Elimination diets are HARD- physically, emotionally, mentally- especially if you are nursing a baby. They should ONLY be done under the supervision of a health care provider. If you feel at any point during the diet that your health is being compromised, STOP IMMEDIATELY! Your health is most important- without that, you have no chance of helping your baby/child get better.
That said, elimination diets are the cheapest and most reliable way to test for food intolerances. (If you suspect IgE/anaphylactic allergies, you should never trial a suspected 'bad' food without a doctor.) The point of the ED is to get yourself (or your babe) to "baseline", meaning they are having no reactions. At that point, you can start reintroducing foods into the diet, or 'trialing' foods. If you are breastfeeding, you must be on the same ED as your babe.
If you are breastfeeding and watching for signs of allergy in your baby- in our experience, symptoms would start within 3-6 hours, but wouldn't become really noticeable until about 12 hours after DD nursed (when I ate something bad). I've heard stories of reactions starting anywhere from 15 minutes to 4 days later though, so don't be fooled if your baby doesn't react immediately. For this very reason- when you are 'trialing' foods (adding foods back into your diet after you reach baseline), you should only do one food at a time, and no more than one new food per week.
Couple things to remember:
- DON'T CHEAT!! - This will completely start over your timeline for clearing the foods from your system. When someone says, "Oh, I'm sure a little won't hurt" don't believe them! A little is all it takes to start you over from scratch.
- WATCH FOR HIDDEN INGREDIENTS!! - check the Hidden Ingredients link to see some common terms for hidden igredients. READ LABELS. Even if it's a product that you buy every week, read the label each time you buy it. Very often, manufacturers change their ingredients or their processes.
- WATCH FOR CROSS-CONTAMINATION - many foods are made in "shared facilities" or "on shared equipment" with dairy, soy, wheat, etc. If you avoiding one of those foods, make sure your 'safe' food isn't contaminated with it.
- Easiest way to avoid this is to avoid all packaged/processed foods. Make all your food at home, from fresh, organic ingredients. Yes, it is very time consuming and sometimes frustrating, but it's worth it.
- KEEP A FOOD JOURNAL! - Perhaps the most important rule of the ED. It will help you look back at your diet and see patterns with symptoms. Write down everything that you eat, and any symptoms you observe.
- Make a special place for your food- one shelf in the pantry, one shelf in the fridge, etc. That way, you won't accidentally grab a food that's not on the diet.
- Make food ahead! Especially on a TED, you will be hungry. It's nice to have food prepared so that you don't have to cook every time you want to eat.
- On the same note, have snacks available. If you can only have pears (for fruit), make sure to keep your house stocked.