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Top 10 Elimination Diet Mistakes

If you’re reading this, I’m guessing you have tried an elimination diet (or have considered going on one) and you’re questioning if they really work.

Let me start by saying I’m a fan of elimination diets.

BUT (and this is a big BUT)…

They only work if know how to do them properly.

As a specialist in this area, I’ve personally guided many clients through an elimination diet (including myself) and on average, they experience a 60-70% drop in overall symptoms within the first 30 days.

Ironically, the vast majority of my clients have already done an elimination diet (or two.. or three…) and haven’t gotten results.

Sometimes, in fact, when they attempted an elimination diet on their own, their symptoms got worse. Not exactly the pay off you’d hope for after restricting your diet to a monotonous few foods.

So today I want to review the top 10 elimination diet mistakes so if you decide to do one yourself, you improve your chances of success.

Who Should Try an Elimination Diet?

If you suspect you have food sensitivities or other adverse reactions to foods (which often manifest as digestive issues, skin disorders, joint pain, autoimmune problems, trouble losing weight, fatigue, infertility, and more), an elimination diet is a key part of the healing process.

Elimination diets remain the gold standard in confirming food sensitivities (even when lab testing has been done) and figuring out your unique “dose tolerance” to individual foods. By removing problematic foods, at least for a period of time, and then reintroducing certain foods, you can identify your reactive (or trigger) foods and which foods your body can handle.

Top 10 Elimination Diet Mistakes

1. Quitting When You Feel Worse (at the beginning)

Many people expect that when you go on an elimination diet, you will instantly feel better. This isn’t always the case.

If you have regularly been consuming reactive foods and eliminate them cold-turkey, you can experience withdrawal symptoms. Essentially, your body has adapted to this regular onslaught of inflammation and either up-regulated or down-regulated certain pathways to help clear out problematic food antigens and other inflammatory mediators.

When you remove the trigger, it takes time for those mechanisms to find a new equilibrium. It’s somewhat akin to an alcoholic going through withdrawal when they enter rehab, though usually less severe symptom-wise. Sometimes this period of adjustment can last for two weeks, leaving you to scratch your head over why you’re fatigued, experiencing headaches, or having strange bowel movements.

Unfortunately, if you are not aware of this, you may assume that the foods included in your elimination diet are causing your symptoms to get worse. This can lead you to eliminate even more foods from your diet – and they may very well be the foods your body needs to heal.

2. Following a Cookie Cutter Plan

I can’t even begin to count how many elimination diets are out there. And I don’t recommend any of them.


Because our bodies are different and there is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all with elimination diets. There are certain foods that are generally inflammatory or that are a first-line choice to eliminate, but what if you’re the 25% of the population that has no reaction to that food?

And what if you are, instead, in the 25% of the population that reacts to seemingly benign foods, like pears? or lemons? or spinach? or turmeric? or black pepper?
I’ve seen all of these foods (and more odd-ball items) show up on food sensitivity tests.

With the help of accurate food sensitivity testing, it’s now possible to plan a fully customized elimination diet that improves your chances of success.

If you’ve tried an elimination diet and haven’t seen improvement after more than 2 weeks, there’s a good chance you’re reacting to something in your diet and it could be as bizarre as black pepper, coconut oil, or carrots.

Food sensitivity testing and the assistance of a specialist can save you months (or years) of trial and error (and debilitating symptoms).

3. Lacking Nutrient-Dense Foods

Nutrient deficiencies contribute to, in my opinion, almost every chronic health problem. So, if you’re not careful in planning an elimination diet, you may become deficient in a variety of nutrients.

Classically, I’ve seen severe imbalances in macronutrients (carbs, fat, protein) that can contribute to all manner of hormone issues, blood sugar problems, or even trigger new digestive symptoms to develop.

Equally concerning are the micronutrient deficiencies that can develop. For example, if you eliminate eggs, you can easily become deficient in choline (unless you’re up-to-speed on the few other foods that contain it in any meaningful amount).

This becomes a major problem for women trying to conceive, those that are pregnant, and breastfeeding moms given choline’s crucial role in preventing neural tube defects and promoting normal brain and vision development. (Of course, choline is also uber important for children and adults of both sexes for proper liver function, cardiovascular health, and brain health, to name just a few).

That example is just focused on one food and one nutrient, but the possible nutrient deficiencies are virtually endless if you’re not well-versed in this area.

