Discovering Your Optimal Healing Menu: Elimination Diets Made Easy

The gut is the root of all health.

It regulates our immune system, moods, energy levels, metabolism, focus and even the way our genes are expressed.

Imbalances in the gut can cause depression and anxiety, create a hormonal imbalance and may even lead to cancer.

In order to heal from any ailment, we must begin by soothing inflammation and restoring balance in our gut.

To do so, we must identify the foods that are fueling inflammation and disturbing balance. This is where the elimination diet comes in.

See, some foods are universally problematic, while other foods only cause problems for certain people. Plus, once we are in a state of inflammatory distress, our bodies can begin reacting to foods that we don’t have problems with when our gut is healthy.

An elimination diet is a fail-proof method for identifying your unique food sensitivities and allergies. Although seeking the guidance of a root cause practitioner can be helpful with this step, it is by no means necessary. With care and commitment you can conduct a diagnostic elimination diet on your own and free of cost!

There’s two methods for you to choose from. Select from the options below according to your needs and realistic ability to adhere to a restricted diet.


Classic Elimination Diet

The first plan is a classic elimination diet. That means we will begin by removing a number of foods from the diet. After a period of at least one month, we’ll gradually reintroduce foods. If the food does not cause any digestive upset or other symptoms, we’ll know that particular item is not a trigger for us.

If we do have a negative reaction, we’ll have identified a food that must be avoided – at least for the time being. Once our guts are healed and our microbiomes are rebalanced, we may be able to reintroduce and enjoy these foods.

Negative reactions to look for include typical maldigestion: bloating, cramping, gas, constipation or diarrhea. You’ll also want to pay attention to other symptoms like feelings of depression or anxiety, disturbed sleep, headaches, joint pain, dizziness and brain fog.

A food diary is the ideal way to track your intake and reactions.

Gradual Elimination Diet

The second option follows the same principles as the classic elimination diet described above; except, instead of removing a host of foods from our diet all at once, we’ll be gradually taking out problematic foods one-by-one.

This method will not get results es efficiently as the classic elimination diet, however it can be easier to adhere to for someone who struggles with restrictive diets.

If you have a busy lifestyle and a lot of daily stress, removing many things from your diet all at once can leave you feeling more stressed and confused about what you should eat.

If you follow a standard western diet, you may suddenly find that most of the foods you consume on a daily basis are no longer available to you.

In either case, gradually eliminating foods may be a more gentle change. You’ll also be more likely to stick with it, which is the most important thing.

So choose the schedule that best suits your lifestyle and let’s get started!


What Foods Should I Eliminate?

The two foods that we all must eliminate are wheat and dairy. Here’s why:

Unfortunately, the wheat on the market today is not the product it was 50 years ago. We’ve hybridized species to create a high-gluten variety that is also highly resistant to pesticides. As a result, conventionally-produced wheat crops are treated with noxious chemicals twice, including just before harvesting. When we eat wheat, we’re taking those poisons in with every bite.

Also, gluten prompts our bodies to secrete more zonulin, which contributes to Leaky Gut and inflammation. Zonulin weakens our gut junctions, allowing toxins to leak directly into our bloodstream. That’s why we’ll be eliminating wheat and any other foods that contain gluten, like barley and rye.

The good news is, you can cut wheat from your diet while still enjoying many of your favorite foods. Thanks to alternative flours made from almonds, rice, coconut and other nourishing foods, we can prepare baked goods without wheat. Many gluten-free, wheat-free products like breads, cereals and even frozen pizzas are commonly found in grocery stores these days. If you don’t see gluten-free options where you usually shop, check with a health store in your community.

Dairy fuels inflammation and congestion. Humans are the only mammal that consumes milk beyond the breastfeeding years and many scientists and nutritionists insist that we simply lack the enzymes to properly digest dairy products by the time we are eight years old.

When it comes to inflammation, leaky gut and dysbiosis, dairy has got to go. Fortunately, you can enjoy dairy-free versions of many of your favorite foods. Veganism is a popular lifestyle choice that is quickly gaining traction in the mainstream market. As a result, you’ll find many dairy-free options at pretty much any grocery store.

