Food Sensitivity 2: Eliminate or Rotate
Wednesday, March 2, 2011
LifeTime WeightLoss in Cindi Lockhart, Food Allergies, Metabolism

Written by Cindi Lockhart, RD, LD - Program Manager of Weight Loss Coaching

A few weeks ago, we discussed the impact of food sensitivities on health, metabolism, and weight.  We mentioned two self-directed tests to help determine potential food reactions: the elimination diet and the four-day rotation diet. Both are more convenient and cost effective, although a bit of time, planning, and discipline is required to conduct them correctly. Here, we will explore these diets in more detail and suggest some guidelines within easy-to-follow formats.

Elimination Diet

Elimination diets remove all potential food allergens for 2-3 weeks and then reintroduces them one food at a time. The reintroduction phase involves eating a small portion of the selected food daily and, if there is a reaction, eliminating it again for 3-6 weeks before trying it again. It’s best to wait five days between different food exposures; thus, this process can take a good month or so to complete. 

It’s very important to keep a food journal during the elimination process and log both positive and negative reactions. This diet aids the body’s natural detoxification abilities and the majority of people experience positive reactions, such as increased energy, clearer thinking, better sleep and improved digestive patterns.

However, some may initially experience headaches, joint or muscle aches/pain, a decrease in energy and strong cravings. These symptoms typically last between a few days and a week while the body acclimates to its detoxification. Along with the nutrition guidelines that follow, it’s important to drink an adequate amount of filtered water (half your body weight in ounces per day) to help flush out any released toxins.

Foods to eliminate:

Foods to substitute with:

Wheat, rye, barley, bulgar, couscous, spelt

Quinoa, rice, buckwheat, amaranth, millet, potato

Conventional oats

Gluten-free oats

Cow milk, cheese, cream, yogurt, cottage cheese, frozen dairy desserts

Unsweetened coconut milk, almond milk, rice milk, hemp milk


All other vegetables


All other fruits

Soybeans, tofu, miso, tempeh, soy milk

All other beans/legumes

Beef, pork, eggs, processed meats (hot dogs, sausage, bacon, etc)

Chicken, turkey, ostrich, bison, buffalo, wild game, fish

Butter, margarine, lard, hydrogenated oils

Unrefined, cold-pressed olive, coconut, flax, sesame oils

Caffeine (coffee, soda, tea), alcohol

Filtered water, herbal tea, yerba mate tea

Sugar, honey, syrup, chocolate, desserts

Stevia, Truvia


Four-Day Rotation Diet

Believe it or not, the repetitiveness of the American diet, primarily comprised of the most common food allergens (wheat, dairy, corn, soy, peanut, etc.) may actually predispose one to developing food allergies. The four-day rotation diet entails eating specific foods one day and then not again for at least four days. This break provides ample time between food exposures to help decrease the antibody release and inflammatory response to food. 

If during your rotational intake, you detect a reaction to a certain food, it’s recommended to eliminate it 100% for 3-6 months and then slowly reincorporate it back into the diet on a rotational basis.  An example of a four-day rotation diet looks something like this:






Beef, bison, buffalo

Pork, fish

Chicken, turkey, ostrich

Shellfish, crab, shrimp

Beef, bison, buffalo

Cow milk, cheese, yogurt

Black beans


Garbanzo beans

Cow milk, cheese, yogurt

Apple, strawberries

Orange, mango

Pear, blueberries

Raspberries, peach

Apple, strawberries

Broccoli, corn

Asparagus, lettuce

Green beans, carrots

Bell peppers, cucumber

Broccoli, corn

Wheat, couscous

Oats, quinoa

Potato, rice


Wheat, couscous

Olive oil

Coconut oil

Sesame oil

Flax oil

Olive oil

Sunflower seeds, cashews

Peanuts, pistachios

Pumpkin seeds, walnuts

Almonds, ground flaxseed

Sunflower seeds, cashews


In summary, to help manage potential or current food sensitivities, it’s best to vary your diet every day. Both the elimination diet and four-day rotation diets can assist in reducing exposure to common allergens so a body can naturally heal itself from inflammatory responses.  Make sure to take the time needed to adequately plan your weekly meals and monitor any reactions to effectively guide you to optimal health, metabolism and weight.

Share thoughts and ask questions below.

This article is not intended for the treatment or prevention of disease, nor as a substitute for medical treatment, nor as an alternative to medical advice. Use of recommendations in this and other articles is at the choice and risk of the reader.

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