Have you been experiencing uncomfortable feelings after eating such as, gas, bloating or abdominal pain, yet you can’t figure out what it is caused by? You can figure out what is causing your discomfort right at home! It may seem tedious and overwhelming at first, but it’s going to be SO worth it in the end!
If you’re not sure exactly WHAT foods to eliminate, you can start with these:
Common food intolerances:
-All dairy products
-Gluten containing products
-Salicylates: spices, coffee, raisins, oranges
-Amines: -FODMAPS (click here to read my blog about FODMAPS)
fermented foods, cured & dried foods, avocados, aged cheeses, smoked foods, vinegar, alcohol
-Sulfites: dried fruits, canned & pickled foods, wine, apple cider, potato chips, condiments, beer, tea, baked goods
-Fructose: soda, honey, apples, apple cider, agave, high-fructose corn syrup, watermelon, cherries, pears
-Peanuts & peanut butter
-Eggs & soy products
Or, if you want to go through ALL the food groups, including the common ones above, you can additionally use this list below. This may take longer, but it is more thorough.
-Dairy: eliminate all dairy and dairy products. This includes milk, creams, butter, cheese, yogurts, etc.
-Fruits: eliminate citrus fruits, such as oranges, grapefruit, lemons, and limes, as well as FODMAP fruits.
-Vegetables: eliminate nightshade and high FODMAP vegetables
-Starchy foods/grains: Eliminate wheat, barley, corn, spelt, rye, oats, and any gluten-containing products.
-Nuts & seeds: Eliminate all nuts and seeds.
-Beans & legumes: Eliminate all beans and legumes including soy and soy-based products.
-Meat & seafood: Eliminate processed meats, beef, chicken, pork, eggs, seafood, and shellfish.
-Fats: Eliminate butter, margarine, hydrogenated oils, and mayonnaise.
-Food additives: Avoid added sugars & sweeteners, high fructose corn syrup, sugar alcohols, and food dyes.
-Caffeine: Avoid coffee, caffeinated teas, sodas, and energy drinks.
-Condiments & spices: Avoid hot sauces, peppers, and mustard.
It is also good to avoid most pre-packaged and processed foods and focus on the foods from the list in step 1. If you have trouble creating a balanced meal plan, please consult a registered dietitian.
3-Step Elimination Diet
Step 1 is the elimination phase. You want to eliminate all your chosen foods that you suspect might be a trigger to your symptoms. Or, include all foods from both lists and only eat foods from the list below.
Foods you can include in phase 1:
Fruits: blueberries, melon, kiwi, and other low FODMAP fruits excluding citrus.
Vegetables: low-FODMAP vegetables excluding nightshades.
Starches/grains: rice and buckwheat
Meat & Fish: cold-water fish, lamb, turkey, wild game
Fats: cold pressed oils, flaxseed oil, coconut oil
Dairy substitutes: unsweetened coconut milk, almond milk
Drinks: water and non-caffeinated unsweetened teas
Seasonings: use fresh herbs & sea salt
You will eat only these foods for 2-3 weeks.
Step 2 is the reintroduction phase. Depending on how many foods you eliminated, this can last weeks to months. But remember, this will be WELL WORTH IT in the end!
Keeping a food diary is VERY important in this phase. Record the food you introduced and any symptoms you experienced, if any. These symptoms can include: bloating, diarrhea, gas, abdominal pain, skin changes, headaches, migraines, joint pain, breathing difficulty, etc.
Every 2-3 days choose ONE food or food product to introduce over 2-3 days. If you experience NO symptoms, you can continue to eat this. If you experience ANY symptoms, you have successfully identified a food intolerance and should avoid it completely.
Make sure to consult your doctor or dietitian when doing an elimination diet. They can help you plan a balanced diet plan so you don’t develop a nutrient deficiency while excluding certain foods.