The Dreaded Elimination Diet

Psst – thanks everyone for voting last week for the recipe to save.  The quiche won.  Look for the recipe soon.

I thought about naming this post Just Kill Me Now or something like that.  But the reality is that the more I’ve thought about our elimination diet and the more research I’ve done, I’m actually really excited and hopeful.

Yes, we’re doing an elimination diet.  It’s 21 days long.  It starts today.  We’re not eating corn, soy, sugar, gluten (The Professor is eliminating gluten – Jackie and I have severe gluten intolerance and eliminated it years ago), dairy, peanuts and eggs.

There are several reasons we’re embarking on this adventure.  Jackie, my sister who is living with us, is also gluten-free and has been still having a lot of symptoms associated with food intolerances.  She went off dairy for a few days and a lot of things cleared up.  Since we both have gluten intolerance, there’s a pretty good chance that if she has other intolerances, I do too.  Also, once you have one food intolerance, you’re likely to have or develop others.  (Thanks Mom and Dad…your genetic lottery aspirations have exceeded your expectations).

One of the big symptoms of a dairy intolerance is bad hay fever allergies.  My allergies are so bad that at least once a spring my eyes swell shut, and I get allergy shots once a week.  I’ve also had a lot of weight gain due to bad reactions to birth control pills, and I’m up for trying this.  The Professor also has been having some health issues, and the doctor recommended an elimination diet.  So, the writing was on the wall.  We all need to do this, and we’re all at the point where we’re ready to commit.

All I have to say is this:  If I am allergic to dairy, I will probably lock myself in my house and cry for a few days.  Fact.

We’re following two books.  The first is the Virgin Diet by JJ Virgin.  I read the book this weekend and was intrigued by her explanation of why she recommends eliminating these seven foods.  They are the seven highest food intolerance foods.  They’re foods that are often times associated with healthy living, and so sometimes people who do have intolerances to these foods end up sabotaging themselves because they’re eating the things worst for them.

She has a quiz that lists common food intolerance symptoms.  You get two points if you have occasional symptoms and four points if you have frequent symptoms.  0 – 5 means you probably don’t have many or any food intolerances, 6 – 14 points means you may have mild food intolerances, 15 plus means you have a high likelihood to have quite a few food intolerances.  I scored  48.

I’m also reading and gaining recipes from The Gluten-Free Good Health Cookbook by Annalise Roberts and Claudia Pillow, two of my gluten-free heroes.  In addition to the Virgin Diet’s focus on food intolerances, both books focus on eliminating foods that cause inflammation within the body.

So here we go.

Step one was researching.  Because Jackie has been spearheading this, I asked her to make a meal plan for the week. As we went through recipes in both books, we caught the vision for great meals that wouldn’t make us feel deprived.  Tonight we had chicken fajitas with a bunch of peppers and onions and fingerling potatoes.  Later this week, we’re having Dal and brown rice and a Greek salad. The more we researched, the more we saw that this could be done.

elimination diet | accidentalokie.comNext, the perishable items went to my brother-in-law and sister-in-law.  Farewell cheese.

elimination diet | accidentalokie.comBecause we will be systematically adding items back into our diet, we put the currently unsafe non-perishable foods into a bin in the pantry so we wouldn’t be tempted.

elimination diet | accidentalokie.comThat’s where the bread and tortillas used to live.

elimination diet | accidentalokie.comThen we went shopping.  It was quite a trip.  I anticipated it being more expensive to set the foundation for a new way of eating, and it was.  But I think our weekly budget will be back on track after this week.

I was thankful to find dairy free and sugar free chicken broth.  Also we found some great pre-seasoned and safe meat at Sam’s.  Putting all the groceries on the table before unloading was a neat visual reminder that although we’re temporarily eliminating so much, we won’t starve.  In fact, we will be eating amazing, yummy food!

elimination diet |

Jackie’s going to make us some kale chips.

elimination diet | accidentalokie.comTo set us up for success, I prepared all the veggies.  I peeled and chopped the carrots and stored them in water because Pinterest told me to.  Apparently it keeps them crisp.

elimination diet | accidentalokie.comWhen I saw this carrot, I wished I had a snow man.  It is the perfect snow man nose.

elimination diet | accidentalokie.comCarrots, green onions and lettuce are ready to go!

elimination diet | accidentalokie.comAnd the whole fridge is stocked!

elimination diet | accidentalokie.comThis weekend I also made roasted red pepper hummus, which will provide a great snack throughout the week!

