Home allergy-friendly An Elimination Diet Adventure

An Elimination Diet Adventure

written by Head Health Nutter April 8, 2008

Did you know that many of us have food allergies or sensitivities to food without even knowing it? Symptoms to food reactions are varied, the most severe resulting in death, but most are subtle, such as gas, an uncomfortable belly or even forgetfulness.

So how do you find out if you have food intolerances and what foods your body dislikes? Well, one way is to go on an elimination diet . This is a super restrictive diet that cuts out all food allergens known to affect some people. This includes:

  • Sugar
  • Dairy
  • Gluten (wheat, rye, barley, spelt, oats)
  • Peanuts, pistachios and cashews
  • Nightshade veggies (tomatoes, potatoes, eggplant, peppers)
  • Soy
  • Shellfish & catfish
  • Citrus fruits, strawberries, bananas, melons & dried fruits
  • Corn
  • Genetically modified foods
  • Caffeine
  • Alcohol
  • Certain meats (beef, pork, bacon, deli cuts, hotdogs, sausages, canned, smoked)

The elimination dieter cuts all these potential food culprits out of their diet for 4 – 6 weeks. They will experience detoxification and are encouraged to perform light body cleansing to help their natural detox processes. Elimination dieters will experience a range of detoxing symptoms as their body moves the offending food out of their system.

As you can see, this leaves the person on the elimination diet quite the challenge in preparing tasty meals. A couple of weeks into my elimination diet and I’m finally getting into the game. I was frustrated at first because there are many recipes out there that claim to be elimination diet recipes but in fact contain one to two ingredients that are on the `foods to avoid’ list.

I’ve quickly developed a knack for immediately identifying the offending foods and either coming up with a substitution or moving onto another recipe. Now this elimination diet has become a fun adventure! I’m trying new and interesting foods and spices, and recipes that are easy to make, scrumptious and healthy.

So to help people who are still in the pangs of elimination diet woes, I’m going to publish true elimination diet friendly recipes over the next six weeks. Actually, these recipes are good for anyone who wants to lose a few pounds or eat a clean diet.

My elimination diet dinner last night:

Chickpea dip, rice crackers and veggies (carrot and celery sticks). Really, this dinner was YUMMY!

Chickpea Dip Recipe

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Serves: 4 Prep Time: Cooking Time:


  • 2 cups chickpeas (cooked – if prepped from dry - drained and rinsed)
  • ¼ cup chopped green onion
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 Tbsp each balsamic vinegar & distilled water (substituting for 2 Tbsp of lemon juice)
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped parsley
  • ½ tsp dried basil
  • ¼ cup sesame seeds (optional but I put them in and I highly recommend it)


Blend ingredients.


From the CCNM ’s Brown Rice Cookbook

Warning: to all the significant others of elimination dieters out there – what out for the garlicky kisses!

Tell me what you think of this recipe and if you want more!

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Tiffany April 8, 2008 at 9:43 am

Wow is following a diet like this hard! I am currently on an even more stringent diet – I can’t eat any of those things plus I’ve had to cut out all grains (no potatoes, breads, rice, pasta, etc.), eggs, most fruits, and a lot of spices.
It’s hard getting used to eating veggies, meat, and nuts all day long, and I find that I’ve seen a decrease in energy when at the gym.
Any recipes that you have are greatly appreciated, thanks!!

Steph April 9, 2008 at 8:59 am

Hey, Tiff. Yes, the elimination diet and the like are very challenging. Here are a few suggestions that might help:

First, usually when they say to cut out all grains, they mean only those that contain gluten. Ask your doc about using brown rice, including brown basmati, quinoa (my new found love), millet, buckwheat, tapioca, teff and amaranth.

Second, to help you with more variety, a little planning will help. Get your list of foods allowed and find recipes (I’ll do my best to help here) or create new ones. Shop for groceries based on your meal planning (don’t forget snacks) and either make your meals ahead of the time for the week or plan a cooking schedule. I’ve found the best time for all this planning is on the weekend. By the way, this meal planning and preparation is a skill, you’ll get more efficient as the weeks progress.

Third, your drop in energy levels is normal. Your body is cleansing and is stressed as it adjusts to the change in diet. I’ve found the process is made easier and faster when I change my lifestyle to help ease the burden on my body.

