The Healing Power of Elimination Diet

January 26, 2022

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I'm Kimberly - a women's health functional nurse practitioner.  I am here to help you achieve vibrant health!

Meet Kimberly

ginger lemon tea... a favorite!
Lemon, Mint, Ginger tea is an all time favorite of mine, and an alternative to coffee on the Elimination Diet.

I often prescribe an Elimination Diet as a starting point for deep healing of the body. The Elimination Diet is a very powerful approach to healing. It can completely resolve symptoms that have lingered chronically and have not responded to traditional medical treatments. The Elimination Diet has the power to bring the entire body to a higher state of health. It works on many levels in the body. Some of the benefits of the Elimination Diet are as follows.

Some gluten free grains are allowed on the Elimination Diet

Become a patient at Valencia & Sage to work with Kimberly. Register and schedule your first appointment here!.


Inflammation is at the root of most of the chronic health conditions we face as we age. Inflammation can cause a great deal of stress and turmoil in the body. It also puts us at risk for disease and earlier mortality if not addressed. The Elimination Diet is an optimal way to reduce inflammation in the body.

Identifies Food Sensitivities and Triggers

Chronic exposure to foods that are triggers will cause inflammation and damage in the body. This can cause digestive problems, intestinal permeability, chronic diseases, cancer, hormone imbalance, mood problems, autoimmune disease and more. The Elimination Diet identifies foods that are triggering poor health.

Heals the Digestive Tract

The digestive tract is a powerful force in our body. It is responsible not only for digestion and nutrient absorption, but also works closely with our brain, our nervous system, our hormones, and our immune system. Digestive symptoms often respond readily to the Elimination Diet. Chronic conditions such as IBS, GERD, Ulcers, Constipation, SIBO, Leaky Gut will likely improve immensely or completely resolve. A healthy digestive tract allows for proper absorption of nutrients from the food we eat. A healthy microbiome (bacterial balance) is necessary for a strong immune system, and a healthy nervous system.

Allows the Body to ReSet

An Elimination Diet is a wonderful way to allow the body to re-set it’s base level of health. Optimal basic health goes far to support all of the systems of the body and can reduce risk of disease and illness. I, personally, like to do this diet 1-2 times a year or when I am feeling particularly “off” in my health. Currently I am in week 2 of Phase I of the Elimination Diet and already noticing results including better sleep, resolution of my chronically runny nose, improved energy, a sense of calm. I am hopeful that this re-set will allow me to gain improved cardiovascular health and mental health. It is an amazing way to start the year. Especially after eating less than ideal over the holidays and during the COVID pandemic in general.

Greens greens greens… and more greens!

What is the Elimination Diet?

The Elimination Diet is a time limited eating plan that focuses on removing common food triggers from the diet completely. I typically prescribe the diet for a three week time period and possibly longer depending on the person’s response. Sugar, alcohol, coffee, gluten, eggs, soy, dairy, beef are some of the foods that are commonly eliminated.


It is best to approach the Elimination Diet with a positive mindset. You will be more likely to really succeed with careful mental preparation. I like to remind myself as I am gearing up to start, that the most difficult part is only three weeks… only 21 days! It is also important to ask for support from family, friends or co-workers. My husband is my main source of support. To gain his support, I post a list of the foods I can eat on the Elimination Diet in our kitchen. The list reminds my husband and I of my commitment to healing. Furthermore, it is a reminder of the support I need to be successful.

One of the very first things I do to prepare for the Elimination Diet is to make a list of all of the symptoms I am having that are bothersome to me. I go from head to toe and think about each part of my body to make a list. This will be helpful in Phase II of the process. In preparation for Day 1, I take stock of my kitchen pantry and refrigerator and make a mental note of the items that I will be avoiding. Some people find it easier to eliminate those things from the kitchen altogether. Then, I stock my kitchen with the many beautiful foods that I will be focusing on. And, lastly, I choose some recipes for the 3 weeks of phase one.

