The Food Elimination Diet is a dietary program designed to clear the body of foods and chemicals to which you may be allergic or sensitive. The main rationale behind the diet is that these modifications allow your body’s detoxification machinery, which may be overburdened or compromised, to recover and begin to function efficiently again. The dietary changes help the body eliminate or “clear” various toxins that may have accumulated due to environmental exposure, foods, beverages, drugs, alcohol or cigarette smoking. It also helps reduce inflammation throughout your body. This called an “Elimination Diet” because you remove certain foods and food categories from your diet.
During a period of two to three weeks, our medical staff will closely monitor you and have you eliminate the foods from your diet that are the most likely culprits of sensitivity symptoms. If your symptoms improve during the three-week period, you’ll carefully add foods back into your diet one at a time to see which foods may be triggering symptoms. You will eat a wide variety of foods and we will try not to restrict your calorie intake. If you find no improvement within three weeks either you do not have any food allergies, or you may have food allergies but there is yet another factor complicating the picture. There are no magical answers here; this is a journey of self-exploration and discovery that we will take you on to learn about your body. In our experience, we have found this process to be generally well tolerated and extremely beneficial. In fact, it’s one of the best clinical tools we use.
There is really no “typical” or “normal” response. A person’s initial response to any new diet is highly variable, and this diet is no exception. This can be attributed to physiological, mental and biochemical differences among individuals; the degree of exposure to, and type of “toxin”; and other lifestyle factors. Most often, individuals on the elimination diet report increased energy, mental alertness, a decrease in muscle or joint pain and a general sense of improved well-being. However, some people report some initial reactions to the diet, especially in the first week, as their bodies adjust to a different dietary program. Symptoms you may experience in the first week or so can include changes in sleep patterns, lightheadedness, headaches, joint or muscle stiffness and changes in gastrointestinal function. Such symptoms rarely last for more than a few days, but it’s worth it in the end!
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