Allergy Elimination Diet
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.
Symptoms that may be due to food allergy:
General: Fatigue, anxiety, depression, insomnia, food cravings, obesity.
Infections: Recurrent colds, urinary tract infections, sore throats, ear infections, yeast infections.
Ear, Nose and Throat: Chronic nasal congestion, postnasal drip, fluid in the ears, Meniere's syndrome.
Gastrointestinal: Irritable bowel syndrome, constipation, diarrhea, abdominal cramping, ulcerative colitis, Crohn's disease, gallblader disease.
Cardiovascular: High blood pressure, arrhythmia, angina.
Dermatologic: Acne, eczema, psoriasis, canker sores, hives.
Rheumatologic: Muscle aches, osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis.
Neurologic: Migraines and other headaches, numbness.
Miscellaneous: Asthma, frequent urination, teeth grinding, bedwetting, infantile colic.
Note: most of these disorders have more than one cause, but food allergy is a relatively common and frequently overlooked cause.
Foods you must avoid:
Dairy Products: Milk, cheese, butter, yogurt, sour cream, cottage cheese, whey, casein, sodium caseinate, calcium caseinate, any food containing these.
Wheat: Most breads, spaghetti, noodles, pasta, most flour, baked goods, durum semolina, farina, and many gravies, etc.
Corn: including any product with corn oil, vegetable oil from an unspecified cource, corn syrup, corn sweetener, dextrose, glucose, corn chips, tortillas, popcorn
Eggs: Avoid whites and yolks, and any product containing eggs
Citrus Fruits: Oranges, grapefruits, lemons, limes, tangerines and foods containing citrus.
Coffee, Tea, Alcohol: must avoid both caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee, as well as standard (such as Tetley) tea and decaffeinated tea. Herb teas are okay, except those containing citrus.
Refined Sugars: Including table sugar and any foods that contain it, candy, soda, pies, cake, cookies, etc. Other names for sugar include sucrose, glucose, dextrose, corn syrup, corn sweetener, fructose, maltose and levulose. These must all be avoided. Some patients will be allowed 13 tsp. per day of pure, unprocessed honey, maple syrup, barley malt or agave nectar. This will be decided on an individual basis. Those restricted from all sugars should not eat dried fruit. Others may eat unsulphured (bio) dried fruits sparingly.
Honey, Maple Syrup, Barley Malt, Agave Nectar 13: teaspoons per day Allowed ( ) Not allowed ( )
Food Additives: (EZutaten) including artificial colors, flavors, preservatives, texturing agents, artificial sweeteners, etc. Most diet sodas and other dietic foods contain artificial ingredients and must be avoided. Grapes, prunes, and raisins that are not organically grown contain sulfites and must be avoided.
Any Other Food You Eat More than 3 Times a Week: any food you are now eating 3 or more times a week should be avoided and tested later.
Known Allergens: Avoid food you know you are allergic to, even if it is allowed on this diet.
Tap Water: (including cooking water) Allowed ( ) Not allowed ( ) tap water is eliminated in cares where more extreme sensitivity is suspected. If tap water is not allowed, use spring or distilled water bottled in glass or heavy plastic. Water bottled in soft (collapsible) PET containers tend to leach plastic into the water. Some water filtration systems do not take out all potential allergens. Take your water with you, including to work or restaurants.
Read Labels: Hidden allergens are frequently found in packaged foods. “Flour” usually means wheat; “vegetable oil” may mean corn oil, and casein and whey are dairy products. Vary your diet, choosing a wide variety of foods. Do not rely on just a few foods, as you may become allergic to foods you eat everyday!
Foods You May Eat:
Cereal Hot: Oatmeal, oatbran, millet flakes (hirse flocken), Morgen Stunde (Hergestellt in Deutschland), cream of rice, cream of rye. DRY: puffed rice, puffed millet, muesli or breakfast cereals that are wheat free. Diluted apple juice with apple slices and nuts go well on cereal. May use rice milk that has no corn oil. Also may use almond nut milk. Most of these foods are available in reformhauses.
