As we inch closer and closer to the new year, diets and weight loss plans are all the rave, even more than usual. From the keto to paleo to going vegetarian or vegan, a lot of us are getting serious about not just slimming down but getting healthy… for good. We've had an "a-ha moment" that it's not just about looking a certain way for social media but living a healthy lifestyle we can proud of in private.
One of the popular (and realistic) ways lots of women are getting their health on track is with the elimination diet. If you've tried any other diet and feel like you're at your wit's end, or you're researching for the first time to see what's best for you and your body, the elimination diet could be a win for your body. But not in the way you think.
Whatever you go for, we always advise you to speak with your physician before taking the plunge with any dietary changes.
What Is The Elimination Diet?
Before you go cleaning out your refrigerator and pantry, it's important to know that while it has the word diet in it, the elimination diet is unlike any other food-restriction plan.
Its purpose is to identify which foods and/or food groups trigger problems for your body like diarrhea, bloating, constipation, nausea, eczema, and even skin breakouts. It involves removing certain types of foods, and possibly even complete food groups, from your diet. The foods you eliminate (i.e. milk/dairy, peanuts, starches) are usually ones that cause certain issues like allergies or other discomforts.
How Do You Get Started?
Please keep in mind that this type of dieting is typically suggested by a professional (especially if you have a suspected food allergy). You also don't want to eliminate too many food groups at once as this could cause a deficiency in your nutrition.
According to Healthline, the key is to eliminate foods that you (and your doctor) believe can cause intolerances in your body for 2-3 weeks to see if you recognize any changes. Then, slowly but surely reintroduce these foods back into your diet one at a time in 2-3 day timeframes. As you do this, watch out for any triggers that you previously had that may be making their way back. Some of the common symptoms are headaches and migraines, fatigue, bloating, cramps, changes in bowel movements and trouble sleeping. If none of your triggers come back up, feel free to move on to the next food/food group. On the flip side, if your intolerances do return, then you've just identified what has been causing your body discomfort.
What’s Best For Me?
There are actually a few different types of elimination diets you can choose from. The basic elimination diet includes removing gluten and dairy from your diet, then reintroducing them again to see how your body responds. Some can still eat gluten and dairy afterward, depending on their body, and some decide to stay away from gluten for the long haul.
A full elimination diet removes eggs, shellfish, soy, and related products, as well as corn and tree nuts, while a nightshade elimination diet eliminates nightshade vegetables like potatoes, tomatoes, bell peppers, paprika, and chili peppers.
There is also the Low FODMAP that deals with irritable bowel syndrome. It eliminates lots of dairy products, dried fruit, most vegetables, coffee, tea, and juices. What you can eat on this elimination diet is meats, chicken, fish, eggs, cold cuts, hard cheeses, mozzarella, sherbert, nuts, and some fruits like oranges, bananas, and melon.
The specific carbohydrate diet calls for a LOT of discipline as you'd have to remove all grains, specific legumes (like soybeans and chickpeas), a majority of dairy products, root vegetables, canned and processed meats, and starches. While it calls for more discipline than others might, it could help with digestive issues in a major way. At the same time, because the list is so vast, you definitely want to talk to your doctor before taking it on.
So…What Do I Get Out Of It?
Along with realizing what triggers could be stopping you from living and feeling your best, taking on a proper healthy elimination diet in the right way can have a few other advantages such as easier digestion and clearer skin (depending on the diet you tried and the trigger you had before). Though the pot at the end of the rainbow isn't weight loss, it can jumpstart your body on its journey to embracing a healthy, well-balanced diet.
Want more stories like this? Sign up for our newsletter here and check out the related reads below:
Featured image by Shutterstock.