Easy Guide to Food Intolerance, Detox &Vitality!

Tips for IBS, digestive trouble, and period pain (inflammation).  Plus – the top 17 food intolerances and how to find out if you have one.

Eliminating every tasty food in the fridge and pantry can seem like a nightmare to some!  It’s no wonder so many women put off a cleanse because of the foreboding sense of deprivation!  It doesn’t have to be that way! If you can’t face the thought of green smoothies and juices at every meal, then why not just easily take out one food for one to three weeks and see how it feels?

My Top 17 Foods to avoid if you have an irritated stomach

Women’s pelvic health is super important!  Your digestive organs need to be functioning optimally to access the nutrients in the food you eat.  If you’re suffering from constipation, diarrhoea, bloating, gas, food sensitivities or any symptoms of IBS, it can be an indication that your gut lining is inflamed.  Not only will you feel uncomfortable, tired and brain fogged after eating,  you may also start to be depleted of nutrients.  In addition, if your bowels are not excreting toxicity in at least one healthy poop per day, excess hormones and toxins can recirculate in your body, causing more imbalance and inflammation (particularly in oestrogen dominant problems such as painful heavy periods, endometriosis, fibroids) .  As happy hormone production happens mainly in the gut, your digestive health is also impacting your mental health and emotional wellbeing.

What to do about it?

A one to four-week cleanse, can be the reset that your body, digestion, mental health and energy levels desperately need.  It needn’t be deprivation either!  Below I have listed 17 foods that women commonly react to.  Some people like to whip the whole lot out at once!  But if you’re like me, then taking one out for a trial period and monitoring the results can be a clear indication of how it is affecting you.

How To Do An Easy Food Detox:

Use these instructions, which summarise the gold standard of food sensitivity testing; The Elimination Diet

  1. Pick a food from the list below, take it out for one to four weeks (four weeks is ideal).  Check labels as wheat, egg, dairy, sugar can be lurking where you might not suspect!
  2. After 1-4 weeks, reintroduce the food with  1-2 serves a day for four days and monitor
  3. During this whole process, be sure to journal your symptoms (or lack of!) during the cleanse, and the reintroduction.


  1. Processed meats (except for those labelled low nitrate) – that means luncheon slices, ham, chicken, salami etc.  If you check the label of cooked packaged chicken breasts or sliced hams in the supermarket, you may get a shock what is in there!

  2. Canned foods including beans, fish, rice pudding, tomatoes and on – metals can leach into the food.  If you take them out and you feel better – then you may have high levels if heavy metals in your system.

  3. Animal protein that is not organic – companies like Riverford organics provide organic meat

  4. Fish that are heavy in toxins (e.g. farmed fish can contain hormones, chemicals, and antibiotics).  Wild caught fish from clean waters is the best choice.

  5. Sugar or other natural or artificial sweeteners – including honey!  Find names for sugar here.  Find names for sweeteners here.

  6. Wheat or any other gluten containing grains – spelt, rye, barley, triticale.  It’s worth knowing that some people also react to oats.

  7. Caffeine – includes teas, coffees, soft drinks and if you want to go hard at it – also green tea and decaff drinks.  After nearly 3 weeks off caffeine, your energy levels should return for all day vitality.  The first few days may be tricky!   If you feel better after the cleanse stage, then consider not adding it back in.  If your energy levels are still low then consider – blood sugar balancing, stress levels, sleep quality, and hormonal imbalances such as thyroid or testosterone.  Get some help if you are not sure.

  8. Trans fats or partially hydrogenated oils –make oils easy during detox by sticking to raw organic coconut oil for cooking and raw olive oil for dressings

  9. Flours – these are processed foods and many people react to grains they are made of.  Flours are in bread, pasta, cake, sauces, baking and on.

  10. Processed foods – if it’s in a packet or a can or a jar, has more than one ingredient and/or some kind if preservative, then it’s nearly always processed

  11. Fast foods – take-aways and cafe snacks.  Usually contain high amounts of inflammation and pain exacerbating omega-6 fats.  Stick to home cooked steamed veg and baked meats/bean stews.  For snacks try a piece of fruit with nuts, or coconut yoghurt and seeds, or veg sticks and humus

  12. Dairy – Milk, yoghurt, cheese, protein powders and bars that contain whey protein, butter.  Regular store-bought dairy can contain high levels of hormones and antibiotics – these fatten up the cows (so what are they doing to you).  Dairy proteins can irritate the intestinal lining – many people suffer post-nasal drip, mucus, blocked nose, bloating, diarrhoea or constipation after eating dairy.  If you try lactose free products, you may still react to the casein protein in milk.  Unsweetened almond and coconut milks are a great alternative.

  13. Soy – except for fermented soy (e.g. tempeh) as a meal once per week, or as a condiment (miso, soy sauce) more often.  Look out for it in vegetarian products, vegan products, non-dairy milks, protein bars and powders – it can creep in to a lot of processed foods – check the label!

  14. Eggs (unless you are sure that you are not sensitive to them)

  15. Peanuts – a common allergen

  16. Corn – Corn is modified and put in everything these days!  HFCS, modified corn syrup, corn starch.

  17. Alcohol – find other ways to soothe yourself at the end of the week.  Reducing alcohol is especially helpful for women in menopause, with painful periods, insomnia, weight gain, diabetes, and those using it as a stress reliever (drinking most nights – and more than a small glass).  Play a guided relaxation instead of having a drink.

How to pick which food to cleanse – It’s Your choice! How to make this work:

A – If you have already suspected (or know!) you have a sensitivity to a food, and intuit that giving it up will make a significant difference to your gut health and vitality – Do It! It only takes 4 weeks max to find out if this is they key to your improved health.  Well worth it.

B – Pick the one you will find easiest to start with! – Yes, always go for something easy and achievable.

C – Have more nourishing food on hand – for instance if you plan to plan to ditch dairy for few weeks, have some unsweetened almond milk on hand, in case you fancy a milky drink!  Add coconut oil and cinnamon for more texture and flavour.  If you are planning to give gluten a miss for a few weeks, then stock up on more veggies and fruits – instead of buying expensive gluten-free breads and pastas, have extra veggies!  Missing your toast?  Try toasting thick slices of sweet potato or have a ginormous salad instead!

D – Get friends involved,  Be accountable to each other.

If you do have IBS or a gut flora imbalance such as SIBO, then please ask for help.  Low FODMAP plans are recommended for IBS – you can find heaps of info online and use the Monash University FODMAP app.  SIBO is complex – many people use low-carb, low-fodmap, SCD-style, combined with herbal antimicrobials.  If you suffer with  IBS, SIBO or IBD (Chron’s, Diverticulitis) and would like some help, then please ask.


About Claire Bhavani


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