This particular approach to the food allergy diet (also called the elimination and challenge diet) is much simpler than four day rotation diets or other more involved regimes. Nearly everyone who wishes to identify food allergies will be able do so with this method.
Using an elimination or food allergy diet to identify food sensitivities has certain advantages over using various other testing methods. The most important advantage is that experiencing the reduction or elimination of symptoms during the food allergy diet elimination phase is very convincing and motivating. In addition, there is no cost for this test and once you know how to do it, you can test yourself anytime you need to.
Getting a list of things you are not supposed to eat from the lab
usually does not motivate you to give up favorite foods. Often the list
is so large, that you will give up before even beginning. In my
experience, no one has to give up every single food they may be reactive
to on a laboratory test report. Most lab reports will say that the clinical effect of the identified food will have to be verified by using an elimination diet. So you can save money and confusion by simply doing the elimination diet instead.
This food allergy diet is based on eliminating the most common food allergens and observing the effect. If symptoms worsen within three to four days, this is a clear sign that those symptoms have been related to eating certain regularly consumed foods.
Once the symptoms subside or disappear (usually within two weeks or so), the eliminated foods are reintroduced and tested carefully and systematically. The response or lack of one, both mental and physical, gives the test result.
Eliminating all sugars is an excellent test for candida overgrowth. If typical flu-like die off symptoms occur within a few days of eliminating sugar, there is a candida problem. Sugar includes honey, fructose, sucanat, fruit, agave syrup and maple syrup. Anything with a sweet taste and a high carbohydrate count on the label has sugar of some kind in it. Excessive sugar intake is a major cause of all types of intestinal dysbiosis.
The most common food allergens are:
Taking one to three weeks to work on to the food allergy diet works
best for most people. This gives the body time to adjust and minimizes
detox and die off symptoms. In addition, you can finish off the food you
have and begin experimenting with foods you may not be in the habit of
eating. Changing one meal at a time is a good strategy when beginning the elimination diet. Develop a new breakfast, then lunch and then dinner.
As you shift your diet toward the food allergy diet, you may experience some cleansing and detoxification symptoms at first. The most common symptoms include headaches, fatigue, joint pain, a flu-like aching or nausea. They tend to come and go during the day. Chronic conditions may flare up temporarily or old symptoms may re-occur for a while. These are all signs that you have a food allergy. The challenge tests will reveal which foods are the problem.
Go to my Cookbook for many recipes which can be used during the elimination phase of the food allergy diet. But in general eating very simply is the best approach. Go to the The Healing Process section for information on handling die-off and detox symptoms.
Usually within two weeks, three at most, you will get a clearing of the symptoms you have been struggling with and you may lose up to ten pounds. Food allergies often cause weight gain and water retention. If this does not occur, either you do not have food allergies, or you have too many of them to experience relief with this elimination diet.
A four-day rotation diet is the most powerful tool for severely
allergic people or ones who react to nearly everything they eat. The Yeast Connection and The Yeast Connection Cookbook
by Dr. William Crook has an excellent section on rotation diet for
those who need it.
For nearly everyone though, many symptoms do clear. Then the challenge and testing part of the food alllergy diet begins. It is tempting to stay on the elimination phase of the diet for many people. They feel so much better with it that they do not want to test any foods.
However, it is best to broaden the diet as soon as possible for better nutrition. One aspect of food allergies or allergies in general is called the allergy/addiction cycle. The foods we react to the most, become addicting just as a drug can. The result of this phenomenon is that the foods and substances we are most allergic to, we are also the most attached to.
This gives us a clue as to which foods to test first. The less it bothers you to think of giving up a certain food, the less likely it is that you are allergic to it. Testing these foods first allows you to broaden your diet more quickly.
Choose a day when you are not having much in the way of symptoms (at least compared to what you are used to). This makes a reaction more apparent. Eat the food you are testing at breakfast, lunch and dinner. If you react strongly right away, then discontinue the test and continue to eliminate that food.
Eat the food in a pure form. Make sure you are only testing one food allergen at a time. Bread for instance has both wheat and yeast in it so a reaction would be hard to interpret. It would be better to test wheat with plain wheat pasta or hot cereal.
If you feel fine all day and wake up the next day with no particular symptoms, then you may add that food back into your diet. The next day you can test another one. The most common reaction to a food allergen is a return of a chronic symptom in a more acute form.
For example, a chronic neck and upper back pain becomes an intense headache when the offending food is eaten. This is because the immune system is recovering its ability to react acutely to the toxic nature of that food.
Headaches are a very common food allergy reaction. Elevated heart rate, joint pain, fatigue, depression, negative thinking, and anxiety may occur. A sudden weight gain of three to five pounds, various digestive discomforts, skin rashes or waking up the next day feeling hung over are all signs of a food allergy.
If you react to a food, you must wait at least three days before testing another one. Be sure the food allergy symptoms have cleared so you will be able to interpret your reaction to the new food.
