So far we’ve talked about what an elimination diet is, and how to go about doing one.
If you’ve successfully made it through the 3-4 weeks to the final re-introduction phase, congratulations! The hard part is over.
Yayyyyyy! You get to eat some forbidden foods again!
The only catch is that you must exercise patience, Grasshopper. You’ve come so far, please don’t blow it now!
Pick foods from ONE and ONLY ONE of the eliminated categories (I can tell you that I fell face first into bagels and pasta!).
After consuming the food, note any change in your health, sleep and energy for the next TWO DAYS. If you feel no negative change, that food group is likely fine for you. If you do notice a negative response, do not incorporate that food group back into your diet for the remainder of this program.
Let me give you an example of what your calendar may end up looking like:
- Day 1-7: Start diet, may notice an increase in health issues.
- Day 8-15: Should start to notice improvements in health.
- Days 16-30: You crave forbidden items, but feel so good, you stick with it.
- Day 31: Re-introduce gluten into your diet.
- Day 32-33: Notice constipation, bloating and fatigue? Eliminate gluten again.
- Day 34: Re-introduce dairy.
- Day 35-36: No noticeable change in health? Dairy can remain in diet.
And so forth.
You can see by the example timeline above that when gluten was re-introduced it didn’t go well, while the dairy wasn’t so bad. As a girl who is gluten-sensitive, I can tell you that I feel MUCH healthier and more energetic when I avoid gluten. However, I do occasionally choose to indulge — and suffer the consequences later.
Knowing that you have a food sensitivity or intolerance is truly half the battle.
Hopefully, you’ll uncover just one or two groups that makes your body react, and you can quite easily plan your diet around it. It doesn’t mean that you can never have it — it just means that you should be aware of how it impacts your body. Symptoms outside means there is damage being done on the inside as well.
Some tips for the biggies:
Gluten: There is a plethora of gluten-free alternatives for you bread and pasta lovers. I save those for the times when I am really craving something carb-y. My favorites? Pamela’s Baking products (best pancakes, bar none!), and brown rice pasta. You truly won’t miss a thing if you substitute these out.
Dairy: Goat dairy is much more digestible than cow’s dairy, so look for that when you are craving some cheese. For some reason, cow’s milk yogurt doesn’t bother me as much as cow’s milk, so experiment a little to find what works for you.
But seriously, give yourself a pat on the back if you’ve completed this process. Isn’t it crazy to see what certain foods are really doing to your health when they simply don’t mesh with your physiology? I don’t love that gluten makes me tired, puffy and constipated, but it does, so I (mostly) choose my foods accordingly now.