CONNECTICUT CENTER FOR Natural HEALTH
210 S. Main St. Middletown, CT 06457 (860)347-8600
Allergy Elimination Diet
Purpose: To identify hidden food allergens that may be causing some or all of your symptoms. During the elimination period, all common allergens are completely eliminated from the diet for two to three weeks. After your symptoms improve, foods are added back, one at a time, to determine which foods provoke symptoms.
FOODS YOU MUST AVOID FOR A MINIMUM OF 4 WEEKS:
- DAIRY PRODUCTS – Milk, cheese, butter, yogurt, sour cream, cottage cheese and/or any food containing whey, casein, sodium caseinate and calcium caseinate.
- WHEAT – Most flours, breads, baked goods, noodles, pastas, gravies and foods containing durum semolina.
- BAKER’S YEAST – All pastry and baked goods.
- REFINED SUGARS – Candies, cookies, cakes, pies and sodas and/or any food containing sucrose, glucose, dextrose, fructose, maltose, levulose, corn syrup and corn sweetener. Some patients may substitute one (1) to two (2) teaspoons of honey or maple syrup a day if approved by their physician.
- EGGS – Both whites and yolks and/or any food containing these.
- CORN – Corn chips, corn tortillas, popcorn, corn oil, vegetable oil from an unspecified source, corn syrup and/or any food containing corn sweetener, dextrose or glucose.
- COFFEE, TEA AND ALCOHOL – Both caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee and teas. Substitute herbal teas for these. Alcohol and/or any food or medication containing alcohol must be avoided.
- PEANUTS – Peanuts, peanut butter, peanut oil, peanut sauce and/or any food containing these.
- CITRUS FRUITS – Oranges, grapefruits, lemons, limes, tangerines and/or any food containing these.
- SOY – Soy milk, soy cheese, soy oil, soy sauce, tamari, tempeh, tofu and/or any food containing these.
- SHELLFISH – Clams, lobster, mussels, oysters and shrimp. Shellfish is frequently contaminated and should be avoid beyond elimination period.
- FOOD ADDITIVES – Artificial flavors, colors and/or sweeteners, preservatives and/or texturing agents. Most diet sodas and dietetic foods contain artificial ingredients and must be avoided. Read labels carefully.
- ANY FOOD YOU EAT MORE THAN THREE (3) TIMES A WEEK – Any food you currently eat three (3) or more times a week should be eaten no more frequently than on every fourth (4th) day while on this diet. If you currently eat chicken or iceberg lettuce three (3) or more times a week, avoid them for the duration of this diet. You may introduce them later as test foods. Turkey may be substituted for chicken and other varieties of lettuce for iceberg.
- TAP WATER INCLUDING WATER USED TO COOK – Most municipal water sources contain high levels of chemical contaminants which many home filtration systems do not eliminate. Substitute spring or distilled water bottled in glass or hard plastic. Water bottled in soft (collapsible) plastic tends to leach plastic into the water and should be avoided.
When shopping for food it is important that you read all product labels carefully. Many packaged foods contain one or more of the above allergens.
FOODS YOU MAY EAT: – You may find most of the following at better supermarkets and whole food stores.
- HOT CEREALS – Oatmeal, Oat Bran, Cream of Rye, Cream of Buckwheat, Millet, Amaranth, and Rice and Shine.
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- COLD CEREALS – Oatios, Crispy Brown Rice, Puffed Rice, Puffed Millet, Kamut Flakes, Oat Bran Flakes, Heritage Spelt, and Quinoa. Substitute diluted apple juice, almond nut or rice milk for milk. Top your cereal with fresh fruit or unsalted, unroasted nuts.
- GRAINS – Amaranth, barley, brown rice, buckwheat, millet, quinoa, rolled oats, rye, teff and wild rice.
- FLOURS – Barley, bean, buckwheat, potato, rice, rye and spelt.
- PASTAS – Amaranth, buckwheat, quinoa, rice and spelt. Avoid any foods containing wheat, corn or soy.
- BREADS – 100% millet, rice, rye or spelt. Avoid any products containing wheat, dairy, eggs, soy or sugar.
- BEANS – Black, black-eyed peas, chickpeas, lentils, navy, red and white beans may be cooked from scratch or canned beans may be used. Canned beans should be rinsed prior to preparation in order to remove the salt added in processing.
- VEGETABLES – Consume a wider variety if fresh vegetables (except corn), organically grown is preferred if possible.
- PROTEINS – Turkey, chicken, fish and tuna packed in spring water. Grain and bean casseroles are an excellent source of protein. Recipes for these may be found in most vegetarian cookbooks. Beef and pork may be eaten unless otherwise prohibited by your physician. Lamb rarely causes allergic reactions and may be substituted when other meats are restricted.
- UNSALTED, UNROASTED NUTS AND SEEDS – Nuts and seeds should be refrigerated in an air- tight container to prevent them from becoming rancid.
- NUT BUTTERS – Almond, hazelnut, sesame, tahini and walnut may be used to top crackers, celery and carrot sticks.
