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Transform your gut health: ‘Weed out’ the nasties using the gold standard Elimination Diet

‘All disease begins in the gut’ is a quote attributed to Hippocrates nearly 2500 years ago. Not all, but a lot of skin conditions are linked to your gut health. If you can address and improve your gut health then you can go a long way to improving your skin condition. Transforming your gut health involves 3 different phases: Weed, Seed & Feed. Weed out the ‘nasties’ (harmful micro-organisms & problematic foods), seed in the ‘goodies’ (probiotics) and make sure the ‘goodies’ are fed properly (pre-biotics).

In this blog we’re going to focus on the ‘Weed’ phase which involves stripping back the diet to wholesome basics by eliminating foods and drinks which can commonly be problematic for the gut allowing it time to restore optimal function.

The gold standard approach to stripping back the diet is to carry out an Elimination Diet and if you suffer from any digestive discomfort such as bloating, cramping, diarrhoea, constipation or flatulence, then you may have considered doing this to some extent already.

What is an elimination diet?

An elimination diet is not a ‘diet’ per se but is where you strip back on a lot of the common food groups that are known ‘intolerance’ culprits for approximately 4 – 6 weeks depending on how severe your symptoms have been. It is carried out with the aim of improving your health in the long run and not for the purpose of calorie restriction or losing weight albeit this can happen indirectly.

At the end of the ‘elimination’ phase you then slowly reintroduce foods one by one and leaving a gap of 2-3 days between each food being sure to note down any symptoms that you may be experiencing. It’s a great way to confirm whether the suspect food component really is the cause of your gut symptoms and not just an innocent bystander. It will also help you determine your tolerance threshold.

Sometimes people think that the difficult part is actually cutting out the food groups but once you know what you can and can't eat, you just can get on with it. It does take a lot of prep work and organisation but once you start to feel the benefits of having eliminated these food groups, it spurs you on to carry on doing it.

The difficulty actually lies with the reintroduction phase. If your symptoms have vastly improved during the elimination phase then it’s tempting to think that you can just limit those foods for good but that can lead to nutritional deficiencies in the long term so it’s not recommended. There is also a tendency to just pile everything back in at the same time and then of course you can't pinpoint the culprit so you’ve done all that hard work of eliminating and you’re still back to square one. Is it the gluten or could it be the dairy ?

But hang on, the dish also contained tomatoes so could it have been those instead? AAARRRGGGGGGGHHHH!!

If you are considering doing an elimination diet then my advice would be to work with a qualified nutritionist to ensure that you are still eating a nutrient dense diet and to help and encourage you through the process. If you would like to find out more about how I can help you do this then please book a call with me on:

Foods typically removed in an Elimination Diet:

  • Gluten

  • Dairy

  • Caffeine

  • Alcohol

  • Eggs (although if you don’t suspect eggs as being a problem then some elimination diets allow you to keep them in – contradictory I know!)

  • Refined sugar

  • Processed foods

  • Nightshade vegetables - tomatoes, peppers (bell peppers, chilli peppers, paprika, pimento, cayenne (black pepper is ok)), potatoes (sweet potatoes are ok) and aubergines

  • Red meat (except organic grass-fed beef/organ meat such as liver)

So, what CAN I eat?????

You’re probably thinking, “what is there left to eat?” Well, there's so much that you CAN still eat and that’s what you need to focus on. With an open and curious mind you can have a hugely varied diet because you’re no longer relying on those familiar ‘crutches’, those filler foods that we just eat because it's easy and because they're always lying around in the house. You have to be a bit more imaginative. Here is a list of foods that you can eat:

  • Large variety of vegetables and fruit. Aim for 20-40 different types of vegetables and fruit each week, prioritising vegetables (80%) over fruit (20%).

  • Fermented vegetables (kimchi, sauerkraut)

  • Fermented drinks (kombucha, coconut kefir)

  • Resistant starch (such as uncooked oats in overnight oats or beans, peas & lentils)

  • Prebiotic fibres (Jerusalem artichoke, onions, garlic, leeks, apples, chicory root, beans & lentils)

  • Nuts & seeds

  • Sprouted seeds

  • Pulses (beans, chickpeas & lentils)

  • Fish & oily fish

  • Poultry

  • Wild game

  • Grass-fed beef

  • Liver (must be organic)

  • Tofu

  • Herbs & spices

  • Gluten-free grains (amaranth, buckwheat, rice (GABA), millet, quinoa, sorghum, teff)

  • Bone broth (see recipe)

  • Grass-fed butter

  • Dairy-free alternatives

  • Herbal & fruit teas

  • Fresh filtered water

Why is an elimination diet the gold standard?

I recently wrote an article about food allergy & intolerances on my blog (

and how you can get tested to try and understand what foods, if any can be causing it. There are different tests that exist on the market that are more or less onerous and work in different ways. The most common ones are an IgG blood test, muscle testing and non-invasive electro-dermal (VEGA test). The reliability of such tests is constantly being called into question which is why an Elimination Diet is considered to be the gold standard albeit a longer process.

An elimination diet is based on the belief that YOU are the best placed to know your own body. An elimination diet helps you to get more in tune with and listen to your own body, to see what suits it best and what doesn’t suit it. Your body won’t lie to you but it needs to be challenged in the right way so that you can hear what it is trying to tell you.

At home food intolerance tests rarely provide you with the support that you need after receiving the results and if the test flags up lots of different foods as being intolerances, then you may be sent into blind panic mode about what you can actually eat. This is then very anxiety inducing and can lead to stress that you don’t need.

If you want to find out how I can improve your skin condition by improving your overall gut health then please book a call with me by clicking on the following link:

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