The human body's GI tract is a home to 70% of our immune system. It is rich in neurotransmitters, hormones, chemical messengers, enzymes, microbes and bacteria. All of these are located in the wall of our gut. It's pretty amazing how the gut affects so much of our immune system. Thus when something goes wrong in the gut, that's when all hell breaks lose.
Since the gut is the gate to our immune system, the food we consume are very important. And many times, the food we consume are what makes us ill. Though there are blood tests that are available today to find out what is wrong with our system, it is still extremely limited.
Many people eliminate gluten, soy, dairy, eggs, yeast, nightshade plants, nuts and citrus as these are the common triggers for allergy symptoms.
The elimination diet is a process where one removes food(s) which is/are suspected of causing an allergy symptom(s) or food intolerances. This should be done under a supervision of an experienced medical doctor or dietitian.
How To Eliminate
1. Stop eating foods which are suspected of causing the allergy symptom(s).
2. Keep a very basic and simple diet.
* At the same time, make sure that your diet is providing the nutrients that you need.
3. Keep a very detailed diary of all foods that are consumed. Some even keep a diary of the things they use, inhale or touch. Also note down your ability to sleep, your mood, digestion, energy levels and bowel habits. See if there are improvements.
4. Slowly add back one food at a time. (Do this VERY gradually in small amounts.)
* As you slowly reintroduce different types of food back into your system, make sure you record your symptoms.
5. Sometimes some doctors/dietitians tell their patients to eliminate again the food that they react to during the period of reintroduction. This is to confirm that if the allergy symptoms clear up for good.
How Long to Eliminate
Because the antibodies which our immune system produces to react to the food we eat takes about 23 days to stop reacting to the food we've eaten. So if we eliminate one food for a short while and then we take it again too soon, it is reacting from the 'leftovers' in the system. So be patient.
My Elimination Diet
I think I can say that I have been living on an elimination diet for 5 years plus now. My elimination diet was forced upon me as I almost died from an anaphylactic attack from god-knows-what. No blood tests could give me an answer. Up till today the medical world is still unable to 'label' my medical condition. It's still 'Idiopathic Anaphylaxis'. It's still '...something wrong with my immune system.'
5 years ago after returning from the non-stop ER trips and with a system loaded with steroids, I was reacting to everything and anything. I basically ate only free range chicken, rice, lettuce iceberg veggie, sea-salt and sunflower oil day in and day out for never-ending months. Slowly I added new foods. It was a very risky experimentation. But it was something I had to do. I needed the nutrition to build back up my immune system. Today, 5 years later, I can eat so much more food than I could back then. But it took me 5 years to be where I am today. And I know which foods are my triggers. Unfortunately, food wasn't the only problem for me. Daily toiletries and smells played a big part in causing my reactions. Thus my elimination also included the things I use daily such as shampoo, creams, lotions, toothpaste, etc.
So if you think you'd need to go through an elimination diet, do it under a supervision of a doctor who knows what he is doing and is qualified to handle an emergency if it happens.