Grains and Flour Products: 100% rice cakes, rice crackers, rye crackers, any 100% rye (roggen) or spelt (dinkel) bread with no wheat; Asian noodles, such as 100% buckwheat (buchweizen) Soba noodles; rice, potato, buckwheat and bean flours; rice or millet bread (as long as they do not contain dairy, eggs, sugar, or wheat); cooked whole grains including oats, millet, barley, buckwheat groats (kasha), rice macaroni, spelt (flour and pasta), forwn rice, amaranth, quinoa. Most of these grains are available in reformhauses.
Legumes (Beans): Includes lentils, peas, chickpeas, navy beans, kidney beans, black beans, string beans, mung beans and others. Dried beans should be soakede overnight. Pour off the water and rinse before cooking. Canned beans often contain added sugar or other potential allergens. Some cooked beans packaged in glass jars, sold at reformhauses, contain no sugar. Read labels. May also use bean dips without sugar, lemon or additives. Canned soups include split pea and lentil soup (with additives, EZutaten). Miso soup (from fermented soy beans) and wheat-free tamari are okay.
Vegetable: Use a wide variety. All vegetables except corn are permitted.
Proteins: Poultry and fowl, fresh fish (such as tuna and salmon, packed in spring water). Shrimp and most canned or packaged shellfish (such as lobster, crab, oysters) may contain sulfites and should be avoided. Canned tuna, salmon and other canned fish are OK. Beef and pork may be eaten unless specified otherwise. Lamb rarely causes allergic reactions, and may be used even when other meats are restricted (unless there is yin deficiency, excess heat). Also recommended are grain/bean casseroles (auflauf).
Nuts and Seeds: Nuts and seeds, either raw or roasted without salt or sugar. To prevent rancidity, nuts and seeds should be kept in an airtight container in the refrigerator. May also use nut butters from reformhauses or from fresh ground nuts (this includes peanut butter if allowed, almond butter, cashew butter, walnut butter, sesame butter and sesame tahini). Nut butters go well on celery or kohlrabi sticks and crackers.
Oils and Fats: Sunflower, olive, sesame, peanut (if allowed), flaxseed (edible linseed), palm and coconut oil. Use coldpressed or expellerpressed oils (availabe from reformhauses) whenever possible. Do not use corn oil or “vegetable oil” from an unspecified source, as this is usually corn oil. Sunflower, soy, or safflower margarine are OK from an allergy standpoint, but we do not consider margarine a desirable food, especially if it contains hydrogenated oils (pflänzliche Öl gehärtet). However if you are not allergic to butter, we recommend it instead of margarine, once you have completed food testing. Also suggested are vegetable and bean spreads, instead of butter or margarine.
Snacks: Any food can be eaten as a snack, any time of day. Also suggested are celery, carrot sticks or other vegebles; fruit in moderation (no citrus); unsalted fresh nuts and seeds.
Beverages: Herb teas (no lemon or orange); spring water in glass bottles or clear plastic, boiled water (has more yang energy), pure fruit juices without sugar or additives (dilute 50:50 with water); almond or oat or barley milk. Tap water contains chlorine, fluoride and other potentially allergenic chemicals (especially in the US). In some cases, distilled or spring water in glass bottles is the only water allowed. This would include water used for cooking. If tap water is eliminated, it should be reintroduced as if it were a test food. Restrictions on the type of water permitted will be made on a case by case basis.
Thickeners: Rice, oat, millet, barley, or amaranth flours; arrowroot, kudzu (check the Japanese section of a reformhaus), agar.
Spices and Condiments: Salt in moderation; pepper, herbal spices without preservatives, citrus or sugar; garlic, ginger, onions; catsup and mustard (from reformhaus—without sugar); wheat-free tamari (soy sauce), vitamin C crystals in water as a substitute for lemon juice.
