It is no surprise that conventional doctors and alternative practitioners do not tend to see eye-to-eye on the subject of food allergies. While conventional medical doctors acknowledge type 1 hypersensitivity reactions (immediate reactions), there is little belief in delayed, hidden, or unrecognized allergic reactions and the role they play in acute and chronic medical conditions.
Alternative health care practitioners are more likely to understand the role of hidden allergies - how they impact the immune system and the gut and how addressing and eliminating these food sensitivities are essential to restoring health. Undetected food allergies are often related to recurrent infections, autoimmune diseases, diseases of the bowel, and ADHD.
Reactions can occur hours or days after ingesting an allergen and they may not occur every time the food is ingested, making the identification of offending foods difficult to impossible, especially when several foods are at fault. Since medical testing for food allergies works well for 1 hypersensitivity allergens but is inconclusive for hidden allergens, the only way to identify hidden food allergies is through a well-planned and executed elimination diet.
Before You Start Your Elimination Diet
First make a list of every symptom you have from the top of your head to your toes. List every ache and pain, every rash, every digestive symptom, etc. It doesn't hurt to rate severity, too.
How To Do an Elimination Diet
A thorough elimination diet generally excludes the following:
- All known allergens, All milk products including cheese, butter, yogurt, kefir, cottage cheese, etc.
- All corn and corn products including corn oil and high fructose corn syrup
- All artificial flavours, colours, and preservatives
- Chocolate, Refined sugar, Citrus (oranges, lemons, limes, grapefruits, tangerines)
- Wheat, Soy, Eggs, Coffee and tea, Alcohol
- Any food that is eaten 3 times a week or more
- Tap Water (Drink pure spring water or distilled water from safe containers)
Care must be taken if eating any processed foods. Read the label carefully to be sure the product does not have any ingredients on the elimination list.
While the list above may work well for an elimination diet, we recommend taking the elimination diet a few steps further.
- Eat only organic foods. You may be reacting to pesticide residues.
- For the duration of the elimination diet (which is hopefully followed by a healing diet) eliminate all processed foods.
- Eliminate gluten (wheat, barley, rye, spelt, kamut, triticale)
- Eliminate all sugars
- Eliminate nuts and seeds
- Eliminate trans fats, artificial sweeteners, MSG, and GMO foods
So what do you eat? Plenty of fresh, raw, organic fruits and veggies (except for corn and citrus fruits); meat if you desire (but be sure it is organic); rice, gluten-free oats, and other gluten-free grains; organic oils (not corn); and organic beans.
If you experience severe withdrawals the first few days of the diet, vitamin C may help. Try taking 1,000 mg of vitamin C up to four times a day.
Before You Reintroduce Foods
After 2-3 weeks, if hidden food allergies were a problem, you should be feeling much better. Before you begin challenging your body with foods that were eliminated from your diet, go over your symptom list and circle every symptom that is no longer present and rate the severity of those that remain.
Now you want to reintroduce one food at a time to see which foods provoke symptoms. It helps to keep a detailed food diary at this point.
How To Reintroduce Foods
Reintroduce one eliminated food at a time (one a day) to check for a reaction. Make a note in your food diary as to whether or not there was any reaction and what the reaction entailed. If there was no reaction at breakfast, challenge yourself with the food again at lunch. If there was no reaction at lunch, challenge again at dinner. Whether you reacted or not, eliminate the food again and test the next food on your list the following day. Reactions include:
- Headache, Nausea, Bloating, Cramps or stomach ache, Fatigue, Dizziness, Rash
- Dark circles under the eyes, And any symptom that has reappeared from your list
Some foods require special testing.
- Eggs - Hard boil the eggs. Test with egg whites one day and egg yolks another day.
- Dairy - Test milk, kefir, yogurt, and butter on the same day. Test individual cheeses one day at a time.
- Citrus fruits - test each one on a separate day. Lemon and lime juice can be added to water. For the other citrus fruits, eat whole fresh fruit.
- Corn - be sure you test with organic corn on the cob or frozen organic corn.
If you experience joint pain that is relieved through the elimination diet, challenge with a possible allergen (a food you have removed from your diet) every other day, instead of each day, as it may take up to 48 hours for joint pain to appear. Other reactions generally appear within ten minutes to 12 hours.
While identifying and eliminating allergens from your diet is an essential step towards regaining your health, it is more important to heal the gut and permanently remove unhealthy foods from your diet.
Foods To Eliminate For Good
So first, there is no reason to ever reintroduce artificial flavours, colours, preservatives, MSG, GMOs, trans fats, artificial sweeteners, or refined sugar back into your diet.
A Truly Healthy Diet
A healthy diet consists of 80% fresh, raw, organic produce. If you eat meat and dairy, it should also be organic. If you have any chronic health problems, especially any autoimmune disease, you probably suffer from a permeable gut, often called leaky gut syndrome. It would be wise to learn all you can about healing the gut, reducing Candida in your system, and increasing the good bacteria.
Heal the Gut to Eliminate Allergies
When you heal the gut and continue to eat a healthy diet, food allergies to dissipate, even severe allergies that have caused anaphylactic reactions in the past. It is also not unusual for someone who has eradicated their food sensitivities to find their allergies surface once again after just a day or two of eating refined sugar or drinking alcohol, which promotes Candida, inflames the gut, and causes allergies. If food allergies are potentially a result of vaccine damage, check out the leaky gut article below and How To Detoxify and Heal From Vaccinations - For Adults and Children. Be sure to check out all of the following articles for more on eliminating allergies permanently.