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Easy Food Elimination Diet to Ease Chronic Pain


There are 6 common food sensitivities that people are unaware of.  We may have them and not even be aware of them.  They can cause chronic low grade inflammation that leads to unexplained body aches, joint pain, arthritic symptoms, symptoms consistent with fibromyalgia, sinusitis, unexplained skin rashes, eczema, rosacea, irritable bowel syndrome, unexplained nausea, and many other chronic conditions. When you are unsure if you have food sensitivities, I recommend food allergy testing with an ND, but for some it is cost prohibitive because insurance doesn't cover the blood test.  So, here is an easy to do elimination diet that takes out the 6 most common food sensitivities.  These 6 foods are a good place to start.

These foods include: Dairy, Gluten (and Wheat Products), Soy, Corn, Peanuts, and Eggs.

This diet occurs in 2 phases.  The first phase is the elimination phase.  The second phase I will call the Reintroducing phase.



For 2 weeks, avoid all 6 of these foods completely. It is not uncommon to start to feel some general malaise around days 2-4 of the elimination as your body processes out any toxicity from these foods.  You're body is detoxing and trying to heal itself.  It may also be having some withdrawals from these foods. This can show up as extreme cravings, muscle pain, diarrhea, nausea, etc.  In the natural health world, we call this a "healing crisis."  Strive forward.  It will pass in a couple of days, and it will be worth it.

The key to this diet is to make sure that you avoid all package foods that include these ingredients.  Look for labels marked "gluten free", but also be aware there are other names for gluten out there.  Here is a link for some common sources of gluten:

Dairy elimination includes all dairy foods including cheese, ice cream, yogurt, etc.  However, it is important to eliminate food with casein (dairy protein) in it, as well as removing foods sweetened with lactose and popular protein shakes that include whey (another dairy based protein). For more information on dairy elimination, please see the following link:

Soy and corn are much more complicated to avoid.  These two foods are in nearly every processed food available in the American supermarket.  From things as simple as High Fructose Corn Syrup to the more complicated unknown ingredients of Fructose or Vinegar (most vinegars in ketchup and other condiments are made from corn), corn can be found in most things.  For a list of foods containing corn see this link:

For soy, it is not as complicated.  Many labels will warn you if an item contains soy, but not necessarily if it contains corn.  Tofu, edamame, and TVP (textured vegetable protein) are the primary protein in many vegetarian foods.  If you must eat processed foods here is more information on soy:

Finally, we need to eliminate eggs and peanuts.  Thankfully, many of our labels tell us if these ingredients are in the food.  When there is an allergen present, the label usually reads: "Contains: soy, nuts, eggs, dairy." I think corn is the only ingredient not on that list, so for us in the 21st century, label reading is more simplistic, but you'll need to be a label sleuth.  That means you are going to have to investigate every single label you see, or better yet, avoid food with a labels all together if you can during the elimination diet.  That will make it easier on you.



After 14 days, we enter the reintroduction phase of our elimination diet.  This is where we are going to introduce small amounts of these foods into your diet to see if you have a sensitivity.  On day 15 you're going to have a little bit of dairy at breakfast, lunch, and dinner.  This can be cheese, yogurt, a cup of milk, etc.  Do not consume any dairy on day 16 and 17.  That's the waiting period to see how your body responds to the reintroduction of this food.  Make a note of anything you notice whether it is nausea, post-nasal drip, gas and bloating, coughing up phlegm, drainage, diarrhea, etc.  This is your clue that you have a dairy sensitivity.

On day 18 you're going to consume a little bit of gluten with all 3 meals.  This can be bread, baked goods, or anything containing wheat.  Wait day 19-20 and record any reaction that you notice.  Make a not of any of the above symptoms including gas and bloating, body aches, joint pain, etc.

Continue this regiment until you have reintroduced all the above allergens making sure to note any symptoms during the 2 day waiting period after consuming the foods you eliminated.

By the end of the elimination diet, you should have a pretty good idea about the foods you are sensitive to.  These are the foods you want to avoid from here on out.  They are a big cause of your discomfort and pain.

Food is medicine.  It can make you sick or it can heal you.  I hope that this information helps you start to get to the root of your illnesses instead of just treating the symptoms.  It has been my experience in the nearly 15 years that I have been working in the natural medicine field, that we can resolve a lot of our body's complaints through diet and exercise.  If you want more details about your food sensitivities or undiagnosed food allergies, please make an appointment with your N.D. or other natural health primary care provider.

