Your body is a complex, beautiful creation. It is built to heal and rid itself of anything that doesn’t serve it well. Think about it- when your skins gets cut, your body springs into action, limiting blood flow to the injured area to prevent blood loss, creating a protective covering in the form of a scab (aka nature’s band-aid), and regenerating new skin. When bacteria or a virus enters the body, our immune cells rush to that foreign invader and work together to destroy it. However, there are times when your body needs a little break from the everyday toxins it is encountering from both your surrounding environment and what you are putting into your body.
Did you know 60-70% of our population has some sort of food allergy, and most don’t even realize it. If you’re feeling tired, sick, lacking energy, or experiencing digestive upset, an elimination diet could be just what you need to feel more in tune with your body and truly see how what you eat affects how you feel. I have wanted to do an elimination diet for a while now- to give my body a break, so it can recharge and heal itself, to feel more in tune, and to see if there are any additional food allergies or sensitivities affecting my body. There are different methods of elimination diets, but this is one, which lasts about two weeks, seemed the most feasible to me. Sometimes you don’t have 4+ weeks to do an elimination diet, especially with the holidays approaching. The elimination diet I am basing this off of was formulated by a holistic doctor, Dr. Stephan Rechtschaffen who started the OMEGA Institute. He was one of my teachers in my health coaching training, and spoke much wisdom on food allergies and how they affect your body.
Prep for your elimination diet:
Prepping for your elimination diet can help lesson some of the withdrawal symptoms you will be experiencing. A few days before your cleanse, start to slowly eliminate wheat, dairy, sugar, alcohol, and caffeine and increase the amount of whole, unprocessed foods you are eating. When eliminating caffeine, especially coffee, I find it best to gradually reduce your intake. For example, if you have two cups a day, reduce it to one, then switch to black tea (or have one cup of coffee every other day), and then switch to green tea until you have completely eliminated caffeine. This really helps reduce headaches and other detox symptoms.
It’s also important to decide which foods you will be avoiding and which foods you will including. This helps with grocery and meal prep, and mentally preparing your body for the next two weeks.
Foods to Avoid:
You can choose to eliminate any of the following common allergens. In addition, try eliminating foods you eat frequently or foods you already know you are intolerant to. There is an odd phenomenon in the food allergy/sensitivity realm in which our body craves, and can even be addicted to the very foods we are allergic to.
- dairy/milk products
- citrus fruits (orange, lemon, lime, grapefruit, pineapple)
- nightshade vegetables (tomatoes, white potatoes, eggplant, peppers)
- pork & beef
- sugar (refined sugar, corn syrup, maple syrup, honey, etc)*
- any preservatives, artificial flavors, artificial colors*
(Foods with an ‘*’ should always be avoided during the elimination diet.)
Foods to Include:
- rice, millet, quinoa, amaranth, teff, buckwheat
- fresh nut milks (coconut, almond, hemp)
- split peas, lentils, legumes (sprouted)
- wild fish, organic chicken, lamb, or turkey (if you choose to eat meat)
- vegetables, including fermented veggies
- nuts and seeds
- cold pressed, unrefined oils (coconut, olive, flax, etc) & ghee
- lots of water! organic, herbal teas, seltzer water
- condiments such as apple cider vinegar (be careful of other vinegars- many are made from corn or wheat), & all herbs/spices
- drinks a lot of water!
- try starting your day with warm water with a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar (or lemon if you aren’t eliminating citrus) and ginger (check out the benefits!)
- drink herbal teas (choose organic, if possible, and watch out for added sweeteners and natural flavors) and detox-aiding teas ( especially if you need help with elimination, which is very important in getting toxins out of your body)
- include gentle movement every day, like yoga or walking
- take notes! take some time to meditate and tune into your body- what is it telling you?
- relax- try a detoxifying bath with epsom salts (add 2 cups epsom salt in a warm bathtub and soak at least 10 minutes)
Check back for part two on Feeling More In Tune with Your Body Through a Simple Elimination Diet.
Reminder: I am not a doctor or medical professional. Please consult your physician of choice when making changes to your diet. Please do not try this if you have severe allergies. This diet is not intended to diagnose, cure, treat, or prevent any disease. See my disclaimer for more and take responsibility for your health.