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What if I told you that you could potentially eliminate fatigue, joint pain, headaches – you fill in the blank- simply by changing your diet?
What if I told you that it could be done easily and you could start within a matter of days?
Welcome to the world of functional nutrition and elimination diets.
Wait, Why Didn’t my Doctor Suggest Nutrition to Improve my Health?
We live in a world that relies so heavily on medications and procedures. Therefore, it is no surprise that nutrition is often the last resort when it comes to addressing chronic health issues.
A major reason for this is because even the most brilliant of healthcare providers typically receive minimal, if any nutrition education in school. Conventional medical education is designed to train healthcare providers to treat the symptom instead of diving deeper into nutrition and getting to the root of one’s ailment.
This often leads to years of medication to mask symptoms which then transpires into more medication down the line and the end result is often a major health condition that required a certain procedure, surgery or potentially more medication!
It is my mission as a functional dietitian to reverse the vicious cycle and train my athletes and clients to listen to their bodies so closely that they can change their fueling strategies in order to improve health and performance.
Alright, are you ready to dive in? Here are the benefits of an elimination diet and how you can begin the process today
The Benefits of an Elimination Diet
There are an incredible amount of benefits to following an elimination diet the right way, however there are three key points that are relevant to most living, breathing humans:
1. Improve Health and Longevity
The foods that you eat send signals to every cell in your body. In other words, food literally codes your DNA.
Simply put, eating junk food, or food that is particularly inflammatory to your specific immune system can cause the body to malfunction over time. The joint pain and fatigue of today could potentially manifest (slowly over time) into the cancer or Parkinsons of tomorrow.
While there are no guarantees, isn’t eating well worth a shot?
2. Save Money
Believe it or not, my clients have saved hundreds and sometimes even thousands of dollars following an elimination diet.
By removing a food(s) that is aggravating the immune system, symptoms typically resolve. This means the need for less prescription medications, doctor’s visits, supplements and procedures.
3. Give Your Body a Much Needed Rest
Cortisol is a stress hormone that our body releases when it feels we are in danger. At the end of the day, stress is stress is stress. Which means, our body does not know the difference between death, trauma, divorce, or repeat consumption of an inflammatory food. It all raises cortisol in the same fashion.
What do you mean? How can supposedly healthy foods like wheat, dairy and soy make us sick? Well, the way we grow, manufacture and process food in America today is nothing like it was when our grandparents were children.
They never had to “eat organic” or “grass-fed” because it’s just the way that it was! Farmers and manufacturers did not cut corners with chemicals as it is often done today.
Our abundant use of chemicals and feedlot farming has wreaked havoc on our health. Combine this with the overconsumption of these specific foods and you have a recipe for disaster.
Alright, so How Can I Start Making Changes Today?
1. Food Journal
The most important first step is to begin a food journal. However, this is not just any food journal. You will want to log everything you eat and drink. Then, you will document symptoms both good and bad. This process will help you discover patterns and clues about which foods may be negatively affecting your health.
8:00 am: 2 eggs and bowl of fruit. – Felt nauseous/bloated
12:00 pm grilled chicken + salad + baked potato – Felt alert and energized You get the idea…
2. Prep and Plan in Advance
Once you take the data from your food journal, it’s time to grocery shop! Remove the foods/ingredients that you suspect you might react to and keep your “safe” core of fruits, veggies, proteins, and quality fats. Start to research recipes and batch cook!
3. Remove for 3-6 Weeks
The actual food removal is perhaps the most important step in the process. Be sure to remove the food(s) that you suspect may be the problem for a minimum of 3 weeks, ideally 6.
The removal must be strict. In other words, if you give up dairy, you can’t avoid ice cream and cheese but then eat salad dressing or granola bars containing components of dairy. It’s critical that your immune system receives adequate rest during this time.
4. Work with a Functionally Trained Registered Dietitian
Finding a qualified professional to help guide you from start to finish can be an absolute game changer for your long term success. Most importantly, it is extremely important to find a qualified registered dietitian to help you begin the proper reintroduction process.
If you are interested to learn more about an elimination diet meal plan, consider working with a registered dietitian who specializes in functional nutrition. A great place to start your search is IFNacademy.com.
Happy healing and happy eating my friends!