How Do You Know if You have Food Sensitivities? | Elimination Diet ‘How To’

by | Apr 22, 2021

Food first, always. Food is foundational to our health. What we put on our forks either feeds disease or fights it. That said, it simply makes sense to figure out what is working for us and what isn’t. Food sensitivities can cause numerous and random symptoms including rash, pain, fatigue, heartburn, nausea, inflammation and more. The elimination diet is the gold standard for figuring out food sensitivities. It is not really a ‘diet’ but more of a tool to help you figure out what works for your body and what doesn’t.


Years ago, I saw a young female patient who was complaining of ‘feeling swollen and inflamed”, “not able to keep up with my kids”, and dealing with long term scalp issues (itchy, flaky, thick scalp). She had been to numerous dermatologists who offered no solutions. After suggesting she give the elimination diet a try, she reluctantly decided to do so.  As a farmer’s daughter, growing up with corn as a staple on her dinner plate, she was surprised to figure out that corn was not only causing her the inflammation/swelling but also her scalp issues. She figured out that the shampoo she had been using for years had an ingredient in it that was a derivative of corn! 


Learn your body and figure out food sensitivities while decreasing inflammation, healing your gut (and therefore, immune system) and balancing blood sugar. Focus on vegetable intake (goal 7-9 servings per day – serving is a half of a cup), healthy fats and lean/healthy protein. This is not a caloric restricted diet. There are two ways to do this…ease into it (e.g., start with wheat/gluten, then dairy, etc until everything is eliminated for a minimum of 21 days) OR, start with eliminating everything on day one and follow the plan for a minimum of 21 days. Once you are ready to add foods back in, you will add one thing back at a time (I usually say start with grass fed beef, then pork, eggs, etc. You will not add wheat/gluten or dairy back in until the very end – if ever). For example, you will add grass fed beef back first. On day one of the re-introduction (once you’ve gotten through the 21 days of elimination) you would eat the grass fed beef 2-3 times that day and then you wouldn’t eat it again for 2-3 days (at least 2 days). During that time you would really listen to your body. What are you listening for? Any of the things you find not optimal about your body (skin rash, fatigue, depression, stomach gas/bloating, pain in hip, headache, etc.) You don’t have to keep an extensive journal, but you are encouraged to write a few things down to track it. I have had people tell me that they ‘believe’ eggs gave them sinus stuffiness/drainage, but they weren’t completely sure it was the eggs because they also flew on a plane and worked in the garden around the same time they added eggs back in. Well, I don’t know in this case if it’s the eggs so you would not eat the eggs again (for now), write down what happened and then when you go to add them back in the future, you will know for sure if the stuffiness happens again! See how that works? You are learning your body! We recommend following the elimination diet closely at least once a year – because your body changes over time!

Start by reading the Comprehensive Elimination Diet to see how the elimination diet can help you!

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Meet Toni

Toni is a wife, a mom to three amazing and very active boys, a wellness warrior who lives with and successfully manages three autoimmune diseases and an ultra passionate Family Nurse Practitioner certified in Functional Medicine through the Institute for Functional Medicine. Her dream has always been to ‘reach the masses’ with this root-cause, personalized medicine that saved her life.

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