Elimination Diet and Detoxes

Hello friends,

I apologize for my absence from the blogging world the past few days. The youngest girl I nanny for got sick and then crazy holiday stuff. But I hope your Labor day was full of fun and celebration! I went kayaking with some friends this weekend and hope to go stand-up paddle boarding with them soon! I completely expect to get really really wet- I have TERRIBLE balance. 🙂 But am so excited to try it- looks like fun! Anyone out there have any tips?

Alright, enough of the chit chat; down to business. 🙂

A few weeks ago I had talked about my views on nutrition (check it out here!) and had mentioned the idea of figuring out which foods your body responds to well, and which you don’t. The only real way to do this is with an elimination diet. An elimination diet is just as it sounds- eliminating certain foods, then reintroducing them and seeing how your body responds. There is no better way to discover if you have, say, a gluten-intolerance, or a dairy-intolerance, or if eggs make you bloated, or nuts make you stuffy. These are all subtle ways that our body tells us that it doesn’t like a certain food, but until you really stop to focus on it, it can go by unnoticed.

An elimination diet is relatively simple. You eliminate all foods that you think your body may be having an issue with or are common food allergies. Give your body about 3 weeks, then 1 by 1 start to reintroduce the foods. Here’s a list of foods that are common in elimination diets.

Foods to eliminate: 

All nuts

Legumes/Beans

Citrus Fruits

Dairy

Meat

Soy

Gluten

Corn

Shellfish

Alcohol

Caffeine

All processed foods 

The best elimination diets eliminate the most common allergens to give you the greatest chance of noticing a difference in your body when you reintroduce something. If you only cut out for example, gluten, eggs, and dairy; but you are actually sensitive to corn, you may not get the best results. Elimination diets work best when done full force. Yes it’s hard, but hey, it really only lasts 5-6 weeks but you gain a lifetime of knowledge about your body! Well worth it if you ask me.

So after you eliminate all possible culprits, what do you do? Well, you give your body 3-4 weeks to get all the toxins out and reach a base point. Then the fun begins. 🙂

Add 1 food back into your diet at a time. Eat that food for one day. For example if you gave up nuts, you could eat peanut butter with an apple at breakfast, cashews in a stir-fry for dinner, and almond butter in  a smoothie for a snack. Then get back on your elimination diet the next few days and see how you feel. Record any and all symptoms (or non-symptoms which would mean you have no intolerance- yippee!). If there are no symptoms, move onto the next food on your list and see how that makes you feel. Overall- this process should add up to about 5-6 weeks and like I said before, by the end you will know sooooo much about your body and how it reacts to food!

I have created a simple spreadsheet to help you keep track of your reactions and symptoms to certain foods. Elimination Diet Spreadsheet – Sheet1 (2) If you have trouble with the pdf, let me know and I can try to send it to you in a different format.

Also, if you are looking for more scientific explanation as to “why” an elimination diet works and how intolerance’s affect the body check out this fabulous post by Precision Nutrition here!

Lastly I wanted to talk to you about detoxes. They are actually very similar to elimination diets, minus the whole science experiment part. 🙂 Detox’s are essentially a way to rid your body of toxins, and get you back to “base point”- as I stated above. There are several different types of detoxes but the simplest is to follow the elimination guidelines. Take out certain foods that you may not have an intolerance for, but can still be taxing on your system. A good detox should have you eating mostly fruits and vegetables with some form of lean protein. Depending on your bodies tolerances this could be nuts, fish, poultry, etc. Personally I know my body does not do well with dairy or gluten, so I don’t eat them on a regular basis. But during a detox, I also avoid alcohol, all processed foods, grains and white potatoes, and all forms of sugar (including honey and maple syrup). I have learned that my body does best when every few months I give it a chance to “rest”. How long should you detox? Roughly 3-4 weeks is a good baseline. Some people like to do it longer (I personally do 6 weeks), but 3-4 is a good starting point. I do 6-weeks because I detox during my gym’s BRIK workouts which are like an amp’d up boot camp. The BRIK lasts 6 weeks, so I detox 6 weeks. We do BRIK’s 3 times a year- so I detox 3 times. It works for me, but find what works for you.

 

Oh, and 2 last points- drink lots and lots and lots of water. You should do this all the time, but especially during elimination diets or detoxes. Water helps flush yucky stuff out of your body and is extremely important during this “fasts”. Also, you will probably feel really crappy the first week… this is your body getting rid of all the toxins. Just stick it out and by week 2 you should be feeling FABULOUS!!

 

Any questions? Comments? Concerns? I’m currently on day 2 of my 6-week detox, want to join me? 🙂

 

Love and Joy,

Amy

xoxo

 

 

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