Mickey Trescott has a good article about reintroducing foods (1), and Eileen Laird has an an affordable, more comprehensive eBook you can buy for reintroducing foods on the Autoimmune Protocol.(2) Generally, you introduce a small amount of a new food, sometimes measured by the teaspoon, and observe symptoms for 2-3 days before introducing more. If you don’t have a reaction, then you would eat a lot of that food and watch for a reaction, if your practitioner agrees with this approach for that food for you. Note any symptoms. Then, if you do have a reaction, you would re-eliminate that food, and then get back to baseline before reintroducing another new food. In this protocol, you never reintroduce more than one food at a time, so that any symptoms are clearly attributable to that food.
If you choose to follow the Institute for Functional Medicine’s elimination dietary protocol (3) discussed above instead of the AIP elimination diet, then you’ll want to follow their plan for reintroducing foods. In this approach, you choose one food and eat that several times a day for several days to see what, if any, changes you observe in your body.
Another option for the IFM elimination diet approach is to use Dr. Amy Myers’ protocol for reintroduction. Dr. Myers is a noted functional medicine practitioner, protégé of Dr. Mark Hyman, and an expert on autoimmunity, especially thyroid-related disorders. She has a recommended protocol for adding back foods to your diet after completing a general functional medicine elimination diet. Take a look at Dr. Myers’ specific plan for doing that, which she provides as bonus material when you buy her book, The Autoimmune Solution (which we can’t provide here, since it’s gated content). Dr. Myers also offers a 6-week paid “Autoimmune Solution” program that provides guidance and additional insight into this approach.
Whether the AIP or the IFM elimination diet, using a trusted elimination diet that you discuss with your trusted functional medicine practitioner can be the shortest path to understanding what an individual’s tolerances are, and help eliminate months and years of thrashing about trying to treat symptoms with seemingly mysterious cause.