Thursday, April 26, 2012

Allergy Elimination Diets – Do They Really Work? Plus 6 More FAQ's



 After posting so much information on wheat, milk and egg allergies I feel as though it may be time to discuss the easiest, most effective and least expensive way to do some allergy testing . . . an allergy elimination diet.

Here are the 7 most frequently asked questions about an allergy elimination diet.

1) Does it really work?

In my private practice, I found it to be much more accurate than typical lab tests.  Sometimes the serum tests are not really definitive, but an elimination diet can provide real feedback in the elimination of symptoms that return when an offending food is added back in to the diet.

The effectiveness is dependent upon your willingness to follow the protocol to the letter because 1 molecule of an offending food can keep the reaction going.

2) What’s involved?
        
Depending on how sick you are and the symptoms you are experiencing, your elimination diet can be slightly different.  However, here are the basics . . .

Even if you don’t think these things create a reaction for you, it’s really important to go ahead and just cut them out during this test.

Cut out all grains, all dairy products, all sugars, alcohol and chocolate.  Avoid any pork products and all cured meats, fish and poultry – fresh is always best.  Avoid dried legumes including beans, peas and peanuts.  If you suspect any other foods like nuts, eggs or nightshades (potatoes, tomatoes, eggplant), as well as any others add them to your list.

I know this sounds difficult and boring, but please trust me it’s totally worth it.  When you can identify the offending foods your health will dramatically improve and you will have your life back!

And it doesn’t need to be boring!  There are so many things you can eat.  I have some suggestions for you in another section. 

I do suggest that if you are having lots of issues – especially IBS symptoms - that you actually start with mostly broths, pureed soups and well steamed vegetables.  This takes a big load off of your digestion and enhances assimilation of the nutrients in the food.  Plus digestion takes lots of energy and when you reduce the energy spent on digestion, your body has more energy to use healing itself.

Allergens lurk in even the most unsuspected places.

It’s so important that become a real investigator of all the food you eat.  You will be surprised at the ingredients that are lurking in the foods you eat! 

Just the other day I discovered that there is actually sugar in the Garlic/Pepper blend I had been using.  It was a Christmas gift and I did not read the label and that taught me that slacking off on label investigation does not pay off!




3) How Long Do I Keep it Going?

The good news is that it’s not forever!  The rest of the story is that it does need to last a minimum of 6 weeks and I highly recommend 3 months.

Think of it like pushing the “reset” button on your digestive and immune systems.  But that button needs plenty of time to reset.  When you shorten the time your results will not be as clear-cut.

4) How Do I Get Started?

I highly recommend purging your cabinets and refrigerator.  Pack up anything outside your diet plan and store it out of sight (you know the saying - “out of sight, out of mind”) or give it away.


Find your local sources for organic fruits and veggies.  Since these will be the stars of your plate, make sure they are fresh and beautiful!  I highly recommend farmers’ markets and farm market stands.  You can talk to the farmers directly to be sure that your purchases are really organic.  Plus the produce, fish, poultry and meats are very fresh.

Stock your fridge with a variety of foods.  There’s a list of my favorites below.        

5) How do I know if this is necessary for me?

If you have any major health issues then this is something I would strongly consider.  Remember, some food allergies shout at you and are easy to relate to what you ate – things like gas, bloating, belching, constipation, diarrhea, vomiting, crohn’s, ulcerative colitis and IBS symptoms.


But some food allergies are more silent in the ways they work.  They create a huge inflammatory response that may result in things that may seem unrelated.  Asthma, upper respiratory issues, auto-immune disorders, skin rashes, eczema, psoriasis, varicose and spider veins, joint pain and stiffness, fibromyalgia, arthritis, headaches including migraines, insomnia, restless leg syndrome, fatigue, lethargy, weight issues – under and over weight – cancer and so many others!
Even things like HIV, lyme disease, MRSA and hepatitis are not caused by allergies but may be dramatically exacerbated by them.

6) What can I eat?

The list of things you can eat is so vast that if you just keep experimenting you will not get bored. 

Additionally, as time goes along you can move away from eating mainly soups, pureed foods and well steamed veggies, to fermented foods, salads and raw foods.

Start by stocking your refrigerator with a variety of greens – kale, spinach, Swiss chard, and any others that are fresh and available.  I do suggest that you wait until week 2 or 3 to add broccoli, cauliflower and Brussels sprouts in to your diet.

Include root vegetables like carrots, beets, sweet potatoes, turnips, onions and parsnips.

Include squashes like pumpkin, zucchini, yellow squash, butternut, acorn, delicata, turban, spaghetti and any others that are available.

Include a variety of seasonal veggies like celery, garlic, asparagus, okra, green beans, snap peas and tomatoes (if you are not avoiding nightshades).

The fruits to include are organic apples, pears, watermelon, blueberries, lemons and limes for the first week or 2.  Then add in anything else that appeals to you.  However, since oranges, tangerines and grapefruit are acidic in nature they may tend to upset more delicate stomachs.  So if you are quite sensitive avoid them.

I also include quinoa since it is actually a seed and not a grain.  It is very high in protein so it is especially important for vegetarians on this diet.

Fresh, free range, organic chicken or lamb, line caught wild Alaskan salmon or halibut are good protein sources.  If eggs are on your list be sure they are organic, free range and allowed to forage.  Avoid eggs from chickens that are fed soy, wheat and/or corn.

You will want to include olive oil, coconut oil and nut oils if you have no nut allergies.  Vinegars, especially apple cider and balsamic – read labels on flavored vinegars to be sure they don’t contain sugar. 

Seeds like pumpkin, sunflower, sesame, flax, hemp and chia seeds are great additions to your foods.  You can also add sunflower butter and tahini for variety.  Just eat them sparingly – not more than a tablespoon a day.

Even if you don’t think you have any nut allergies, it’s a good idea to avoid them during the first 2 weeks.  It’s best to keep everything light and very easy to digest during these 2 weeks.  Believe it or not, those critical opening weeks set you up for success.  You will be amazed just how fast your intestinal tract can repair itself – this is because small intestine cells only live 36 hours.  So during these 2 weeks those cells will renew themselves just under 10 times and each time they turn over they will be just a little healthier than the previous generation.

7) Is there anything I can do to speed up the process?

The fastest, easiest and most effective way to speed your progress is to switch to high quality ionized water. The antioxidants in this water have the ability to address the inflammation associated with food allergies in a unique manner. 



Tomorrow,  Friday, April 27th my booklet “If Bodies Heal Themselves, Why Am I Sick?” will be available on Amazon.com.  I highly recommend reading it for a thorough understanding.


I hope that you find this information helpful.  Please post any questions or comments and I will be happy to help guide you through this process!

Dr. P





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