Other special diets

Allergy Elimination Diet

Specific foods, commonly gluten, dairy, soy, corn, and eggs but potentially many others, can cause allergy symptoms in some people. During an elimination diet all suspect foods are completely eliminated from the diet for a predetermined amount of time (usually 3 weeks to 6 months). These foods can then be reintroduced one-by-one while simultaneously watching for symptoms that may arise. From the careful reintroduction of potentially problematic foods, an individual can know which foods are okay for their body and which are not.

  • Elimination Diet
  • Digestive Health with REAL Food by Algaée Jacobs
  • Allergy Friendly Foods for Families by the editors of Kiwi Magazine


Anti-Candida Diet

Candida albicans is an opportunistic yeast that inhabits the gastrointestinal (GI) tract and can easily proliferate during times of poor diet, high stress and antibiotic use. Once it colonizes the GI tract, it can spread to other parts of the body and cause a wide variety of symptoms, including gas and bloating, bowel irregularities, immune system dysfunction, and brain fog. Since Candida thrives on sugar, the goal of an anti-candida diet is to starve the yeast of its food source, thus inhibiting it growth. There are numerous variations, but in general this diet eliminates all sugars, most fruits and most flour products (like pastas, breads and crackers) for three to six months. The diet is often combined with herbs and nutritional supplements to speed the removal of Candida from the body and to replenish the beneficial bacteria that naturally help to keep it in check.

  • Candida Diet
  • The Body Ecology Diet by Donna Gates
  • Complete Candida Yeast Guidebook, Revised 2nd Edition by Jeanne Marie Martin & Zoltan Rona
  • Yeast Connection Cookbook by William Crook & Marjorie H. Jones
  • Yeast Connection Handbook by William Crook
  • Candida Yeast Syndrome by Ray Wunderlich, Jr.


Autoimmune Diet

Intended for those with diagnosed or suspected autoimmune disease, the aim of this diet is to calm the immune system and heal the gut. An autoimmune diet is largely based on the Paleo diet since it also eliminates foods such as grains, legumes, dairy, refined vegetable oils and sugar. But the autoimmune diet protocol takes it a little further, eliminating foods that may contribute to a damaged gut lining (the root of all autoimmune diseases), foods that commonly cross-react with gluten, and those that may stimulate the immune system. It also puts a focus on adding healing, nutrient dense foods such as organ meats, bone broths and fermented vegetables regularly to the diet.

  • Gluten
  • The Problem with Grains
  • The Paleo Approach by Sarah Ballantyne & Robb Wolf
  • The Wahls Protocol by Terry Wahls
  • Autoimmune Paleo Cookbook by Mickey Trescott


Detoxification/Cleansing Diets

There are numerous approaches to cleansing the body and supporting the body’s detoxification process through diet and supplementation. The basic premise is that the body can detoxify itself through natural processes if provided a suitable diet for a period of time. While many people think a cleanse must be a severe restriction of food, the process of detoxification is actually very labor intensive for the liver and requires many nutrients and co-factors to fully complete the project of breaking down toxins so they can then be eliminated from the body. As such, a cleansing diet should consist of plenty of easy to digest, nutrient-dense foods, to supply the nutrients vital for detoxification, and plenty of pure water. It should also eliminate any foods that slow down detoxification and put strain on the body, such as chemical-laden or highly processed foods, sugar, alcohol, and possible allergens (e.g., gluten, dairy, corn, and soy).  Another option is to add a cleansing product that helps to supply detoxification-essential nutrients and often bowel support to keep the bowels running smoothly so toxins can be eliminated properly. Completing a short cleanse two to four times a year can be of much value to keeping the body running optimally.


Gut and Psychology Syndrome (GAPS) Diet

This diet draws a strong connection between mental health conditions, such as autism, ADD/ADHD and dyslexia, with gut health. The GAPS diet is also often used for a variety of digestive disorders. Like the Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD), upon whose principles it is built, the GAPS diet avoids carbohydrates that are fermentable by gut bacteria, such as grains, legumes and sugars, but it differs from the SCD in that it prohibits all dairy and relies heavily on the use of homemade bone broths and fermented vegetables as healing tools. It has a very extensive introduction phase and suggests strict adherence for at least two years, as creator Natasha Campbell-McBride says, to “heal and seal” the gut.

  • Heal Your Gut Cookbook: Nutrient-Dense Recipes for Intestinal Health Using the GAPS Diet by Hilary Boynton & Mary Brackett
  • Digestive Health with REAL Foods by Algaée Jacob


Low Carb Diet

The consumption of processed carbohydrates, such as sugar and products made from flour, is now widely associated with a greater risk for weight gain, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, Alzheimer’s and many other inflammatory conditions. Consequently, low-carbohydrate diets have become increasingly popular, not just for weight loss but also for those concerned with healthy aging. While there is no one low-carbohydrate diet, in general this type of diet is high in protein and fat and focuses on meats, eggs, low-starch vegetables, some dairy, some nuts and seeds and a few low-sugar fruits. Most all low-carb diets restrict the intake of carbohydrates that are easily digested, such as flour products and sugar, but also grains, starchy vegetables and fruits. The exact amount of carbohydrate and exact foods allowed on a particular low-carbohydrate diet can vary widely. Some examples are diets that consist of 20% of calories or less coming from carbohydrate or 75 grams or less of carbohydrate per day. A diet that severely restricts carbohydrates is sometimes referred to as a ketogenic diet, because it puts the body into ketosis, the state in which the body shifts from running mostly on glucose (derived from sugar and carbohydrates) to running on ketone bodies (derived from fats). There are many initial side effects to a ketogenic diet and most people find this type of diet difficult to maintain for the long term.  Finding your ideal level of carbohydrate intake for your health goals and activity level is important for feeling your best.