During my cleansing as well as this elimination diet, I’ve needed to slow things down a bit. For instance, instead of going to the gym, try walking in your ‘hood or doing light exercises like yoga and pilates. Try not to schedule too many extracurricular things for the next few weeks either. Think: a Zen existence.

Your body WILL adjust and you’ll not only get back to your old self but your energy levels will shoot through the roof and you’ll feel a 1000 times better!

Emmanuel Lopez-Motivatorman April 12, 2008 at 10:36 am

I love this elimination diet term. It could be seen as a great metaphor for other aspects in your life. Thanks Steph for the inspiring blog post!

Heather August 16, 2009 at 5:41 pm

Hi, I’m a new patient of the CCNM and am about to start my elimination doit in 2 days! Very scared, becuase im having a hard time finding recipies that are truely emlimination diets. Hopeing you can provide me with lots of recipies!

Stephanie August 16, 2009 at 10:35 pm

@Heather The CCNM is amazing, isn’t it? I had a ton of trouble finding elimination diet recipes, too. I think it’s because there are different elimination diets out there and the one that CCNM asks us to do is extremely strict.

I’ve posted many recipes here on Live Lighter. Try the elimination diet category (http://livelighter.org/category/cleansing-detoxing/elimination-diet/) and make sure to go right into the posts because I’ve posted up to 3 recipes per post.

You might find some extras in the allergy-friendly category, too, (http://livelighter.org/category/yummy-recipes/allergy-friendly/) and please try some of the green detox blended meals (http://livelighter.org/category/yummy-recipes/green-detox-meals/).

Good luck and please come back to let us know how you did!

Steph Miller
Head Health Nutter

Heather August 17, 2009 at 4:11 pm

Thanks for the help. I just want to make sure, your first link where you said to go right to the posts for up to 3 recipes. I just want to make sure this is right – there are the following elimination recipes posted?: Jun 19 basil and black bean quinoa; jan 30 smokey chickpea stew; sept 20 3 allergy friendly recipes; sept 8 berry quava froozie?
Thanks again, i’ll keep you posted on my progress – it starts tomorrow!

Stephanie August 19, 2009 at 1:46 am

Hey, Heather! I see how my response is confusing and so I thought I’d make it easy on you and others by writing a compilation post that includes 42 elimination diet-friendly recipes: http://livelighter.org/2009/08/19/elimination-diet-recipes-compilation-post/.

Thanks for the great post idea and let us know what you think of the recipes! 🙂

Angie September 4, 2012 at 2:27 am

Looking for detox recipes 🙂

Head Health Nutter September 6, 2012 at 5:30 pm

Hi Angie! Well, you’ve come to the right place. 😉

– Here’s a post you might find helpful: 119 cleansing recipes (http://livelighter.org/119-cleansing-rescipes/)

– and then of course there’s our entire category of green detox meals (http://livelighter.org/category/cleansing-detoxing/green-detox/)

– as well as our detox drinks category (http://livelighter.org/category/cleansing-detoxing/detox-drinks/)


Sheila September 7, 2012 at 9:06 pm

I just started my elimination diet 3 days ago. I was told to go on the strict diet for 2 weeks, then gradually add 1 food (eating it 4 times a day for 4 days) every 4 days. I’m doing this for food allergies more than detox. I’m also on a low fiber diet for Gastroporesis. I am allergic to garlic, cloves, cinnamon, and mustard. So far I’ve had 3 days of chicken and rice and getting tired of it already. Any suggestions??

Head Health Nutter September 12, 2012 at 6:50 pm

Hey Sheila, thanks for popping on by Live Lighter for some ideas in how to spruce up your Elimination Diet Adventure.

Besides the links I provided to the previous comment, try this elimination diet recipe compilation post:


Just make sure the recipes adhere to your specific elimination diet as I’ve discovered that there are different elimination diets.

Good luck and I hope you find tasty recipes to help you!

Sheila September 12, 2012 at 9:05 pm

Thanks, but unfortunately those recipes seem to be all high in fiber (nuts, beans, veges)… all of which I cannot have at this time. 🙁

Head Health Nutter September 12, 2012 at 11:48 pm

Sounds like a pretty strict elimination diet. What are you allowed?

