There are many techniques we turn to in order to feel better when we’re sluggish, fatigued, or just generally under the weather. We might try some gentle yoga, go for a walk, try to eat better, or reduce alcohol intake. All of these help, for sure!
Another effective (and underrated) way of feeling better during a period of poor health is going on an elimination diet. Elimination diets can help not only refresh our health by removing bad food from our diets, but also to check for any food intolerances or allergies.
But once your diet is over, how do you deal with elimination diet reintroduction of foods? That’s exactly what we will be reviewing here. So read on to learn more.
Recommended product for elimination diet reintroduction:
What Does Reintroduction After an Elimination Diet Mean?
An elimination diet involves removing either individual foods or even entire food groups from your diet for a period of time, up to a maximum of a few months. Doing so can help your body detox, while also helping to flag any issues such as food allergies or intolerances.
Let’s imagine you had a negative experience every time you ate dairy, with symptoms such as gastric issues and fatigue. If you removed dairy from your diet and saw your symptoms ease, only to reappear when you reintroduced dairy to your diet, you’d know there was a possibility that you could be intolerant or allergic to dairy.
After you’ve been on an elimination diet, there will be a period during which you add some of the food groups you eliminated back to your diet. This is what’s known as elimination diet reintroduction.
The reintroduction period is where you really need to pay attention, as this part of the diet will flag any issues you’re having with a particular food or type of food. Let’s say you’re unsure whether you have an intolerance to gluten or dairy because you usually eat them together.
If you remove both of these allergens during the elimination stage of your diet, you can reintroduce them at separate times. By reintroducing them separately, you’ll be able to see which of the two food groups is actually causing you uncomfortable or unusual symptoms.
Identifying these foods is the first step to turning your health around for the better and saying goodbye to any unpleasant symptoms!
When Are Foods Reintroduced After an Elimination Diet?
This is particular to each individual, but for the most part elimination diets last up to three months. After that time, you’ll start to reintroduce certain foods. If you’re testing for allergies or intolerances, reintroduce foods one at a time to check for side effects.
Another example is my 40-day Mindful Elimination program. This program is 40 days overall, where you spend the first 28 days on a elimination diet and then reintroduce foods over the next 12 days to determine any intolerances.
It’s not worth rushing when you reintroduce food. Take it slowly, start with small portions, and let your body get used to the foods all over again. The best way to reintroduce foods is to reintroduce one at a time, every 2-3 days.
Typical Foods That are Part of Elimination Diet Reintroduction
There’s no set list of foods that you should remove as part of an elimination diet. It’s a personal thing that adapts to your body and your needs. In general, people are typically testing for allergies or intolerances. You might remove typical allergens from your diet such as the following:
Other foods might not be allergens, but can still cause bad reactions or poor health outcomes when you eat them excessively. Examples of these foods include the following:
- Sugary foods (such as processed cereals, sweets, chocolate, and cakes)
- Citrus fruits (the acid can be problematic for some people)
- Nightshade vegetables
- Processed meat (such as bacon, chicken nuggets, and sausages with a low percentage of meat)
The right foods for removal and reintroduction on your elimination diet will be unique to you. To discover which foods you should eliminate as part of your elimination diet, it can be useful to keep a food diary.
Interesting read: Genius Elimination Diet Breakfast Ideas
Elimination Diet Reintroduction Steps
If you are interested in undergoing an elimination diet to see which problematic foods or food groups are causing you issues, then you will need to know the steps to take to reintroduce foods. There are a few simple steps you’ll have to follow which involve removing certain groups from your diet and reintroducing them.
By following this strategy, you’ll gain a better understanding of your health and which foods work best for you.
Step 1: Remove Problematic Foods From Your Diet
The first step to reintroducing foods is eliminating them in the first place. An elimination diet should only last up to 2-3 months max. Otherwise, you could struggle with nutritional deficiencies or the general inconvenience of limiting which foods you’re eating.
First, establish any foods that tend to cause you to experience uncomfortable symptoms after eating. Make a list of them and consider eliminating them during your elimination diet.
Even if you don’t experience acute symptoms from particular foods, there still might be foods that are worth eliminating because they generally cause poor health outcomes. These include processed foods like processed meats, cereals, sugary treats, potato chips, and fries.
Make sure you’re focusing your diet around whole foods, protein, and fruits and vegetables during your elimination diet. Choose a suitable time during which you think you can stick to it. Typical elimination diets last around six weeks.
