Our Elimination Diet Quick Start Guide

We spent 9 weeks managing our daughter's diet to determine what was causing her so much trouble.  We began by taking out the following ingredients:

Corn     Soy     Eggs     Peanuts     Gluten     Dairy

We tracked her symptoms using a diary on a daily basis, noting recipes along the way in case of questions.  After 3 weeks, we could introduce one food at a time, while continuing to track symptoms and foods, for 4 days (eg Sun-Wed), then remove all ingredients again for the following three days (eg Thu-Sat.)  The following week we would introduce another ingredient.  The order of introduction was as follows:

Dairy     Eggs     Soy     Gluten     Peanuts     Corn

This process, though tedious, allowed us to isolate what food item was causing the problem.  When we found success, it made every bit of effort more than worthwhile!  Below is a guide to help others get started with this overwhelming task.  I spent hours in the local grocery stores searching for foods she could eat, and I'd love to save others the same experience!!


This document lists all the ingredient names to watch for on labels.  HOWEVER, it does not include corn.   The FDA does not require that corn products be listed as an allergen, so they are easily hidden.

You can get an idea of what ingredients are derived from corn here.  Some companies will tell you if their ingredients contain corn, some call it “proprietary information:”


Chipotle:  can have salad (not the burrito bowl) with chicken, black beans, guacamole and salsa

Firebirds:   Salmon or steak is okay.  Carrot chips, but ask for oil and balsamic vinegar on the side to make a dipping sauce.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Fresh fruit.  Green beans.  No salad dressings are okay.  All chicken is marinated in buttermilk.

Neomonde:  can have tuna salad, black bean salad, fatoush, cabbage salad. Hummus has citric acid.

Jujube – Chapel Hill, can have Cha Gio appetizer and rice noodle salad with sauce from Cha Gio on side.  They are very knowledgeable about the menu and are very helpful!

Check allergyeats.com


·      Tylenol contains citric acid
·      Advil/Ibuprofen not certified 100% gluten free, but none is added.  It does contain corn-derived ingredients.  There is no soy in Jr. chewables, but there is soy in Jr Swallow Tabs.   (per Pfizer on 5/13/13)

NOTE:  Read labels EVERY time you buy a product.   If you buy it once and it’s okay, the formulation may be different in a different package, even if the packaging looks exactly the same.



Lakewood brand
365 brand – at Whole Foods
Generic brand at Earth Fare
Make sure they do not list citric acid or ascorbic acid in ingredient list


Almond Milk – Silk brand does not contain corn-derived ingredients.  Pacific does have corn-derived ingredients.  Blue Diamond has not been confirmed.  Dream milks may contain corn-derived ingredients.
Rice Milk
Coconut Milk
Try blending sweetened and unsweetened  if necessary at first, then decrease ratio.  Try blending coconut and almond milk.


Numi Honeybush – caffeine free
Numi Rooibos or Rooibos chai – caffeine free
Mighty Leaf Green Tea Tropical – moderate caffeine level
Avoid Tazo teas, they consider "natural flavor" contents to be proprietary information and will not confirm or deny presence of corn

Simple syrup

Add one cup of sugar (rapadura/Rapunzel) to one cup of very hot water.  Stir until sugar is dissolved. 2 tsp equals 4g sugar.  use to sweeten beverages if necessary.


Erewhon crispy brown rice cereal with banana-Earth Fare and Whole Foods
365 Crispy brown rice cereal – Whole Foods
Rice cake with nut butter
Steel cut oats-can make ahead and heat desired amount in the morning
Be Kind granolas – some varieties are okay in limited amounts, mix with brown rice cereal for a change
Add Freeze dried fruit (available without citric acid preservative at Earth Fare/Whole Foods)
***Rice Chex has tocopherol (Vitamin E) that is derived from soy and/or corn, per General Mills on 5/22/13.  Reportedly, it does not contain the protein and is considered to be non-allergenic.


Rice cake with sun butter or almond butter, add sliced bananas or raisins if desired
Homemade hummus with rice crackers, veggies and apples for dipping
Rice wrapper with various fillings...hummus and veggies meat
Applegate Farms has some suitable deli meats
Boars Head All Natural Line...available at HT at Waverly Place in Cary
....they also have one turkey and one roast beef that is okay
Larabars Recipe from 100 days of Real Food website, use almond butter instead of peanut butter

Snacks-will need to check labels or make at home
Kale chips
Sweet potato chips
Lentil chips- by Simply 7 available at Harris Teeter
True North cashew almond clusters
Blue Diamond Nut Chips- Earth Fare, Whole Foods
Trail mix- dried fruit, nuts and seeds
Some flavors of Plum Organics Mash Ups (at Harris Teeter)
Raw Crunch bars – Earth Fare?  Whole Foods.
Terra Chips – Sweet Potato and Exotic Vegetable variety
Beanitos (Target)


