Phew! Day 45 and finally ready to challenge. It won't necessarily take everyone 45 days - it all depends on how soon your body starts to recover once you have removed potential foods that are causing problems. For me, I also had to re-balance the bacteria in my digestive track (candida was a bit out of control). Not everyone will need to do that.
So what does being in the challenge phase mean? That many of your symptoms have been reduced significantly or have gone away as a result of being on the elimination diet. For me, it's the three S's: skin, stomach, sinuses. Although not at 100% good health, all three have made significant improvements. Now it's time to figure out what hidden food sensitivities were causing these problems for me in the first place.
One food is challenged at a time. You essentially remain on the elimination diet adding in only the food you are challenging. You eat one bite of the food. Wait 10 minutes. If all goes well, have a 2nd bite. Wait 1 hour. If no symptoms emerge, have an entire serving. Then wait about 3 days and notice any symptoms (some take longer to show up than others). Once you've cleared the 3 day mark, challenge another food.
How long this phase lasts is up to you - depending on the number of foods you suspect may be causing problems. My list is about 12 long, so it's going to be a little while. A small price to pay for good health (maintenance phase)!
The first food I am challenging is rice. Wish me luck!