  • Carb Counts in Foods
  • Good Calories, Bad Calories by Gary Taubes
  • Why We Get Fat by Gary Taubes
  • Big Fat Myth by Nina Teicholz
  • Practical Paleo by Diane Sanfilippo
  • The Paleo Diet by Loren Cordain



FODMAP stands for “Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides and Polyols”. These are short-chain carbohydrates, found in a variety of natural foods, that are poorly digested/absorbed in the small intestine of some individuals and then pass to the colon where they are fermented by bacteria, causing gas, bloating, nausea, abdominal pain, diarrhea and/or constipation. Although it is impossible to completely eliminate FODMAPs from a natural foods diet, this approach aims to minimize the ingestion of foods high in these categories of carbohydrates to reduce uncomfortable symptoms. Many people will find that they are sensitive to only one or two particular types of FODMAPs, while some will need to minimize as many as possible. Simultaneously working on healing the small intestine and repopulating the gut with beneficial bacteria is important for long-term digestive health. Some experimentation is generally needed, and eliminating as many FODMAP-containing foods as possible for 1-2 weeks and then slowly reintroducing foods back in can be helpful in finding your own personal ability to digest FODMAPs.

  • Digestive Health with REAL Foods by Algaée Jacob


Low Histamine Diet

You may recognize histamine in its immune system role as the culprit behind the itchy eyes, runny nose and swelling associated with allergies. Histamine is used throughout the body for a variety of other important functions. Our bodies make histamine, but we also get some through diet, and some bacteria in the intestines also produce it. We are equipped with systems for breaking down and removing histamine when levels get too high, but in some people these systems don’t work properly, either due to genetic variation or a damaged gut lining. These people generally lose their ability to tolerate histamine in very high quantities without uncomfortable symptoms like hives, headaches, itching, acid reflux and/or nausea occurring. While healing the intestinal lining and restoring healthy bacteria in the gut is an important step in overcoming a histamine intolerance, so too is the avoidance of foods high in histamine. Some examples of such foods are seafood, eggs, processed meats, fermented foods, dried fruits, chocolate, vinegar and alcohol.

  • Digestive Health with REAL Foods by Algaée Jacob


Paleo Diet

Our Paleolithic ancestors obtained their food through hunting and gathering.  Based on the premise that the human body evolved on such obtainable foods, and thus they are the most appropriate for humans, the paleo diet eschews Neolithic foods (those available after the agricultural revolution approximately 10,000 years ago), such as grains, legumes, dairy, refined vegetable oils and sugar (with the exception of a small amount of honey). It is built around non-starchy vegetables and lean meats with small amounts of fruits, nuts, seeds and unrefined olive oil added in.

  • Paleo Diet
  • Paleo Diet by Loren Cordain
  • The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Eating Paleo by Neely Quinn & Jason Glaspey
  • Paleo Diet Cookbook by Loren Cordain


Primal Diet

Coined by Mark Sisson (author of The Primal Blueprint), the Primal diet is similar to the Paleo diet in that it eliminates Neolithic foods such as grains, legumes, refined vegetable oils and sugar, but it takes a more lenient stance on foods such as raw and fermented dairy products, foods naturally high in fats (including saturated fats), such as eggs and coconut oil, and high-starch vegetables such as sweet potatoes and winter squash.

  • The Primal Blueprint by Mark Sisson
  • Primal Body, Primal Mind by Nora T. Gedgaudas
  • The Primal Blueprint Cookbook by Mark Sisson & Jennifer Meier
  • Primal Blueprint Quick and Easy Meals by Mark Sisson & Jennifer Meier
  • Primal Blueprint Healthy Sauces, Dressings & Toppings by Mark Sisson & Jennifer Meier
  • Practical Paleo by Diane Sanfilippo


Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD)

This diet was originally developed to help people suffering from severe digestive conditions such as Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, but over the years has also been used with some success for certain brain disorders such as autism and schizophrenia. The premise of the diet is that bacterial overgrowth and compromised digestive function is common in individuals with these conditions. The diet aims to starve this microbial overpopulation by eliminating any carbohydrates that would otherwise be used as food by these bacteria. To accomplish this, grains, most beans, most dairy, some fruits, most sugars and all processed foods are eliminated from the diet. The SCD consists of an introductory phase and then suggests strict adherence to the second phase of the diet for one to two years to accomplish complete gut healing and restoration.

  • Recipes for The Specific Carbohydrate Diet by Raman Prasad
  • Digestive Health with REAL Foods by Algaée Jacob

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