4. Focusing on Elimination, Not Inclusion

An elimination diet is a bit of a misnomer.

Yes, it involves eliminating certain foods. However, if you’re not eating those foods, what are you going to eat?

It’s far too easy to get stuck in the whole “I can’t eat that” negative mental chatter. I know because I’ve been there.

If, instead, you change the focus to what you are including in your diet, you’ll be able to see all the variety you can have. That helps you plan which foods will fill in any nutritional gaps left by the foods you are avoiding.

You’ll also avoid the trap of swapping one problem food for another. For example, if you decide to go gluten-free, buying processed, gluten-free products is likely not going to solve your problems. (And actually, quite a few of my clients have been gluten-free for years before seeking my help, but they haven’t gotten better. Sometimes the additive-filled, gluten-free products they’ve been using are the culprit.)

5. Failure to Plan Ahead

Elimination diets take planning – a lot of it!

I’m pretty free-spirited around food, since I like to embrace mindful eating and eat what I’m in the mood for, what’s in season, or what I can forage for. But undertaking an elimination diet doesn’t allow that kind of laissez faire attitude (at least, not in the beginning).

By all means, mindful eating does NOT go out the window (at least in my practice it doesn’t), but it does pay to work through which food combinations, meals, and recipes will incorporate the foods you are including (and will meet your nutritional needs).

If you haven’t thought through what you are going to eat, I suggest coming up with at least 3-5 options for breakfasts, lunches, dinners, snacks, and beverages to carry you through the time you’ll be on the elimination diet.

If you frequently eat out, travel, or go to events where you don’t have control over what you’re eating, you might want to choose to start an elimination diet at a time where you have the fewest interruptions (or maybe have a heart-to-heart with yourself about what’s most important – your health or your lifestyle?).

Remember, there’s no half-assing an elimination diet. It’s a HUGE commitment. You have either eliminated certain foods or you have not.

And given that some food sensitivities cause a delayed hypersensitivity reaction that can appear days after consumption, that margarita you had on Friday night could be triggering your brain fog Tuesday afternoon. Pretty tricky to make the connection if you don’t know what you’re looking for and virtually impossible if you’re cheating – even just once a week.

Some of my clients seek my help after having tried half a dozen elimination diets, but when we really dig into the details, sometimes they have never truly eliminated anything for long enough to experience a shift.

6. Ignoring Dose-Tolerance

Let’s say you eat a large salad for lunch and feel bloated and gassy afterwards. Your first suspicion is that you’re reacting to something in the salad. You might choose to avoid some (or all) ingredients in that salad moving forward.

However, that’s not necessarily the wisest choice. You may, in fact, not be highly reactive to any of the ingredients in the salad if eaten in moderate quantities, but when eaten in large amounts (especially all at once), you may experience symptoms.
This is called a dose-response reaction. A little bit of something is fine. A lot of it puts you over the edge.

Keep in mind that some food sensitivities have a cumulative effect, meaning eating a lot of a certain food (or combination of certain foods) over a relatively short period of time (a few days, maybe) can trigger symptoms. This again points to the importance of a well-planned elimination diet, so you remove as many of these variables as possible.

To play devil’s advocate, dose tolerance also means that you may be able to handle an occasional serving of a reactive food without experiencing symptoms.

7. Skipping the Reintroduction Phase

If you’ve been on an elimination diet and are feeling fantastic, you may be tempted to continue eating that way. Depending on how restricted your diet is, that may be fine.

For example, if you’re following a Paleo template and feel great without including grains, dairy, and legumes in your diet, but you have plenty of animal foods, a selection of fruits, vegetables, nuts, etc., you’re likely ok.

However, if your elimination diet started with a small list of foods, like the dreaded Rice-Lamb-Pear elimination diet, or even a more inclusive list of 20 or so foods, you’ll want to add in variety before you burn out (or develop new food sensitivities – see #8).

A common mistake I see on elimination diets is staying on a restrictive plan for too long, hitting a breaking point of monotony, and then throwing in the towel entirely and returning to your previous way of eating.

Technically that’s not a full elimination diet, because as I mentioned above, the goal of an elimination diet is not only to identify trigger foods, but to identify the broad list of foods that your body thrives on.

If you’ve done the careful work of eliminating foods and felt improvement, this is precisely the time you want to reintroduce foods and test for tolerance. A big part of this is body awareness (hence my focus on mindful eating), and when you’ve removed all variables by initially limiting your diet, you can accurately test for one food at a time.

