The elimination diet is designed to uncover hidden food intolerances, to heal the gut, to bring down inflammation and to tailor a food plan that works best for your body. Unfortunately this method is often used as a weight loss or fat loss tool for aesthetic improvements or elements of it become linked to fad diets and short term unhealthy “detoxes”.
While fat loss and aesthetic improvements are absolutely a result of this method, it shouldn’t be the main basis for doing it. The aim is to be functioning optimally from the inside out.
When the body (particularly the gut) is working as it should, looking and feeling amazing is one of the awesome results
What does the elimination diet do?
- Removes the most inflammatory foods.
- Includes the best gut-healing foods.
- Gives your gut time to heal.
- Helps you discover your food intolerances.
- Starts to balance out your microbiome( gut microbes)
But before we go on, step 1 is to take stock! It’s hard to know where you’re going unless you know where you are.
Do you have skin issues? Digestive issues like gas, bloating, or intermittent constipation? Bad allergies? How’s your energy level? What about your mood? Ever feel like you suffer from brain fog? These are just some potential symptoms of food sensitivities.
So, before you begin an elimination diet, start at your head and go to your toes, and make a list of everything you notice in your body, however subtle or long-standing the symptom has been. This sets you up to notice important changes when they happen. Also tracking physiological bench markers such as weight , circumference measurements, taking a picture.
How long is it for and why?
I would ask you to set aside 28 days to comprehensively complete the full gut reset.
21 days of implementation:
The gut on average takes 21 days to respond to these changes, through re-balancing the gut bacteria, reducing inflammation and improving the guts ability to be able to absorb & digest nutrients from good quality foods.
7 days of re-introduction of food groups:
This part is often overlooked and gets left behind amidst the post elimination blow out plans ( nights out, alcohol, celebratory dinner etc) however it is almost the most crucial part of the process.
During the reintroduction of foods we can establish exactly what one might be intolerant to as well as understanding for each individual what foods they respond best to.
Why 21 Days?
Antibodies, which are the proteins that your immune system makes when it reacts to foods, take around 21 to 23 days to turn over, so if you don’t eliminate things to which you’re sensitive for at least this amount of time, you won’t get the full effect of eliminating them.
New habits take 21 days to form, which is also why we’re doing a 21-day elimination diet! We want to instil and maintain the positive habit changes learned during the elimination phase.
Facts about the gut & why it’s so crucial to our overall health
•Roughly 80% of your immune system is located In your gut
•The gut is your second brain , it can influence the chemistry of your mood, emotions, immune function and long term health
•There are more neurons (nerve cells that process and transmit information) in your gut than there are in your central nervous system (CNS), which includes the brain and spinal cord
•95% of your serotonin( happy hormone) is located within the gastrointestinal tract. So you can see how much influence the condition of your gut will have on your mood day to day or even meal to meal.
•Your digestive tract is roughly nine metres in length, about the same as a double-decker bus (this ones just interesting)
What results to expect from the elimination diet?
Improved sleep quality
Improved energy levels
Improved bowel health
Improved cognitive function
Overall calmness / zen
Improved Skin & hair condition
Weight loss ( on the scales)
Clothes fitting better
Stabilisation of hormones
Less Pms / menstrual cycle symptoms
What can I eat?
One of the biggest misconceptions people have about the elimination diet is that they won’t be able to eat any delicious foods.
Let’s first go over all the nutritious foods you can enjoy while on the elimination diet.
Organic meats & fish
Lean grass fed Beef
Free range Chicken
The Emphasis is on green veg only , in particular leafy vegetables. There is no cap on how much of these you can eat in a day, the more the better .
Extra virgin Coconut oil
Animal fats ( duck & goose)
Extra virgin Olive oil
Nuts ( Brazil, cashew, almonds, walnut, pecan – no peanuts , as these are legumes and a nutritionally poorer quality nut)
Seeds ( sesame , chia, flax, sunflower, pumpkin etc)
Avocado ( is actually a fruit but massive fat source)
Eggs (protein and fats)
Take in as many herbal teas as you like throughout the day, these have massive benefits alongside hydration. Green teas have a caffeine content so keep these to a minimum. Also make sure you take in at least 1.5 litres of purified water a day
What to eliminate
Finally, just a reminder of what to strictly stay away from:
Legumes (beans, peanuts, peas, and lentils)
Eliminating alcohol is partly for the detox factor. But alcohol also has a lot of sugar that helps things like yeast and harmful bacteria in your gut thrive. So when you eliminate alcohol, you may feel better in a few weeks, not just because of the absence of a sleep disruptor and a depressant, but because you’ve actually changed the flora in your gut that are critical to keeping you healthy!
How do I reintroduce foods the right way?
This part is really very simple, On day 22, pick one thing you eliminated—like dairy,gluten or eggs (but no more than one) and eat it.
See how you feel over the next 48 hours. If you have no reaction after two days, eat that same food again, and for a second time, notice how you feel. From there, it’s up to you whether to re-incorporate that food into your diet on a regular basis.
Once you’ve made a call on the first food you reintroduce, pick another one and follow the same steps.
Finally benchmark your results
Throughout the diet and the reintroduction process, notice how you feel. Maybe you’ll see changes you weren’t expecting. Maybe your sleep quality or your energy level is better. Maybe the redness in your skin is gone, or your belly is flatter.
No blood test or doctor can tell you what life without a particular food will be like. When you find out for yourself, you could be saving yourself a lifetime of inflammation, annoying symptoms, and in some cases, even life-threatening diseases.
Please be aware this is a basic template protocol ,there is more than one way to skin a cat, and are many ways to modify this to suit specific individuals.
Good luck and Enjoy