A way of eating that’s more about getting healthy and relieving ailments, by removing various problem-causing foods from your diet.
If you think about it, you probably have some “ailment”—whether it’s a chronic stuffy nose, trouble sleeping, or headaches that you’ve wanted to get rid of (and your regular remedies aren’t exactly doing the trick).
Los Angeles-based Dr. Junger, whose books called Clean and Clean Eats give some indication as to his stance, says that certain foods might be the cause of those problems. And cutting them out can help you put the puzzle pieces together about why you’re experiencing these conditions—largely by helping you learn which foods might be making you feel crappy.
While the execution might vary in what you eliminate and for how long, the idea is that you are removing foods from your diet, for a decent amount of time, and reintroducing them back into your diet, one at a time.
This way, when you reintroduce foods back into your diet, it’s easier to tell whether milk, or tomatoes, for example, is contributing to your hives and headaches.
“You never know if the ailment is being caused by one thing, or a combination of two things, until you take them all out for at least two to three weeks, and then start to reintroduce them back in,” says Dr. Junger. (Talk to a doctor if you’re seriously considering the elimination diet.)
For the first phase of the elimination diet, Dr. Junger and many other functional medicine physicians recommend cutting out things like fruits, like oranges and bananas, certain vegetables, like tomatoes, potatoes, peppers, and aubergines, eggs, milk, cheese, wheat, corn, raw fish, pork, beef, soybean products, peanuts, butter, processed oils, alcohol, coffee, refined sugar, chocolate, ketchup.
The re-introduction process is a whole other story, and if you’re doing it to really figure out a persistent health issue, doing it under an MD’s or detox expert’s supervision is very wise.
Here’s the list of foods Dr. Junger asks patients to eliminate as part of the diet.
People come to me with all sorts of problems—tiredness, bloating, migraines, lack of sleep, eczema, arthritis, autoimmune diseases, diabetes, and the list goes on and on—and sometimes I need blood tests or X-rays. Generally 60 percent of the time, just putting them on the diet either improves the situation or resolves it.
What I found was when you get your body to a point where you clean things up, then, when you add things back in, you are more cognizant of what might be triggering a reaction. It’s a process. It takes a while to really absorb information and listen to your body over time and see the slow effect.
Why are the foods that are eliminated, eliminated? On some level they hinder the balance of things in the body.
Whether the food cause allergic reactions, have too many toxins, are too acidic, or are difficult to digest, “the effect is that somehow they cause problems in the body. And many of these problems start in the stomach. Food allergies and chemicals added to food can cause a leaky gut, which then turns into a cyclical relationship, because a leaky gut can cause sicknesses and affect your immune system.