Let me repeat: ONE food at a time.

(If you don’t have food sensitivity testing to guide a reintroduction schedule, you will likely need to space out foods more and spend a few extra months in a careful reintroduction phase).

8. Staying on an Elimination Diet Too Long

There’s a good reason the most common food sensitivities are to foods that are staples in most households.

Not to beat a dead horse, but part of a well-planned elimination diet involves building in enough variety so you don’t over-consume any given food, at least until you have a working knowledge of your body’s individual tolerance.

Once you’ve worked through the reintroduction period, you want to be sure you are rotating your food choices regularly to prevent new food sensitivities from developing.

Before modern agriculture, food rotation was naturally built into our lives.

Certain vegetables were only harvestable during a certain month.

Some trees only bear fruit for a 2-week window.

There was a season when some animals would have migrated through your region that you could hunt, whereas others would migrate a different time of year.

Dairy was only available, in appreciable quantities, when baby mammals were weaning.

Simply put, we weren’t eating the same thing every day for a lifetime.

So if you’ve noticed that some food have become a staple in your diet, make it a priority to find some alternatives so you don’t rely too heavily on any given food.

That might mean varying your salad greens, protein options, snacks, alternative flours, and even your spices. It might mean occasionally taking a break from an entire food group if you suspect it’s flaring up any issues.

9. Assuming All Problematic Foods are Forever Unsafe

Just because eliminating a food at one time helped you heal doesn’t mean it’ll stay that way forever. Our bodies are constantly changing, life is constantly changing, our stress levels are constantly changing, so to assume that a food may be off limits forever is nonsensical.

Yes, there may be certain foods that you choose to avoid long-term. For example, if you have an autoimmune disease, you’ll likely want to stay gluten-free. (And yes, there’s no point in adding back in processed junk food. Sorry to burst your bubble.)

But as your gut heals and inflammation subsides, some people will regain the ability to digest and assimilate a wider variety of foods. So don’t throw out that possibility and feel doomed to a life of limited food options. Keep your focus on including (and enjoying) as much nutrient-dense real food in your diet as possible.

(More than a year after my own food sensitivity journey, that’s what I’ve determined is true for me and almonds. Success!)

10. Not Looking Beyond Food

It may seem like changing your diet will be the key to solving your health problems, but that’s not always the case. You can be diligently follow a strict food plan and not get better.


Sometimes there’s more to it than what you’re eating.

For example, I had one client who was experiencing horrible bloating, but it wasn’t always after eating and there wasn’t an obvious pattern to her symptoms – that is – until we took a close look at her routine. She was consistently getting bloated during and after her showers. Luckily, since we had the results of food AND chemical sensitivity testing, we were able to identify the problematic chemical in both her shampoo and body wash. Once we switched those out for a cleaner product, her bloating disappeared.

Remember, the purpose of an elimination diet is to remove ALL potential triggers for a period of time.

Some key things to look out for: strange chemicals or dyes in personal care products (toothpaste, mouthwash, lotions, make up, etc), medications, supplements, and cleaning products. (Follow my “guilty until proven innocent” rule.)

Also, the foods and chemicals you are avoiding may be hiding under different names. Wheat, corn, MSG, and many others are found in countless products under an array of benign-sounding names.

Then there’s the tricky part, which is that certain foods can be a natural source of chemicals. For example, almonds are high in salicylic acid, tea is high in benzoic acid, and celery is naturally high in nitrate. If you’re reactive to chemicals, you need a pretty strong working knowledge of food chemistry to know all those little details and fine-tune your elimination diet.

Now that you’ve had a primer on the top 10 elimination diet mistakes, I’d love to hear from you!

  • Have you ever tried an elimination diet? What was your experience?
  • If you could do it again, would you do anything different?

Until next week,

PS – If you suspect food is making you sick and would rather do it right the first time than waste time, energy, and money making these elimination diet mistakes, I’m happy to help. Go here to learn more.

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Lily Nichols is a Registered Dietitian/Nutritionist, Certified Diabetes Educator, researcher, and author with a passion for evidence-based prenatal nutrition and exercise. Her work is known for being research-focused, thorough, and unapologetically critical of outdated dietary guidelines. She is the author of two bestselling books, Real Food for Pregnancy and Real Food for Gestational Diabetes.