Recipes you might like on an elimination diet:
- Soy-Free & Gluten Free Slow Cooker Pulled Pork
- Dairy-Free Shrimp Scampi with Zucchini Noodles
- Steak with Ghee & Rosemary
Step 2: Reintroduce Foods, One at a Time
After you’re ready to come off your elimination diet gradually, start to reintroduce foods one at a time. The best way to approach it is to introduce a new food every 2-3 days.
If you cut out added sugar, gluten, dairy, and processed meats, for example, you could start by reintroducing dairy on the first day. Watch for symptoms for a couple of days before moving on to the next food.
Step 3: Look Out for Symptoms
While you’re reintroducing foods one at a time, look out for symptoms. We’ve added a handy list below of symptoms that are red flags, so you know what to look for when you’re reintroducing foods to your diet.
The easiest way to keep track of symptoms is to keep a food diary. Write down every meal you have and all the ingredients. Note any symptoms you have either during or after eating it.
If you don’t experience any symptoms while reintroducing a food, you can assume it’s a safe one to reintroduce permanently and move on to the next food.
Step 4: Decide Which Foods to Permanently Eliminate
When reintroducing certain foods to your diet, if you experience negative symptoms, you should consider cutting this food out permanently. You could also consider reducing your intake, depending on the severity of the symptoms.
If you find that multiple different food groups cause you issues, you should discuss this with a health professional. Keep in mind, eliminating too many foods from your diet at once can cause nutritional deficiencies.
Before we move on, one way to get started improving your health is by eating a hormone balancing diet. If you want to start slowly before going into a full blown elimination diet, check out my FREE 3-day hormone balancing diet plan. Just fill in the form below to get it.
Elimination Diet Reintroduction Symptoms
You will be looking for any unusual symptoms you might experience from reintroducing a particular food or food group to your diet. If you experience any of the following symptoms or multiple symptoms at once, this could point to an intolerance, allergy, or simply a poor reaction to a particular food.
Here are some of the symptoms to look out for.
Fatigue is a feeling of constant tiredness and weakness that can be a sign of inadequate sleep or rest, but can also point to other health issues. If you’re sleeping well but you’re experiencing fatigue anyway, this could point to an issue with your diet.
If your fatigue is unusually severe and stopping you from carrying out daily activities adequately, this could be a sign of something more serious and should be checked with your doctor.
Digestive issues such as cramping, bloating, constipation, or diarrhea are very common symptoms of a food intolerance or allergy. If you experience gastric symptoms every time you eat a particular food, it’s probably time to remove the food from your diet entirely.
Even changes in bowel habits, such as needing to go to the bathroom more or less than usual can point to a potential issue.
If any food makes you vomit consistently when you eat it, this is likely a sign of an allergy or severe intolerance and indicates that you should remove that food from your diet.
Headaches or Migraines
Headaches are commonly a sign of dehydration or exhaustion, while migraines are a more severe form of headache that can be caused by genetics. It’s normal to have a headache from time to time when you haven’t drank enough water or even spent too long looking at a screen. But, if your headaches seem to start after you’ve eaten a certain food, it could be a red flag.
Rashes and Changes To Skin
A rash is a common response to allergies. If you experience rashes or red patches on your skin after or while eating certain foods, you may be having an allergic reaction. You should have a test done with your healthcare provider to confirm.
If you eat a food you’re allergic to, you might experience symptoms such as your lips or throat swelling. This tends to indicate an allergy, and is a sign that you should remove that particular food from your diet.
What to Do If You Have Symptoms
If you have symptoms during or after eating a particular food, you might have to remove it from your diet depending on the severity of your symptoms. If you suspect that an allergy or intolerance is at play, speak to your doctor about performing an allergy test.
In the case that you’re considering reducing multiple food groups from your diet, work with a doctor or dietician to ensure that you’re doing it safely. Do not risk nutritional deficiency.
Follow the steps above for successful elimination diet reintroduction.
If you are looking for a way to find which foods work best for your health and easily identify any food intolerances or allergies, then an elimination diet might be just what you need. Reintroducing foods slowly after an elimination diet is the easiest way to do it.
By reintroducing foods one at a time for a period of a couple of days per food, you can identify the trigger foods in your diet and decide whether to remove them, improving your health long-term. As well as undergoing an elimination and reintroduction diet, general healthy eating and regular yoga practice can help you feel like yourself again!
For guidance eating a 40-day elimination diet – sign up for my Mindful Elimination program.