Avera Medical Minute: Elimination Diet can improve gut health, reduce symptoms

Published: Jul. 9, 2020 at 10:58 PM CDT
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - Jane Crick was looking for answers.

”My feet and my hands, they were inflamed and they hurt all the time,” Crick said.

Medications were not working as she had hoped. In her search for answers, a whole new world was opened to her at Avera Medical Group’s Integrative Medicine clinic. They suggested a 21-day elimination diet with a specific grocery list. “And I had never really heard of clean food before, but that just meant it wasn’t processed,” Crick said.

Avera Health Educator Becky Hanzen says the elimination diet removes foods that are known to contain the highest allergens, including pork, eggs, dairy, and gluten.

Improving gut health happens by removing foods you're sensitive to. When that happens, symptoms may improve, including inflammation, aches and pains, backaches, and brain fog. The focus is on what you can eat, instead of what you can't.

"The foods that don't have preservatives, chicken, turkey, fish, vegetables, fruits, those are the foods, the healthy fats that people should be focusing on," Hanzen said.

One at a time, each food is added back in to see how the patient reacts. Jane ate dairy again without a problem. Her favorite snack did cause a reaction.

"Popcorn, and so by the third day my extremities, my feet were really hurting," Crick said. Otherwise, Jane felt fantastic. She is sleeping better and has become more active because she's not guarding her feet against pain.

Hanzen loves those positive reactions.

"They've gotten themself back,' Hanzen said. "It's really a good tool for that."

Hanzen says there is not a limit on calories and most people on the elimination diet eat about every two hours.

Integrative Medicine is located at the Prairie Center, on the Avera McKennan campus.

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