You may have heard this term elimination diet tossed around from your doctor, Dr. Oz, or other health related websites. At first it can seem very daunting to do an elimination diet. So what is it exactly? Well you basically are restricted to certain foods for a period of time. This can be just certain foods, food groups or even a specific diet of what you can only eat depending n the severity of your symptoms and what the doctor recommends that you do. Then you slowly add back in the foods you believe give you a problem.
The hard part comes with trying to figure out what food you are allergic too. This is why you need to partner with your medical professional to see what they recommend. When they recommend giving up something you need to make sure to ask some of the following questions:
Is it just that food or an entire food group?
Is it just primary sources or secondary as well?
How long should I do this?
Will I be able to re-introduce the food back into my diet?
What is the best way to re-introduce it to my diet?
A food elimination diet is not something that will give you instant results, normally speaking. While some do see instant changes, this does not mean that it will happen for everyone. Normally you are on an elimination diet for 6-8 weeks. You need to see this through with your doctor and not give up a few days or a week or two into it.
The best advice I can give you is to learn to listen to your own body and work with your medical professionals. Everyone on the internet is a health expert and is going to try to tell you how to do this that or the other. If you have a gluten allergy you are going to meet others who have it and they are going to tell you how you are doing it wrong.
Here is the thing with food allergies. Your allergy is going to be different than mine. We may both have a gluten allergy but our degree of sensitivity too exposure will vary. Often, people forget this.
The way my doctor and I have worked on this is that I eliminated all gluten and then slowly started adding in things containing “hidden gluten” to see if there was a reaction. If there was then I knew I couldn’t eat it.
There is some controversy in the gluten free community over modified corn starch, natural flavors and caramel coloring and if it contains gluten or not. I had been gluten free for about a year and a half and I suddenly was having a reaction again. When that happens, I go to food diary and full on elimination diet mode, which means no foods with any hidden gluten that I may be able to process.
The only thing that was common was me having a coke. NOOOO! I was an avid coke drinker – been to the factory in Atlanta – I still wear my coke branded products. I however cannot drink any dark colored sodas.
So after a few days of eating a limited completely gluten free diet and I had made sure it had been about 6 hours since I’d eaten anything and only had water to drink, I drank a coke. About twenty minutes later I was in the bathroom getting sick like I normally do with gluten things.
As much as I love coke, I just couldn’t drink it. Modified Corn Starch, Natural Flavors and Caramel Color seem to get me. Now there are many who will say it doesn’t have gluten. Those that state they don’t have gluten in them claim that the labeling in the USA has to put if it has gluten in it. Actually, no it doesn’t. Gluten as we know is wheat, barley and rye. Barley is often used in either of these but is not covered under the FDA list of must report items, so it does not “have” to be listed. This is what can cause a reaction.
An elimination diet is not forever. Yes it will be challenging and even at times frustrating. Focus on what you CAN have and see it through. If you really do have an allergy or autoimmune disease related to gluten, you should see results and the changes will be worth it!