Summer Cleanse: Part 1

Summer Cleanse: Part 1

This is a 3 part series on how to cleanse and detoxify your body.  Look for parts 2 and 3 coming soon.

Summer is upon us and many of us are putting on swimsuits and smaller clothing for the first time in months only to find that our last minute work outs and dieting did not work as effectively as we thought. With the incoming sun, we find that just like the plants, we've grown.  Some people call it their "winter coat", but I will take my denial 1-step farther and just swear that the sun made me grow just like it did the plants, so my summer clothes are a little tighter than I remember.  Being from the greater Seattle area where we've seen 6 months of straight rain, with a sudden onset of more frequent sun, it almost seems like a viable story, so as they say,  "That's my story and I'm sticking to it!"

Whether it's your "winter coat," the "freshman 15", or the fact that the sun made you grow like a weed, the fact remains there is still those extra pounds that are just lingering like a bad penny that can no longer be ignored, so what can we do to decrease those sizes a little more rapidly?

Time for a summer cleanse!

The great news is that since it is summer, it is the easiest and best time to drop size and do acleanse.  You may argue that there's vacations and barbecues to contend with, and while I agree that there's pitfalls, most food that is readily available is fresh, full of water, high in fiber, and great for flushing the system.  Heavier food like cream sauces, heavy pastas, sweet heavy cakes, etc are easily exchanged for olive oil based salads, fresh fruits, and grilled veggies.  SOOO what is the best way to loose those last 10 pounds this month?

 Well if you calculate healthy weight loss at 2 pounds per week, you can easily lose 8 pounds in 1 month. Add in a bit of exercise and walking during these beautiful summer nights, and losing another 2 pounds could easily be managed with enjoyment.  Yes, there will be some sacrifices that you have to make, but the rewards will be worth it.

  1. Time to give up dairy temporarily.  Cut most dairy including milk and cheese.  You can have 1 cup of plain Greek yogurt with 1-1/2 Tbl of honey and 1/4-1/2 cup of fresh fruit.  This can be breakfast or dessert or an evening snack.  Plain Greek yogurt is higher in protein than it's sugary counter parts, and adding the honey and fresh fruit (I prefer berries of any sort), makes it feel more like a dessert or treat.  If you drink cream in your coffee, switch to coconut milk or coconut cream (the REAL stuff in the can, not the sugar laidened processed crap).  This will give you boost of good fat in the morning and jump start your metabolism; especially if you eat protein like a boiled egg or turkey bacon for breakfast.   
  2. Walk 20-30 min per day. If it's very hot where you're from, enjoy the cool evenings as the sunsets.  If you already have a workout routine, you can add this in addition to it to step up the weight loss.
  3. Meditate.  Yes, that's right, meditate.  Meditation has been shown to calm the mind and reduce the cortisone levels that increase with stress.  Cortisone is responsible for excess belly fat.  Meditating 10-20 min a day will decrease the overall cortisone levels in our body, which will allow the midsection to let go of some fat reserves.
  4. While I'm on decreasing cortisone levels, make sure to enjoy your vacation if you're taking one over the summer. Many people take a vacation and over-schedule themselves to see everything.  This can cause additional stress and fatigue from running around maintaining the hectic schedule you were supposed to leave behind.  This will not do.  Make sure you include down days to relax and recover, so you do not need a vacation after your vacation.

New Year Cleanse

New Year Cleanse

The new year is upon us and with that I am doing a New Year cleanse.  I start by weighing myself to see what I am working with.  I will just say, it's more than I need to way for my height, but I'm ok with that because I have lost 11 pounds over the last 6 months by making healthy nutrition choices and getting rid of many major stressors in my life. 

I'm hoping to continue that loss and jump start my metabolism by doing a Cleanse that involves getting rid of all process foods, sugar, alcohol, dairy, and simple carbs.  This is my goal for 1 month.  

Today is the first day.

The reason I find it important to do a cleanse a few times a year is to clean out my body of every toxin I put into it.  I know the liver does a very good job of doing this, but this is my way of assisting it. I am giving my body all the nutrition it needs in an easily digestible way, so that it can utilize all the nutrients in a fully functional, maximized way.  In addition, I am taking herbs that assist in the cleansing process... speak to your healthcare provider before starting any new herbs or changing your diet.

