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How to go about an Elimination Diet

Discussion in 'The Gut: De Meirleir & Maes; H2S; Leaky Gut' started by Arise, Aug 21, 2018.

  1. Arise

    Arise

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    I suspect that certain foods may be playing a significant role in driving some of my symptoms. Given that potentially you can be intolerant to almost any food, what would be a sensible way of approaching the elimination diet.

    My diet mostly consists of lentils (green and red), rice, chicken, salmon, sweet potatoes, potatoes. I also eat snacks in moderation containing milk, wheat or soy.

    Reading up on google there appears to be so many elimination diets with varying degrees of foods allowed and also the length of the diet.

    My questions are:

    Do you have to eliminate most or all potential food intolerances at the same time for the testing to work?

    Also is it better to test certain foods longer than others, e.g. introduce milk after 3 weeks but gluten after 6 weeks?


    I also have a fast metabolism so if I were to eliminate potatoes or rice, I would possibly lose too much weight.

    I would appreciate any tips and suggestions from people who may have tried an elimination diet.
     
  2. Shoshana

    Shoshana Northern USA

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    It was years ago, that I did it, and I do not remember most of the details, now.

    But to your first question, I think yes. I think I did not eat ANY of my usual foods.

    What I remember is that I chose only one , or possibly 2 or 3, (cant remember) foods that I had NEVER before eaten, and that were low likelihood of any problems, such as perhaps amaranth. I ate a lot of the 1 or 2 foods, and only them, for the first period of time, I don't remember how long it was.

    Then, I added only 1 food, at a time, for some period of time, and did a "push" of that food, eating more than usual of it.

    I don't remember much else, right now. Perhaps others will give you better info.
    I do not even know if that is the best way to do it, but it was said to be, at that time.

    I do recall that I found it more difficult than I had imagined !
    However I was very glad I did it,
    and I did stick with it, while doing it, making no exceptions, so I could see what the results would be, as well as possible.
    My guess is that one would need to plan ahead and commit that period of time to it, in order for it to be worthwhile.

    There may be other, and possibly better options, I do not know,
    such as eliminating one of your regular foods, for some weeks, to see if you have any changes.
    I do not think that would be called an elimination diet, but I am not an expert on it!!

    It is definitely a good idea on your part, to do something, to try to discover ,
    which if any , of your usual foods, might be making your individual conditions worse.
     
    Arise likes this.
  3. Wishful

    Wishful Senior Member

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    I can't offer any advice on official elimination diets, but I think it's mainly a matter of willpower regarding how much you are willing to eliminate at one time. I ate pretty much nothing but white rice for quite a few months, and later nothing but cornstarch pancakes (no toppings; was trying to avoid tryptophan) for even longer. I didn't find it difficult to stay on such limited diets, but I expect others would. I think eating just one hypoallergenic food (such as cornstarch) for weeks or months would qualify as an elimination diet.

    One recommendation: keep a detailed food/activity/symptom journal. It's too difficult to remember details accurately, and it is useful to be able to look back and see that foods x and y consistently produced symptoms a and b after 17.5 hrs. If you find a food that produces a reliable effect, positive or negative, you can look for a list of active chemicals in it, and test other foods to identify specifically which chemical you are reacting to.

    I did find quite a few foods and food families to avoid.
     
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  4. Timaca

    Timaca Senior Member

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    Hi Arise~
    I did find that I had multiple food intolerance issues when I went on an elimination diet many years ago. I am still testing foods to see if some that were a problem can now be tolerated. For example, this year I can eat berries and seeds without a problem (at least sunflower seeds, hemp seeds and pumpkin seeds-- I will test flax seeds and chia seeds soon).

    I cut out a LOT of foods when I started the elimination diet and did lose too much weight. I am still trying to put weight back on....which is kinda hard to do on the diet that I am currently following.... Basically I now eat Whole Food, Plant Based (WFPB). I do eat some fresh fish on occasion. I seem to be able to eat all fruits and most vegetables except corn (which I hope to retest this summer). It seems I can't eat wheat, oats or buckwheat. It will be a long while before I retest oats or wheat. Those gave me significant joint pain, headaches and shooting nerve pain....so I'm not excited about retesting those foods anytime soon.

    Looking at what you eat, you could eliminate the dairy, soy and wheat as those are in the top 8 food allergens so are most likely to give you problems. I would wait at least 4 weeks, then test one of those foods and see what happens. When I test foods, I eat a very small amount...eg 1 ounce of wheat or corn. With oats, I ate even less since I had tested it before and had a bad reaction. If you don't have a reaction the first day of testing, try a bit more the next day and then the next and see where you end up.

    Right now I am testing Pamela's Gluten Free bread mix...with the addition of yeast....having a slice or two of the homemade bread each day, and so far I am doing okay, which delights me. This is day 3 of the testing for me.

    Animal foods seem to contain too much histamine for me (headaches)...so I don't eat them except for very fresh fish on occasion. They also play havoc with my lipid levels (as do other fats) so those are limited in my diet.

