Following an elimination diet, it is critical that food be re-introduced slowly – one food at a time in order to clearly evaluate reactions. It takes at least 10 days to clear all residues (antibodies, etc) of foods from your body and be able to correctly read your body’s responses. Negative reactions to foods will include the following:
- dark circles under the eyes, puffiness around the eyes, itchy eyes
- runny nose/post nasal drip, throat phlegm, sinus pain, itchy nose or throat
- canker sores, diarrhea, constipation, gas, cramping, bloating, heartburn
- belly pain
- ear infections, itchy ear canal, red (hot feeling) ears
- bed-wetting (in children)
- wheezing; increased heart rate/palpitations, shortness of breath
- acne (break-outs), eczema, hives, itching, skin rash or redness
- joint pain
- fatigue, headache, migraines, dizziness
- hyperactivity, anxiety, depression, inability to concentrate, insomnia
- irritability, mental confusion/brain fog
Bring each food back into your diet one at a time, every four days. Choose a food you crave followed by one you don’t eat often. AT your first introduction, EAT A LOT of that FOOD! If gluten, have pasta with garlic bread, AND toast for breakfast AND leftover pasta for lunch. You do not want to have to guess if you ate enough!
1. ______________________ 2. ______________________
3. ______________________ 4. ______________________
5. ______________________ 6. ______________________
Introduce the food one meal, then have it again at the next meal. Then stop eating it and wait 2 days for any signs of negative reaction(s). If you do react to this food, do not bring back into diet, and make a note of the symptoms that you experienced. Take a pause and celebrate having found a culprit!
You may need to wait a few days for the reaction to clear before moving forward with the introductions. However, if you did not experience any symptoms, then you can bring that food back into your diet permanently. On day 5, bring the next food being tested back into one meal, monitor and evaluate, and so on, until you have tested all the foods.
Once you have identified foods causing symptoms, do your best to eliminate them completely for 4-6 months, then reintroduce and reevaluate. The immune system and inflammatory mileu is an ever shifting dynamic state, so do not lock your self into restrictions for ever. Even if you choose to eat or drink things that you know cause heartburn, allergies, insomnia, hives, or other symptoms, at least you know the offender and can choose to suffer, keeping you in the lead of your health and food choices and side effects.