Wednesday, January 2, 2019

How to End an Elimination Diet Correctly

First of all, congratulation to all who were brave and persistent enough to keep the elimination diet, based on FoodPrint  intolerance  test (more accurately - IgG allergy test).

Some of you experienced results almost immediately and it was easier to keep the diet if health improvements were clear. Many needed to combine it with other type of "diets", eliminating both food and non-food personal „kryptonites“. Maybe some had no visible improvement and as a consequence do not believe that food is connected to a health problem. If latter is the case, please remember that IgG allergy is only one piece of puzzle and one part of a complex, and highly individual, gut-healing Protocol 4R. 

In all cases, whether improvement has been noticed or not, keeping this test-based elimination diet have had a positive influence on health. Giving a long-needed break to overloaded immunity - by lowering overall inflammation mechanisms, it created more space for healing. Rather than being occupied by daily fights with incoming allergens, immunity could use the spare energy for regeneration and repair. For many people, this could mean lowering general pain and discomfort.

The recommended time for elimination diet is 3-4 months but what’s going to happen next - coming off the diet - is no less important.

Many make a crucial mistake of jumping off the diet suddenly and „treating“ themselves to a good portion of „forbidden“ food. Be it a whole slice of (wheat) bread, cake or a pot of ice cream. If this is how you ended the diet, unfortunately it is possible, it was a waste of time. By sudden introduction of your „kryptonite“ food, before making sure the gut is healed and sealed, you’re risking not only a bad reaction to given food but also continuing inflammation and leaky gut syndrome.

Please do not waste your time and £££ testing for IgG allergy, if you’re not going to do it right or do not yet understand the reasons why it‘s done. Bad rep to these diets and lab tests come often from people, who see and treat this diet as a simple black&white list. Always try to find practitioners who can take you through the full and complex functional medicine „Protocol 4R“. This protocol may take several months or even years, depending on your situation and the level of ill health. Be patient. Quick fixes by straightforward elimination diet may work fine for those reasonably healthy, but symptoms may creep back slowly.

Coming off the diet

1. Do not stop the diet abruptly. Do not eat a whole portion of previously eliminated food. Avoid stocking up on any foods you were avoiding for a period of time. Go slowly.

2. Make sure the gut is healed and sealed and ready to take on the previously allergenic load. You can test this directly, by doing a special test for gut permeability, or indirectly - by repeating the FoodPrint (or other IgG test), to show the level of improvement.

3. Forget the first 3 foods on the list which scored the highest at least for another couple of months. For many people this is often very difficult as it involves wheat and/or gluten, soy, egg and dairy. Unfortunately 90% of the cheapest and most accessible foods contain one of these four ingredients. Watch out and read the labels.

4. Start with the least reactive foods on the list (orange colour and lowest in red) introducing them in small amounts, no more than 1-2x per week. Do it as if you were introducing new foods to a baby - no more than a small bite or one leveled teaspoon.

5. Rotate. Do not eat any of listed food (or ideally any same food) every day. For example if you had oats (porridge, oatcakes etc.) on Monday and Tuesday, avoid them for 3-4 days and have something else instead. If you had high reaction, make these avoidance mini-periods even longer. In my opinion, this is a principle of so-called varied diet. Varied diet does not mean eating 15-20 different ingredients each day every day.

Eating simple meals, ideally up to 10 ingredients daily (read the labels!) and rotating them over time, is what varied diet should look like, taking into consideration our genetics. Our ancestors did not have a huge variety over a day or a week, but changed diets with seasons. The number of various ingredients in their meals was much lower. Possibly the only exception were days of feasts, several times per year, but not every week as we tend to practice today.

Introducing the most problematic foods

When your health or symptoms improve enough, after a year or even two, you may wish to re-introduce the most common and strongest allergens:  gluten, eggs, dairy, nuts and soy.

Think about the reasons why this is? Why they are the worst offenders and if, in your case, it is worth to eat them at all? Double check the IgG test, coeliac panel Cyrex Array3 or true IgE allergy. You may be surprised what you find! 

Moreover, gluten is a thyrotoxin and tissue mimicker, causing problems even if none of these tests show any positives. Soy also interferes with thyroid function, it’s a well-known goitrogen, plus most of soy is GMO. This is another new and potentially dangerous type of concern for all of us, sick or healthy.

Gluten and grains - make a home-made bone broth soup into which you add some grains in form of pasta. Do not eat pasta at first when having this soup. Miniature amounts of protein will be released into the liquid. Bone broth is helping to heal your intestinal lining at the same time, so the effect of re-introduced gluten is hopefully dampened down. Another way is to start buying porridge oats which are not gluten-free certified and as such are usually contaminated with few grains of wheat or barley. Choose organic if you can.

Dairy – a good way to start is with butter (goat or cow) and fermented dairy products. Try organic milk home-made sour whey and quark (soft cheese) or a teaspoon of coconut-dairy culture mixed yogurt. Hard cheeses only as few strands of grated cheese at first, no more! Probably the best way of introducing dairy protein back to your life is in form of colostrum supplement, which can seal your gut very quickly. It's the original function of colostrum to do just that in newborn!

Egg – split the white and yolk, depending on your needs. If you tested for both, you can introduce both at the same time but in very small amounts. Start introducing egg which is not highly denatured (such as happens after baking). Try soft-boiled or scrambled egg made for another family member. Have only 1-2 teaspoons at first and only once per week.

How to prevent new food sensitivities

Eat varied diet (see above what I mean by it) by rotating all foods weekly or seasonally, specifically those previously tested positive.

Do not eat same foods and food ingredients every day, all day.

The biggest concern is presence of highly reactive and pro-inflammatory gluten, wheat & other grains, denatured powdered egg, dairy and soy. Most of these can be hidden elsewhere, including „health foods“. This includes vegan or vegetarian meat imitations, some made of pure gluten, some of pure soy, or Fusarium mold. Frightful! Cheap meat is also filled with wheat and soy flour, as well as ready-made meals, cakes, bars, non-dairy replacements and sauces. Another bad example is snacking on whole 100 or even 200g bag of nuts at once.


Remember that your immune-based sensitivity to food (by forming an IgG antibodies), is only one type of body reaction to food. If you test IgG and correctly proceed through elimination diet and nothing improves, you have to dig deeper. There can be several other reasons, why symptoms related to food can persist. This is why we use Protocol 4R.

True allergy to foods which shows as an increase of IgE (not IgG) antibodies. 

Environmental reactions. Both IgE and IgG type allergy can develop towards chemicals hidden in food, or every-day cosmetics, cleaning products or even to surrounding air and environmental dust (biotoxins - pollen, mites, molds and their mycotoxins – this is sometimes called the sick building syndrome).  

Enzymatic insufficiency based intolerance to foods (such as lactose or histamine). This deficit of enzymes can be natural, such as loosing tolerance to large amounts of milk sugar lactose in adulthood. It can also be caused by gut dysbiosis and inflammation of intestinal lining. In such cases the lining lost normal function and does not produce enough DAO enzyme to deal with all the histamine. 

Another example is dysbiosis-induced fructose malabsorption (or wider FODMAP malabsorption).

Reactions to solanin, salicylates or other plant-protecting phytochemicals.

Cross-reactions. Both IgE and IgG tested foods/items can have several other, cross-reacting pals. For example, if you don’t eat buckwheat but tested positive for all other grains, it is very likely you’re going to react to buckwheat too, even if test does not show it. Cross-reactions have to be taken more seriously when dealing with autoimmunity and this stricter version of elimination diet is called AIP = autoimmune protocol.