Elimination Diet

Comprehensive Elimination Diet

The Comprehensive Elimination Diet is a dietary program designed to clear the body of foods

and chemicals you may be allergic or sensitive to, and, at the same time, improve your body’s

ability to handle and dispose of these substances.

Here in Libertyville, Dr. Pletcher and Dr. Watkin have called this an “Elimination Diet” because we will be asking you to remove certain

foods, and food categories, from your diet. The main rationale behind the diet is that these

modifications allow your body’s detoxification machinery, which may be overburdened or

compromised, to recover and begin to function efficiently again. The dietary changes help the

body eliminate or “clear” various toxins that may have accumulated due to environmental

exposure, foods, beverages, drugs, alcohol, or cigarette smoking.

In our experience, we have found this process to be generally well tolerated and extremely

beneficial. We obviously hope that you will find it useful too. There is really no “typical” or

“normal” response. A person’s initial response to any new diet is highly variable, and this

diet is no exception. This can be attributed to physiological, mental, and biochemical

differences among individuals; the degree of exposure to, and type of “toxin;” and other

lifestyle factors. Most often, individuals on the elimination diet report increased energy,

mental alertness, decrease in muscle or joint pain, and a general sense of improved well-being.

However, some people report some initial reactions to the diet, especially in the first week, as

their bodies adjust to a different dietary program. Symptoms you may experience in the first

week or so can include changes in sleep patterns, lightheadedness, headaches, joint or muscle

stiffness and changes in gastrointestinal function. Such symptoms rarely last for more than a

few days.

We realize that changing food habits can be a complex, difficult and sometimes confusing

process. It doesn’t have to be, and we think that we have simplified the process with diet

menus, recipes, snack suggestions and other information to make it a “do-able” process.

Peruse this information carefully. If you have any questions about the diet, or any problems,

please give us a call. We would be happy to help, and often we can resolve the issue quickly.

Bon apétit!


Introduction to the Menu Plan for the

Comprehensive Elimination Diet

Eat only the foods listed under “Foods to Include”, and avoid those foods shown under “Foods to

Exclude” in the “Comprehensive Elimination Diet Guidelines.” These Guidelines are intended as a quick

overview of the dietary plan. If you have a question about a particular food, check to see if it is on the

food list. You should, of course, avoid any listed foods to which you know you are intolerant or allergic.

We also may change some of these guidelines based upon your personal health condition and history.

The “7-Day Menu Plan” may be used "as is" or as a “starting point.” This is a suggested menu that you

might find useful while you are on the elimination diet. Feel free to modify it and to incorporate your

favorite foods, provided that they are on the accepted list.

A few suggestions which may be of help:

♣ You may use leftovers for the next days' meal or part of a meal, e.g., leftover broiled salmon and

broccoli from dinner as part of a large salad for lunch the next day.

♣ It may be helpful to cook extra chicken, sweet potatoes, rice, and beans, etc. that can be reheated for

snacking or another meal.

♣ Most foods on the menu plan freeze quite well.

♣ Please add extra vegetables and fruits as needed. The menu is a basic one and needs your personal

touch. This is not a calorie-restricted diet. Use the suggested snacks as needed for hunger or

cravings; leftovers are also handy to eat as snacks.

♣ If you are a vegetarian, eliminate the meats and fish and consume more beans and rice, quinoa,

amaranth, teff, millet, and buckwheat.

♣ Breakfasts that need cooking are easiest to incorporate on your days off. Muffins can all be made

ahead of time, frozen, and used as needed.

♣ If you are consuming coffee or other caffeine containing beverages on a regular basis, it is always

wise to slowly reduce your caffeine intake rather than abruptly stop it; this will prevent caffeinewithdrawal

headaches. For instance, try drinking half decaf/half regular coffee for a few days, then

slowly reduce the total amount of coffee.

♣ Select fresh foods whenever you can. If possible, choose organically grown fruits and vegetables to

eliminate pesticide and chemical residue consumption. Wash fruits and vegetables thoroughly.

♣ Read oil labels; use only those that are obtained by a “cold pressed” method.

