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My Elimination Diet

After getting my food sensitivity test results back this past weekend, I’ve decided to embark on an elimination diet to see if the foods that appeared in my results really do cause noticeable reactions. (I have definitely experienced bloating and exhaustion after meals, so I’d love to see both of those things go away!)

elimination diet text and foods

What is an Elimination Diet?

If you’re not familiar with elimination diets, they’re a short-term eating plan designed to help you figure out food sensitivities. They’re not something you necessarily start to lose weight (though I’m sure that could be a side effect), but instead you start an elimination diet to see if you can feel better than you currently do now.

To kick-off an elimination diet, you can take a test like I did to narrow down which foods you might be sensitive to, or you can just start by cutting out the most common food allergens like:

  • Wheat/Gluten
  • Corn
  • Soy
  • Peanuts (and possibly other nuts)
  • Dairy
  • Eggs
  • Shellfish
  • Alcohol

The nice thing about taking a test is that you might be able to avoid cutting out so many foods all at once, making your diet over the next 4 to 6 weeks a little more enjoyable.

For example, no tree nuts showed up in my results, so I won’t be cutting those out, but I will be cutting out some things that I would have never expected to, like lemons, cinnamon, and chia seeds. (I’m hoping that when I reintroduce those things, I won’t notice any negative reactions and can continue to enjoy them forever.)

My personal elimination diet is going to exclude the following:

  • Peanuts
  • Gluten
  • Dairy
  • Eggs
  • (maybe soy)
  • Chia seeds
  • Lemon
  • Cinnamon
  • Pineapple

I say “maybe soy” because I still have some recipes that I want to re-test for my upcoming cookbook, and some of them do contain soy sauce. (And I’m in a time crunch, so I can’t put it off for a month.) But, I’ll use gluten-free soy sauce, a.k.a. tamari, to make sure that I’m still following the gluten-free part of this elimination diet. If I weren’t testing for the cookbook, I’d use coconut aminos to make these dishes soy-free, but the flavoring is too different for testing purposes.

The other things shouldn’t be too hard for me to avoid, so I’m committing to cutting them out for the full term of the elimination diet, and I may cut out soy later as I go.

hard boiled egg sliced in half with shell

How Long Does it Take to See Results?

Most elimination diets last 3 to 6 weeks. It’s believed that it takes at least 3 weeks to make sure there are no more traces of the foods you were previously eating in your body. This will allow you to fully experience any negative reactions that might come up when you reintroduce those foods later.

My goal is to eliminate the foods on my list for at least 3 weeks, but I may go up to 4 weeks, just depending on how I feel. I plan to start reintroducing the foods that were less reactive for me first, like lemon and cinnamon. That way the foods that were more reactive for me, like milk and wheat, will be out of my diet for even longer before I reintroduce them again.

What I’m Eating on my Elimination Diet

I started my elimination diet yesterday, so I thought I’d share a peek at what I ate yesterday to give you some ideas, in case you’re avoiding any similar foods. (Note: I am not a doctor of any kind and this is not intended as medical advice. I’m just sharing my personal experience.)

Morning: The hardest part of the elimination diet for me so far is giving up a splash of heavy cream in my coffee. I made a batch of almond milk coffee creamer as a substitute, and it’s working well enough for now. (If you follow my Instagram stories, you’ve also seen that it makes AMAZING foam for a latte!)

Breakfast: For breakfast, we always make a family-sized smoothie to share. These are already elimination-diet friendly, and the batch I’ve been making this week includes water, orange juice, frozen mango, peaches, avocado, strawberries, and spinach.

Snack: I made a batch of the Make-Ahead Muesli from my Make Ahead Reset program, so that I’d have an easy snack ready for the whole week. (I made it without chia seeds or cinnamon, per my elimination diet needs.) I served it with homemade almond milk and a splash of maple syrup.

Lunch: I didn’t have much time for lunch because my son isn’t in school this week, so I heated up leftover Creamy Chicken & Brown Rice Casserole, which is a recipe in my healthy Instant Pot cookbook that is naturally gluten- soy- and dairy-free. I made it with broccoli to see how it cooked with the rice, and it totally turned to mush, but it’s still delicious. I also grazed on some fresh grapes with my kids.

