Food sensitivities and intolerances are getting more and more common these days. And many people are experiencing some classic symptoms of food intolerance and they don’t make the connection that their symptoms may be connected to the food they are eating, especially if it is something they are eating every day, which is often the case with the likes of bread or milk. There are tests available nowadays to test if you are allergic or intolerant to a whole list of foods, but these are very expensive and often not very accurate. While it may sound daunting, carrying out an elimination diet yourself can be a far cheaper and more effective way of doing things. The idea is to eliminate the suspected offending food completely from your diet for 3 weeks, so you should notice a change in your symptoms, or possibly a reaction after the 3 weeks when you go back on the food. The thought is usually a lot worse than the actual doing it. Here’s a few tips for making it a bit easier:
- Pick just one food at a time to eliminate; the most common ones would be dairy and gluten, depending on the symptoms
- Write a food dairy for a week previous to beginning. Look over and think exactly which foods you eat that would need to be avoided. It may not be as much as you think!
- Think of alternatives meal by meal, write a menu for yourself, it may turn out to be easier than you imagined
- Keep a diary of your symptoms, any changes, how you’re feeling etc as you go
- Mark a date in your diary 3 weeks out as your goal
- Get yourself a ‘free from’ cookbook, there are some great ones out now, get one specific to whatever you are eliminating, to give you some new ideas
Some meal tips if eliminating Gluten:
Be careful which substitutes you choose, check the ingredients, some products marked ‘gluten free’ can sometimes be full of sugar and other hidden rubbish
Breakfast – Porridge, Fruit/Yogurt/ Muesli or Granola, Buckwheat/Quinoa/MIllet cereals, Chia Pudding, Smoothie Bowl
Lunch – Salads, Soups, Rice cakes, Oat crackers, gluten free breads (Purebred range is good). Lettuce wraps are very handy.
Dinner – Meat/Fish with veg, Eggs, Brown Rice, Quinoa, Courgette noodles
Some meal tips if eliminating Dairy:
Breakfast – Nut milks, Soya milk, soya yogurt, coconut yogurt, fruit salad, smoothie bowl. Nut milks, get the ones with added calcium and be sure soya milk is organic & states non GMO
Lunch – Salads, Soups, Meats, Fish, Rice cakes, Oat crackers. Avoid butter, cheese and yogurt. Watch out for soups & sauces that may contain cream. Avocado can be a good addition instead
Dinner – Meat/Fish with veg, Brown Rice, Quinoa. Avoid butter, cheese and yogurt. Watch out for soups & sauces that may contain cream. Make dressings/ sauces using tomatoes, avocados, etc