Milk, cheese, yogurt, cream – you name it, there’s a dairy-free alternative available. Many of these products are highly processed and contain undesirable additives so use them sparingly and pick the options with the least ingredients, or make your own…

Coconut Milk: All you need is an 8 oz. bag of unsweetened, shredded coconut and 4 cups of hot water. Combine the coconut and hot water in the blender and allow it to sit for several minutes to give the coconut time to soften. Blend thoroughly. Strain through a nut bag, cheese cloth or a clean rag. Your coconut milk can be used right away or stored in the fridge for up to 4 days.

Instant Sesame Milk: Simply blend ¼ cup raw, organic tahini with 2 cups water. Sesame milk is protein-rich, fiber-rich and an excellent source of gut-healing nutrients like magnesium, zinc, selenium and Vitamin B1. Most nuts and seeds create acidity in the body, but sesame is alkalizing. This recipe can be adapted to use any other raw nut butter for a quick and healthy alternative to dairy products and store-bought plant-based milks.

In addition to wheat and dairy, we’ll be eliminating several other foods that are problematic for many people:

  • Eggs
  • Sugar and artificial sweeteners
  • Soy
  • Corn
  • Caffeine
  • Alcohol
  • Fast Food

Any other foods you suspect are problematic for you. For many people this means beans, nuts, and anything else you suspect you are reacting to.


Elimination Diet Tips

There’s a few more important things to keep in mind to get the most out of your elimination diet…
Give your gut a break by consuming pre-digested foods. If you’re in an acute state where you’re body seems to be reacting to everything you eat, give your gut a chance to heal by sticking to easy-to-digest foods. That means soups, stews, and well-cooked vegetables. Warm, cooked foods are easier on your digestive tract.
Although we all know that fresh fruits and greens are wonderful for our health, if your gut is compromised you simply may be unable to digest those foods. Take a break while you heal yourself. You’ll be able to reintroduce raw fruits and veggies once you’ve restored balance to your microbiome.

Choose safer meats. A plant-based diet featuring a diversity of whole foods is your best bet for a healthy gut. But some people are unwilling to eliminate meat from their diet. Even if you are interested in cutting meat out completely, it may be too many changes to make at one time.
If you continue eating meat as you move into the elimination phase of our program, you’ll want to be sure it’s pasture-raised, grass-fed, and free of hormones and antibiotics. 

Soothe caffeine withdrawals and boost your microbiome with green tea. If you’re a regular coffee drinker and suffer from caffeine withdrawal when you miss your cup of joe, try green tea for a lighter dose of caffeine with added benefits for your health.
Green tea is packed with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that support cardiovascular health, improve your mood and enhance your cognitive function. But the best news for your gut is that green tea soothes inflammation and restores balance to your microbiome.
The antimicrobial properties of green tea help you to eliminate undesirable organisms while increasing desirable species like Bifidobacteria and Lactobacillus. So if skipping the morning cup of coffee leaves you with headaches, sleepiness and irritability, try a healthy cup of green tea instead.

Steer clear of GMOs. The American Academy of Environmental Medicine (AAEM) urges doctors to prescribe non-GMO diets for all patients. Mixing genes of unrelated species yields unpredictable side effects.
Genetically modified products are harmful to the environment and to our health, especially our guts. Many crops are modified to increase the amount of pesticide exposure the plants can tolerate, which means more pesticide residue on our foods and more pesticides in our soil and waterways.
Government oversight is lenient when it comes to GMOs. It’s up to us to protect ourselves and force GMOs out of the food supply by refusing to purchase these dangerous products.
Look for ‘Organic’ and ‘Non GMO’ certificates on all of the food you purchase to protect yourself and the earth from toxic GMOs.

Avoid dangerous pesticides by choosing organic. Glyphosate, the active ingredient in RoundUp, is a dangerous, carcinogenic antibiotic. Countries and communities around the world are fighting for our health by banning the use of glyphosate. Protect yourself now by choosing organic goods.
Organic foods are often more expensive than conventionally produced crops. But you can still protect your health by following these tips to get the best deals on safer foods:

  • Buy directly from farmers. Either at farm stands or green markets, you can buy your produce directly from the farmers who grow them, and personally verify that your food has been grown without dangerous chemicals.

