The ideal diet is different for everyone. It will depend on how a person’s unique physiology interacts with the constituents in functional food. If you’re a holistic healthcare practitioner, you know food intolerances can be hard to find and may be wreaking havoc on body systems.
In my previous blog, I introduced the first phase of my unique elimination and provocation process, the gold standard for identifying food sensitivities. Phase 1: The Preparation Phase, is a critical step I developed that is missing from most elimination diets. (See my 4 phases here.)
In the Preparation Phase, a list is created of all foods eaten, including those known or suspected of triggering symptoms. It’s now time to plan and implement the elimination diet.
Phase 2: The Elimination Phase
The elimination process can be oversimplified. This leads to an overlooked aspect of food sensitivities that can prevent detection of their root cause. When the outlined steps are followed, this critical aspect reveals itself.
1) Design The Elimination Diet
Decide in advance what to eat at each meal. Continue using the diet and symptom tracker and/or food journal started in the Preparation Phase. Eat as much as needed to feel full and satiated. This process is not about weight loss, though that can certainly be a side effect.
2) Begin Eliminating Food Groups
How quickly food is eliminated will depend on what has already been eliminated in Phase 1 and how well possible detox symptoms are tolerated. This can take days or weeks, it’s up to the individual.
If it hasn’t been done already, begin with eliminating all known trigger foods along with the 10 most common allergen food groups previously introduced. Remove one food at a time or all at once. Again, it’s up to each person and what they feel comfortable with.
3) Assess Your Progress
Once these foods have been completely eliminated, follow with 4-7 days of strict adherence to the predesigned elimination diet. Most should be feeling much better. If not, continue the elimination process.
There are 16 food groups in total that can be eliminated, but it may not be necessary. Whenever a point is reached of feeling great, the elimination process can be stopped, reintroduction can begin.
The Critical Mistake
If the lengthy and sometimes arduous process of Phase 1 and Phase 2 does not result in feeling better, it can be frustrating. The major mistake comes when the process is viewed as having failed.
This is where a critical mistake is made. The continued symptoms are too often viewed as a failure in the process, but actually, it has revealed the likelihood that food sensitivities are a result of a leaky gut.
Food sensitivities will never be resolved if the gut lining is damaged. All the work has empowered you to recognize additional steps are needed to repair the gut and correct the imbalance at the root level, facilitating lasting health gains.
This is what functional healthcare is all about.
The Final Phases
In my next blog I’ll explain the final two phases in my Food Sensitivity Detection process; Phase 3: The Reintroduction Phase and Phase 4: The Maintenance Phase. I’ll identify common missteps that can interfere with rapid progress toward resolving food sensitivities. These mistakes are well worth avoiding.
Listen to my podcast, ReInvent Healthcare, where I deepen the conversation about how practitioners who want to make a real difference can empower clients to achieve their wellness goals.