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What is an Elimination Diet?

Elimination Diet is an eating plan that erases the consumption of some selected food items or group of foods which are believed to impact our health in adverse manner. The term is often introduced as “food intolerance” in order to cope up with some illness or dire conditions of our body.

Why elimination diet and who can try this?

The symptoms or signs of ailments in people that have failed to react or respond over any treatment or medicinal approach can be treated with the help of Elimination Diet.

People suffering from the following symptoms can be related to the food they are consuming on daily basis, can approach elimination dieting:

  • Auto-immune disorder : Rheumatoid arthritis, Vasculitis, Gout, Lupus, Alopecia, Crohn’s Hashimoto’s.
  • Respiratory : Asthma, Chronic congestion, Rhinitis, Chronic sinus drainage, Conjunctivitis, Laryngeal edema.
  • Psychological : Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), Autistic spectrum disorder, depression, Mood swings
  • Neurological : Migraine, Headaches.
  • Cardiovascular : Palpitations, Tachycardia.
  • Gastrointestinal : Bloating, Acid reflux, Leaky GUT, Celiac disease, Colic, Constipation, IBS, IBD, Inflammatory bowel disease, Crohn’s, Nausea, Vomiting.
  • Dermatological : Skin irritations, Atopic Dermatitis, Psoriasis.
  • Others : Irritability, Dizziness, Fatigue, Excessive sweating, Cold intolerance, Joint aches
What would be the typical duration of an elimination diet?

An elimination diet should typically followed for 2 to 4 weeks not more than that, it is a short-term diet. It is more about determining the food your body cannot take well and later on removing the particular food from your diet.


Healthy nutrients rich diet with elimination of inflammatory foods.

  • Eliminate white sugar, wheat, milk, processed foods and drinks, high-fructose corn syrup, artificial sweeteners (aspartame), artificial food dyes, trans fats, emulsifiers, meats, eggs, corn, soy, rye, barley,
  • Reduce alcohol, caffeine if any.
  • Encourage organic or natural grown at least five servings of fruits and vegetables with variety of colors, healthy fat consumptions like nuts and seeds, olive oil, organic ghee, omega-3 rich foods like flaxseeds, chia seeds, plant based proteins like legumes, whole grains like amaranth, quinoa, sorghum, buckwheat etc
  • Pre-biotic fiber and probiotics can be added post 1 week to build GUT microbiome.
  • Re-introduce eliminated foods stepwise after 1 week but gluten and dairy to be completely eliminated.
  • Recommended to maintain food dairy to capture symptoms and meals details.
  • Symptoms decreases during initial elimination phase, however for chronic conditions symptoms can relapse and remit spontaneously so it is important to reintroduce eliminated foods after symptoms have resolved (for gluten and dairy)
  • Anti-inflammatory and seasonal based diet supports for elimination diet.
What types of food one must eat during elimination diet?
  • Dairy alternatives like coconut milk, almond milk, cashew milk, oats milk.
  • Proteins rich diet so that muscle mass is maintained.
  • Fruits likewise apples, banana, etc. excluding citrus fruits.
  • Gluten free whole grains likewise amaranth, buckwheat, millet, rice, sorghum, quinoa, gluten free steel cut oats etc.
  • Healthy oils like extra virgin olive oils, avocado oils, ghee (A2), sesame oils.
  • Legumes excluding peanuts and soy.
  • All nuts excluding peanuts.
  • Coconut or nuts based fat.
  • All vegetables if not intolerance.

Also, during elimination diet, it is very important to keep your body hydrated. Water, freshly crushed fruit juice, coconut water, herbal tea, lemon tea are the best substitutes in elimination diet.

What are the post benefits of elimination diet?
  1. A clearer mind without any foggy thinking or anxiety or short-term memory loss or depression.
  2. A calm and healed gut, reduction in bloating, gas, diarrhoea, constipation, pain or cramps.
  3. Reduced or no pain of back, leg cramps, arthritis, carpal tunnel.
  4. No headache or migraines.
  5. Improved and better breathing.
  6. Clearer and polished skin with minimum acne, reduced eczema, hives, etc.
  7. Increased energy levels.
  8. Weight control post elimination diet.
  9. Create your own long-term diet plan based on the results.
Who should avoid the elimination diet trial?
  • Children should not try elimination diet unless and until asked by medical practitioners.
  • People who already know about their food triggers and ailments caused by them should not try elimination diet.
  • Pregnant women should not try elimination diet as it could be harmful for the baby-to-be.
What is the supplementation support during elimination diet?
  • B12 (1000 mcg) and B9 (folate as 400-800 mcg) both methyl form for better absorption.
  • Vitamin D
  • Omega 3 (EPA +DHA) from fish oil and for vegetarian as algae based. Upto 2500-3600 mg per day
  • Magnesium for muscle cramps, loss of appetite, laziness, anxiety, etc.
  • Zinc and selenium through diets or supplementations
  • Pre-biotic fiber such as FOS, Inulin, Pectin.
  • Probiotics at-least 12 strains (keystones Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium) and minimum 30 billions CFU’s.
Risks of Eliminations Diets :
  • Malnutrition is a risk if elimination diet is practised for long duration (more than 2 weeks), the diet plan should have adequate fiber, nutrients (Vitamin D, Calcium, Zinc, Selenium, B complex).
  • Clients having IBS, anorexia and bulimia nervosa need to consult medical practitioners before starting.
  • Symptoms can get worse in the beginning but will go away in few days so be prepared.

Disclaimer : Kindly get advise with your medical practitioners before starting elimination diet specially if you are on medications.