Snack: I snacked on two pieces of almond butter freezer fudge as a treat. At some point I also had some sliced nectarine that I shared with my kids.

Dinner: I had some plain chicken leftover from my Instant Pot trials this past weekend, so I served it over a bed of lettuce with one of my favorite dressings– Apple Cider Vinaigrette. I also had some hot decaf green tea while watching TV to wind down.

The only thing I’ve had an issue with so far this week is missing cream in my coffee, and I also miss having a square of dark chocolate in the evenings. The chocolate I currently have in my house contains soy lecithin, so it’s not “elimination diet approved.” I started this elimination diet on a whim– without even making a trip to the grocery store– so I’ve been living on the things we already have in the house. Once I make it to the store (hopefully today!) I’ll look an allergy-friendly chocolate, or I’ll make a batch of my freezer fudge to satisfy my sweet tooth later.

I’m not-so-secretly hoping that one of these foods might be contributing to my seasonal allergy symptoms (which have been rough over the past few weeks when I go outdoors), so I’m pretty much willing to try anything to find relief.

Reader Feedback: Have you ever attempted an elimination diet before? Would you like to see more “what I ate” posts like this as I go?

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Comments

Kristen Harris

I love this post because I’m doing this too! The hardest for me is that nightshades came up! So did coconut, almonds, and cashews. My favorite things!

Allison

I love the What I Ate posts-keep em coming!!! I’m trying to cut out dairy as well so appreciate any dairy free ideas 🙂

MindY

Hey Megan! Alter Eco & Pascha chocolate are both free of soy lecithin. Good luck on the elimination diet!

Mellie

Love this post! The things that came up yellow for me in my test have made it a challenge to eat flavorful dishes..I’ll live vicariously through you until I can reintroduce more. Your rice crispy treats are my indulgent snack so thank you for that recipe!

Shawna

I have tried an elimination diet many many times and have failed every time. I need someone to give me meal plans and not rely on myself to come up with stuff. I am horrible at them. Your day sounded pretty good! I wish I had better will power:-(. I LOVE your what I ate posts!

Jana

Sure, I love following your posts! I’m on the same journey so it makes me feel like I’m not all alone 🙂
I’d think as you bring down inflammation in your (leaky) gut, your seasonal allergies will improve as well.

MsFam

Hi Megan, when you re-introduce a food, how long will you wait before re-introducing another one?

    Megan Gilmore

    I’ll wait at least 4 days before introducing the next food. That’s what I did with my kids when introducing new foods to them, too.

Kathy Ewing

Very interesting…thx!
How does this test compare to the York test? How many foods, spices, etc. does it list? (The York test lists a LOT of food and how each ranks for sensitivity (e.g., high , moderate and none).
BTW, this site is NOT cell phone friendly!!!!! Grrr! I have 1/3 inch to write on y android.

Alicia

I started an elimination diet last Monday which excludes citrus, beef, pork, chocolate, sugar, eggs, dairy, gluten, nightshades, yeast, and soy and unfortunately I’ve still felt symptoms so now I’ll be cutting out all grains that includes quinoa and rice along with beans I think there’s a chance avocado is causing an issue as well. I’ve been relying heavily on those in this last week so now I’m really feeling lost with recipe options so I’d very much enjoy your continued posts!

    Jana Johnson

    Alicia, it sounds so much like my restrictions. I’ve found Amy Meyer’s. “Autoimmune Protocol Cookbook” so very helpful. I typically eat this throughout my day:
    Breakfast: smoothie with bone broth protein (Ancient Nutrition), collagen protein, s, coconut milk/cream, maybe spinach
    Lunch: chicken bone broth with some meat and cooked veggies
    Supper: meat/fish, salad, veggie side dish
    Snacks/treats: fruit, dried fruit, anything coconut, cocoa nibs with dates

      Alicia

      Thank you for your response, Jana. I hadn’t heard of that cookbook before and I just ordered it. I’m excited to see some new recipe options. Thank you for your help.

