Have you kept up with your New Year’s resolutions to lose weight or eat healthy? If you have, good for you in making such a positive lifestyle change to improve your overall health.
But, what about if you’re still struggling to keep your resolutions or if you’ve been walking a straight line – counting calories, working out, eating healthy – and yet you’re not dropping pounds or still feeling sluggish. What could be the cause?
Are you sending the Right messages to your Gut?
Well, you may not realize it, but the foods you’re eating every day are not just fuel for the body, every bite of food you eat sends a message to your body and your body responds accordingly. These messages are transmitted by our gastrointestinal (GI) tract which is responsible for digestion and absorption. Our GI tract is rich in neurotransmitters, hormones, chemical messengers, enzymes, and bacteria. Therefore, given the amount of resources devoted to the proper function of the GI tract, it seems obvious that a healthy body starts with a healthy GI system.
Do you want to lose weight? Do you want clearer and healthier looking skin? Do you want to increase your energy levels and shine with good health and vitality? If so, you better fix your gut and get your GI system working properly.
Issues with a Leaky Gut:
Could leaky gut be what’s troubling you? Leaky gut is the underlying cause of many people’s allergies and inflammation but it can be a difficult diagnosis to establish because it includes a wide variety of symptoms. With leaky gut, also known as increased intestinal permeability, the digestive lining becomes damaged, resulting in bigger holes that allow more things to pass through that ordinarily couldn’t.
When the digestive system is comprised, bacteria, viruses, undigested food particle and toxic waste products can leak from the inside of your intestines into your bloodstream, where they’re transported throughout the body and can trigger your immune system to react. The end result is inflammation in various parts of the body, leading to symptoms such as bloating, cramps, fatigue, food sensitivities, flushing, aches and pains.
Multiple food sensitivities and intolerances can contribute to leaky gut; therefore health professionals recommend eliminating culprit foods for about a month and seeing how you feel when you reintroduce them.
The elimination diet is one approach that’s extremely useful in treating GI-related health conditions. It addresses many of our individual needs, and benefits nearly everyone who tries it.
5 Tips to start an elimination diet:
- Identify your current symptoms. It’s difficult to know where you’re going unless you know where you are. Do you have skin problems? Allergies? Digestive issues like gas, bloating, constipation? How are your energy levels and your mood? These are some potential symptoms of food sensitivities. So, before you begin your diet make a list of everything you notice in your body.
- What to remove? Eliminate the usual food suspects for at least 23 days. Why 23 days? That is the approximate turn over time for antibodies, which are the proteins that your immune system makes when it reacts with foods. The best elimination diets remove the largest number of foods. To begin, the basic elimination diet is as simple as this: No gluten, dairy, eggs, soy, fast food, or alcohol for 23 days.
- What should you eat? Consume 30% “clean” protein, like organic, grass-fed lean beef, chicken, and wild fish. Fresh fruit, vegetables, legumes (beans and lentils), nuts, seeds, seaweeds, and gluten-free grains like quinoa should make up the other 70% of your diet.
- Food reintroduction. Of course, it’s not the purpose of the elimination diet to get rid of all the foods you eliminated forever. On day 24, pick one food you eliminated – like gluten, OR dairy, OR eggs – but not more than one, and eat it. See how you feel over the next two days after you introduce the food, if you have no reaction eat the same food again on the third day and for a second time notice how you feel. From there, it’s up to you whether or not to re-incorporate that food into your diet on a regular basis based on how you feel.
- Pay attention to your body. Throughout the diet and the reintroduction process, notice how you feel. For example, you’ll want to monitor your sleep, mood, energy, digestion, bowel movements, etc. In fact, we recommend keeping a journal during the diet and tracking your symptoms.
Elimination Diet: Self diagnosis of what works and what doesn’t for you:
If you feel better during the elimination phase (for example, more energy, better sleep), it may indicate that a food you commonly eat is causing you a problem. Because you’ll be reintroducing eliminated foods one at a time, you can be very observant at that point of any food-related changes in your body.
In conclusion, there are no blood tests or allergy tests that can tell you what your life would be like without a particular food or how you would feel once it was eliminated from your diet. When you find out for yourself, you could be improving your overall health and saving yourself a lifetime of inflammation, GI symptoms, and in some unfortunate cases even life-threatening diseases.