An elimination diet, sometimes called exclusion diet or allergy avoidance diet is a diet in which likely allergens or other foods that people may be sensitive to are avoided. This diet is used to identify those foods that an individual is sensitive to through first exclusion and then challenges. An elimination diet functions as a test and while on this diet, it is important to keep a food diary in which dietary consumption is recorded along with subsequent symptoms. An elimination diet lasts for a period of weeks and strict adherence is important.
The BIG food sensitivities that people encounter are cow’s milk, eggs, wheat, peanuts, soybeans, nightshades, fish, shellfish, tree nuts and citrus. But this is not an exhaustive list and it is easier to list the foods that are hypoallergenic and allowed for consumption during the diet instead.
You can eat-
- Any vegetable except peas or beans. Also, you need to avoid the nightshades: potatoes, tomatoes, eggplant and peppers. It is important to eat different vegetables and not the same one for fourteen days.
- Only chicken, turkey and lamb. Organic or fee-range meats are preferred as additives can also cause individuals to react.
- Rice (any type).
- Pears, blueberries.
- Any seasoning is alright as long as it does not have any nightshades or soy.
- Herbal teas except chamomile.
- Olive oil is acceptable.
Continue on this diet for 14 days. On the 14th day the second phase of the diet begins – food challenges. You will pick the food you would like to re-introduce first, and for 2 meals you add this food back into you diet. Then you resume your diet without the food for the next 3 days, all the while keeping track of any changes in your diet diary. If after the third day no adverse reactions are seen it is alright to add this food to your diet. You will then challenge another food at this time, eating it for 2 meals and then eliminating for 3 days like before. It is in the manner that you will work through all the foods that may be causing symptoms.
An elimination diet is not easy. before you start, talk to you family, let then know what you are going to do. Also, pick a time that is appropriate, dieting during holidays is much more difficult. Before dieting, keep a diary of symptoms for at least 3 days and continue the symptom diary during the diet. The elimination diet can take months to finish, so be patient.