Many of you may have heard of the Elimination Diet before, especially if you, your child, or someone you know suffers from allergies or food sensitivities. The Elimination Diet is an effective and low-cost tool that you can use to determine which foods, if any, are contributing to your symptoms. For twelve days you eliminate the most common trigger foods from your diet, and then gradually reintroduce food groups one at a time to find out which, if any, cause your symptoms. This diet is appropriate for children as well, and can be helpful to determine if your child’s symptoms are linked to a particular food or food group. The diet can also be done during breastfeeding, and a modified version of the diet can be done during pregnancy. I would highly recommend both be completed under supervision from a certified practitioner.
This is the first of a series of three posts regarding how to effectively create an elimination diet to determine which foods may be contributing to skin problems, sensitivities, or allergies.
Part I: Covers some tasks you can do before starting the Elimination Diet in order to rule out or narrow down which foods or lifestyle factors may be contributing to your symptoms.
Part II: Outlines the Elimination Diet itself and how to make it feel a little less daunting. This post will also include recipes and tips on keeping a balanced diet during the elimination phase.
Part III: Covers the re-introductory phase of the Elimination Diet and how to add foods back in properly.
Part I: Before Starting the Elimination Diet!
It is becoming common knowledge that skin reactions may be linked with food sensitivities and allergies in certain individuals, including children. For example, several recently published articles confirmed a correlation between patients with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity and those who suffer from psoriasis and eczema. Research has also found that for eczema sufferers, the most common food culprits were eggs, milk, peanuts, seafood, wheat and soy. These were actually many of the original items I removed from my diet when I first started my own health journey!
Often, however, food sensitivities and allergies are a sign that the body is out of balance. It is not necessarily the food itself that is the true cause of the skin problems, but the conditions within the body itself. Regardless, it is important to remove the trigger foods while dealing with any underlying imbalance in the body. Click here for more information regarding this topic.
Here are some tips to consider before starting the elimination diet:
- Chew your food, and chew it well! Undigested food particles in the digestive system increase the risk of a reaction. For children, blending or pureeing food may be helpful.
- Avoid fluid consumption during meals as it can dilute your food and result in poor digestion.
- Start a food diary and track you or your child’s symptoms. This can be an initial tool to provide clarity in terms of food reactions.
- Become familiar with reading food labels – this will serve you well if you continue on to the Elimination Diet! A good resource is found HERE and HERE. If you can’t pronounce an ingredient, you probably don’t want to be eating it!
- When was your child’s last round of antibiotics? Sometimes incorporating a probiotic supplement or fermented/cultured foods are enough to support the intestinal and immune system.
- Try eliminating sugars, including refined white sugar, brown sugar, high fructose corn syrup, cane sugar, and maple syrup. If a yeast imbalance is present (which can be linked to food sensitivities and allergies), sugar feeds yeast. If you have a reduction in symptoms, you may need to consult a health practitioner about a Candida or yeast-busting diet.
- Try removing gluten and/or dairy, as they are often the worst offenders.
Any questions, comments or experiences? We want to support you during the Elimination Diet, and help you feel confident while undertaking it. Ask a question by leaving a comment below. Also, feel free to contact Ashley at firstname.lastname@example.org.
About The Writer
Ashley’s interest and passion in holistic health developed from a personal experience with chronic and widespread eczema for nearly a decade. After investigating through holistic health practices, she was keen to learn more about the inner workings of the body and their connection to nutrition, supplementation, and the mind/body/ spirit connection. During this journey she decided to obtain her Registered Holistic Nutritionist designation from the Canadian School of Natural Nutrition in Vancouver. She complements her love for nutrition with an interest in cooking and gardening.