Leave a comment
  1. Great tips! I have a food intolerance to white potatoes and white rice. I found that just not eating them at all was the best for me.

    • Glad you liked it, Cassie, and have figured out your specific food intolerances.

      • I started elimination diet 3 days ago per my gyno. I’ve had a headache ever since! At first thought caffeine withdrawal but honestly I only ever drank 1/2-1 cup coffee in morning But now not sure but I’ve had to take ibuprophen Tylenol and sinus meds trying to get rid of it and feel that’s worse for my body than the food! I was put in the anti-infamatory diet and doc has also drawn blood to check for allergies (my belly fat is why I complained) And I already take a thyroid supplement and have had weight issues for 16 years. I exercise and love all types of veggies so this isn’t horrid trying to do this but I can’t stand the headache and I totallllllly miss my pretzels! Lol(and wine) but mostly even though I don’t drink lot of coffee. That’s all I want! A half of a cup w cream and sugar. (Even if it’s coconut milk or whatever. I just wondered if I could do that without screwing everything up! Thank you. Your info was soooo informative!

        • I know this is over a year late – but in case it’s useful to you (or anyone else) it probably was caffeine withdrawal causing your headache, caffeine withdrawal can be pretty intense (headaches, body-aches, fluey/ill feelings of impending doom etc), it’s actually probably the worst physical withdrawal you can have from something that’s legal and not prescribed – one cup of coffee actually contains a lot of caffeine (upto 300mg) – so you will get withdrawal suddenly going from between 1/2 to 1 cup a day to zero – the only way to avoid it is to slowly wean off the the caffeine by switching to a drinking a few cups of tea every day (e.g. green tea or black tea, contain around 35mg or 42mg of caffeine per cup respectively) and slowly tapering this down over a few days before stopping caffeine altogether. For anyone drinking several cups of coffee a day it’s best to slowly taper the coffee down to a cup a day before switching to tea. Speaking from painfully earned experience…

  2. Great post as always, Lily!!

    • Thanks Lana!

  3. A very timely post for me. Thank you Lily

  4. Love this post. Too true. I can’t wait to share it with others!
    Xo you and your hard work.

  5. Lily! Once again, you nailed it. I kept nodding my head with each suggestion. I always blame every symptom on food, so thank you for the reminder to look beyond the food!

  6. Hi Lily, I have been in the elimination diet now for 3 days from the order of a Dr. I have been very bloated and gassy, and having headaches, and light headed. So any advice you can give me would be nice. I would love to feel better from arthritis, insomnia, headaches,and stomach pain and constipation. The Dr thinks I have a leaky gut and has me taking GLUTAGENICS. I hope to gain relief from this holistic Dr that I just started seeing; thanks to my sweet sister paying for it, so wanting to feel better and not wasting my sister money feel motivated to do this diet to get relief. Do you think I am on the right path? I would also like to loss weight (15) lbs. Any advice would be welcomed. Thanks so much, Mary

    • Hi Mary,
      Sorry to hear you’re not feeling well on your elimination diet. I’m not able to give individual nutrition advice in this format, but I hope you find some hints from my article to discuss with your doctor.

  7. I am going nuts trying to find out the answer if my natural shampoo and not natural makeup and lipstick with small amounts of my eliminated foods will ruin my diet and my progress. If I have an auto immune disease and I am gluten free forever but my mac lipstick has a bit in it….is that really so bad? Or is it everything?

    • It’s EVERYTHING! If you are sensitive to a food and doing an elimination diet to uncover it, even tiny bits of that substance, such as in make up, shampoo and food additives will keep triggering your immune system. In order to successfully do an elimination diet, you need to root out every trace of that chemical for at least a good month, otherwise your body never really gets a break to let your immune system calm down. Lipstick, by the way, is essentially a food, as you ingest it while you are wearing it.

  8. If a traditional elimination diet is making you worse, you may also want to look at salicylate sensitivity. There are people who can not tolerate natural plant chemicals, designed to defend the plant from insects and fungus. I got worse and worse on my elimination diet, which eventually lead me to this sensitivity, and the trigger to my eczema.

    • Yes and few people are familiar with it. I uncovered my own salicylate sensitivity through food and chemical sensitivity testing. You can read more about my experience (and how nutrient deficiencies can make it worse) here.

