Elimination Diet 101
ELIMINATION DIET 101
While many of you are likely already avoiding gluten and processed and refined foods, it can be tricky to figure out what foods work for your body and which ones are truly driving bothersome symptoms like joint pain, GI distress or skin conditions. When starting with diet overhaul, we often use a basic Elimination Diet to aid in reducing inflammatory drivers and identify triggers. In an Elimination Diet, you remove what we consider the top 5 inflammatory foods for a period of ideally 6 weeks, then slowly reintroduce one food at a time and observe the body’s response. By week 6, clients are often feeling so good that they don’t WANT to reintroduce things like gluten or processed soy and canola oil and we definitely consider this a win!
Dairy is a food that many end up on the fence about and there is SO much conflicting information out there about forms of dairy, who should and should not eat dairy and its drawbacks and benefits. We dedicated an entire podcast episode to this topic, so if you’re wanting to skip ahead and dive into it, listen to Episode 82 of the Naturally Nourished Podcast!
One of the coolest things about a ketogenic diet and our Real Food Virtual Ketosis Program is that we have you eliminate all pro-inflammatory grains and processed foods so you are essentially already embarking on an Elimination Diet whether you know it or not! Even for someone not looking for weight loss, this can have HUGE benefit in terms of reducing inflammation, balancing hormones and resetting digestion!
What is inflammation?
Literally translating to “on fire”, this process is defined as a localized reaction of tissue to irritation, injury, invasion, or infection. Following a stimuli or exposure to a pro-inflammatory compound, the body releases inflammatory mediators from the white blood cells which conduct inflammatory chemical signaling. The suffix -itis deems an inflammatory process of a particular area in the body, example, arthritis is inflammation of bones and joints.
Why Follow an Elimination Diet?
What Foods Are Eliminated?
Gluten:protein found in grains such as wheat, barley, rye, spelt and their byproducts including wheat and white flours.
Corn: popcorn, cornstarch, cornmeal, high fructose corn syrup, grits
Hidden Sources: baking powder, maltodextrin, dextrin, dextrose, Maltitol, Mannitol, MSG, Iodized salt (Morton’s), calcium citrate, Sorbitol, Sucralose, Sweet’N Low, Xylitol, xanthan gum
Soy: edamame, soy sauce, tofu, tempeh, miso
Hidden Sources: sugar icings, processed meats, lecithin (*soy), baked goods, vegetable broth, artificial and natural flavoring, thickening agents, milled corn, cooking sprays
Wheat, corn, and soy are the most genetically modified crops. These foods have been engineered to create a heartier crop by increasing their natural insecticides…but this can make them more inflammatory for our bodies by causing a leaky gut. Most processed foods, encapsulated medications or supplements, cosmetics, and even detergents can contain wheat, corn, and/or soy.
Dairy has two primary irritants- lactose and casein. Many adults are lactose intolerant lacking the enzyme lactase and therefore can’t digest milk sugar. This can cause GI discomfort and irritation triggering inflammation. Casein, the primary protein in milk, can be difficult to digest and is problematic for those with Autism or ADHD. It can often cross-react with gluten or be mistaken by the body as gluten making it a concern for those with Celiac.
Industrial Seed Oils: canola, soybean, corn (Mazola), cottonseed, grape seed
Hidden Sources: packaged foods, salad dressings, mayonnaise, butter substitutes
Industrial oils are extracted using solvents, bleaching, and deodorizers. They are also high in omega-6 fatty acids, low in omega-3’s, and oxidized easily.
Sugar:candy, soda, pastries, sports drinks, fruit juices
Hidden Sources: granola bars, ketchup/condiments, yogurt, frozen meals, dried cranberries, canned fruit
Sugar is stripped of all nutrients, leaving empty calories. Note that food isn’t sweet may still have sugar added to it. Sugar is a preservative and is added to many foods with this intent. High sugar intake has been associated with diabetes, heart disease, obesity, cancer, high blood pressure, and cognitive disorders.
Remove irritant foods listed and any foods containing them for 3-4 weeks
After 3-4 weeks, begin reintroducing 1 food at a time for 3 days in a row with a 1 week buffer in between
Increase portions of the food over 3 days starting with a portion smaller than a typical serving, a typical serving, and on the last day more than a typical serving. Record any symptoms experienced such as water retention, headache, digestive issues, bloating, reflux, fatigue, or unexplained muscle aches
If symptoms arise, stop eating the food and wait until symptoms clear before reintroducing a new food
|Like This?||Try This!|
|Pasta||Zucchini or vegetable zoodles|
|Flour Tortillas||Almond Flour Tortillas|
|Vegetable Oils||Olive, macadamia nut, avocado oil|
|Chips||Kale Chips or Parmesan Crisps|
|Milk||Almond or Coconut Milk|
How does Keto Take an Elimination Diet to the Next Level?
Spaghetti Squash Bolognese
Zoodles with Pesto
Replace pasta with spiralized zucchini, which can be easily made at home or purchased in the produce section of most grocery stores! Try this Zoodles with Pesto recipe for an easy and satisfying meal!
Eggroll in a bowl
Cabbage can provide a satisfying crunchy texture and this Eggroll in a Bowl recipe channels all the flavor of an eggroll without the carbs or unhealthy oils!