs a reset. It's not as restrictive as Whole30, but it does remove the most common causes of food sensitivities and intolerances as well as other foods that make it hard to listen to your body's natural cues.
My Life Boost Jumpstart Program is designed to be delicious, easy, and to help you feel amazing in your body without feeling deprived. I've done a number of very restrictive elimination diets, so I know that something like Whole30 can be extremely intimidating and, at times, depressing. My program doesn't just focus on the food aspect, it also makes sure that you're staying motivated and boosting your happiness along the way.