  9. Hi there, this is all very helpful and insightful. Can you recommend a website, blog etc that would help me with planning what to eat through out the day while on the elimination diet?

  10. Thank you so much! I just took a food sensitivity test, and it came back with twenty items, one being black pepper. I am on day 5 and going strong, and I found this article helpful and inspiring.

    • Keep it up, Nicole! The payoff of a well-planned elimination diet is so worth it.

  11. I am on day 37 of an elimination diet and have not cheated once! That being said, I still haven’t added back sugar, peanuts, dairy or gluten yet, but I’ve gained 4 lbs!! I am about ready to throw in the towel b/c I hate eating this way and now I’m gaining weight. Any thoughts???? I look at my journals and I feel like they are filled with veggies, etc. and maybe it’s the higher fat content I’m using?

    • Hi Cristel,
      I experienced the same thing with weight gain and found out that I wasn’t eating enough protein. Try that and see if helps. It worked for me. I hope it works for you:)

    • Hi Cristel,
      I experienced the same thing with weight gain and found out that I wasn’t eating enough protein. Try that and see if helps. It worked for me. I hope it works for you 🙂

  12. How often do people do this test and find out they are NOT gluten sensitive?

    • Me! Turns out it was 13 other things

  13. Hi! I started the elimination diet to see if I have a foot intolerance that is causing my acne. Im on day 17 of the elimination phase and my skin has nEver been better. It’s so exciting. I’m wondering if it’s too soon to start reintroducing? Also if my diet calls for cutting out alcohol, what do you think the repercussions of cheating would be? I’m curious how esssential that is to the overall diet

    • You really should have total elimination from the foods for a good month before trying to reintroduce foods, to allow your immune system to calm down. It’s difficult, I know.

  14. Great information. Thank you. I just found out that I have minor allergies (by a blood test) to many staple foods – wheat, milk, eggs, peanuts, corn and potatoes. I’ve only been eliminating for about 2 weeks and have had horrible headaches every day. Your post helped me to understand that this may be a normal part of the process. Again, thank you.

    • Glad my post was helpful, Tina. Good luck on your elimination diet!

  15. Great article! I’ve been on the elimination diet now for over a month and was feeling so much better, now my stomach is acting up again. Read your article only to find out that I am probably sensitive to both Almonds and Celery as I have chemical allergies to both salicylic acid and nitrates…Going to try removing those and see if my stomach feels better. Then talk to my doctor. What do you think of Kombucha?

    • I share my thoughts on fermented foods, including kombucha, in this post. 😉

  16. I cut out diary, eggs, and gluten a couple days after Christmas, and more recently, I cut out beans. I feel great and I’ve lost 10 pounds effortlessly. I’m afraid to try adding foods back in! But you have given me the encouragement that I need.

  17. Hi there – I have hashimotos and just began an elimination diet based on my food insensitivity results which include: gluten, yeast, amanranth, corn, dairy, eggs, etc. I’m about 10 days in and not feeling better – almost worse gastrointestinally. I will stick with it for the full 6 weeks but am feeling discouraged. I’m working with a knowledgeable naturopath and taking several supplements. Any suggestions?

  18. How do Iget th elimnation diet

  19. I have severe diareah several times a week how do I get the elimnations diet?

  20. What sensativity tests do you recommend??

  21. Hi,

    Thank you for this article, it’s been very informative. My acupuncturist advised me to try an elimination diet after a long history of eczema on my hands, and bad migraines. I thought she was crazy at first and it took me a good 8 weeks to prep myself mentally for it, but after 2 instances where my eyes swelled up after eating out, i figured she might be right.

    I have 42 environmental allergies (tested twice) anaphylactic to hazelnuts, cantaloupe, flax & sulphites, and I have oral allergy syndrome. I am eliminating the top 8 allergens plus potato, pork and red wine (because of eye swelling incidents.) Yesterday was Day 1, and I was SO hungry all day despite all the food I ate. Can you recommend more proteins I can eat to keep me full longer?

    Thank you

    • Red wine is a killer for my eczema 🙁

  22. Hi, O have just started an elimination diet. I have graves disease and is currently not active in the body . My thyroid was removed 6 years ago. Now my major worry is that by changing so radically it can trigger the graves. Concerned and confused of I should continue as I’m basically only allowed fruit, vegetables and meat. Thanks

  23. Hello, this is really interesting. I wonder if you would provide insight (if possible) on how to ascertain chemical sensitivities in Ireland? I may need to look at this as a next step and I don’t know how!