Miscellaneous: Sugarfree spaghetti sauce; fruit jellies without sugar or citrus; soups such as split pea, lentil, turkey vegetable, etc.
DO NOT RESTRICT YOUR CALORIES! Start with a good breakfast, eat frequently throughout the day, and consume at least 4 glasses of water per day. If you do not eat enough, you may experience symptoms of low blood sugar, such as fatigue, irritability, headache, and too rapid weight loss. To ensure adequate fiber, eat beans, permitted whole grains, whole fruits and vegetables, homemade vegetable soup, nuts and seeds. Be sure to chew thoroughly, in order to enhance digestion.
Plan Your Meals for the Week
Take a list with you to the health food store. If your schedule is very busy and it is hard to think of what to fix, take some time before starting the diet to make a list of all of your favorite foods and possible meal plans. For ideas, look through cookbooks that specialize in changing the hypoallergenic diets. Most meals can be modified easily to meet the requirements of the diet, without changing the meal plan for the rest of your family. When you go to the health food store, ask for assistance in locating allowed versions of breads, crackers, cereals, muffins, soups, etc. Some people find it helpful to prepare additional foods on the weekend, to cut down on thinking and preparation time during the week. If you need further assistance or ideas, talk with your diet counselor.
Dining Out: Do not hesitate to ask questions or make requests. For instance, you could ask for fish topped with slivered almonds, cooked without added seasoning, butter or lemon. Get baked potato with a slice of onion on top. Order steak or lamb chops with fresh vegetables, also prepared without added seasonings (with the exception of garlic and plain herbs). Use salad bars that do not use sulfites as a preservative, and bring your own dressing (oil and cider vinegar with chopped nuts/seeds and fresh herbs). Get into the habit of carrying pure water, snacks, seasonings, etc., wherever you go, to supplement your meals or to have something on hand if your start to get hungry.
Withdrawal Symptoms: About one in four patients develops mild withdrawal symptoms within a few days after starting the diet. Withdrawal symptoms may include fatigue, irritability, headaches, malaise or increased hunger. These symptoms generally disappear within 25 days and are usually folled by an improvement in your original symptoms. If withdrawal symptoms are too uncomfortable, take buffered vitamin C (calcium ascorbate1000 mg in tablet form or ¼ teaspoon of the crystals, up to 4 times a day). Your doctor may also prescribe “alkali salts” (2 parts sodium bicarbonate and 1 part potassium bicarbonate) for withdrawal symptoms. In most cases, withdrawal symptoms are not severe and do not require treatment. It is best to discontinue all of the foods abruptly (“cold turkey”), rather than easing into the diet slowly.
Testing Individual Foods: It may take 3 weeks for symptoms to improve enough to allow you to retest foods. However, you may begin retesting after 2 weeks if you are sure you are feeling better. If you have been on the diet for 4 weeks and feel not better, contact the office for further information. Most patients do improve. Some feel so well on the diet that they decide not to test the foods. This could be a mistake. If you wait too long to retest, your allergies may “settle down” and you will not be able to provoke your symptoms by food testing. Then, you will not know which foods you are allergic to. If reintroducing certain foods causes a recurrence of samptoms, you are probably allergic to those foods.
Food sources for testing.
Test pure sources of a food. Example: do not use pizza to test cheese, because pizza also contains wheat and corn oil. Do not use bread to test wheat, as it contains other ingredients. Organic sources are the best to use for testing, as you will not experience interference from pesticides, hormones or other additives which may be used in commercial preparations.
Test one new food each day. If your main symptom is arthritic pain, test one new food every other day. Allergic reactions to test foods usually occur within 10 minutes to 12 hours after ingestion. However, joint pains may be delayed by as much as 48 hours.
