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!)
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:
- Peanuts (and possibly other nuts)
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:
- (maybe soy)
- Chia seeds
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.
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?