  24. Hi, I have an 8 month old baby who has had frequent (6-8, sometimes 10) green poopy diapers a day since he was 3 months old. He also has eczema all over his body. I saw a pediatrician a month ago, and she recommended I eliminate dairy from my diet (he’s breastfed), for a month and see if that helps. He now has 6 a day, so there is a bit of improvement, but they are still green, and he still has eczema. I don’t see my pediatrician again until the end of February, and I’m wondering where to go from here. Should I do a full elimination diet? I’m nervous about causing a nutrient deficiency in my baby. I am a vegetarian, so my diet is already limited. Also, what about introducing solids to him? He had very small amounts of scrambled eggs a couple of times, and seemed to react a bit more (7 diapers, more pronounced eczema). For fear of it being eggs, I have not had him immunized since he was 5 months old. He had a couple of good days prior to this immunization, with only 2 poopy diapers, then the day after his immunizations he was back up to 8 a day and never recovered. The pediatrician was so convinced it was a dairy allergy that she dismissed the correlation as coincidence and told me to go get him caught up on them, which I haven’t, because I’m not convinced, and I don’t want to put his life in danger.

    • I’m so sorry. That sounds very hard. Some of my (breastfeeding) clients have found success in an elimination diet based on the results of food sensitivity testing. That’s at least one avenue to explore.

    • How’s it going? Have you tried eliminating soy? I hope you’re able to find the root cause!

  25. Great post. I’m 2 weeks into elimination diet on my own. Diagnosed by MD with nonallergic vasomotor rhinitis in Oct. Ear infection in April and sinus infection pretty much since. Mucus production is much less but still the restricted nose feeling at just about any time or place. Also I have had very minor blister-type foreleg rash not really itchy but if irritated will itch for the past 3 yrs. and was told most likely wheat or dairy. Cut out 99% sugar-dairy-wheat all summer and eat 0 now. “Rash” is worse, history of eczema in the family. VM unchanged/ mucus decreased. I was told there is no food sensitivity testing by MD just for acute food allergies. Any ideas where to get a food sensitivity testing? Thanks

    • Sadly there is no reliable test besides elimination.

  26. I have Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis. I wasn’t taking care of my body at all, and have been feeling pretty awful. I read that going gluten free and dairy free might be significant for my health. So my hubby and I are starting off with a round of WHOLE 30 to break our bad habits and reset our bodies. We are very careful about being compliant, but I do know that my vitamins aren’t. Is this really a big issue? Of course there is only one answer on any of the WHOLE 30 related websites or blogs, but I am not convinced that such small amounts of ‘non compliant’ addititves are a big deal. Can you clear this up for me> Thanks!

    • It really depends on the person. I’ve had clients so sensitive that a tiny amount of maltodextrin in a supplement (say, if they’re corn sensitive), can trigger symptoms. Others can get away with more (like corn chips once a month) and have no symptoms. It’s really a case by case situation. I personally leave ALL problematic or unknown ingredients out for the first 30+ days of an elimination diet, non-essential supplements included. When adding back in foods, treat that supplement as a new item and watch for symptoms once you’re in the reintroduction phase. Best of luck!

  27. Hi myself and my son are 6 weeks into diet….both intolerant to wheat dairy eggs milk potatoes tomatoes…sticking to the diet…..every day we have symptoms……joint pain….gas …belching…..weakness……diahorrea or constipation…….fatigue …the list is endless…..been told it’s the body clearing out toxins and should see improvement after 6 weeks……so debilitating… son has missed so much school ….any suggestions…..thanks

    • So sorry that your symptoms have not improved. I’d refer to your healthcare provider for guidance.

  28. I have done Whole 30 in the past and I struggles with reintroduction. I didn’t have a plan for reintroducing the certain foods back into my diet, and it really threw me off. I went in with a plan the second time which really helped me at the end. Dairy was the bug one for me. I jumped right back into it and struggled. Thanks and keep up the great work!

  29. I’m 4 days into a monitored elimination diet. Blood tests show I’m pretty allergic to almost all fruits & veggies. So I’ve eaten only beans, chicken, cashews, quinoa, white potatoes, apples & butter for 4 days so far. Everything clean & organic. I really don’t feel well, lethargic & depressed. I can’t stop losing weight, which is scary when you weigh 93 pounds. My question is how long can you go without fruits & vegetables & still be healthy?
    Also, how do I gain weight?

