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What’s An Elimination Diet And Should You Be Doing It?

The elimination diet could be a win for your body, but not in the way you think.

Wellness

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 You Need To Know About The Elimination Diet

What Is The Elimination Diet?

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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 With The Elimination Diet?

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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.

Should I Try A Basic Elimination Diet, The Full Elimination Diet, Or The Low FODMAP Diet?

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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 Doing The Elimination Diet?

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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.

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Featured image by Shutterstock.

Before she was Amira Unplugged, rapper, singer, and a Becoming a Popstar contestant on MTV, she was Amira Daughtery, a twenty-five year-old Georgian, with aspirations of becoming a lawyer. “I thought my career path was going to lead me to law because that’s the way I thought I would help people,” Amira tells xoNecole. “[But] I always came back to music.”

A music lover since childhood, Amira grew up in an artistic household where passion for music was emphasized. “My dad has always been my huge inspiration for music because he’s a musician himself and is so passionate about the history of music.” Amira’s also dealt with deafness in one ear since she was a toddler, a condition which she says only makes her more “intentional” about the music she makes, to ensure that what she hears inside her head can translate the way she wants it to for audiences.

“The loss of hearing means a person can’t experience music in the conventional way,” she says. “I’ve always responded to bigger, bolder anthemic songs because I can feel them [the vibrations] in my body, and I want to be sure my music does this for deaf/HOH people and everyone.”

A Black woman wearing a black hijab and black and gold dress stands in between two men who are both wearing black pants and colorful jackets and necklaces

Amira Unplugged and other contestants on Becoming a Popstar

Amira Unplugged / MTV

In order to lift people’s spirits at the beginning of the pandemic, Amira began posting videos on TikTok of herself singing and using sign language so her music could reach her deaf fans as well. She was surprised by how quickly she was able to amass a large audience. It was through her videos that she caught the attention of a talent scout for MTV’s new music competition show for rising TikTok singers, Becoming a Popstar. After a three-month process, Amira was one of those picked to be a contestant on the show.

Becoming a Popstar, as Amira describes, is different from other music competition shows we’ve all come to know over the years. “Well, first of all, it’s all original music. There’s not a single cover,” she says. “We have to write these songs in like a day or two and then meet with our producers, meet with our directors. Every week, we are producing a full project for people to vote on and decide if they’d listen to it on the radio.”

To make sure her deaf/HOH audiences can feel her songs, she makes sure to “add more bass, guitar, and violin in unique patterns.” She also incorporates “higher pitch sounds with like chimes, bells, and piccolo,” because, she says, they’re easier to feel. “But it’s less about the kind of instrument and more about how I arrange the pattern of the song. Everything I do is to create an atmosphere, a sensation, to make my music a multi-sensory experience.”

She says that working alongside the judges–pop stars Joe Jonas and Becky G, and choreographer Sean Bankhead – has helped expand her artistry. “Joe was really more about the vocal quality and the timber and Becky was really about the passion of [the song] and being convinced this was something you believed in,” she says. “And what was really great about [our choreographer] Sean is that obviously he’s a choreographer to the stars – Lil Nas X, Normani – but he didn’t only focus on choreo, he focused on stage presence, he focused on the overall message of the song. And I think all those critiques week to week helped us hone in on what we wanted to be saying with our next song.”

As her star rises, it’s been both her Muslim faith and her friends, whom she calls “The Glasses Gang” (“because none of us can see!”), that continue to ground her. “The Muslim and the Muslima community have really gone hard [supporting me] and all these people have come together and I truly appreciate them,” Amira says. “I have just been flooded with DMs and emails and texts from [young muslim kids] people who have just been so inspired,” she says. “People who have said they have never seen anything like this, that I embody a lot of the style that they wanted to see and that the message hit them, which is really the most important thing to me.”

A Black woman wears a long, salmon pink hijab, black outfit and pink boots, smiling down at the camera with her arm outstretched to it.

Amira Unplugged

Amira Unplugged / MTV

Throughout the show’s production, she was able to continue to uphold her faith practices with the help of the crew, such as making sure her food was halal, having time to pray, dressing modestly, and working with female choreographers. “If people can accept this, can learn, and can grow, and bring more people into the fold of this industry, then I’m making a real difference,” she says.

Though she didn’t win the competition, this is only the beginning for Amira. Whether it’s on Becoming a Popstar or her videos online, Amira has made it clear she has no plans on going anywhere but up. “I’m so excited that I’ve gotten this opportunity because this is really, truly what I think I’m meant to do.”

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