Renata Lynn Atkinson, MS
Danielle, a new, nursing mom asks how to go about eliminating foods from her diet to determine what is causing constipation. She also says that she is feeling run down and asks what can help her build energy.
Hi Danielle. First, congratulations on the newest member of your family!
Determining food sensitivities by eliminating foods is usually done with an elimination diet. This involves removing all potential trigger foods from your diet for a period of four weeks, then reintroducing one food every three days while keeping a record of how you feel. Foods and ingredients usually removed during an elimination diet include dairy, gluten, legumes, sugar, all processed foods and food additives. Sometimes soy and nightshades like tomatoes, eggplants, potatoes, and all grains are also removed. You’ll find a detailed description of how to do an elimination diet in this article by naturopathic physician Dr. Bryan Walsh.
Since you’re breastfeeding, your calorie needs and many nutrient needs are increased, so if you decide to try an elimination, diet I encourage you to do it under the guidance of a nutrition professional.
Another option is to keep a food diary for three or four weeks. Record everything you eat, when you eat it, and your symptoms. If a pattern emerges and you suspect a particular food, remove that food from your diet for four weeks and then reintroduce it as described above.
Food sensitivities can cause constipation, but there are other common causes and it would be well worth it to examine these.
Renata Lynn is a clinical herbalist in Greenbelt, MD who helps women build a solid foundation of wellness while working in partnership to address their unique health concerns, so they can live life with vibrance and vitality.