    You don't mention any fruits or vegetables. Do you eat those?

    If you eliminate the milk, soy and wheat and don't feel any different after 4 weeks, then food isn't a cause of your problems or you are still eating a food that is problematic. I remember feeling so much better after about 3 1/2 weeks on the elimination diet that I was shocked.

    I am fairly certain that the viruses that I battle set off the food intolerances in me.

    I am happy to answer any more questions. It's been quite a journey for me to figure out my food issues, but I am grateful I did the elimination diet and even more grateful that this summer I am able to eat more foods than before...

    Best,
     
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  5. Judee

    Judee Senior Member

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    My take is a bit different than the others perhaps, but I just eliminated foods through the years as I suspected them.

    If I got headaches, stomachaches, sinus congestion, feeling "nervy" or odd things like my lips suddenly going dry or feeling itchy allover, I would eliminate the food I suspected for about a week and then try it again.

    If I got symptoms again, I avoided it from then on depending on the severity of the side effect, i.e. bad side effects = eliminate altogether; slight side effect = eat maybe once a week or so.
     
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  6. ChrisD

    ChrisD Senior Member

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    Hi @Arise . I have just highlighted some of the foods that I would personally recommend eliminating first, based on my own experience and anecdotes of others, and of course nutritional evidence.

    I have found a lot of improvement in following a low fodmap, low histamine/oxalate Paleo ketogenic diet (What a mouthful ha!). This has really improved symptoms like air hunger, PEM, dizziness, balance and coordination issues, sleep issues (I now generally get 8 hours solid), energy slightly improved, joint problems improved, muscles feel stronger.

    So the reason I have highlighted lentils is because they would be classified as legumes and therefore high FODMAP i.e. ferment in the gut in the way that can trigger inflammatory symptoms of different kinds. Potatoes are classed under the 'Nightshade' family which are recommended to be removed along with peppers, aubergines etc.
    And Wheat and Soy are highly inflammatory, so personally I would remove all of these straight away.

    Rice and Potatoes I have highlighted in amber, I personally only eat them from time to time as I follow a cyclical ketogenic diet and occasionally eat carbs like these. Everyone is different and i know some people on this forum somehow do well with a lot of carbs and resistant starch. There are plenty of good carbohydrate alternatives on Paleo Keto such as Squash, Courgette etc. and if you eat enough fat you won't lose weight.

    Maybe eliminate one group at a time for 2-3 weeks and aim to narrow your diet right down to the core nutrition that sits well with your body. I.e. Gluten first, then dairy, then fodmaps, then nightshades and so on, and when you start to feel better, only then reintroduce.

    I am not nutritionally qualified but have researched A LOT, hopefully this helps give some ideas and you can build on them with your own research.
     
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  7. Wayne

    Wayne Senior Member

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    Hi @ChrisD

    Nice writeup on your food knowledge and experiences. -- You might find a recent tidbit I ran across interesting. Kamut, which I believe is a wheat derived from ancient wheat berries found in the pyramids of Egypt, also contains gluten. But apparently, people who are ultra-sensitive to gluten from modern day wheat are generally speaking, unaffected by this ancient grain. I eat no gluten whatsoever, but I'm tempted to try Kamut (a teeny, tiny little bit :rolleyes:) just to see how it might affect me.
     
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  8. Wishful

    Wishful Senior Member

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    I'd like to point out that negative responses to foods don't necessarily involve allergens. I don't seem to have any actual food allergies, but I do have to avoid quite a few foods. I'm sensitive to the toxins in nightshades. I'm sensitive to goitrogens, so avoid brassicas. Easily-digested carbs give me insomnia. So, don't get too focussed on whether a food is a common allergen. Listen to your body instead.
     
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  9. Shoshana

    Shoshana Northern USA

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    @Wayne , and anyone else,
    Kasha is delicious and easy to cook up, from Buckwheat groats, which are not wheat.

    Quinoa is another delicious and nutritious, possible choice, also very easy to prepare, for those wanting to avoid wheat for any reason, or simply to consider adding or subbing in as an alternative, to one of their present foods.

    And on a different aspect, for @Arise or anyone else who like myself, might have lost too much weight, or need to avoid losing more, one could consider coconut oil.

    It is a saturated fat, so not for those who already have too much saturated fat in their diets, perhaps, but cocnut oil is preferable saturated fat to that which comes from meats, and just a spoon, helped me when I had extreme weight loss which was concerning. It has VERY mild sweet flavor and can go on just about anything, and also is fine to cook with at any heat.
     
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  10. Arise

    Arise

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    Yes I think, removing only a few groups of food will make the elimination diet alot more managable and less likely to lose weight or become deficient in anything.

    With regards to eating more fat, I never feel satiated from fat, I always require some carbs to feel satiated. I suspect I may also have difficulty with fat digestion as I am prone to steatorrhea. I will try HCL betaine to see if that helps with fat digestion.

    I will most likely eliminate soy, wheat and dairy initially, then see how it goes.
     
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