Remember the low-carb, zero fat, protein cookie diets of the '90s?
Those were trying times for the world of wellness. When thin was in, and well-balanced diets weren’t a big part of the discussion.
Thankfully, we’ve come a long way since those days, and now we’re seeing a greater emphasis than ever on diets that promote whole foods and limiting the consumption of processed goods all in the name of feeling better and performing optimally rather than solely focusing on getting six-pack abs.
Contrary to the philosophy of many of the aforementioned fad diets, there is no such thing as an “ideal” diet.
According to a research study conducted at the Prevention Research Center at Yale University School of Public Health, which analyzed low carb, low fat, low glycemic, Mediterranean, mixed/balanced (DASH), Paleolithic, vegan, and elements of other diets, they found there isn’t a single diet that can be crowned as the best.
However, their findings also state that "A diet of minimally processed foods close to nature, predominantly plants, is decisively associated with health promotion and disease prevention."
Furthermore, not every individual’s diet requirements for peak performance and optimal health are the same because everybody is different.
Take factors such as age, sex, height, physical activity, and individual biological makeup and body chemistry into account, and it’s impossible to claim that what is the ideal diet for one person would precisely meet the needs of another.
What Is An Elimination Diet?
With the rise of the notion that there is no ideal one-size-fits-all diet, there’s also been a surge of “elimination diets.”
Rather than being a strict protocol of what you can or cannot have, an elimination diet instead focuses on finding your body’s individualized dietary requirements for optimal functionality.
Elimination diets aren’t meant to be a long-term, sustainable eating program; it’s a short-term window where either one or multiple components of the diet are eliminated to determine whether food containing those elements produce an inflammatory response for the individual.
Elements of an elimination diet typically include commonly-known allergens or inflammatory foods that contain sugar, gluten, lactose, soy, corn, legumes, MSG, sulfites, and more.
After eliminating the particular trigger component(s) for a set number of days or weeks, the item(s) can then be reintroduced to determine whether it produces an inflammatory response in the body.
How to Get Started With Finding What Works for You
One of the toughest (and most fascinating) aspects of an elimination diet is how quickly you discover how many things are literally off the table regarding your meal plan.
So, rather than going it alone and trying to cobble together your version of an elimination diet, we think it’s easiest to find a tried and trusted template to work within.
This helps tremendously with not only staying on track but also learning why you would want to eliminate certain components from your diet and how to reintroduce them so that you can make a clear conclusion on what foods you would like to permanently clear from your diet.
Here are a few of our favorite programs:
With options that range from 7-day to 14- and then 28-day cleanses, the Be Well Cleanses all aim to help you reboot your body’s natural detox system and immunity.
The Clean Cleanse works by removing the most common food allergens while lightening up your diet with nutrient-dense shakes and clean daily meals made of whole, unprocessed foods so that the body can spend its energy cleansing and healing.
The main foods removed on the Cleanse Diet are gluten, dairy, processed sugar, coffee, and alcohol.
The Whole30 Program requires stripping away the most common “craving-inducing, blood sugar disrupting, gut-damaging, inflammatory food groups” for a full 30 days.
This elimination diet will allow you to experience a full body reset and “learn how the foods you’ve been eating are actually affecting your day-to-day life, long-term health, and body composition.”
Regardless of how you choose to embark on an elimination diet, the key to success is knowing it’s going to take some time and experimentation.
Be open to discovering what works and what doesn’t work for you, and you’ll be well on your way to unearthing your ideal diet.