The Elimination Diet:
If total elimination is too stressful to think about, a rotational diet approach is useful. The possible offending food/drink is only consumed once or twice per week
If a true elimination diet is to be tried, there are different levels of strictness. Level one is less strict than Level two, but both are pretty extreme compared to the average person’s diet and may be very hard to stick to for any length of time. It is important to remember that this diet is NOT ‘forever’ just for a short period of time, 1-2 weeks depending on the person, to discover your food triggers. You will probably only need to avoid a few things on this list, or perhaps even just one major one in the long term so do not despair!
You can do this elimination diet on your own, or if you feel you need more support, the IBS program (offered via Skype consultation) is designed to walk you through this process step by step with one-on-one support, coaching, and answering your questions that come up. While an elimination diet is tough to do on your own, with support it can be enjoyable and empowering, as you are guided through the process and discover how to gain control back over your symptoms using food!
Level 1: Cut out
- caffeine (including chocolate)
Level 2: Cut out:
- forms of sugar EXCEPT brown rice syrup, agave nectar, stevia, blackstrap molasses, fruit sweeteners (fructose)
- any grains that contain gluten (wheat, barley, spelt, rye, Kamut) OK would be brown rice, oats, millet, quinoa, amaranth, tapioca, buckwheat, potato flour)
- tree nuts (seeds are ok)
It is EXTREMELY important during the elimination challenge to READ FOOD LABELS carefully, because the ‘banned’ foods and ingredients can HIDE in many foods you would not expect. For example, corn starch in baking powder and processed and packaged foods or corn syrup in drinks and snack foods/packaged foods. If you have any questions throughout the process regarding food ingredients, I am always available by email to help you with individual questions.
After the elimination diet is done for 1-4 weeks, the Challenge Phase or Reintroduction Phase begins. A food should be introduced at a time and that food should be eaten 2 or three times each day for at least two days (and up to 7 days) before a new food is introduced. If there is a reaction, the food should be avoided and a ‘wash out’ period of 4 days done before trying the next food to allow time for the reaction to pass and avoid confusing the body.
The most common food ‘intolerances/triggers are dairy products, gluten and wheat products, chocolate, alcohol, caffeinated beverages, spicy foods, refined carbohydrates, and sugars.