Exercising and eating healthy isn’t a one-size-fits-all program. Every body is different on the inside just as they are on the outside, so a diet that works for one person might not work for you. Food sensitives can throw your body off track, derail your progress and slow you down. An elimination diet might be a good way to figure out just what is causing your gut to throw a fuss.

What is an elimination diet?
The first step is to consult your healthcare professional and let them know about your concerns. Symptoms connected to food intolerances could also be signs of more serious conditions and should be checked out.

An elimination diet is designed to cleanse your system and give your gut a reboot. You’ll remove a lot of known irritants from your diet for a set amount of time (usually 2-3 weeks), and then gradually add things back in one by one while monitoring your body’s reactions.

Even healthy products like dairy and certain fruits and vegetables can cause irritation and intestinal issues. So while you may be surprised by some of the things you’re having to cut out, they might be the ones causing you issues.

It’s important not to cheat while in the elimination phase in order to give your body a fair chance to reset and rid itself of any irritants.

Why do one?
The symptoms of food sensitivities are not fun, and while an elimination diet can be challenging for some, the results may mean a symptom-free life. If you have a sensitivity, allergy or intolerance to food you can experience both gastrointestinal and non-gastrointestinal symptoms. Headaches, joint pain, bloating, gas, hives, bowel issues, lack of energy and generally feeling unwell are all possible signs, especially if you notice it more after ingesting food or beverages.

Ideally you’ll be able to identify what is causing your symptoms and plan to avoid it in the future. Common causes for an intolerance or sensitivity can range, and some reactions will be more intense or serious than others. You may discover that you have an allergy as opposed to an intolerance or sensitivity so more drastic lifestyle changes will be necessary.

Once you pinpoint the source of your issues, you can begin to avoid the foods that upset your stomach, and work alongside your healthcare professional to address any supplements you may need to take in order to help your system break down certain foods.

Overall you should be able to live with less pain and discomfort once you know what to avoid.

Before starting an elimination diet, consult a professional to ensure you’re meeting your nutritional needs.