Phase I

In phase one of the Elimination Diet, foods such as sugar, alcohol, coffee, gluten, eggs, soy, dairy, beef, are strictly eliminated. I customize the list for each participant based on their symptoms and health goals. This can be challenging. For example, one of the most difficult on the list for me is coffee. I LOVE my coffee and generally drink it all day long. It does not always love me, however. Coffee tends to aggravate my anxiety, disturb my sleep, distracts me from things I should be doing, causes me to drink less water, and worsens my heart palpitations and SVT. FYI: It is often the things in our diet that we “crave” that are the problem.

Phase one of the diet will be successful only if strictly followed. It takes full commitment to the process of elimination to identify potential food triggers. Cheating “a little bit” or having a “small” amount of a dessert or a “tiny bit” of cream in your coffee will confuse your body. Your body will be less able to signal properly to you which foods are truly problematic. This is why it is so important to prepare for the journey.

Phase II

The foods that have been eliminated will be reintroduced in Phase II of the Elimination Diet. One food at a time is reintroduced. I usually choose the food that I missed the most to start with. The food is consumed in moderate amounts for 1-2 days. Careful observation of the body’s “answers” or symptoms follows for the next 2-3 days. It is helpful to keep a journal during this time. Also, another way to track is to use an app called My Symptoms. You can find it here. The app is actually impressive in the level of analysis it gives.

The journey through Phase II of the Elimination Diet can be a process and should be taken just as seriously as the planning and the Phase I of the method. Each time a food is reintroduced back into the diet, if no symptoms are noted in the 2-3 days following, then it is safe to continue with that food ongoing. Foods that trigger symptoms are kept out of the diet for 3-6 additional months. Following, they are then re-tested.

What Symptoms Can Improve?

Just about any chronic symptom will at least improve on the Elimination Diet. Nasal congestion, runny nose, throat clearing, reflux, abdominal bloating and gas, diarrhea, constipation, abdominal pain, joint pain, muscle pain, headaches, depression, anxiety, fatigue, hormonal imbalance, dry skin, acne… the list goes on and on.

What Happens After an Elimination Diet?

Following the Elimination Diet, I often direct patients towards a maintenance food plan. The maintenance plan should be sustainable long term and address unique health needs. It is critical to design a plan that allows joy in eating. The maintenance eating plan is often times simply a healthy whole food diet that focuses on maintaining a high level of phytonutrients in the body. And a plan with intentional balance of calories, carbs, proteins and fats. Sometimes I prescribe therapeutic eating plans that address actual health problems or risk for certain diseases following the Elimination Diet. These could be a Detox Diet, a CardioMetabolic Diet, a Mildly Ketogenic Diet. Vegetarians and Vegans can customize any of these. I believe that being intentional about what we put into our bodies will bring us the greatest results and lead us towards optimal health.

Roasted beets are the best… a great purple food loaded with phytonutrients!

How to Work with Me on an Elimination Diet

A diet prescription is the most powerful healing tool I use in my practice. Food is truly medicine! I like to begin with a thorough evaluation. Following the evaluation, I formulate an individualized plan targeted towards addressing specific symptoms, illnesses, chronic conditions. This typically involves a virtual office visit to gather history and symptoms and discuss goals. I then help with preparation, planning, and give encouragement along the entire process. This might include encouraging emails or texts. Or the opportunity to ask questions or problem solve along the way.

One of the best parts of the work I do is to help others find a joyful way of eating. And a nutritional plan that truly serves their health on all levels. You might consider the Elimination Diet for your own health. Schedule a free 15 minute telephone consultation to find out if the Elimination Diet is right for you! Or become a patient at Valencia & Sage! Work with me by registering for my patient portal where you can schedule your first appointment!

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Become a patient at Valencia & Sage to work with Kimberly. Register and schedule your first appointment here!.

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