Head Health Nutter September 12, 2012 at 11:48 pm

Besides chicken and rice, of course. 😉

Jen January 4, 2013 at 3:20 am

I think your elimination diet must be different to the one developed by the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital and Sydney University. I’m following that to try to diagnose triggers for my migraines.

I can’t have a lot of the things in this recipe (any vinegar, any seeds (except poppy), olive oil (can only have canola or sunflower), or most herbs (can only have chives)). Oh well. I’ll keep searching for recipes! They have a recipe book (called Friendly Foods), but I’m getting bored of the things in there.

Head Health Nutter January 8, 2013 at 11:36 pm

Hey Jen,

Thanks for sharing. I hear your frustration! At this point, all I can suggest is modifying recipes to suit your allowances. There are always substitutes (Google them if you have to) and actually, sometimes, your meals turn out even better using the substitutes rather than the ingredient originally provided!

If this happens, please promise that you’ll come back to Live Lighter and share your successes!

Kirsten February 12, 2013 at 5:28 am

Hmm is anyone else experiencing problems with the images on
this blog loading? I’m trying to find out if its a problem on my end or if it’s
the blog. Any feedback would be greatly appreciated.

Robin March 17, 2013 at 4:20 am

I’m pretty sure I love you! 😉 I am 1 week into this elimination diet. It is maxing out my creativity! Especially breakfast. My diet also excludes eggs and additives & preservatives. But citrus and nightshades are ok.
I’m excited to find some new ideas! It is very hard to find recipes online. I love the mustard dipping sauce and chicken fingers!! Can’t wait to try it!! Would you like me to share some of the good ones I came up with? I have to say I am feeling great!! I may never reintroduce the restricted foods!

Head Health Nutter March 20, 2013 at 11:04 pm

Well, I love you, too, Robin! lol 🙂 I would LOVE for you to share some good recipes you come up with. And I’m SO happy you’re enjoying the elimination diet – many people are so very unhappy about it…

Oh! Did you happen to see this post (it’s a compilation post for *mostly* elimination-diet friendly recipes here on Live Lighter): http://livelighter.org/119-cleansing-rescipes/


Robin Stewart March 21, 2013 at 1:17 am

Well, I feel so much better! I didn’t even realize how sick I was. I’ve lost 9lbs in a week and a half, my headaches are reduced, my tummy feels better, I have less pain in my knees and feet, and what a boost in energy!
My favorites meals so far are :sushi bowl, avocado chicken salad with rice crackers, coconut salmon cakes, and roasted root veggies.
For the sushi bowl take leftover brown rice and add all the ingredients in a sushi roll. Thin strips of carrot and cucumbers, avocado, sushi grade tuna, sesame seeds etc. then take the nori paper and crumble it over the top. Serve with wasabi and pickled ginger. Dh had soy sauce but I didn’t and it was no problem. (I do need to find perservative free wasabi because I did get a little headache)
Avocado chicken salad is a variation of a waldorf salad. Smash the avocado and use it like mayo. Add shredded chicken, cherry tomato halves (if you can) red onion, red pepper, cilantro and squeeze a lime over the top.
Coconut salmon cakes. I just learned that you can sub eggs with 1 tbsp of ground flax seeds and 2 tbsp of water. let it sit for 10 min and use as an egg in cooking. Take the canned salmon, the egg sub, coconut flake and coconut flour mix, form into patties and fry in a little bit of oil. I used a thai flavored olive oil. It was a great combo and my dh asked for more!
Roasted root veggies. Take 1 beet, 1 carrot, 1 parsnip, and 1 turnip per person. Peel and chop into bit size pieces roll in olive oil and bake for 1 hr. @ 350. You’ve never tasted sweeter veggies. I took this to a get together and it was devoured!
Good luck to everyone at this it’s not easy but it’s so worth it!

Ellen May 7, 2013 at 11:43 am

Are there any elimination diet bread recipes that don’t have corn or citrus?

experienced November 25, 2013 at 2:01 pm

Hey there! This post could not be written any better! Reading this post reminds me of my old room mate!
He always kept talking about this. I will forward this post
to him. Pretty sure he will have a good read.
Thanks for sharing!


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