43: Elimination Diet
Eliminate Allergies with the Elimination Diet
Elimination diet is a means for figuring out what's causing your allergic responses. Through this diet, you can remove allergens harming your body.
Things to Ponder
Hello, True Health Seekers! First of all, looking at all the topics we could explore on how you can improve your health, this topic of allergies keeps coming up—seasonal allergies, food allergies, reaction to external pollutants. Most of the time we resort to just buying over the counter medication to suppress those symptoms. But what is really going on underneath? What is causing all these symptoms?
Going back to our past episodes on Naturopaths, the body speaks to us in symptoms. Symptoms are actually the language of our body. If we want to master our health, achieve optimal health and learn how to achieve true health, we need to educate ourselves to understand our body.
My Personal Experience
I personally was habituated to all the foods I was eating. In effect, I was not feeling my best all the time. I was constantly lethargic and suffered frequent headaches. I thought this was as far as how my body works. A friend of mine was in a way was like me. My friend ‘accepted' the fact that having arthritis pain is normal.
There are so many symptoms that we might completely pass off as the ‘norm'. Consequently, we get to this mindset that this is how our body is supposed to feel.
When I shifted my diet and got rid of the things I was allergic to, I had so much energy. Headaches were now a thing of the past. I bounce out of bed whereas before, I thought I just needed coffee to feel alive.
Most noteworthy is that allergens end up lowering the inflammatory response which is known to decrease pain. In addition to that, tt also increases digestion and energy.
Importance Of The Elimination Diet
According to Naturopathic Doctor Dr. Heidi Semanie, try the elimination diet at least once in your life. There's always something in your diet that isn't the best for you. An elimination diet will give you more information on your body and the right foods for you.
“It is a step by step approach to finding out what your body does when exposed to different foods. Everybody has a different food group that their body will react to less positively,” said Semanie.
Semanie also says it's not about not being able to breathe but it might be something you don't even notice until it's gone. The elimination diet offers an opportunity to see how your body functions at a very clean level. So you can make informed decisions about the foods you choose to include in your diet.
Elimination Diet As A Tool
First of all. it is to find out if your food source or supplement is causing an aggravation. There are reasons why your body is not absorbing nutrients in a way that is optimal.
Semanie says there are many ways to approach an elimination diet. There are different styles that work for different people. Her favorite approach is one of the ‘strict' ways.
“If you're one of my patients, we first decide on your three foods. Typically those are brown rice, lamb and pear. These are the only foods you'll be eating for four weeks,” explains Semanie. “At the end of those four weeks, we'll have a list of foods you really want to get back into. And so we'll start challenging.”
Furthermore, she expounds , “The challenge is, we'll take one food like tomatoes. This is to find out which foods you are allergic to. So we'll have you start on Monday and eat all the tomatoes as much as you can all day. And then at midnight, you stop. You go back to brown rice, lamb and pear for the next three days.”
Keeping A Journal
Dr. Semanie also suggests keeping a journal. This is to jot down any change you might notice or experience during the next three days. It could be headache, stuffy nose, gastrointestinal upsets, tummy rumbles, changes in your stool or more frequent urination.
Challenge weeks often take between 2 to 6 weeks depending how many foods you want to challenge. Furthermore, it also depends on how many symptoms you have.
“If you get to have adverse reactions on a certain food, we don't jump into another food challenge right away. We take a few days to go back to the elimination diet to allow your body to ‘reset',” Semanie said.
If you're on a budget, we can make sacrifices. And the sacrifice that we could make is we could say your pears don't have to be organic.
But you're going to choose a meat product that is as good as possible. This is because oftentimes, we react to the other things that the animal has been fed.
But what if somebody reacts negatively to brown rice, lamb or pear?
Semanie says that for some people, when you start the elimination diet, you may have not exposed yourself to these foods. You may experiences some changes. What we're looking for are the changes that occur in your body.
“We keep in close contact in that first week or two. This is to make sure the changes that are happening are more along the lines of a detoxification pathway,” said Semanie. “Your body should be clearing out junk rather than a response to what you're currently putting in.”
In addition to that, Semanie says there are alternatives during worst scenarios. If you do not respond well the brown rice, lamb or pear, we look at more hypo-allergenic foods.
“If some people really can't eat lamb, we substitute it with turkey. Because turkey is less inflammatory. It has less adverse responses for most people compared to if they eat chicken or beef.”
Vegetarians And the Elimination Diet
“We just find a plant-based substitute. So the person can still have protein in their diet. This can be a little tricky because a lot of the plant substitutes for protein are hard for the body to digest,” said Semanie.
Semanie often just sticks to whatever their primary protein is, usually in supplement form.
Responding To The Challenge
Challenge day is different for most people. Some people will choose a less stringent program and eliminate one food at a time. Semanie says this is not the best way to do it but it does happen. Some practitioners may do it differently by breaking it down either food group or by food type.
Foods To Avoid
If you're not going to do an elimination diet, Semanie says these are the foods to avoid:
- Fried food
- Pre-packaged food
Furthermore, if you want to know more about the elimination diet and download the food mood journal, please click this link.
Dr. Heidi Semanie obtained her Doctorate in Naturopathic Medicine from Bastyr University. She also has a B.S. in Biological Science with minor degrees in English and Anthropology.
Get Connected with Dr. Heidie Semanie!
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