Product Design

Helping People Discover Food Sensitivities and Eliminate Gut Symptoms

In 2018, after an intense year of eating Hot Cheetos for meals, I developed extreme bloating symptoms. I went to see my doctor and was recommended the Elimination Diet, a process of eliminating and reintroducing foods to expose food sensitivities and to restore gut health.

For several months, I struggled with my bland diet, feeling unsatisfied and feeling frustrated with how manual the process felt. I started looking into other people’s experiences (because I couldn’t be the only one struggling, right?) and slowly came to create: Eliminate.


Secondary research, comparative analysis, information architecture, wireframing, visual design, prototyping, moderated usability testing


6 months

Challenges with the Elimination Diet

Through informal desk research and learnings from my personal experience, I identified 2 core challenges with completing the diet.

1. Dieters struggle with journaling consistently.

Logging every meal and symptom is crucial to helping dieters understand what affects their body. This is, however, a repetitive and manual task. Many people struggle to be consistent with their logs and end up with inaccurate results.

2. Dieters struggle with not knowing what to eat.

Often times, dieters choose to eliminate foods that they would eat on a regular basis. As a result, without adequate planning, they suddenly feel that there is nothing they can eat. This leads to many people eating insufficient meals or even breaking their diet and eating restricted foods.

My journal from my Elimination Diet experience

Goals and Solutions

Improve journaling consistency

Digital journaling tool, with shortcuts for adding foods, symptoms and medications.
Notification reminders to log entries.
Motivation through tracking.

Help dieters focus on what they can eat

Recipe book, tailored to each dieter’s food restrictions.
Meal planning tool, with an automated grocery shopping list.

App summary screens in the onboarding sequence


How might we improve consistency?

  • Digital journaling tool, with shortcuts
  • Notification reminders to log entries
  • Motivation through gamification and progress tracking

How might we help dieters eat better?

  • Recipe suggestions, tailored to dieter's food restriction
  • Meal planning tool

App summary screens in the onboarding sequence

Comparative Analysis

After developing my solutions, I conducted market research to see how other products were tackling the Elimination Diet, gut-health, digital journaling and meal planning.

I found that while there was no existing app for the Elimination Diet, there were many apps for gut-health, food journaling and meal planning. Those apps, however, exclusively focused on either journaling or meal planning; I wasn't able to find a product that provided both.

Through my research, I was also able to gather inspiration on how to build the journaling flow.

Competitive analysis of other gut-health and digital journaling apps

Defining the Structure

Eliminate consists of four main features: a digital journaling space, a meal planning space, a recipe book and a progress tracker. The benefit of having these features within one app is that they can feed into each other, with meal-planned meals being added to a user's journal with just one click.

Preliminary sketches

Preliminary Feedback

Through moderated usability sessions, I found some common issues with my initial designs.

  1. Users struggled with learnability.
  2. Users felt overwhelmed by the amount of content on each screen.
Add a meal
Add a symptom
Browse the recipe book
Create a meal plan

Final Designs

Users begin by creating a profile through a short onboarding sequence, sharing information about their symptoms, existing dietary restrictions, foods to be eliminated and overall goals. This information guides recipe suggestions and is saved in the user’s progress tracker.

Eliminate's onboarding process

Addressing the challenge of consistency

With Eliminate, dieters can log meals, symptoms and medications digitally. Meal-planned meals and previous entries can be added to their journal in one-click. This aims to help dieters easily manage daily journaling.


Add a log

Eliminate encourages dieters to journal at least twice a day in order to maintain a streak. Users can opt-in to receive notification reminders to help them stay on top of planning meals and logging entries.


Notification settings

Reminder notification

Dieters can track the severity of their symptoms as they eliminate and reintroduce foods.

Progress overviews

Symptom intensity over time

Addressing the challenge of eating sufficiently

Eliminate's recipe book provides meals that are pre-filtered based on each dieter's restrictions. This will help shift the focus towards what they can eat instead of on what they cannot eat.

Recipe book


Recipe details

Dieters are encouraged to create a meal plan using the app's recipes or by creating custom meals. These planned meals can be added to their journal in one-click.

Marking a meal as eaten

Editing the meal plan


Next Steps

Moving forward, I would like to take a step back and re-evaluate my solutions. Though I discovered the core challenges through secondary research, I feel that I could have taken my research further to understand how Eliminate's users would structure the app using their own mental models. Using research methods like card sorting could help to focus the product.

I would also like to build out the onboarding process. I understand an issue with this product is the learning curve that comes with using all the features for the first time. An in-depth onboarding process, with a tutorial or tooltips, could make the experience more pleasant.

If you're interested in collaborating on this project or have feedback, don't hesitate to reach out!