Frequently Asked Questions
Do I have to follow a diet? Why not a blood test?
Most of the clients I work with have food sensitivities, which are different from food allergies. When you have a food sensitivity, symptoms usually take time to appear after you eat a food and so it is difficult to connect the symptom or exacerbation of a condition to a particular food.
When a person has a true food allergy he/she usually knows it because the reaction happens soon after eating the food. Skin and blood tests are useful in testing for food allergies but they are often inaccurate in diagnosing food intolerances. The Elimination Diet is virtually 100% accurate and effective in diagnosing reactions to food and it can be done at home. The great thing about the diet is that you are conducting your own experiment. You get to see how different you feel when you are not eating the food that bothers you. Even if the blood or skin tests worked to evaluate food sensitivities, the Elimination Diet would still be my preferred way of working with clients because they get to know their bodies. A piece of paper with test results is too easy to discount. I believe that people need to see their emotional and physical symptoms decrease to really believe that food is what is causing or exacerbating their health problems.
What foods am I probably sensitive to?
Unfortunately, the foods that we crave often cause food intolerance reactions. We crave them and eat them, then they leave our system, and we crave them again.
If I think dairy and wheat are bothering me, why canít just take them out?
You can take out one or two foods from your diet but you may guess incorrectly. If you donít find any relief you may think that food has nothing to do with how you feel. Doris Rapp, MD, a promoter of elimination type diets, has stated "if your foot is full of tacks and you take only one or two tacks out, you may not feel anything. If you take all the tacks out you feel a big relief". The Elimination Diet takes out all of the questionable foods at the beginning of the program so that people feel a much greater effect and are able to recognize their intolerance more easily.
I never have corn- why should I take it out?
It is surprising to most people how much corn they eat - in the form of corn syrup in pop, cookies, baked goods, crackers, and candy. One of my clients, a 12 year-old boy, came in because his mother did not want to increase his asthma medication. He followed the Elimination Diet and his breathing improved, he said, "I ran after my dog and for the first time I didnít wheeze". His mom and I were amazed and thrilled! He challenged the foods and it turned out he was very sensitive to corn. He and his mom didnít realize how much corn he was eating in corn chips, pop and candy.
Many of the common foods that cause symptoms are found as ingredients in processed foods. Gluten grains (wheat, rye, barley, spelt and kamut) are found in many cereals and baked goods. Barley malt made from barley is used as a sweetener in many products. Casein and whey are dairy products used often as ingredients in processed foods. People may not realize how much of a food they are really eating.
- Suzzanne Myer, MS, RD, CD - Nutritionist