- SNACKS – Rice cakes, rice crackers, granola bars, wheat-free cookies, apple sauce, fresh fruit, unsulfured dried fruit, agar-agar gelatin, carrot sticks, celery sticks and other vegetables are health-promoting, non-allergenic snacks.
- BEVERAGES – Herbal teas without lemon and orange, sodium-free seltzer waters, pure fruit juices without sugar or additives and diluted 50:50 with spring, distilled or sodium-free seltzer waters are a refreshing substitute for caffeinated teas and sodas. Almond nut and rice milk may be substituted for milk. Caffeine-free Cafix, Inka, and Roma may be substituted for coffee. Spring or distilled water may be substituted for tap water.
- OILS – Canola, olive and sesame oils may be used in baking and cooking or on salads. Flaxseed (edible linseed) oil may be mixed with these oils or used alone on salads. Flaxseed oil should not be used in baking or cooking. Use only cold-pressed or expeller-pressed oils. These are safer for cardiovascular system. Do not use corn or soy oil, or any margarine or mayonnaise made with these oils.
- SWEETENERS – Honey, barley malt, real maple sugar and pure fruit juices diluted with spring or distilled water may be substituted for sugar and used to sweeten foods. The use of honey or real maple sugar should not exceed two (2) teaspoons a day if approved by your physician.
- THICKENERS – Amaranth, barley, millet, oat and rice flours, arrowroot and/or agar may be substituted for wheat flour and used to thicken soups and sauces.
- SPICES AND CONDIMENTS – Moderate amounts of salt, pepper, herbal spices without sugar or preservatives, garlic, ginger, onions and Bragg’s liquid aminos may be used to flavor foods. Vitamin C crystals may be substituted for lemon juice. Sugar-free, health-consciously prepared catsup and mustards may be used.
- EGG SUBSTITUTE (TO BE USED ONLY AS A BINDER IN BAKING AND COOKING) – Combine 1/3 cup of water and 1 tablespoon of whole flaxseed in a small saucepan. Bring this to a boil, then reduce heat until the mixture bubbles slowly. Avoid overheating. Cook for five (5) minutes or until the mixture has the consistency of a raw egg white. You will need to strain out the flaxseeds after cooking. This may be used in baking or cooking but will not leaven like eggs for soufflés or sponge cake. This recipe makes enough substitute for one egg.
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- TIPS FOR DINING OUT – Opt for fish topped with slivered almonds and prepared without butter or lemon. Ask for a baked potato topped with sliced onion. Order steak or lamb chops with steamed vegetables. If you dine at salad bars, bring your own dressing (oil and vinegar with chopped nuts, seeds and/or fresh herbs). If you dine at Chinese restaurants, request that your food be prepared without MSG, corn starch or soy sauce. Be aware that other restaurants may also use these ingredients as to enhance flavor.
- GENERAL TIPS – Read product labels carefully to avoid the allergens already reviewed. Some of these allergens may be “hidden” in packaged foods. “Flour” usually means wheat. “Vegetable oil” may mean corn oil. Casein and whey are dairy products. When purchasing nutritional supplements, make certain they are free of additives such as wheat, corn, sugar and citrus. The bioflavonoids contained in many popular vitamins are derived from citrus. Avoid nutritional deficiencies by eating a wider range and variety of fresh, whole foods. A limited diet may result in allergic reactions. You may become allergic to the few foods you eat every day. Eat a wholesome breakfast and consume healthy snacks to prevent your blood sugar from dropping and/or experiencing fatigue. To ensure adequate fiber in your diet, be certain to eat permitted whole grains, whole fruits and vegetables, beans and unsalted, unroasted nuts and seeds.
- WITHDRAWAL SYMPTOMS – About one in four patients develop mild withdrawal symptoms when they modify their diets. These symptoms may include fatigue, irritability, headaches, malaise or increased hunger. These symptoms generally disappear within two (2) to five (5) days and are usually followed by a marked improvement in original symptoms. Sever withdrawal symptoms may be alleviated by taking 1,000 mg of vitamin C crystals in warm distilled or spring water up to four (4) times a day or three (3) to four (4) Alka-Aid tablets with distilled or spring water up to three (3) times a day. In most cases, withdrawal symptoms are not severe and do not require this type of treatment.
- TESTING INDIVIDUAL FOODS – Testing of individual foods may begin within two (2) to three (3) weeks depending upon the improvement of the original symptoms. If you have been on this diet for four (4) or more weeks and have noticed an improvement, make an appointment with your physician for further direction. Most patients do improve and some feel so well that they decide not to re-test foods. This is not advisable. If you wait too long to re-test, your allergies may abate and you will not be able to provoke your previous symptoms by food testing. Then you will not know which foods you are allergic to. If reintroducing some foods into your diet causes a recurrence of symptoms, you are probably allergic to those foods.