55-60% cacao dark chocolate bars.  Just check serving size
            Alter Ego Dark Quinoa chocolate bar
            Newman’s Own Organic Espresso Dark Chocolate
365 Organic Dark Chocolate – Whole Foods
Yummy Earth Organic lollipops (1 lollipop)
Next Organics – Dark Chocolate Walnuts or ginger
Living Raw Coconut Karma Truffles
Ciao Bella sorbet – some flavors, very small serving sizes

Pantry staples

Pacific broths – use in place of bouillon cubes/granules
Brown rice pasta noodles...available at super target.  Tinkyada brand has great texture and flavor.
Most beans are okay
Tomato products - Check labels carefully for citric acid or natural flavors.   These brands are generally okay:
Earth Fare Organics
Eden Organics
            Cento (Harris Teeter)
Rao's and Bertolli (all natural) both make “safe” spaghetti sauces
365 Fruit Spread – Whole Foods
Bonne Maman fruit preserves (watch serving size)
Sunflower butter
Justin's Maple Almond Butter
Cashew butter
Bumble Bee Very Low Sodium Tuna in water (doesn’t have vegetable broth)


Dairy Challenge week

Most flavors of yogurt have "natural flavors"... Except Vanilla or Plain.  Try adding a bit of jam or granola
Shredded cheese may have a corn based agent to prevent caking
Harris Teeter Organic Ice Cream is okay – limited serving size
Z Pizza can accommodate restrictions. 

Egg Challenge Week

Hard boiled eggs for snack/lunch
Any kind of eggs for meals
Meatballs with egg binder

Soy Challenge Week

Harris Teeter Naturals Organic Soy Milk (blue box) does not contain ingredients that are derived from corn.
Use wheat-free Tamari instead of soy sauce, which contains wheat.
Add edamame to stirfry
Fry in soybean oil/saute

Gluten Challenge Week

Great Harvest Bread – Honey Whole Wheat, Spelt, or Dakota Bread
Neomonde Pita Bread

Peanut Challenge Week

Roasted peanuts for snack
Peanut butter on rice cakes or crackers

Corn Challenge Week

Quaker Whole Hearts cereal
Angie’s Sweet n’ Salty Kettle Corn (1 cup)
Homemade popcorn
            Put 1/4c of plain kernels in a lunch size, brown paper bag.  Microwave for 2-2.5 min, monitoring for popping to slow.  While stil in bag, spray with olive oil, sprinkle with desired seasoning (salt, salt/sugar, cinnamon, paprika) and shake up to mix. 
Any products with ascorbic or citric acid (juices, salsas, etc)
Condiments: ketchup and mustard can be used
Smooze ice pops (Earth Fare/Whole Foods)
Rice Chex

Recipes and Dinner Ideas
Kale chips
            Wash, dry and tear into bite size pieces.  Toss with olive oil, salt (and other spices if desired – try paprika, cumin, or grated parmesan on dairy week.)  Roast at 400 degrees until edges are crispy, then reduce heat to 200 until crisp all over. 
Sweet potato chips
            Peel and slice very thinly.  Toss with olive oil cinnamon and a bit or rapadura sugar.   Roast at 200-300 degrees, turning occasionally, until crisp. 
Hummus (in food processor or blender)
            Rinse 1 can garbanzo beans/chickpeas, reserve liquid
            Add 1 clove garlic
            1-2 T olive oil
            2 T tahini
            Juice of ½ lemon
            Salt and pepper to taste
            Optional – one roasted red pepper
            Blend all ingredients, adding water and/or reserved liquid to desired consistency
            Reduce jam and vinegar on stovetop to make a glaze
Sweet potatoes – roast and sprinkle with cinnamon
Salad dressing - nothing with white vinegar.  Try some flavored vinegars
No Bake Protein Bites
            Sub in almond butter, use raisins instead of chocolate chips
            Unsweetened coconut is available in bulk bins at Earth Fare and Whole Foods
Spaghetti (brown rice noodles) with chopped grilled chicken, salad on the side
Turkey chili (serve over rice and top with avocado)
1 - 1.5 lbs ground turkey (or 2 cans of black beans)
1 medium onion
1 bell pepper, diced
salt (1 t)
pepper (1/2 t)
ground cumin (1 t)
2 T chili powder
1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes w/ puree
water (I play with this and usually put in slightly less that the 28 oz can to desired consistency)
1 8 oz can tomato sauce
2 cups beef broth
1T brown sugar
Opt: can of kidney/chili beans

Brown onions and peppers to golden and set aside. Brown turkey and strain off fat. Combine onion and turkey and add spices, stirring over low heat. Add rest of ingredients and bring to a slow boil. Turn heat down to low and simmer for at least 30-45 minutes
Black Beans and RIce
Use lettuce or rice wrappers in lieu of bread products
Aidell’s or Bilinski’s Chicken and Apple Sausage (At Harris Teeter, Earth Fare or Whole Foods)

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