    • Beans, Cashews and white potatoes, ouch.. they have to go.

  30. Hey everyone. I am on an elimination diet but am getting nowhere. I started taking doing the low FODMAP diet so eliminating certain fruits/veggies plus going gluten-free and it all started well, my bloating had disappeared, however a couple of weeks into it, my bloating returned and i still have random days where i feel just awful, my symptoms when i feel like this are lethargy, irritability, insomnia, bloating, low/no appetite so pretty grim. I don’t want to restrict my diet anymore as i have lost weight and i don’t weigh much and am conscious that i do not want to lose anymore weight.

  31. My daughter has EOE(esinophilic esophagitis) and just started her 2nd attempt at a diet to eliminate the top 8 allergens. She is 19 and has been very commited and I think together we are doing a pretty good job at being creative with her menus. Her GI wants her to do this for 6 weeks and then start to reintroduce foods one at a time. My question, is there a certain order that we should reintroduce foods and how long should we wait until we add another food. All of her food allergy testing has been completely normal, but she and I both feel that dairy may be her trigger. Any suggestions would be appreciated.

  32. Lily, I’ve been dealing with with digestive problems for months and have been on a bland or gastritis diet for a long time. Still having problems, I’ve gone to a specialist who handed me an elimination diet list. Other than gastritis and a small hiatal hernia he described my symptoms as nonspecific. Most of what’s on it has been out of my diet for months already. As a nurse pointed out, though, I didn’t systematically reintroduce them. I’m confused now as how to go about this. I’ve been eating very clean – no processed foods, citrus, tomato, dairy, chocolate or caffeine, raw fruits and veggies. Any suggestions?

  33. I started an elimination diet almost two weeks ago (fish, shellfish, dairy and wheat) based upon my functional medicine doctors blood test results. In the last week, I have experienced headaches, fatigue, and stomach issues (bloating/upset/diarrhea). I thought I might have a virus, but after reading your blog, I see that it might be related to the eliminations. I searched for various sources of information and your post was the most on target and meaningful – thank you.

  34. Curious how you feel about the food sensitivity tests? There’s so many mixed reviews out there on them.
    I did it for my son a couple years ago (after doing months of elimination diets). His results were insane. BUT once I removed all the culprits he stopped his symptoms (itching at night, major digestive issues).
    We’ve since reintroduced most foods back successfully (he is still allergic to some and he’s a no-go with gluten). We tested again recently and his sensitivity list went from 60 foods to only 5!

    I find it all very interesting and confusing.

  35. I have a history of Graves disease, Eosinophilic Esophagitis (EoE), and eczema. My ANA labs are always high and my doctor says it is just a matter of time before I get another autoimmune disease. I have tolerated my EoE for 15 years and never had the drive to do a diet like this. However, my eczema started worsening the past few months to the point I wake up itching. I have never done an elimination diet before. I started one 1 week ago. I am finding it very difficult. I think because I read so many different articles, I wasn’t doing it correctly. For instance, I have been eating chicken because I read it was okay, but now I am seeing that most recommend turkey, not chicken. I also substituted gluten free bread, perhaps I should not have. I want to be successful with this. This is the first time I felt motivated to do this diet longer than 2 or 3 days. I want to heal my body. Do you have a list of foods to avoid, foods to eat?

  36. Never had any food allergies. Been on candida diet for 2 years and now I have an inflammatory response to almost all foods! I’m desperate and need help! Have been cleared by many doctors including allergist as “fine” but I’m clearly not! Can you help me? Please email me!

  37. I’ve been doing an elimination diet for 64 days now with a lengthy list given to me by my allergist based on an allergy test I took. So far, it’s going really well. I’ve found it hard to eat at restaurants or at other people’s homes, so I’ve taken to doing a lot of meal prep and taking food with me when I visit my friends. My problem is that I will be going on a cruise at the end of next month where I will not have the level of control I am used to having over my food. I’m worried that I will have a bad sensitivity reaction and feel sick during my whole vacation. Is there a way to break from the diet and rebuild my tolerance, so that I don’t get sick?

