In terms of health and wellness, it's important to let of go the old in order to make room for the new. Whether it's around weight loss, food choices, exercise, and so on, it's important to take inventory. What's working for you? What isn't?
At least 45 percent of Americans suffers from some type of food intolerance, which is akin to a milder form of an allergy. In contrast to allergies, food intolerant reactions can manifest up to 72 hours after exposure. Food intolerant reactions rarely need medical attention, but can certainly reduce the quality of life and cause chronic illness. Symptoms can range from sluggish weight loss, skin problems, gastrointestinal distress, excess mucus, lethargy, and so on.
You might not even realize that the foods you eat on a daily basis are causing you issues. Maybe you've accepted these symptoms as simply par-for-the-course of being human in the modern age. Or maybe you've begun to recognize how poorly you feel but don't know exactly how to fix it. That's when I suggest going on the Elimination Diet. It's very basic and very effective. Here's how it works:
1) First, identify how often you eat any of the Top Five Usual Suspects, the foods or ingredients people most often react to. There are many others and I can help you figure out what might be your trigger, but the most commons ones are:
- Cow's-milk products
- Gluten-containing grains (wheat, including spelt and kamut; rye; barley; triticale; and oats if they are from a company that processes on machines that also process gluten-containing grains).
- Yeast and yeast-containing products
2) Pick one and only one of the above foods to eliminate first. Use your intuition as to which one you think might be causing your symptoms. It's important that you only eliminate one food group at at time to more accurately determine which is causing issues.
3) Completely eliminate that food group from your diet. Read labels. Seek the support of a professional health coach to help you decipher which of your favorite foods might contain your trigger ingredient. Eliminate that food 100% for 2 to 4 weeks. If you slip, don't beat yourself up but do start over.
4) Record your reactions before, during, and after. Notice the subtleties. Are you sleeping better, having easier bowel movements, or have more sustained energy throughout the day?
5) Reintroduce a small amount of the food at every meal for the next 3 days. If you notice any adverse symptoms, immediately stop consumption. If you notice no issues after 3 days, assume that food is not the cause of your problems and start over the Elimination Diet with a new possible suspect.
6) Once you discover the culprit (and there could be multiple), completely eliminate it for 90 days. You should be able to gradually and occasionally reintroduce the food without issue. If you start experiencing symptoms again, you may need to eliminate the food for longer until your system is completely cleared.
I know it can feel overwhelming to eliminate your favorite foods. But I guarantee you that if you are like most Americans, having not a full-blown illness but low-level illness and general malaise, you will experience great results from trying out this elimination. If you want more support in clearing out your system and finding the foods that work and don't work for you, I am here as your personal, professional health coach.