♣ If you select animal sources of protein, look for free-range or organically raised chicken, turkey, or

lamb. Trim visible fat and prepare by broiling, baking, stewing, grilling, or stir-frying. Cold-water

fish (e.g., salmon, mackerel, and halibut) is another excellent source of protein and the omega-3

essential fatty acids, which are important nutrients in this diet. Fish is used extensively. If you do not

tolerate fish, consult with us. We may suggest supplemental fish oils. Avoid shellfish, as it may

cause allergic reaction.

♣ Remember to drink the recommended amount (at least two quarts) of plain, filtered water each day.

♣ Strenuous or prolonged exercise may be reduced during some or the entire program to allow the body

to heal more effectively without the additional burden imposed by exercise. Adequate rest and stress

reduction is also important to the success of this program.

Finally, anytime you change your diet significantly, you may experience such symptoms as fatigue,

headache, or muscle aches for a few days. Your body needs time as it is "withdrawing" from the foods

you eat on a daily basis. Your body may crave some foods it is used to consuming. Persevere. Those

symptoms generally don’t last long, and most people feel much better over the next couple of weeks.

Good luck!

Comprehensive Elimination Diet Guidelines


Fruits: Include...whole fruits, unsweetened, frozen or waterpacked, canned fruits and diluted juices

Exclude...Oranges and orange juice

Dairy substitutes: Include...rice, oat, and nut milks such as almond milk and coconut milk

Exclude...Dairy and eggs: milk, cheese, eggs, cottage cheese, cream, yogurt, butter, ice cream, frozen yogurt, non-dairy


Non-gluten grains and starch: Include...brown rice, oats, millet, quinoa, amaranth, teff, tapioca buckwheat, potato flour

Exclude...Grains: wheat, corn, barley, spelt, kamut, rye, triticale

Animal protein: Include...fresh or water-packed fish, wild game, lamb, duck, organic chicken and turkey

Exclude...Pork, beef/veal, sausage, cold cuts, canned meats, frankfurters, shellfish

Vegetable protein: Include...split peas, lentils, and legumes

Exclude...Soybean products (soy sauce, soybean oil in processed foods; tempeh, tofu, soy milk, soy yogurt, textured vegetable protein)

Nuts and seeds: Include...walnuts, sesame, pumpkin, and sunflower seeds, hazelnuts, pecans, almonds, cashews, nut butters such as almond or tarini

Exclude...Peanuts and peanut butter

Vegetables: Include...all raw, steamed, sautéed, juiced or roasted vegetables

Exclude...Corn, creamed vegetables

Oils: Include...cold pressed olive, flax, safflower, sesame, almond, sunflower, walnut, canola, pumpkin

Exclude...Butter, margarine, shortening, processed oils, salad dressings, mayonnaise, and spreads

Drinks: Include...filtered or distilled water, decaffeinated herbal teas, seltzer or mineral water

Exclude...Alcohol, coffee and other caffeinated beverages, soda pop or soft drinks

Sweeteners: Include...brown rice syrup, agate nectar, stevia, fruit sweetener, blackstrap molasses

Exclude...Refined sugar, white/brown sugars, honey, maple syrup, high fructose corn syrup, evaporated cane juice

Condiments: Include...vinegar, all spices, including salt, pepper, basil, carob, cinnamon, cumin, dill, garlic, ginger, mustard, oregano, parsley, rosemary, tarragon, thyme, turmeric

Exclude...Chocolate, ketchup, relish, chutney, soy sauce, barbecue sauce, teriyaki, and other condiments

Things to watch for:

♣ Corn starch in baking powder and any processed foods

♣ Corn syrup in beverages and processed foods

♣ Vinegar in ketchup, mayonnaise & mustard is usually from wheat or corn

♣ Breads advertised as gluten-free which contain oats, spelt, kamut, rye

♣ Many amaranth and millet flake cereals have oats or corn

♣ Many canned tunas contain textured vegetable protein which is from soy; look for low-salt versions which tend to be pure tuna, with no fillers

♣ Multi-grain rice cakes are not just rice. Purchase plain rice cakes.


Elimination Diet Shopping List


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