The purpose of an elimination diet is to identify hidden food allergens.

All common allergens need to be completely eliminated from the diet for 2 to 3 weeks. After symptoms improve foods can be added back one at a time to determine which foods provoke symptoms.

Foods to avoid

Dairy products, wheat, corn, eggs, citrus fruits, coffee, tea, alcohol, refined sugars, and food additives. Also any food you eat more than 3 times a week should be avoided and tested later.

Read labels, hidden allergens are frequently found in packaged food. Flour means wheat, vegetable oil means corn oil; casein and whey are dairy products. Make sure your vitamins are free from allergens. Vary your diet by choosing from a variety of foods.

Do not rely on just a few foods, as you may become allergic to foods you eat every day.

Foods you may eat

Cereals: oatmeal, oat bran, rice, puffed rice and puffed millet. You can use apple juice, soy milk, rice milk and almond milk.

Grains: Rice crackers, rye crackers, rye or spelt bread, buckwheat, rice flour or bread, rice, brown rice, amaranth, quinoa, barley, oats. Most of these grains are available at organic food stores.

Legumes (beans): soybeans, tofu, lentils, peas, chickpeas, navy beans, kidney beans, black beans, string beans. Dried beans should be soaked overnight. Canned beans often contain added sugar or other potential allergens so read labels.

Vegetables: use a wide variety of vegetables except corn.

Proteins: Poultry, fowl, and fresh fish. Beef, pork and lamb. Lamb rarely causes allergic reaction, so if other meats are restricted lamb is okay.

Nuts and Seeds: Nuts and seeds are okay raw or roasted without sugar or salt. To prevent rancidity, store in an air-tight container in the fridge.

Nut butters are available from supermarkets and health food stores.

Oils and Fats: Sunflower, safflower, olive, sesame, peanut, flaxseed, rice bran and soy. Use cold pressed oils. Do not use corn oil or vegetable oil as it is usually corn oil.

General suggestions:

Do not restrict your calories. Start with a good breakfast and eat frequently throughout the day. Drink plenty of water. If you do not eat enough you may experience symptoms of low blood sugar, such as fatigue, irritability, headache and too rapid weight loss. Plan your meals. Think ahead, make a list of meal ideas and snacks.

Some people may experience withdrawal symptoms within a few days after starting the diet. This may include fatigue, irritability, headaches, or increased hunger. These symptoms generally disappear within 2 to 5 days. This can then be followed by an improvement in the original symptoms.

If withdrawal symptoms are uncomfortable take vitamin C 1000 mg up to 4 times a day.

Testing individual foods

It may take 2 to 3 weeks for your symptoms to improve. Once improvement in symptoms is seen then you can retest foods.

Some people feel so well they decide not to test foods and keep them out of the diet. If reintroducing certain foods causes a recurrence of symptoms you are therefore intolerant.

Test pure sources of food

For example; do not use pizza to test cheese as it contains wheat and corn oil.

Do not test bread for wheat as it contains other ingredients.

Test one new food each day and eat relatively large amount of each test food. With food allergies reactions can occur within 10 minutes to 12 hours. But with food intolerance it may take 2 to 3 days for a reaction. If after one serving of a particular food your original symptom comes back, or if you develop a headache, bloating, nausea, dizziness, or fatigue, do not eat that food any more and place it on your 'allergic' list. If no symptoms occur, eat the food again for lunch and dinner and watch for reactions.

How and What to Test

Even if the food is well tolerated, do not add it back into your diet until you have finished testing all of the foods. If you do experience a reaction, wait until your symptoms have improved before testing the next food. If you wake up the next day with head or joint pain, nausea, sinus, or any other suspicious symptom, you may be experiencing a delayed reaction for the food you tested the day before. If you are unsure if you reacted, remove the food and retest it in 4 to 5 days. You do not have to test foods you never eat. Do not test foods you already know cause symptoms.

Suggestions for self-help if you are allergic to foods

If you have an allergic constitution and eat the same foods every day, you may eventually become allergic to them. After you have discovered which foods you can eat safely, make an attempt to rotate your diet. A 4 day schedule is necessary for some severely allergic patients, but most people can tolerate foods more frequently than every 4 days. You may eventually be able to tolerate allergenic foods after you have avoided them for 6 to 12 months. However, if you continue to eat these foods more frequently than every fourth day, your symptoms may return.

Use common sense, and consume a wide variety of foods. Do not just latch onto a few favourites. If you are rotating foods, be sure to avoid all forms of the food when you are on an 'off ' day.

Watch for other allergic reactions

If you have an allergic constitution, you may be allergic to foods other than those you have eliminated and tested on this diet. Pay attention to what you are eating. If you develop symptoms, review your recent meals, and try to identify the offending food.

You can then eliminate that food for 2 weeks and test it to see if provokes the same symptom.

Symptoms that may be due to Food Allergy

  • General: Fatigue, anxiety, depression, insomnia, food cravings, obesity.
  • Infections: recurrent colds, urinary tract infections, sore throats, ear infections, yeast infections.
  • Ear, Nose and Throat: Chronic nasal congestion, postnasal drip, fluid in the ears, Meniere's syndrome, tonsillitis.
  • Gastrointestinal: Irritable bowel syndrome, constipation, diarrhoea, abdominal cramping, ulcerative colitis, Crohns disease, gallbladder disease.
  • Cardiovascular: High blood pressure, arrhythmia, angina.
  • Dermatologic: Acne, eczema, psoriasis, mouth ulcers, hives.
  • Neurologic: Migraines, other headaches, numbness.
  • Miscellaneous: Asthma, frequent urination, teeth grinding, bedwetting, infantile colic and reflux.

Additional Information

Also addition of a vitamin and mineral supplement to help with energy, immune function and nutritional deficiencies. Acidophillus to replace the benefical bacteria. I also recommend Nordic Naturals Omega 3 or cod liver to reduce inflammation.

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