Allergic reactions to test foods usually occur within ten (10) minutes to twelve (12) hours after ingestion. Arthritic reactions may be delayed by as much as forty-eight (48) hours. Eat a relatively large amount of each food test (such as a large glass of milk) at breakfast along with any of the permitted foods outlined here. If you experience any of your original symptoms or if you develop a headache, bloating, nausea, dizziness or fatigue, do not eat that food any more and place it on your allergic list. If no symptoms occur, eat the food again for lunch and dinner and watch for reactions. Even if the food is well tolerated, do not add back into your diet until you have finished testing all of the foods. If you are uncertain whether you have reacted to a particular food, remove it from your diet and re-test it four (4) to five (5) days later. Foods that you never eat and that are known to be offending foods do not have to be tested.
Foods may be tested in any order. Test one new food each day. Do not combine foods. If your physician placed you on this diet as a result of the symptoms arising from arthritis, test one new food every other day since joint pain reactions may be delayed by as much as forty-eight (48) hours. Test pure sources of foods. For example, do not use pizza to test cheese because pizza also contains wheat and corn oil.
- DAIRY TESTS – Test milk and cheese on separate days. You can test several cheeses on different days since some people are allergic to one or more cheeses and not others. It’s not necessary to test yogurt, cottage cheese or butter separately.
- WHEAT TEST – Eat Wheatena or any other pure wheat cereal without milk or sugar. You may add rice milk to the cereal as it will not effect the results of this testing.
- REFINED SUGAR TEST – Put four (4) teaspoons of sugar in a beverage, on a cereal or mix with another food.
- CHOCOLATE TEST – Mix one (1) to two (2) tablespoons of pure baker’s chocolate or cocoa powder with another food.
- EGG TEST – Eat one or two whole hard-boiled, soft-boiled or poached eggs without butter.
- CORN TEST – Eat fresh ears of corn or frozen corn without sauces or preservatives.
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- CITRUS TEST – Oranges, grapefruits, lemons and limes should be tested individually on four separate days. The lemon and lime may be squeezed into distilled or spring water. When testing oranges and grapefruits, eat the whole fruit.
- SOY TEST – Soy milk, soy cheese, soy oil, tamari, tempeh and tofu should be tested individually on separate days.
- TESTING FREQUENTLY EATEN FOODS – If you have eliminated tap water or any foods that were being consumed three (3) or more times a week, re-test them as well.
- OPTIONAL TESTS – The following foods and beverages are considered undesirable regardless of whether you are allergic to them. If any of them are not now a part of your diet, or if you are fully committed to eliminating them from your diet, there is no need to test them. If you regularly consume one of these, it is to your advantage to test them and find out how they affect you. Reactions to these foods and beverages can be severe in some cases. They should be tested only on the days that you can afford to feel less than your best.
- COFFEE AND TEA TESTS – Coffee, tea, decaffeinated coffee and decaffeinated tea should be tested individually on separate days and should be tested without adding milk, non-dairy creamer or sugar.
- PEANUT TEST – Peanuts, peanut butter and peanut oil should be tested individually and on separate days. To test peanuts, eat a small handful of raw peanuts twice during the test day.
- FOOD ADDITIVE TEST – Purchase a set of McCormick’s or French’s food dyes and colors. Mix one-half (1/2) teaspoon of each color in a glass of distilled or spring water. Add one (1) teaspoon of pure pineapple juice or diluted (50:50) grape juice.
- ROTATION DIETS – At your follow-up visit, your physician may discuss rotation diets. One common cause of food allergy is eating the same foods all the time. If you have an allergic constitution and eat the same foods every day, you may eventually become allergic to them. After you have discovered which foods you can eat, make an attempt to vary and rotate your diet. A four (4) day schedule is necessary for some severely allergic patients, but most people can tolerate foods more frequently than every four (4) days. Use common sense in consuming a wide variety of foods. Be careful not to rely on a few favorites. It is not necessary to do strict food rotation during the elimination and re-testing periods.
SYMPTOMS THAT MAY BE DUE TO FOOD ALLERGY:
- GENERAL – Fatigue, anxiety, depression, insomnia, food craving and obesity.
- INFECTIONS – Recurrent colds, urinary tract infections, sore throats, ear infections and yeast infections.
- EAR, NOSE AND THROAT – Chronic nasal congestion, postnasal drip, fluid in the ears or Meniere’s Syndrome.
- GASTROINTESTINAL – Irritable bowel syndrome, constipation, diarrhea, abdominal cramping, ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease and gallbladder disease.
- CARDIOVASCULAR – High blood pressure, arrhythmia and angina.
- DERMATOLOGIC – Acne, eczema, psoriasis, canker sores (aphthous ulcers) and hives.
- RHEUMATOLOGIC – Muscle aches, osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
- NEUROLOGIC – Numbness, migraines and other headaches.
- MISCELLANEOUS – Asthma, frequent urination, bruxism (grinding of the teeth), bedwetting and infantile colic.
Most of these disorders may result from more than one cause. Food allergy is a relatively common and frequently overlooked factor in many disease states.