Thursday, June 26, 2014

The Elimination Diet Workbook: Book Review


Admittedly, when I was asked if I could review this book, I rolled my eyes.  Don't get me wrong, food allergies are a serious issue...even in my family!  My mom and brother are allergic to shellfish and Adam is allergic to marlin fish.  But it seems to me, these days people blame absolutely everything on 'food intolerances', which are not even widely recognized as a real phenomenon.  Again, don't get me wrong, some intolerances are very real, like lactose intolerance, or gluten-intolerance if you are a celiac, but I find that pretty much every naturopath or other alternative health practitioner will tell you to eliminate dairy, wheat and gluten from your diet no matter what.  Even though there is absolutely no evidence to support these substances are linked to your symptoms.

But there are definitely circumstances when one may want to experiment with an elimination diet if you are feeling unwell and there is reason to believe it is due to what you are eating.  If that's the case, this book may be very helpful.

Part One explains why you might benefit from trying an elimination diet.  Part Two defines food allergies and distinguishes them from intolerances, lists the most common food allergens and intolerances and common conditions linked with diet.  Part Three gives you all the specific information you need to actually attempt an elimination diet.  It involves 4 phases:
1. Preparing
2. Planning and Eliminating
3. Challenge Phase
4. Maintenance

Part Four includes tools to help you through it, including a sample targeted elimination diet and a catchall elimination diet, tips for avoiding common allergens and triggers, and maintenance diet tools.

The tips are particularly useful because they explain where you will find various triggers, which may not always be evident from labels, etc. Like, for example, all the places you will find sulfites, and the different ingredient names which are all types of sulfites.  Or, all the unexpected places you might find wheat, or nuts, or soy.  There are also tables of substitution foods to provide nutrients that you may be currently getting from a food you plan to eliminate.

So if you suspect you may have a food allergy or sensitivity and would like to try an elimination diet, this book will be very useful for you.  Just make sure you check with your doctor first to rule out any other possible causes of your symptoms.


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