Using an Elimination Diet
The simplest, least expensive form of testing for food allergies is with an elimination diet. These diets vary from one health center to another. Generally, however, you begin with a three to seven day water fast. No food, just all the water you want for the specified length of time. This is the most effective, since you are allowing your body to get rid of all the possible food allergens you may have. It is not easy to do for most people and is virtually impossible for individuals who can not go for extended periods of time without replacing rapidly depleted blood sugars. For this reason we frequently use a one week cleansing fast prior to testing for allergic foods. See below.
Some of the foods most commonly causing sensitivity are wheat, corn, any type of flour, yeast, milk, milk products, eggs, fish, shellfish, citrus fruits, chocolate, tomatoes, strawberries, sugar, artificial sweeteners, food additives, and nuts such as peanuts. Fish almost always cause an immediate reaction. Anyone sensitive to fish generally knows it without having to test for it.
Including other food items or drinks during the one week water or cleansing fast greatly reduces the effectiveness of the testing. Aside from freshly made vegetable juice, the only liquid you should use is pure (no chlorine or fluorine added) water. It can be room temperature, warm, or hot. Ginger tea (made with peeled fresh ginger) is acceptable for those who tolerate it well.
During your week of fasting you need to check your pulse daily before getting out of bed in the morning. Keep a record of these numbers. After the specified time for your fast, introduce one food each day into your diet. We usually recommend you choose rice first. Before eating it, be aware of your feelings. Do you really want it? Does it look good? Does it smell good? Taste it. Does it taste good? Check and record your pulse. If it is more than 10 to 12 points higher than your average, first morning pulse, you may be sensitive to this food. Observe how you feel physically, emotionally and mentally. If you notice any symptoms other than feeling great, thinking clearly and being emotionally stable, that food may be an allergen for you. If your pulse is more than 10 points higher than normal and if you notice symptoms, do not eat any more of that food. Continue with your cleansing diet until all symptoms are gone and your pulse returns to its usual rate.
If, after tasting the food, your pulse is about the same as your first morning pulse and you did not notice any unusual symptoms, eat as much of a normal helping of that food as you want. Wait thirty minutes and record your pulse again. Also record your pulse at 60 and at 90 minutes after eating. Eat another helping of the same food at lunch with your pulse being taken and recorded as above. Do the same with dinner. Record your pulse first thing the next day. As long as your pulse stays relatively close to your average and you notice no unusual symptoms, introduce another new food the second day and each day thereafter following the same procedure of being aware and recording your pulses.
Sometimes, a food to which you are sensitive will not cause symptoms or pulse changes for 2 or 3 days after eating it. If this occurs, you may have to backtrack to isolate which food actually caused the problem. This is time consuming but quite effective. Eliminate the food you added most recently. Continue using the other foods you added. Wait several days then eliminate the next most recently added food. Wait several days. Continue until you find the offending food. With consistency and perseverance, after several weeks, you should have an acceptable group of symptom-free foods for a healthy, satisfying diet.
It takes three weeks for inflammation to be reduced and about six months for antibodies to allergic foods to be broken down and eliminated. During that time you can feel worse before you get better. This is known as a Herzheimer effect. If you are still having problems after one to three months, other possibilities should be explored.Click here to go back to the main food information page.