Elimination diet recipes: here’s what you need to know

Medically reviewed by Rosanna Sutherby, PharmD on February 11, 2021. To give you technically accurate, evidence-based information, content published on the Everlywell blog is reviewed by credentialed professionals with expertise in medical and bioscience fields.

Whether you’ve recently taken an at-home Food Sensitivity Test or you’re interested in trying an elimination diet without any testing, you might be wondering if there are elimination diet recipes out there that would be helpful for you in uncovering the foods behind the symptoms you experience.

If so, read on—because here we’ll break down what an elimination diet is and what you need to know about elimination diet recipes.

What is an elimination diet?

An elimination diet (or, more appropriately, a temporary elimination diet) is a tool to help someone understand what foods are connected with certain symptoms they experience—such as abdominal pain or bloating. They are often useful for those with food intolerances or sensitivities:

  • A food sensitivity may be associated with increased levels of certain antibodies (of the IgG class) that are reactive to that food. Unlike a true food allergy, the symptoms can be delayed for up to a few days after ingesting the trigger food. (Food allergies are not food sensitivities, and involve an IgE immune response. Also, in a food allergy, symptoms may be potentially life-threatening and occur shortly after the trigger food is eaten. If you suspect you may have a food allergy, consult with an allergist instead of attempting an elimination diet.)
  • A food intolerance happens when you lack an enzyme needed to break down a certain food, triggering a digestive response. An example of this would be lactose intolerance.

In an elimination diet, certain foods that are suspected to be behind one’s symptoms are temporarily removed for a given period of time. If symptoms are absent while the food isn’t being eaten as part of one’s regular diet, then there’s a good chance that that food was related to the symptoms. On the other hand, if symptoms return even while that food isn’t included in one’s diet, then that food might not be problematic and some other food is the “trigger.”

Want to learn more about the elimination diet process? Read our guide: How to do an elimination diet

Ready to build your list of foods to consider temporarily removing for an elimination diet and add-back challenge? Learn more about your body by measuring your immune system's IgG antibody reactivity to 96 foods with the Everlywell Food Sensitivity Test. You collect your sample at home, mail it to a lab for testing, and receive your easy-to-understand and actionable results in a few days.

Elimination diet recipes: what you need to know

If you go online, you can find several different elimination diet recipes or meal plans. Such recipes often lay out the steps needed to prepare a meal without using certain kinds of foods—the food types that the person is temporarily eliminating from their diet.

These “elimination diet recipes” can be helpful for some people (depending on what food types the recipe excludes), but it’s important to note that your elimination diet should be unique to you and your list of foods to temporarily eliminate. For this reason, there is no “magic recipe” or list of foods to eat or avoid that will be appropriate for everyone undergoing an elimination diet. Instead, it can help to keep a food journal in which you record the different foods you eat and any symptoms that may be associated with those foods.

From there, you can create a temporary elimination plan that prioritizes removal of the foods that seem most closely tied to your symptoms. Alternatively—or as an additional tool to support your efforts—a Food Sensitivity Test may be used to provide a list of the top foods to target in a temporary elimination diet.

Once you have this list of candidate foods to temporarily remove from your diet, you can then hunt around for any elimination diet recipes that match the constraints of your elimination diet.

(Important: Consult with your healthcare provider before making major changes to your diet or taking supplements.)

Want to start an elimination diet to cut out potential problematic foods but have no idea where to start? Take the first step with a Food Sensitivity Test. Everlywell allows you to easily check how your body responds to 96 different foods, which could help guide what foods to target in a temporary elimination diet. If you’re looking to test a broader range of foods, consider the Food Sensitivity Comprehensive Test (checks 204 different foods). Need help with creating an action plan based on your results? Try our Elimination Diet Coaching program for dedicated 1:1 sessions with a health coach to pinpoint your unique food triggers and help you start feeling better.

Everlywell makes taking control of your health from home easy. All of our lab tests allow you to collect your sample from the comfort of your home, mail it to a lab for testing, and receive your digital results in days. Your easy-to-read results dashboard will help you understand how to interpret your results and what steps you can take to get closer to your health goals.

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