The elimination diet is unlike any other diet. In fact, I wouldn't even call it a diet. I'd call it a simple lifestyle change that is made for only 30 days and brings an abundance of positive results.

Completing an elimination diet is a great way to lose stubborn fat fast while also improving quality of life. It has the potential to be the missing piece to achieving greater health, losing weight and improving certain medical conditions such as autoimmune disease, arthritis and irritable bowel syndrome.

What it entails

When doing an elimination diet, foods that people are typically sensitive to such as caffeine, sugar, processed food, gluten, dairy and alcohol are removed from the diet for 30 days. You're probably thinking, "Well, what am I supposed to eat?" There are a wide variety of meats, fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, dairy substitutes, fish and gluten-free grains that are acceptable.

There are no cheat days as the goal is to completely remove these foods from the body for 30 days straight. There is no calorie counting; it is simply just eating healthy, nutritious foods when hungry.

On day 31, one of the eliminated items will be reintroduced into the diet, and the symptoms that follow eating that food will be recorded. Symptoms can include cramping, bloating, headaches, fatigue, joint pain or really anything negative that you feel after eating the food. If the reintroduced item (whether milk or wheat or sugar, etc.) causes no symptoms, then it can be safely assumed that the body tolerates ingestion of this food, and another eliminated item can now be reintroduced following the same process.

On the other hand, if there are any symptoms present, it is safe to assume the body has some sort of sensitivity to the food and sees it as a toxin when ingested. If this is the case, it is best to remove this item from the diet from here on out, or at least until it can be reintroduced again without experiencing symptoms.

Does it really work?

Dax Moy, one of the world's leading fitness and health professionals, wrote an ebook on everything about the elimination diet, including how to do it and results he has seen throughout the years. Moy highlights that yes, the diet does effortlessly accomplish weight loss, but there were so many other positive effects that he observed. These can include, but are not limited to, reduction in rheumatoid arthritis symptoms, better mood, better complexion, improved autoimmune symptoms and increased energy levels. All of these effects are the result of an individual consuming only wholesome, nutritionally supportive foods that their body responds well to and staying away from foods that the body sees as toxic.

On a more personal level, I've experienced the effectiveness of an elimination diet firsthand. About four years ago I did an elimination diet and after reintroducing foods, I realized my body did not respond well to gluten or dairy. Since removing these from my diet, my quality of life has improved as my energy has increased greatly, my complexion has improved and I no longer have stomach cramps after eating certain foods.

On the weight loss side of things, I have an older friend who has an autoimmune disease, and medicines she had taken over the years along with inactivity due to flareups in her illness left her with some weight that was very difficult for her to lose. Nothing seemed to do the trick. She heard the elimination diet could help with her quality of life in relation to her autoimmune disease, so she gave it a try. She ended up seeing improvements in her symptoms such as less joint pain, less flareups, and on top of that she dropped the excess weight so effortlessly. The elimination diet can do both.

What it can do for you

Now that we've defined what the elimination diet is, how does it work to benefit you as an individual? First, it is beneficial because many people are unaware that the way they feel throughout the day, whether it be low energy, headaches, etc., could actually be happening due to a food sensitivity that they are not aware of. The elimination diet is a tool to help you figure out what foods your body does not respond well to so you can then eat only what is good for your body.

Interested in learning more about the elimination diet or starting one for yourself? The Bradley Wellness Center will be happy to provide guidance, accountability and anything else you might need. We even offer an eight-week rapid weight loss plan that pairs a diet change such as an elimination diet with an exercise program to increase results even more. Give us a call at (706) 278-WELL (9355) to learn more. Ask for Kathryn or Tom.

Kathryn Barker is an intern for Bradley Wellness Center.

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