  • Join or form a co-op. Increase your purchasing power by buying dry goods in bulk. You can join a co-op that already serves your community or start your own. Starting your own food buying club is easier than you might think. All you have to do is organize enough people to meet the order minimum at the company that you are purchasing from. 5 or 6 families is enough to get you started in most cases.

  • Grow your own. Get down and dirty! Dig your hands into the dirt to boost your microbiome and produce safe food for your family at a mere fraction of the cost you’d pay anywhere else. If you think you don’t have enough room, you’re probably wrong. Learn about maximizing food production in a small space and container gardening from Permaculture College Australia at  Many municipalities also offer community gardens where you can rent a plot for the growing season for a nominal fee. Community gardens are really great for beginner gardeners because you’ll be sharing space with experienced ‘green thumbs’ who can answer any questions you may have along the way.

Beware of misleading food labels.
Greedy manufacturers try to trick us into purchasing unhealthy products by using deceptive terms on labels. Here are some key things to look out for:
Natural Ingredients – When it comes to food labels, “natural” means absolutely nothing. This goes for “natural flavoring” and “natural coloring” which is just a dressed up artificial ingredient containing perhaps a trace of something that was once in a natural state.

Rosemary Extract – An artificial, carcinogenic preservative disguised as a natural ingredient.

Citric Acid
– Sounds like a healthy, naturally-derived ingredient, right? Wrong! Obtaining citric acid from plants is difficult and expensive. Manufacturers are cutting costs by using genetically modified molds and bacterias instead.

Celery Powder
– Another chemically-derived, artificial preservative posing as a healthy ingredient.

– When it comes to food labels, organic can be a misleading term. If you peruse the snack and candy aisle you’re sure to find junk food utterly devoid of nutrition bearing the organic seal. Even organic produce can be grown with approved pesticides and herbicides and organic leafy greens are treated with a sanitizer that destroys all bacteria, bacteria that we rely on to digest these foods. Be wary of the organic label and use your judgment to avoid dangerous toxins in your food.

Reintroduction Phase

You’ll adhere to your elimination diet for at least one month, or longer if you choose. Some irritants, like gluten, can affect us for several months so the longer we wait to reintroduce, the more reliable the results of our elimination program will be.

Some foods we’re just better off without. Processed, refined sugars and artificial sweeteners have no place in a healthy diet. If you like to use sweeteners, try some of these alternatives:

  • Dates – rich in fiber and important minerals like calcium, iron, zinc and magnesium
  • Pure Maple Syrup – an excellent source of manganese, zinc, calcium and potassium
  • Raw Honey – rich in antioxidants and a prebiotic that feeds your microbiome

When reintroducing a food, eat several portions of that food then wait 3 days to gauge your reaction. Then move on to the next food in the same fashion.

Try just one food at a time, then discontinue it as you move onto the next one. For instance, if you start with reintroducing dairy, eat several portions, then note your reactions for three days. Then move onto the next food. Test one food at a time until you’ve gauged your reactions to all of the foods that have been eliminated.

Digestive upset is the easiest symptom to notice. You’ll also want to pay attention to changes in your mood, energy level and mental state. Headaches, dizziness, joint pain and skin irritation can also be indicators of a food reaction.

Foods that trigger a reaction must be removed from your diet completely, but not forever. Many people find that when they’ve recovered from inflammation and healed their guts that they can reintroduce foods without having negative reactions.

How to Identify Food Sensitivities

Dr. Rodger Murphree encourages his patients to check for changes in their pulse to detect foods that are reactive for them.

To check your pulse at your wrist, place two fingers on your radial artery between the tendon and the bone, a few centimeters below the thumb joint. Time yourself for 15 seconds while counting the pulsations in the artery. Multiply by 4 to determine your beats per minute.

When reintroducing foods, check your pulse first then place the food in your mouth. Chew or simply keep the food in your mouth for one minute then spit it out and check your pulse again.

An increase of 6 beats per minute indicates a positive reaction. Stress from allergens triggers a response in the nervous system that increases blood flow, making the pulse test an easy way to detect a food sensitivity without actually consuming the item in question and experiencing an uncomfortable reaction.