The most severe food allergies can take up to two months of elimination to give a clear response on a challenge test. The immune system has been so weakened by the constant exposure to the food, that it takes longer for it to recover enough to elicit the more acute symptoms in response to the food.
Often testing a food will bring on a very old and chronic symptom that has not responded to any form of therapy. Now you know exactly what has been causing the problem all those years.
This is very important. To really feel what one of your favorite foods has been doing to you (for who knows how long) is essential to being able to give it up. It is the only thing that can help you to break the addiction to that food. And even then, you may go back to it periodically until you tire of becoming ill over and over again.
This is where creating good substitutes for favorite foods is essential. In order to stay on a diet that keeps you well, you must make it satisfying and enjoyable. As you recover from the allergy/addiction, you will be surprised at how your tastes change and at how good other foods begin to taste once you are not dominated by the constant desire for only those foods you are allergic to.
Some food allergies are temporary. Especially if candida overgrowth in the intestinal tract is a problem, as the candida is cleared and the intestinal tract and immune system recover, you may be able to tolerate a food you could not at first. Other food allergies never change and you will have to avoid that food for the rest of your life to enjoy the best health.
If the allergy is mild, you may be able to eat the food occasionally. If it is more severe, you may not be able to eat the food without awakening powerful cravings for it. This will make moderation very difficult, if not impossible. Any food you really crave, should not be eaten. It is a sign that you are reacting to it and it will cause problems eventually.
Living with unidentified food allergies for many years is a crazy-making experience. The chaos in the body and mind and the unpredictable shifts in energy and mood make you a slave to the food. It is the ultimate love/hate relationship.
Food allergy/addiction is the true gateway drug for other substance addictions. The addictive cycle often begins very early in life. Alcoholics are the most severely affected by the addiction side of food allergy/addiction. The initial effect of their drink of choice is strongly related to the food the alcohol is made from. After the addiction is well established, the alcohol itself becomes the main addiction.
Eating lots of sugar
keeps the alcohol coming by promoting candida overgrowth in the
intestinal tract. Candida produces many alcohol breakdown products as it grows.
Food addiction, tobacco addiction, and drug addiction are always preceded by food allergy/addictions or the drug-like effect of refined sugar and starches. The constant toxicity and stimulation leads to adrenal burnout. All addicts have adrenal fatigue and dysfunction.
Identifying and eliminating food allergy/addictions is extremely helpful in drug and alcohol recovery work. Continuing to eat addicting foods makes it very hard to overcome the cravings for other addictions.
If you have chronic fatigue of any type, it is important to be sure you have identified all of your food allergies and sensitivities. It is just about impossible to fully recover from chronic fatigue while constantly eating foods you are reacting to.
Those foods are a source of constant adrenal stress day in and day out. The many years of constant stress damage will cause every kind of illness and misery. Nothing tastes that good.
"The chief reason these reactions to commonly eaten foods are not readily recognized is that they are part of a pattern of constant reactions in which periods of heightened stimulation may give way to periods of letdown, or withdrawal effects. In the beginning of the problem, eating the food has a marked, immediate stimulatory effect lasting up to several hours. Simply by eating a particular food, such as coffee, wheat or corn, as often as necessary, this up effect may be maintained for a relatively long period of time. It is only when such foods are not eaten regularly that a kind of hangover, or withdrawal reaction, occurs.
Since the delayed withdrawal effects can usually be controlled by eating some form of the same food, the whole cumulative process of reaction can be called a food addiction. A food addiction differs only in degree of severity from a drug addiction. In all other respects, the two phenomena are remarkably similar.
When the exposure to an allergy-causing substance is constant, however, eventually the acute symptoms [of allergy] will give way to either a period of no symptoms, or to chronic symptoms such as headaches, depression, or arthritis. In other words, the acute symptoms have been suppressed because of the constant nature of the exposure, and the body has reacted by attempting to adapt itself to the problem.
It is this phase which we call addiction, and this most often occurs in response to commonly eaten foods. Unlike the drug addict, however, the food addict does not usually know the object of his desire. In fact, the food addict may not consciously crave any particular food, but may simply arrange his eating schedule so that it always includes the unknown addicting substance.
...Unfortunately, there is no single word which connotes the longing for an unknown substance, or a craving for something which is hidden not only from the world but usually from the victim himself, but the word addiction comes closest to that meaning.
The addictive response is broadly composed of two phases: 1) an immediate improvement of chronic symptoms of illness, such as tiredness, headache, fatigue, or aches and pains, when the food is eaten and then
2) a delayed hangover unless the addicting food or drink is taken on schedule. Each individual establishes his own addiction routine, his own pattern of ever-decreasing periods between food fixes. By taking his addicting food, the addict keeps himself in a relatively high state and postpones feelings of letdown, hangover, or pain which follow withdrawal of the addicting food."