The Problem With Elimination Diets
Updated: Jan 27
Low FODMAP, Gluten free, dairy free, and all the "free" diets have 1 thing in common- keep reading to find out.
Before we talk about what not to eat, I have a food demo for you! Three comfort foods for this cozy time of year that are full of nutrients to help you reset from the end of the year indulgences, time-of-the-month bloating, or just keep you sailing towards your goals.
Check out the cooking demo in the free Nourished community.
If you're experiencing more bloating than normal, or any amount of belly discomfort there is a 3 step plan to get back on track stronger and more resilient. Most of the time, bloating is a sign of imbalance- either nutrient, microbiome, or hormone in nature.
Nutrient imbalance causes bloating when you increase fiber foods quickly, eat way too many processed foods for too long, or have a pretty limited diet. Once you balance the imbalance you'll notice less and less bloating.
Microbiome imbalance happens similar to nutrient imbalance, except in this situation it's not just you- it's the colony of helpful helper micororganisms that live in your belly. I always imagine the microbiome to be like the dozers on Fraggle Rock- a subcontinent society working to build support to the unsuspecting humans above ground. If you don't get the reference Google 1980's Fraggle Rock- you're welcome!
In order to get your microbiome back in balance you need to feed and nourish your gut- lots of fermented foods, fiber filled plants, and water will make for a happy gut biome environment.
Lastly hormone imbalance is pretty predictable once you know what to look for. Tracking your menstrual cycle, symptoms, and diet for 3 months will give you a whole lotta info to get back on track.
Those 3 steps I mentioned:
Identify the problem with a food journal. Look at what you eat, where you eat, and how you eat and notice any potential problems.
Remove/ change the problem. In the case of food- take it out, stress- find a way to keep it from meal time, and give bad habits a break.
Systematically add better habits and nourishing food back in.
That's a very simplistic overview of the process, but you get the idea.
Now I want to talk for a minute about eliminating food groups...
The problem with elimination diets
An elimination diet is anything that you restrict from what you eat- avoiding nuts due to an allergy is a form of elimination diet. Even though it's necessary, you're still reducing healthy fat, fiber, and valuable nutrients from the options of foods in your pantry. Other common elimination diets are low FODMAP for IBS & IBD, gluten free, sugar free, fat free, even keto and paleo are forms of elimination diets.
Sometimes it's important to take out foods or food groups for a variety of reasons, such as an allergy, a temporary health goal, or to rest your belly. However, where I see many people go wrong here is that they don't replace or re-introduce foods systematically over time.
Since we're talking gut health right now, removing foods with high fiber to treat bloating is a common and science-backed way to treat bloating from gut irritation, stress, or inflammation. However, fiber is an essential nutrient for a healthy gut and giving beans, and fermented foods the heave-ho will only set you up for future gut trouble. Essentially locking you in a cycle of belly despair.
Taking a rest with a low fiber diet for 7-14 days and then slowly re-introducing healthy fibers will build gut resiliency and allow you to have a wide variety of nutrient dense foods.
So keep in mind that if you've given up gluten to help treat PCOS or thyroid disease there is a protocol for adding in the most nutrient dense versions of these foods over time. The same goes with dairy, carbs, and any of the essentials. Make sure you are following a clinical protocol with the guidance of a registered dietitian and not an influencer or practitioner who may not be trained in nutrition sciences.
Ready to heal your gut, balance your hormones, and improve your relationship with food? Schedule a consult to learn about the Mindful & Balanced 6 or 12-week coaching package.