  38. Thanks so much for this thourough article. I have been recommending the Elimination Diet since 1999 when our autistic nephew was diagnosed. I used the Dr. Rapp “Is This Your Child” book.
    I am convinced that eveyone should do this process, with planning, care and re-introduction of withheld foods, in excess.
    Do you have info/experience on if/how this helps with mental health concerns? Our daughter began acting out, verbally and physically, when she was about 10. The Elimination Diet (of course safely and for free) identified gluten as the problem for her, and she is a young GF adult now, much happier and healthier. I am sure it can help, but would like for info for a psych project I’d doing.
    Is there research showing this behavior-gut connection, too?
    With gratitude,
    Mary Grace (Durham NC)

  39. Before I started my elimination diet I did a 5strand food sensitivity test that will help determine what foods and additives you are actually intolerant too. Takes the guess work out of what foods to avoid….Good Luck

  40. had bloat n such for a while since going on the fatty liver diet , but it seems the foods eaten on this diet often cause issues what do i eat if this is the case

  41. I started an elimination diet and am starting with eliminating dairy. I already know I am lactose intolerant, but am eliminating to check on caesin and whey. My question is this: I have been doing it for 3 weeks and trying to stick with it, but all three weeks, once per week, I have eaten something I thought was dairy free (two labeled so) that turned out to have milk derivatives in them. Do I need to start all over each time this happens?

  42. Hi I am 2 weeks into dr will cole elimination diet lost 7 pounds great but blood sugar levels up from 6 to 6.7 any idea why any advice would be greatly appreciated

  43. I went on an elimination diet, and took went on it for months with very healthy ingredients felt great. But one fine day, I thought why not introduce some foods and introduced them all and went on that way for a month. Ended up with severe fatigue, brain fog in the afternoons, anxiety and soon depression. If you have no need to do the elimination diet don’t bother to do so, even adding foods one by one I heard could cause anxiety. Why invite trouble when not needed.

  44. I had been on an elimination diet for 3 weeks when I tried gluten and dairy. For the entire first 3 weeks I felt awful. no energy and my headaches and body pains worsened. The only thing that got better was that I wasn’t constipated anymore.

    Since I had one meal of gluten and consumed milk in my coffee for an entire day, suddenly I am much better. I have now had 3 days in a row of complete energy, yet headaches remain. I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s in 2012 and my doctor suggested that I might be intolerant to gluten and dairy. I did a Celiac antibody test and it was negative, my levels were on the lower spectrum, within normal range.

    I am wondering if maybe the issue is that either I am not intolerant to gluten and dairy or somehow my symptoms overlapped where I was feeling the withdrawal symptoms but by the time I ate gluten and dairy again my body was starting to come right? Will I suddenly go back to sleeping all day with no energy? Is it better to get a blood test done for IgG?

  45. Hi,
    I just started my first elimination diet. Today is Day 4. I have fibromyalgia so my goal is to have less nerve pain /issues. So far, it feel like more nerve activity than usual. Is this just my body adjusting? I feel I’m working so hard to do this but losing confidence.

  46. Hi I’ve been on an elimination diet for 3 weeks now by my functional medicine dr. I’ve lost 10 pounds and need to gain some weight back, had blood tests, ct scans, ultrasounds all good, just had colonoscopy and endoscopy showing some inflammation diverticulosis and biopsy taken for possible celiac. I’m on anxiety med, I need to gain to some weight back, any suggestions. Thank you.

  47. So I have done a food sensitivity test. my doc said to avoid those foods as well on the elimination diet. which has made it difficult and I am a bit worried that I’m not getting the right notorious. should I see an actual Nutritionist to help me plan my meals maybe, IDK. I apparently have sensitivities to foods that are more commonly used for elimination diets. (ie chicken, turkey, lamb, bananas, cauliflower, bell peppers , cantaloupe, mushrooms pineapples, coconut, garlic, tuna.) any recommendations?

  48. Hi,
    I was reading your article. There were a lot good things. I wanted to mention saying their is no point to adding processed junk food back in can be triggering for eating disorder clients. As often times there is a point to adding these foods back in. Having a food rule against certain foods can increase likely-hood of anxiety around meals which can cause stress and result in more iBS like symptoms. Additionally, what makes something “processed” – nearly all foods are processed in some capacity. Overall food freedom will have better long term results and not labeling foods as good or bad. The role they play in our diet is often time social and can be an emotional coping tool. Everything in moderation can be beneficial. These foods often contain the phosphorus we need in our diet. I appreciate your post!

    Sydney MS RD LDN

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