(NaturalNews) Food sensitivities and allergies are becoming so prominent in the Western world today that even the mainstream media is now paying attention. A recent piece in The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) draws attention to the growing popularity of elimination diets, or diets that involve removing entire food groups for extended periods of time, as an effective way to address chronic health problems for which conventional medicine has no answers.
One of the most popular is the gluten-free diet, which involves avoiding obvious gluten foods like bread and crackers, as well as ingredients derived from gluten such as barley malt extract. Many people with health issues who have adopted a gluten-free diet report drastic improvements in symptoms ranging from frequent headaches and skin irritation to much more serious health problems like Crohn's disease.
Other popular elimination diets include corn- and soy-free protocols, as the vast majority of corn and soy grown in the U.S. today has been genetically modified (GM) to kill pests and resist herbicidal chemicals. Individuals with abnormal digestion, for example, say cutting these foods out has helped them build strength and energy, and restore a superior quality of life that was degraded by their consumption.
"The idea behind these elimination diets is to help people identify more subtle, gradual reactions to common food groups such as dairy, soy, nuts, eggs, gluten, sugar and alcohol," wrote Sarah Nassauer for WSJ. "They completely avoid those foods for a few weeks. Later each food is added back one by one to test the body's response."
With conventional medicine providing no answers, more people adopting customized diets
In the past, elimination diets were primarily a last-ditch effort to address major, life-threatening health problems believed to be caused by a specific food allergy. But today, many people are deciding to embark on them for all sorts of chronic and irritating ailments, even without the help of a doctor. In fact, many people are discovering elimination dietsafter their doctors have already exhausted all known conventional treatment options.
One woman cited in the WSJ article explained that she suffered for years from persistent stomach cramps and various intestinal problems. It wasn't until she began an elimination diet known as Whole 30, which suggests cutting out gluten, dairy, refined sugar and artificial sweeteners, white potatoes, alcohol, certain food additives, and even some legumes and grains for 30 days, that she was able to find relief.
"You eat meats, fruits and vegetables," stated 35-year-old Amanda Deming from Greenville, South Carolina, to WSJ, who says that she experienced dramatic improvements after just two weeks on the diet. "I have more energy," she added.
Others have adopted a more tailored approach, identifying specific trigger foods and food groups that cause them trouble. In some cases, this may require eliminating what are typically non-allergenic foods that appear to cause health problems in a very limited subset of individuals. For 35-year-old Jean Panko of Edison, New Jersey, this meant cutting out honey, apples and grapes, along with chicken, gluten, corn and soy.
Causes of food intolerance: vaccines, GMOs, and chemicals in food supply
The potential causes behind this sudden uptick in food sensitivities and allergies is not addressed by the WSJ, but answers seem obvious. Besides genetic modification, a known causative factor in the current chronic health epidemic, other suspects include vaccines, which are known to trigger autoimmune conditions and allergies; heavy metals and other chemicals in food; and environmental pollution, all of which have increased over the past several decades.
"Food is medicine," writes Dr. Mark Hyman, M.D., in a piece that touches on the elimination diet technique. "Bad food is bad medicine and will make us sick. Good food is good medicine that can prevent, reverse, and even cure disease. Take away the bad food, put in the good food and magic happens."