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Elimination Diets

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If you've tried this--how long is considered long enough to eliminate the food? I'm finding info that's conflicting or not from credible sources.

And, once you eliminate the food for a period of time, how much are you supposed to deliberately eat to see if you have an adverse response to it?

Also interested in others' experiences with trying this. Did you discover you were/weren't sensitive to something you guessed you were? Was it hard to give up the culprit food? How did things change for you once you gave it up?

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  1. I can't remember how long I did it for - over a month, certainly. On eating mushrooms I got an immediate adverse response that I was not expecting at all. Despite adoring mushrooms I found it easy to give them up, as I felt so much healthier without them. It's been about 20 years and apart from a few accidental mushroom incidents (that I reacted to) I'm still mushroom free.

    1. Like Peg, I've found it pretty easy to avoid the foods that I've discovered don't sit well with me. The changes were so quick (a week or so of not eating it,) that it was pretty obvious there was a problem with those foods for me (grains.)

      I occasionally slip and want bread or pizza or I'm in a situation where that is all there is to eat but the change in how I feel quickly reminds me of how much better I feel when I don't eat grains, especially wheat. Fortunately it's not a dangerous reaction for me but a night of indulging in pizza means lethargy/low energy for a few days. Usually not worth it for me.

      1. four weeks is really the minimum amount of time to do it properly, but i actually prefer six weeks if possible. some people take longer than others to clear the offending components from their systems, get through withdrawal, and resolve/heal any reactive symptoms or damage.

        when you're ready to reintroduce a suspect food, limit the amount to half of a typical serving. if you don't have a reaction, you can increase to a full serving at a later meal and see how you do. if there's no reaction after the full serving, you can assume you're okay to eat that food in regular portions going forward.

        about a year after i was diagnosed with thyroid disease, i started having symptoms again - leg cramps, hair loss, breakouts - even though my meds were stable and my blood work didn't indicate a problem. this was back when soy foods were still things that only "health nuts" ate, and i was a vegetarian at the time so i ate a lot of tofu and snacked on roasted soy nuts. i started doing research and found a couple of studies that showed a link between soy isoflavones and thyroid problems...so i stopped eating soy. within a month my symptoms cleared up, and i haven't eaten soy since - it's been 15 years. of course nowadays the contraindication is common knowledge.

        when i gave up gluten about 5 years ago, some of my digestive issues began to resolve within a week. the long-term damage to my intestines took quite some time to heal, but within 6 months my lab tests showed marked improvement in my vitamin & mineral absorption (most notably iron & calcium), and my joint pain was considerably less pronounced.

        it's always hard to give up foods you enjoy, but you have to weigh the benefit against the "sacrifice." i'd rather miss the foods that made me sick than go through the rest of my life feeling like hell.

        unfortunately my list of things to be missed is growing longer - i've recently developed an allergy to eggplant, which is easily one of my favorite foods. fortunately it's not severe enough [yet] to cause hives or anaphylaxis, but the itching in my throat (and on my hands if i handle it) has become intolerable. giving it up won't change my life, it just pisses me off ;)

        1. You might try getting Dr. Mark Hyman's book (s) from the library. Ultrametabolism or Ultra-Simple Diet-both involve elimination diets to detrmine sensitivites.

          While you may not be looking to rev up your metabolism or lose weight, the elimination process is the same.

          In reading these you'll loearn a lot about how foods affects us and if you follow the program you'll feel great and be able to tell what, if anything, affects you adversely.

          1. From the age of about zero to the age of twenty-one, I was sick all the time. I rarely slept through the night because I would wake up with horrible stomach aches, diarrhea and nausea. Today I like to say that considering how smart I turned out without ever sleeping through the night, if I'd got my stomach problems under control and given my brain a complete night's sleep once in a while I probably would have found the cure for cancer for by now.

            When I was twenty-one I went completely cold-turkey on a major elimination diet. Overnight I gave up gluten, processed sugars, most dairy (I kept plain yogurt), coffee, nightshades, fruit (except bananas), meat (I was already vegetarian so that was no big deal), alcohol... the list goes on. It was a plan from the book "Dr. Joshi's Holistic Detox", which was all the rage at the time. After three weeks I felt SO GOOD. Like, disturbingly good. I would get up at 5:00 in the morning, jump out of bed, get ready for work and then go for a walk around my neighborhood because my energy levels were out of control. I was SO HAPPY all the time. One of my friends actually said, "You're a lot less b****y!" I also got extremely thin. I was never hungry and never counted calories, but there really was only so much I could eat. And my nightly stomachaches were GONE. So, the book says to follow the diet for three weeks, but I stuck with it for three months because I was deliriously happy. Then I moved back to North America (I'd been in Italy... imagine living in Italy and trying to explain that you don't eat pasta, cheese, pizza, meat or chocolate!) and returned to my previous eating habits. The weight came back and my energy levels dropped to "normal", but my stomachaches have never returned. Like, ever. Not once.

            I know my story isn't typical, and it probably doesn't help you much, but I credit Dr. Joshi's Holistic Detox with radically transforming the quality of my life. I would name ALL of my children Joshi if I could.