I bought the Professional’s Food Sensitivity Pack online recently. Prior to buying the manual I bought a 21 Day Holistic Detox and followed the diet in that. It made a huge difference to my moods, headaches, energy levels and mouth ulcers. After that I sought an evidence-based elimination diet and came across your resources. I am no longer on the original detox diet (not consistently anyway). I obviously already know that elimination of certain foods make a big difference to me. In order to test for food sensitivities is it necessary for me to do the four week elimination diet first, or is 7 days enough?
Thanks in advance.
Your question is important as it asks us to think about what is really going on in food sensitive people. Why is it recommended that the initial diet be used for 4 weeks, yet we say that after a later reaction to a single challenge to allow a few days to “clear” and have at least 3 days at the level symptoms were after the initial diet trial, before trying some other challenge.
Three ideas are important here. One relates to how the body is metabolizing [or detoxifying] the suspect compounds, the second to individual differences in reactions and clearing time, and the third to whether the elimination diet is the best for you, and the level of strictness needed to get good results.
The reality is that we do not know the exact biochemistry of how the body is clearing compounds in the metabolic processes during the diet trial. But we have collected much information about what really happens in people when they use the diet. We know that they often go through withdrawal and have symptoms get worse before they get better. They may even notice additional symptoms such as poor sleep or irritability or fuzzy thinking at that time. We know that they may feel cravings for some excluded foods. We know that in small children withdrawal happens earlier and is over faster and that in adults withdrawal can occur from the first few days up to seven or even 14 days. We also know that many report the beginning of improvement in the third week but others do not notice real improvement until into the fourth week. So it is wise to allow four weeks on the initial diet to see the maximum effect that diet will bring. We then call this level of improvement our baseline.
As well as knowing what happens generally we know that each person investigating diet is different so each needs to watch what is their particular pattern.
What should you do Kelly? I suggest you collect information using the Family Sensitivity History and read about the Total Body Load so that you know you are considering all you need to in the initial elimination diet. [ I like to call it the Family Elimination Diet as it emphasizes individual differences.] If you can also obtain the help of a dietitian you can benefit.
Then you run the diet trial until you reach the point where your symptoms are improved to a level you are happy with, and add a week to be sure you are there.
At that point you are ready to do challenges, remembering that the initial diet is not the one you stay on. It is the beginning of what I call your Diet Detective Work in working towards a long term diet that fits into your particular lifestyle. You can read the detail in Are You Food Sensitive?
My last comment is to remind you to believe in what you are finding and be assertive for yourself. We still live in a world where food sensitive people are not supported and diet management is a challenge!
All the best!