Starting an Elimination Diet Plan?
Registered Dietitian Kathleen Tabb discusses how to effectively go food shopping for an elimination diet plan shopping to manage your food sensitivities!
How do I effectively go food shopping with food sensitivities? It can seem daunting! But before starting an elimination diet plan, you first need to know your food sensitivities! The first step is to get tested. It is very important to choose a food sensitivity test that is credible. We utilize the LEAP/MRT food sensitivity test. This looks for immune reactions to 170 different foods and chemicals. Not only will you know what foods you are sensitive to, but also which ones you are highly sensitive to.
Your results will show foods to which you are non-reactive, moderately reactive, and highly reactive. With these results, you undergo an elimination meal plan, followed by a reintroduction diet to identify your trigger foods. After getting your LEAP/MRT food sensitivity results, the next steps can seem overwhelming!
We are here to help!
Having to switch your diet and remove some of your favorite foods to more whole forms of food is a difficult thing to do.
By “whole foods” I mean no added ingredients that are untested by the LEAP/MRT test. While on the diet, if the ingredient is not in your 30-day phase plan, you must avoid it until untested foods can be trialed.
Examples of untested foods/ingredients are guar gum, xantham gum, natural flavors, and more. These ingredients are as commonly found in processed foods to improve shelf life.
Avoid untested foods/ingredients are found in numerous products such as crackers, dairy alternative milks, granola bars, cereals, lunch meats, and breads. Avoiding these additives makes it a bit more difficult to navigate what you can and can’t have. This is most likely leading you to think, what can I possibly eat during this protocol?
Find a food sensitivity specialist to help with your elimination diet plan
The second, and one of the most important, tips I can offer is to find a specialist. As a certified LEAP therapist, I am here to provide you with the recipes, appropriate food products, and advice in order to make the diet as easy as possible while also helping you regain your health and improve your unwanted symptoms. I also hold an IBS support group the last Wednesday of the month for people suffering from digestive issues. I also like to recommend our Food Sensitivity Survival Guide to make meal planning on an elimination diet a little bit easier.
Let’s talk through some examples of allowable products on the LEAP/MRT diet. This is totally dependent on an individual person’s results, so these foods would be different for everyone. But I definitely recommend reading the ingredient label closely to make sure all of the ingredients have been tested (and are on your non-reactive list)! The good news is, you don’t have to worry about vitamins and minerals on the ingredients label. As a general rule of thumb, the least amount of ingredients, the better, but that is more difficult than you would think with all of the products on the market today.
Many of the products I am going to highlight were in found while shopping in Trader Joe’s. However, I don’t want you to feel like you have to shop at a specialty grocery store to get the foods you need. The next tip to navigating an elimination diet is to shop where it’s convenient for you, as much as possible. Most large chain grocery stores also have “natural foods” sections that have these types of foods as well!
Trader Joe’s has some great products for elimination diet plan shopping
Brown Rice Penne
As you can see here, the ingredients list is simple: brown rice and water.
San Francisco Style Sourdough Bread
The ingredients here are wheat, barley, and neutral ingredients like water, salt, and vitamins.
Shredded Bite Size Wheats
Cauliflower Pizza Crusts
You can eat this product if you are nonreactive to cauliflower, corn, potato, and olives.
Trader Joe’s Turkey Lunch Meat
Let’s compare some more labels for elimination diet plan shopping…
Rise Protein Bar vs. Typical Protein Bar
Sprouted Rye Kernnels, filtered water
Organic brown rice syrup, organic rolled oats, soy protein isolate, organic cane syrup, organic roasted soybeans, rice flour, cane sugar, unsweetened chocolate, organic soy flour, organic oat fiber, organic high oleic sunflower oil,
Malk Almond Milk vs. Blue Diamond Almond Milk
Water, almonds, salt
Filtered water, almonds, calcium carbonate, sea salt, potassium citrate, sunflower lecithin, gellan gum, natural flavors
Manna Sprouted Rye Bread (Whole Foods) vs. Orowheat Dark Rye Bread
Sprouted Rye Kernels, filtered water
Unbleached Enriched Wheat Flour [Flour, Malted Barley Flour, Reduced Iron, Niacin, Thiamin Mononitrate (Vitamin B1), Riboflavin (Vitamin B2), Folic Acid], Water, Dark Rye Flour, Rye Flour, Malted Barley, Soybean Oil, Yeast, Salt, Wheat Gluten, Sugar, Ground Caraway, Monoglycerides, Calcium Propionate (Preservative), Grain Vinegar, Calcium Sulfate, Datem, Soy Lecithin, Citric Acid.
More tips for elimination diet plan shopping
Seeing products ingredient labels side by side is always an eye opening moment for me. The shorter the label, the better in most cases!
The good news is that these types of products do exist, it is just a matter of knowing where to look. That is where CLT’s come in! Try not to get frustrated! We are here to help you find products that you like that fit into your elimination diet plan. You may feel like you can’t eat any of your staple foods, but we will help you find new staples so you can be confident in the kitchen. Give it time.
Often times, the best way to locate a lot of these natural products is to shop at a health foods store such as Trader Joe’s, Mom’s Organic Market, and Whole Foods for example. However, larger chain grocery stores may have these products as well! Another tip I can offer is when you do find these staple foods, stock up! Especially if it’s a shelf stable or frozen option. Sometimes these foods are going to be at a grocery store that may not be as convenient for you, so if you can stock up on it for later, it will be less stress for you!
We also recommend a cooking with food sensitivities cookbook.
Last but not least, find support. Find support from a specialist, but also others trying to manage an elimination diet for their food sensitivities. If you are interested in attending the IBS support group, or scheduling an appointment with me to learn more about the LEAP/MRT Food Sensitivity test, email me at [email protected]
As a certified LEAP therapist, Dietitian Kathleen can help you solve your digestive difficulties with cutting edge research and state of the art protocols. Co-author of Cooking with Food Sensitivities Survival Guide.