We’ll let you know our progress.  Because this is a true elimination diet for food allergies, there can be no cheating or all the work is void.  If you have food allergies or have done similar diets, give us tips.  We need them.


  1. Wow. That’s quite an enterprise. I’d just die, for real, without cheese. I’m excited to see what recipes you share, since I can always use more wholesome ideas for my cooking.

  2. Have you heard of Nourishing Traditions, or the Weston A. Price Foundation? You might find some really helpful things in the book and on the websites (you can google them). Soaking grains, nuts, and seeds and consuming raw dairy…and a few other things might be extremely helpful as you add things back into your diet! They are much easier for your gut to digest and have increased nutrient benefits. You go girl, you are doing what most Americans fight and would think impossible!!!!! You are touching on one of my passion points! 🙂

  3. Good luck! I’ve been considering doing an elimination diet. I have Celiac Disease and some known food allergies (peanuts, tree nuts, shellfish, sesame), but I feel even after being gluten-free, there are foods that seem to bother my stomach a LOT. I can’t say for sure, but having TOO much dairy bothers it… it seems like corn and soy (not as ingredients, but more eating the food whole) causes problems… peppers, so many fruits! Ugh. Luckily it’s just stomach problems rather than anaphylaxis like my allergies, but still uncomfortable.

    In any case, good luck with your elimination diet! I hope for your sake that you do not have to cut out dairy. What a tragedy that would be!

    • Amanda, thanks for the comment! I just checked out your blog and I LOVE it! What great celiac resources and tips and recipes. Mac and cheese sandwich…brilliant.

      I hope I’m not dairy free too. I love diary. I guess we’ll see in 20 and a half days!

      • Dairy is definitely one of my favorite food groups — so many great things: cheese, pizza, ICE CREAM!! Hopefully if you have issues with it, it’s just an intolerance and not an allergy and maybe you can have it in moderation or occasionally if you feel up to suffering the consequences? People have been telling me to give up dairy for so long because of my sinus issues and my seasonal allergies (they’re like yours — my eyes swell shut; I can barely leave the house during spring or fall) … but it’s so hard. I’ll be interested to read about your experiences with giving it up!

  4. How is it going? I am following your progress. I have been gluten free and dairy free for 11 years. I am sure I have problems with sugar, eggs, nuts and corn but just haven’t given them up….you have inspired me enough to give it a shot.

    • Hi Kate,
      It’s going really well so far! Last night for dinner we had pork tenderloin with a mustard, rosemary, honey glaze, a big salad and homemade sweet potato fries. For breakfasts, we’re eating smoothies with almond milk, flax seed, a banana, a few clementines and frozen fruit. When I get a sweet tooth, I have a little teaspoon of almond butter and honey.

      We’re feeling good and full and not deprived at all!

      I enjoyed reading JJ Virgin’s book. She does a good job of explaining why each of the seven items (gluten, dairy, soy, sugar, eggs, corn and peanuts) are high food intolerance foods.

  5. I picked up the book today at Sam’s Club…can’t wait to read it.

  6. Brandy True says:

    You go girl!!! I read your blog all the time and I am curious about trying this diet out as I have epic hay fever…Wah, wah Keep the great blog posts coming!

  7. Did you ever have a food intolerance test? I’m currently in week 4 of a 4 month elimination diet, working with a nutritionist. She requires this test for the program and I am so grateful because i was shocked to find out I’m severely to mildly intolerant to 50 foods/spices and many are common health foods like many in your pictures above (scallions, sesame tahini (hummus), red pepper, and bananas). An elimination diet couldn’t possibly be successful if you’re going into it with blinders on. A sensitivity test is priceless and I think the only way to really determine exactly what you, and only you, are intolerant too. P.S…results can be very slow, at least for me. Told it’s different for everyone but it could be two months before I begin to feel better, it’s basically a seriously slow detox but with a lot of nutrition and food. So much food in fact I cannot manage to eat all the veggies required. Good luck everyone!

    • Sarah Warren says:

      Hi Sherry! I’ve been diagnosed with gluten intolerance and The Professor was just recently as well. Through our elimination diet, I realized that soy isn’t great for me. I’m working with a doctor now and we’ll probably do a food intolerance test in a little while.

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