Eat a relatively large amount of each test food. For instance, on the day to test milk, add a large glass at breakfast, along with any of the other foods on the permitted list. If after one serving, your original symptoms come back, or if you develop a headache, bloating, nausea, dizziness or fatigue, do not eat the food anymore and place it on your allergic list. If no symptoms occur, eat the food again for luch and supper and watch for reactions. Even if the food is well tolerated, do not add it back into your diet until you have finished testing all of the foods. If you do experience a reaction, wait until your symptoms have improved before testing the next food. If you wake up the next morning with head or joint pain, nausea, or any other suspicious symptom, you may be experiencing a delayed reaction to the food you tested the day before. If you are uncertain whether you have reacted to a particular food, remove it from your diet and retest it 45 days later. You do not have to test foods you never eat.
Do not test foods you already know cause symptoms.
Foods may be tested in any order. Begin testing on a day you are feeling well (without colds, unusual headaches, flu). Review the list of symptoms to watch for and keep a journal of how you feel.
Dairy tests: Test milk and cheese on separate day. You may wish to test several cheeses ondifferent days, since some people are allergic to one cheese but not another. It is usually not necessary to test yogurt, cottage cheese, or butter separately.
Wheat test: Wheatena (with no milk or sugar) or another pure wheat cereal. May add rice or nut milk.
Corn test: Use fresh ears of corn or frozen corn (without saurces or preservatives)
Egg test: Test the whites and yolks on separate days, using hardboiled eggs.
Citrus test: Oranges, grapefruits, lemons and limes. Test these individually on four separate days. The lemon and lime can be squeezed into mineral water. In the case of orange and grapefruit, use the whole fruit.
Frequently eaten foods: Test tap water, if you have eliminated it, fooled by those foods you have
restricted (such as foods being consumed more than three times a week).
Optional tests: The following foods and beverages are considered undesireable, regardless of whether or not you are allergic to them. If any of them are not part of you diet, or if you are fully committed to eliminating them from your diet, there is no need to test them. However, if you have been consuming any of them regularly, it is a good idea to test them and find out how they affect you. Reactions to these foods and beverages may be severe in some cases. They should be tested only on days that you can afford to feel bad.
Coffee and tea (separate days): Do not add milk, nondairy
creamer or sugar. May add rice milk. If you use decaffeinated coffee, test it separately. Coffee, tea, decaffeinated coffee, and decaffeinated tea are separate tests.
Sugar test: Put 4 teaspoons of sugar in a drink or no cereal, or mix with another food.
Chocolate test: Use 12 tablespoons of pure baker's chocolate or cocoa powder. Some health food stores and Migros have 100% pure chocolate that are flavorful and helpful for chocolate cravings.
Alcohol test (test this last): Beer, wine, and hard liquor may require testing on different days, asthe reactions to each may be different. Have 2 drinks per test day, but only if you can afford not to feel well that day and possibly the next day.
Food additive test: Buy a set of food dyes and colors. Put ½ teaspoon of each color in a glass. Add one teason of the mixture to a glass of water and drink. If you wish, you may test each color separately.
After the testing is finished, it is time to return to office for a follow up visit.
When you are within 10 days or so of completing your testing, call the office for an appointment. Bring your journal with you, so you may review your experiences with the doctor.
Rotation diets: 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 safely, make an attempt to rotate your diet. A four day schedule is necessary for some severely allergic patients, but most people can tolerate foods more frequently than every four days. You may eventually be able to tolerate allergenic foods, after you have avoided them for 612 months. However, if you continue to eat these foods more frequently than every fourth day, the allergy may return.
Use common sense and consume a wide variety of foods. Do not just latch onto a few favorites. If you are rotating corn, be sure to avoid corn chips, corn oil, corn sweeteners, etc. except on the days that you are eating corn and corn products. It is not necessary to do strict food rotation during the elimination and retesting periods.
Watch for other allergic reactions: If you have an allergic constitution, you may be allergic to foods other than those you have eliminated and tested on this diet. Pay attention to what you are eating, and if you develop symptoms, review your recent meals and try to identify what may be different in what you have eaten. You can then eliminate that food for two weeks and test it again, to see if you can prove the same symptoms.