*          *          *

Elimination diets are a powerful tool for charting our best course to optimal health. Are you ready to take the next step?

Read on to learn how  to support your journey by….

Taking toll of your daily toxic exposure

Using natural remedies to soothe inflammation

Choosing the right diagnostic tests 

Preparing your body for detox

If this article helped you, don’t keep it a secret! Sharing is caring, after all. Spread the love so your friends will benefit too!

Goodness Lover

Goodness Lover


  • Great article!! Will share with doubting family members and friends. I have warned/advised them of labeling; just because it says “Natural “, “Organic”, “Real” fruit juice, etc. is definitely not the case. I strongly advise them to read all the ingredients in said food; if you can’t pronounce it, it isn’t real.😞

    • Goodness Lover

      Thanks, Cynthia! I hope they make healthier choices when they found out what’s really in their food 🙂

  • tara rishter

    Good tips
    Do you have any clue for healing leukemia
    I have two clients and have no natural solutions for them

  • Donne Steele

    Please would you recommend a eating plan to start with and ongoing with the elimination as it’s already very overwhelming changing all

    • Goodness Lover

      I understand why you feel that way, Donne! Unfortunately, a one-size-fits-all diet plan just won’t work here, because we all have unique sensitivities. Focus on expanding the diversity of plant foods in your diet and stick to whole, unprocessed foods. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, opt for the gradual elimination diet, removing just one item at a time. This way, you won’t have to make sudden and dramatic changes to your diet. Start with the suspected inflammatory food that is easiest for you to go without and gradually restrict your diet as you learn to enjoy alternative foods. Let me know how it goes!

    • Goodness Lover

      Hi, Maureen! They are many plant-based alternatives to traditional dairy products. You can buy prepared products at the store or make your own at home.

  • Barbara Barstad

    Hi Sarah,
    Yes, this is very helpful and the additional articles are very helpful as well.
    You are a true inspiration 💗

  • Gayathri Thangavel

    Wow this is so clear and very well explained . I already love your gut solution series and trying to implement those in our life style .
    Thank you Sarah

  • Carfa

    Thank you Sara for a magnificent effort to help us, this have been amazing, I think you are really focus on what must of us want: Cleaning our gut I hope I can stay in the right tract.
    I would like to ask you if I can participate in the Retreat, I bought my Platinum package several month ago when your brother Jonathan and his wife Lori announce the coming of their baby, it seems that it wasn’t the right time for me because I couldn’t work on it, I want and I need to do my best now to get healed, let me know if this is possible. God bless both of you for such a good job.

    • Goodness Lover

      Hi, Carfa! Thanks for your message! Please shoot me an email at [email protected] so I can assist you with your login information. I can’t wait to get to know you better within our members portal!

  • Susan Csontos

    This is all so overwhelming, for me anyway. I am a type 2 diabetic but love maple
    syrup for a sweetener on my breakfast cereal.How much should I use please?

    • Goodness Lover

      Hi, Susan! Maple syrup can be used as your glucose tolerance allows but should not be indulged in in excess. According to a report from Cornell University, the rich flavour of maple syrup along with the benefits of its minerals and antioxidants warrant limited consumption. Cheers!

  • Christa Nink

    How do we know which organic produce is not safe? When we shop we cannot test for pesticides or herbicides. Any recommendations?

    • Goodness Lover

      Hi, Christa! The best bet is to buy from a small farmer who shares your food values. Also, many people grow greens in small container gardens or even in their kitchen to maintain a fresh and safe supple.

  • John finn

    Since I have eliminated dairy and nuts from my diet I feel so much better I am having no reactions now, I am eating only organic vegetables oat milk smoothies with avocado and banana or with kiwi 🥝 fruit and coconut milk and for puddings chia seeds in coconut milk makes a really great alternative, recipe on u tube thank so much for all the videos and all the help that has been so amazing my life is changing for the better and I’m loving every minute of my day all I can say is a very big thank you May your day be positive and beautiful

  • Leslie O'Neill

    Hi Sarah! Paragraph t

    Thank you so much for all of the wonderful information. Can you please supply detailed info on how to tell when organic is truly organic?

