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GF or Elimination diet? Which do I try first

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Joined: 20 Jun 2005

Posts: 510
User's local time:
2017 Jun 28 - 11:09 AM

Food Intolerances : Gluten, Dairy, Corn, Soy, Rice
Location: Okemos, Michigan

PostPosted: Sun Jun 26, 2005 9:35 am    Post subject: GF or Elimination diet? Which do I try first Reply with quote

Where to begin to find your food intolerances
There are two different ways to approach finding your food intolerances. You can begin on a gluten free diet and then go on to test for other food intolerances if you need to. Or, you can start by eliminating all possible offending foods on the elimination diet. There are advantages and disadvantages to both ways. It depends on you and your body. You have to decide what will work best for you.

Gluten Free First
There are some good reasons to consider starting on a gluten free diet before trying the elimination diet. If you are already gluten free, skip to Reasons for Starting with the Elimination Diet.

Gluten seems to be the common offending food in people who are multiple intolerant. The odds are that if you have food intolerances, gluten is one of them. Beginning with a gluten free diet will give your gut time to heal. As your gut heals, you will notice that your symptoms start to improve. For the elimination diet to work, it is important to be able to distinguish your normal symptoms from a food reaction. For example, if you have chronic diarrhea, it will be pretty hard to tell if you are reacting to a certain food, because your reaction will probably be diarrhea. Staying gluten free until you have solid stools will make your reactions much more obvious.

If you start the elimination diet before your gut has had time to heal, you may get false positives. That means that you will seem to react to foods that you arenít truly intolerant of. They are just aggravating an already distressed digestive system. For example, people with frequent diarrhea often find that they canít tolerate vegetables, especially raw ones. A few months on a gluten free diet usually makes those same veggies quite tolerable. It would be a shame if you considered them a food intolerance and avoided them for years. Remember, the point of the elimination diet is to only eliminate the foods we absolutely have to.

Another good reason to start with gluten is that there is a huge learning curve associated with eliminating foods from your diet. It is easiest to start with one. Once you have mastered gluten, it is much easier to eliminate other foods. Gluten is one of the most common and well-known food intolerances. It is one of the easiest to find information on. Some restaurants even have gluten free menus. Celiac organizations have done an excellent job of making the public aware of their disease. I bet as soon as you tell a few people that you are following a gluten free diet, you will find someone who is gluten intolerant. When I mentioned it at work, I found out that a friendís mother has Dermatitis Herpetiformis. She turned out to be a wonderful person who brought me gluten free treats, took me to Celiac meetings and helped me get started on my diet.

When you undertake this diet, it is important to ask yourself what you are willing to do and when. Eliminating foods from you diet is a difficult thing to do. If you let yourself get overwhelmed, it is much more likely that you wonít stick to your diet. If you cheat on the elimination diet, intentionally or accidentally, you will have to spend more time on it or start over. Nobody wants to stay on the elimination diet any longer than they have to!

If you have been tested and have been diagnosed as gluten intolerant, it would be wise to start with the gluten free diet. There is a good chance that gluten is your only food intolerance. If you have also tested positive for other foods, you should definitely eliminate them at the same time. You may find that these are all of your intolerances, and you will never need to go on the elimination diet.

In my opinion, you should start on the gluten free diet first if your symptoms are rather severe. I would also take into consideration how long you have had symptoms. The longer youíve been ill, the longer it will probably take for you to see improvement. Expect to be on the gluten free diet for three to six months before youíll know if you need to look for other food intolerances.

Reasons for Starting with the Elimination Diet
One good reason to start with the elimination diet is that you are already gluten free and one or more things have happened. First, you had initial improvement but some of your symptoms have returned. Second, you feel better on the gluten free diet, but you donít feel great. Third, you had no improvement on the gluten free diet. Before you start the elimination diet, be sure that you are not getting any hidden forms of gluten. You may want to check the list on gluten sources just to make sure you havenít missed anything.

If you decide to start with the entire elimination diet, you will probably get better much faster. I think this is a good option for someone who has less severe symptoms. I also think it would be good for someone who has recently become ill. The important thing is to be able to tell when you are reacting to a food that you are testing.
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