3-Step Oligoantigenic Diet

Weed disease-causing irritants out of your diet with this 3-step oligoantigenic plan.

3-Step Oligoantigenic Diet

If you haven't heard of the oligoantigenic diet yet, you probably will soon. This controversial diet has been rapidly gaining momentum, with supporters saying it can help heal chronic conditions from asthma, to migraines, to irritable bowel syndrome. Originally designed to help children who had unidentifiable food allergies, the oligoantigenic diet is a type of elimination diet that seeks to resolve inflammation in the gut. Experts say that following these three steps could help treat ailments that can take over your life, including bloating, constipation, IBS, eczema, arthritis, migraines and asthma.

Step 1: Eliminate Irritants in Your Diet
The basic idea of the oligoantigenic diet is to eliminate all foods that could potentially provoke an allergic response. This includes certain foods that you might not expect, including cow's milk, cheese, wheat, eggs, chocolate, nuts and citrus fruits. This significantly limits what you can eat, which is why following the oligoantigenic diet takes commitment and patience.

Step 2: Eat Only Hypoallergenic Foods
Fill your diet with foods that are unlikely to cause irritation. A traditional oligoantigenic diet usually starts with one meat, one carbohydrate, one fruit, one vegetable, water and vitamin supplements. Foods that are usually hypoallergenic include lamb (and most meats except chicken and veal), cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower and Brussels sprouts, carrots, peas, olive or sunflower oil, white potatoes or rice, and a few fruits like apples, bananas or pears. Continue this simple diet for at least two weeks or until your symptoms improve.

Step 3: Reintroduce Foods and Find the Culprits
If your symptoms have improved, after two weeks you can start adding other foods back into your diet, one at a time. If your symptoms return, that suggests that your body is having a reaction that food, and you should avoid it, but if you still feel fine after eating the new food for three days, add it to your list of approved foods. Reintroduce a new food every three days and eliminate the bad ones permanently.

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Q: I end up overeating because it makes me feel better and I never really get full. I'd like to lose weight but this makes it hard. Any suggestions?

A: Being persistently hungry can cause big trouble. So can overeating for comfort/pleasure. These two behaviors, say researchers from Baylor University's Children's Nutrition Research Center, are controlled deep within your brain by serotonin-producing neurons, but operate separately from each other — one in the hypothalamus, the other in the midbrain. They both can, however, end up fueling poor nutritional choices and obesity.

Eating for Hunger

When hunger is your motive for eating, the question is: "Does your body know when you've had enough?" Well, if you are overweight, obese or have diabetes you may develop leptin resistance and your "I am full" hormone, leptin, can't do its job. The hormone's signal to your hypothalamus is dampened, and you keep eating.

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