    Many thanks,

    • Goodness Lover

      Thanks for your message Leslie! The best option is to know who you are buying from or grow your own. Otherwise, choose foods that are certified organic products.

  • Daneen Campa

    Thank you for all of the wonderful health information that you have been sharing. I believe that sharing is caring! Unfortunately I do not have the money to order your program right now, and therefor was so thankful for the free 2 day viewing!! Thank you!!

  • jacqui bauer

    This is most informative and encouraging to start on this journey.Being specific about the good food and the bad helps one to know if one is on the right track.
    Like nuts , one time i can eat them and another time not. I am busy at this moment to put a diet daily diary together to help me find the triggers.
    Your blog has just sealed the importance of it.

  • Goldie

    Thanks so much for this information with practical suggestions as also the series on Gut health. Much appreciated . Look forward to more help. Thanks

  • Oleatha Oldenburg

    I am on the FODMAP DIET and do fine for a few days then wam it hits me. I keep a food diary and try to figure out what caused it. I guess it took me years to get this way and it may be something that will be a contuse battle because I am 84. I have been on the FODMAP diet fore three months.

    Thank you for the GUT PROGRAM. Oleatha Oldenburg

  • Judy

    Such great advice that shows me there is so much to learn. This is the first time I heard about taking your pulse to see what is best for you.

  • Sean

    Hi Sara,

    Thanks for diet elimination recommendations which do include a lot of my regular diet.

    Wheat and dairy, which many advise avoiding is on my list, it is a challenge to adapt due to busy work life and all other things to attend to, but will give a go.

    I am also thinking of getting a food allergens test done as this has been suggested.

    Thank you for your response, very appreciated.

    Kind Regards

    • Goodness Lover

      Hi, Sean! If it’s too challenging to eliminate wheat and dairy at the same time, choose the one that is easier for you and start with that. You’ll soon begin feeling better, have more energy and feel encouraged to make more changes. Planning ahead is key to making healthy food choices on a busy schedule. Keep acceptable snacks on hand so you always have a good option. Let me know how it goes!

  • Den

    Very sound advice, however, I am intolerant to caffeine so even green tea is a no no for me, I am only able to drink filtered water. I know many others who cannot tolerate caffeine at all.

    • Goodness Lover

      Great point, Den! Are you able to enjoy tea? Roasted dandelion root tea is a delightful, healthy and caffeine-free alternative to coffee.

  • Milena

    Hi Sarah, thanks for this great article! Which recipes would you recommend for pesco-vegetarians? I think that I would need to cut beans and pulses for a while (unsure about nuts), but this would make my diet quite difficult, as I rely on them for about half of my protein sources.

  • Suzanne West

    /Aloha, Sarah

    I watched the Gut Solution Series and paid for the $97 package but have gotten no information about that. I am getting this type of email but nothing about the purchase. I see it did go through on my credit card. Maybe you have just not gotten it process yet. Let me know.


  • Ruth Carroll

    Thank you so much for this great information. I have. Parkinson’s disease Nd this diet has helped me so much. I shared this with people in our support group.

  • Eileen Slark

    Thankyou So much, I have had gut problems for many years , have sought answers with very little success and I SO appreciate your help, IBS makes for so much embarassment and the feeling you have an unhealthy body on top of the rest makes daily life uncertain as well as difficult your article is a breath of fresh air THANKYOU Eileen Slark

  • Marilyn Jane

    Hi Sara, I signed up in November and with all this info coming in so fast and the busy month of Dec. with Christmas and company. I have already missed so much. I didn’t realize that I couldn’t watch these talks on my own time without paying extra additional fees every time. I was also charged an additional $22.00 just to pick up my package of three books. I have signed up for a few webinars changing my schedule as they were in Eastern time and I am Pacific time but was still unable to get the webinar. Not sure if I am understanding the procedure to get the information. So I am feeling frustrated as I put out over $300.00 Canadian for this program and am not getting the results I thought I would. What can I do?

    • Goodness Lover

      Hi, Marilyn Jane! I’m so glad you reached out! There aren’t any additional fees to access your resources. You can absolutely watch them on your own time and you can enjoy life-time on-demand access to all of the material. Could you shoot me an email at [email protected] to make sure you’re accessing all of your resources? Thanks!!

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