So this is what my cleanse looks like.

When I woke up, I started by drinking 8 oz of water and taking my cleansing herbs.

Then I had a cup of coffee sweetened with 1 Tablespoon of honey and a Tablespoon of whole coconut cream; the unprocessed stuff out of the can.  I chose to keep my coffee.  There are many health benefits, including it helping with elimination and having antioxidants. I cleaned it up to include a healthy fat and a healthy sweetener that boosts the immune system.  In addition, I also decided that keeping my coffee would keep me from feeling like everything enjoyable in my life was ending for 1 month, lol.

For breakfast I made a whole juice that included 4 cups of mixed organic greens, 3 organic carrots (each a different color), 2 stalks of organic celery, 1/2 an organic lemon, and 1organic apple.  It was delicious.  

My goal is to boost my nutrient load and give my body the antioxidants it needs to assist the liver in the clean up all the excess toxins from the previous year.  

Next,  I had 12 oz of water with a capful of raw, organic, apple cider vinegar added to it.  This alkalizes the body and provided good bacteria for the intestines.  FYI: You can taste the vinegar.  I don't mind the flavor, but it can take a bit to get used to.

In addition: 

For lunch, I had a chicken and ginger bone broth soup (see previous post on bone broth).

For a snack, I'm going to have 1 cup blueberries and raspberries,  a 1/4 cup of nuts, and a cup of green tea.

For dinner, I am making lemon pepper chicken, asparagus and mushrooms sautéed in olive oil, garlic, shallots, and lemon, and steamed kale.  The key to a filling dinner when removing simple starches is to use multiple fibrous vegetables. 

My final snack will be homemade protein balls. I will post the recipe in an upcoming blog.

I hope this inspires you as you move forward into a healthy new year.

Bone Broth Soup Recipe

Bone Broth Soup Recipe

Immune Boosting Bone Broth:

Bone broth has multiple health benefits.  It's perfect for the season change, for boosting the immune system, healing the gut, and giving us prolonged energy as we enter the fall and the children head back to school.  In Chinese Medicine, it is used to increase energy, assist with joint pain, aids in treating iron deficiency anemia, and decreases pain and inflammation. It is also used to fight aging and increase collagen production.  It's time consuming to make, but well worth it.

Below,  I've included my personal recipe for beef bone broth.  Feel free to try it and play with it.  You can use any combination of vegetables or bones that you choose. I recommend using grass fed free range bones and organic vegetables to get the most benefits from the broth you make.  I drink 1-2 cups everyday for the best results.  It's something I love to have in the mid-morning after my coffee.

Shandalla's Bone Broth Recipe:

  • 2 lbs of grass fed beef bones-roasted at 425 degrees for 1-1/2 hrs 
  • 2 Tablespoons of apple cider vinegar-divided
  • water
  • 2 whole yellow onions-chopped 
  • 1 leek-sliced
  • 2 small carrots-sliced
  • 3 stalks of celery-sliced
  • 3 large cloves of garlic-minced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 Tablespoons of salt
  • 2 tsp mixed whole peppercorns
  • 1 bunch of parsley-chopped
  • 1 tsp rosemary
  • 1 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 1 tsp oregano


Roast beef bones in oven, uncovered, for 1-1/2 to 2 hrs.

Place in a large stock pot with 1 Tbl of apple cider vinegar. Fill stock pot with enough warm water to cover bones; let soak for 20 min.  After soaking the bones, bring bones to a boil on medium high, skimming off foam every 20-30 min. Boil for 2 hrs.  Transfer bones and water to a crock pot, add remaining vinegar and all remaining ingredients to the pot.  Cook stock in crock pot on low for 24-48 hrs, adding water as needed to keep the bones covered and submerged. Skim off fat (beef oil) every few hours through out cooking process.***  When you are done simmering the broth, strain out all the liquid and compost or throw away the solids.  The liquid is your bone broth. You can freeze the broth or store it in the fridge and use it as desired. 

***You can dispose of the fat or collect in a jar to use the fat to cook with later; make sure to store the fat in the fridge for future use.  It will solidify like butter when cold, which is normal.  For more information on good fats, keep an eye out for my upcoming blog on the topic.