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Stomach pain is draining, especially when you don’t know what is causing it and how to relieve the discomfort. I used to think I was lactose intolerant, so I stopped indulging in ice cream and milk. But after trying that, my stomach was still in pain. I thought that another food or drink must have been the culprit, and I needed to figure out what.

After doing some research from classes and listening to a few podcasts, I learned that dairy isn’t the only food/drink that can cause stomach pain, constipation, and/or diarrhea. Lots of people have intolerance to an abundance of foods like soy, gluten, citrus fruits, and grains. The elimination diet, or what I like to call “the intolerance experiment,” is a way for people to figure out their food sensitivities.

Person Eating Clubhouse Sandwich

First and foremost, you have to start with eliminating the list of common intolerances or suspected foods that may cause your stomach issues. The list consists of:

  1. Citrus fruits
  2. Dairy
  3. Nightshades (white potatoes, tomatoes, eggplant, cayenne pepper, paprika)
  4. Starches/anything with gluten
  5. Nuts and seeds
  6. Beans and legumes (including soy products)
  7. Processed meats
  8. Food additives, such as: sugar or high fructose corn-syrup
  9. Caffeine

Maintain this strict elimination for three weeks while eating these foods: non-nightshade vegetables, fruits other than citrus, rice and buckwheat, fish, turkey, flaxseed oil, coconut oil, almond milk.

The second step of this process is to slowly, but surely introduce the eliminated foods back into the diet. Choose one food product for a period of 2 to 3 days, and see how you feel afterward, then continue with the next food on the list until you’ve found the intolerance(s). It’s definitely good to talk to your doctor before beginning this experiment, but hopefully it makes a lasting change to your physical and mental health!

Kaleigh is a third year Global Disease Biology student with a passion for women's health. She hopes to influence others to explore their passions at Davis and to continue to follow their dreams. She enjoys running, backpacking, and self-care!
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