Now that you have determined what food(s) you need to eliminate from your diet for the forseeable future, it is time to set up a rotation diet for yourself. The basic concept of a rotation diet is that you do not eat the same food every day. In today’s day and age, it is not uncommon for people to eat the same items or food products fairly regularly.
A typical rotation diet means that if you eat a food on Day 1, then you should not be eating that food again until Day 5. This allows the food to clear your digestive tract before you eat it again. A rotation diet won’t necessarily heal your body, but it will help you determine what is causing the issues and help calm inflammation in your digestive tract. Depending on your allergies or sensitivities, it may even help to rotate complete food groups as opposed to specific foods (legumes vs one specific legume).
When I was working through my elimination/rotation diet, I bought myself a monthly calendar similar to this one where I could plan out my meals on a monthly basis. Instead of putting in the days of the month, however, I populated Days 1, 2, 3, 4 (see photo above). I then filled in each day with different food items making sure not to have them on consecutive days. Therefore, at a glance, I knew what foods I was allowed to eat today and I did not stray from those items. Some days that meant that I ate the same food items 2 or 3 times in the day. Depending on what foods you are eliminating, it might mean that you are no longer eating “traditional” breakfast foods for your morning meal.
Some of the benefits of incorporating a rotation diet include:
- Less stress on your immune system as it is no longer trying to deal with a “toxic” load
- Decreasing general inflammation caused by the food allergen
- Less chance of a sensitivity returning
- Increased awareness of how your body reacts to certain foods
- Improving overall gut health
- Incorporating new or different foods in your diet – thus increasing the variety (different foods = different nutrients)
One of the key tools that you can use through this journey is keeping a journal. Things that you should note include the following:
- What you are eating
- The time that you eat
- How you feel while you are eating
- How you feel in the hour after eating
- Make a note of any patterns that you notice
Once you see that your body is healing, you may be ready to try to rotate “old foods” back into your diet. This is not recommended for at least 3-6 months. Remember that you started this elimination/rotation process originally in order to heal your body and to regain your health. You didn’t get to this state of ill health overnight and you need to make sure that you don’t rush the time that your body needs to heal.
The rotation of a food back into your diet is done in the same 5 day fashion as you have been working through to date. You want to make sure that you have no reaction to the new food and need to make sure that it clears your digestive tract before you try it again on Day 5. Putting food back into your diet can be time-consuming, but it is necessary to be patient and do it slowly in order to not end up back at square one.
Nothing in life that’s worth anything is easy — Barack Obama
It has been found that children may heal with a rotation diet in up to 3 months, while it may take 6-12 months for an adult. A number of hidden allergies can & will heal after a period of avoidance, however, there are some allergies that will not heal. These are the ones that you will need to learn to manage for a life-time.
Good luck on this journey and be patient. The end result is so worth the work! Trust me – I have been there and weathered the journey!