        Jana Johnson

        Amy Meyers like to substitute common food allergens with tigernut flour, cassava and tapioca flour and she uses gelatine to replace the eggs. Megan, do you think you could come up with something creative perhaps incorporating these flours and such?

Jennifer

I did an elimination diet early this year and eliminated eggs, dairy, gluten, soy, peanuts, sugar,and gluten. As a soy substitute, coconut aminos work well and taste good.

Laura

Thank you Megan! Looking forward to your updates on this! I was so disappointed to see that you cannot get the Everly test where I live (NY, NJ, RI or MD). For anyone living in those states I found the Pinnertest which seems to be very similar to Everly.

Penelope O'Leary

I got my food allergies tested at my naturopathic physician’s office and apparently I’m sensitive to eggs…BUT they don’t make me feel poorly at all. So I’m still eating them.

KRis

Question: did you eliminate the lemon juice from the vinaigrette dressing? If so, what did you substitute?

    Megan Gilmore

    Yes, I just totally left it out and used a splash more vinegar, but not the whole amount to replace the lemon juice. I taste as I go!

Lauren

I recently did a food allergy test through BioTek and came up with a lemon sensitivity as well, how random! I found the most helpful info came from looking at my IgA reactions. I tend to have very delayed responses for some reason, and, in the case of certain nuts, wouldn’t react for almost 48 hours. Allergies are so irritating, I hope you figure yours out!

KRISTEl

I am currently in the midst of doing my own Elimination Dietperiod hearing about yours really helps me see what other people are doing and how you’re getting around and changing and adapting things to make them work.

Michelle Hall

I love your “what I ate” posts, please keep them coming. Helps us newbies figure out what we can eat too!

Lorain

I have a wheat and gluten allergy so am already free of those …and yes, they caused me severe issues!
Just recently I gave up dairy. My asthma was out of control, I was always bloated and just not feeling myself. Almost three months in and I am feeling so much better. No asthma meds for two months! My seasonal allergies are slightly improved…very nice. I did get tested for allergies a few days ago and I am not allergic to either casein or whey ( the two proteins in dairy) but still feel I have sensitivities. I have no intention of going back.
Hope you get some good results

Lorain

Forgot to add….I missed my coffee cream too and hated the dairy free ones from the store. I now use coconut cream…yummy

Erin l

Hi Megan! I’m so glad you wrote about this topic. Lately I’ve been having swelling in my mouth (inside cheeks, tongue borders) to foods I’ve had a million times before. A common trend… lemon… cinnamon gum…
what are your thoughts on the whole 30? Isn’t that an elimination diet as well? I need to bite the bullet + get my allergies under control. Our whole family struggles with allergies– soy, wheat, dairy, now my weird swelling?! Love your input.

Catharina

Hi Megan,

I have been leaving with an elimination diet for almost 13 years. No diary, no wheat, no rye, no citrus fruits, no strawberries, no tomatoes, no nuts, no legumes, no soya and no eggs. At the beginning it was a hard time, but it got better. Then I gave birth to my son and the nightmare began. He was born with a worse form of neurodermatitis and it was me who had to change my food again so he could recover, because I was fully breastfeeding at that time.. What did this mean?

No coffe, no black tea, no meat, no fish – a plant based diet, a rotation diet. No more different foods than 4 per day. It was terrible. BUT I could see that with every day my little baby got better and better and so I stuck to my meal plan. No food I ate one day in the next 3 to 4 days again and no food that belongs from the same plant family.

Today my son is 4 and a half and looks great. But we are still living according to his rotation diet. Honestly it is still hard and costs me much time, money, thinking and planing. Nevertheless for me it is worth it, because he is healthy without any medication.

Melissa Poling

Thank you for sharing your list of foods. It always helps me when you break it down. Please continue to share your steps as well as your progress. I feel like I’m living with a box of Kleenex attached to my side this season. Allergies are real!

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