The Food 411: What are the benefits of an elimination diet?

You eat the perfect diet: plenty of whole foods, organic grains, fresh fruits, and lots of dark-green veggies. But what if I told you that some of those great foods could actually be undermining your health?

Here is the deal. Most folks think of food allergies only as rashes, hives, or asthma, but the most common food allergies don’t cause an immediate reaction or even show up on regular allergy tests. Unaddressed food sensitivities may lead to underlying inflammation each time you eat the questionable food–compromising your gut and overall health.

It is really important to determine which foods are right/not right for you since not knowing could possibly contribute to Hashimoto’s, arthritis, chronic sinusitis, diabetes, irritable bowel, joint pain, and a host of other chronic conditions.

So do you have some of the common signs of food sensitivity?

  • Food cravings
  • Darkness under the eyes
  • Skin rashes
  • Fatigue
  • Headaches
  • Weight gain
  • Inflammation
  • Gut issues

The good news is that most food sensitivities are usually not permanent.  Unfortunately, the only effective way to recover is by removing the suspected foods for a period of 4-6 weeks and then adding them back in a systematic manner. This break allows your immune system to relax and recover so that when you are ready to put it back to work, it responds appropriately and with some enthusiasm!  And during the process, you will have gained first-hand knowledge which foods work for you and which ones don’t.

So why can’t be just test and be done with it? True, there are a myriad of ways to detect food allergies, sensitivities, and intolerances. Cyrex Labs is different than most labs as it tests for an antibody response in foods in the form you’d actually consume them (i.e., cooked versus raw; as cooking will change the internal protein structure).

But the problem remains that most tests are not 100% accurate and depend on too many factors including recent consumption, ability to generate an immune response, etc. For example it can be the actual food, the variety, the way it was grown, the way it was prepared or even the combination of other foods it was consumed with. Whew!

If you have an issue with a particular food, you need to understand why. For example, maybe you’re pretty sure you have an issue with celery.

  • Is it an immune response or are you just having a problem breaking it down?
  • Do you have a problem with the entire food family—in this case, Apiaceae? That might be the case if you also have problems when eating foods such as parsley and carrot. 
  • How you feel when you consume dark greens or nuts? If those foods also bother you, could your issue with celery be related to oxalates? If so, why? Are you forming oxalates because of yeast overgrowth, high vitamin C consumption, genetics, or some other reason?
  • Or do you just have an issue when it is cooled or maybe combined with something like onions?

Testing just doesn’t have the power that an elimination trial does, namely determining the what, how, why, and when. Those factors can help us make better dietary decisions.

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