Undertaking an elimination diet can be an important starting point to help you discover your particular food intolerance's, which in turn will help to heal the gut and also help reduce other gut symptoms as well as your symptoms of endometriosis.
The principle to an elimination diet is to stop eating certain foods that are known to cause digestive and health problems, and to pinpoint which are your particular trigger foods. You then gradually re-introduce foods one at a time to see how your body reacts.
It is advised not to cut out everything all at once when doing and elimination diet, as it is safer and easier to do this in stages, otherwise you may go through a rough detox process. Choose one item or food group per week to eliminate until you have reached the goal of eliminating all foods that are part of the elimination diet protocol.
The time-frame to do an elimination diet is about ten weeks and this includes the time to eliminate various food groups as well as an adjustment period. But it may take longer – there is no rush and you can take it at your own speed. It takes time for your body to flush the trigger foods from your system, and even longer for your body to stop reacting and your symptoms to clear.
Additional benefits - it has been found that doing an elimination diet can help to get to the root of Irritable Bowel Syndrome as well as Leaky Gut.
This is a restrictive diet and should only be done for as long as it takes to go through the process. Some will advise to eliminate all meat for an elimination diet, but I feel as long as you eat organic chicken, and wild caught fish then eating animal protein will be OK.
After the allotted time, you then choose to eat one of the foods you have eliminated, like dairy or eggs. You then monitor to see how you feel over the next 48 hours. If you have no reaction after two days then try the same food again for a second time and notice how you feel.
If you still have no reaction, you can then re-introduce this food into your diet. You follow these same steps for each food group, being sure to take notes to monitor how you feel.
Ensure to eat fats to help support stable blood sugar levels – put a spoonful of coconut oil in your green smoothies or chia pudding
Make sure you are getting sufficient nutrients, and eating sprouted seeds and grains will give you plenty of nutrients, as well as including chia seeds and hemp seeds as both are high in nutrients.
Drink plenty of water, as doing an elimination diet can be just like doing a detox, which will off-load toxins from your system and water will help to flush out these toxins.
So principally an elimination diet is done in two phases – eliminate major food groups as mentioned and then gradually re-introduce foods, monitoring how your body reacts.
Tips to prepare for an Elimination Diet
~ Write down a list of all the food groups you need to remove from your diet and start making a food and symptoms diary.
~ Before you start, ensure you have plenty of simple and clean recipe ideas to make the process less stressful – lots of nourishing salads with nuts and seeds, plenty of veggie dishes, veggie soups, fresh fruit, herbs teas, green tea.
~ Check out blog pages and websites that have advice about the elimination diet and check for recipe and snack ideas to help reduce the anxiety of knowing what to eat.
~ Ensure you are covering your nutritional needs which can include foods like sprouted grains, seeds and nut. Also make sure you have sufficient protein which can include chicken and fish – ensure you eat organic chicken and wild caught fish.
~ Ensure to eat three meals a day and have a snack in between to help control blood sugar levels.
~ Start to remove food groups one at a time and allow a time gap of around a week between each diet change.
~ Remember to keep up with your diary of your progress and when you start to add foods back in - this is when your diary become even more important.
~ Take this slowly and don’t rush through an elimination diet. You do not want to be going through a heavy-duty detox (however you may still go through a detox process by default – which is no bad thing). Ensure to drink plenty of water to help flush the toxins being released as your diet becomes cleaner.
~ Try to keep your pain medication to a minimum and use natural alternatives instead
~ Use additional detox tools to help ease the process including Epsom salts baths, skin brushing and castor oil packs (details further in the book)
The Elimination Process
Step 1 Eliminating gluten which includes bread, cookies, pastries etc. You can use rice and quinoa to provide some carbs in your diet. Stop all processed foods
Step 2 Remove all sugars and only use natural alternatives of honey or stevia
Step 3 Cut out all soy products. You can use coconut aminos instead of soy sauce
Step 4 Remove all dairy including milk – you can use oat, coconut or rice milk instead. Ensure to eat plenty of dark leafy green veggies to provide calcium and chia seeds and sesame seeds will also provide calcium
Step 5 Remove red meat and any processed meat products, cured meats and shell-fish. For protein you can eat free range chicken and oily fish like salmon and trout
Step 6 Remove histamine foods and nightshades – peas, mushrooms, peppers, tomatoes and fermented and pickled foods, maybe removing fermented and pickled foods first, then move onto the other foods rather than removing these foods all in one go
Allow a week for each step of the elimination process, plus allow a few more weeks for your system to ‘settle’. Use this time to closely monitor your symptoms. By the time you have eliminated all food groups you should start to feel the difference.
It is then time to start adding in food groups one at a time and take note of any reaction or changes in symptoms. Go through this process with each food group allowing at least a week for each new food group being added back in. This gives you time to really listen to your body.
Endometriosis can cause many distressing gut related symptoms of pain, inflammation, bloating and nausea and you need to discover what are the causes of your digestive distress.
Once you have gone through the elimination diet you should have learnt what your trigger foods are and be able to take action and adjust your diet.