You’ve been struggling with your digestive symptoms, trying to figure out how to feel better. You’ve probably seen practitioners and maybe been told that there’s “nothing wrong with you.”
But you know that’s not true. There is definitely something going on. And if you’ve been reading the articles I’ve been posting this month, you may suspect (or even know for sure) that it’s the way your body reacts to certain foods that is causing your problems. Studies show that up to 20% of the population has a food intolerance or sensitivity. You could very well be in that group.
The next step is getting tested to figure out which foods you are sensitive or intolerant to. You can learn more about food sensitivity testing in this article. Once you know what foods are bothering you, it’s time to take the next step.
So what do you do now?
Elimination Diets Are the Gold Standard
Most practitioners will use some form of an elimination diet to help you reduce the inflammation (and therefore the symptoms) caused by eating foods that your body doesn’t react well to.
Elimination diets have been used by allergists and dietitians for decades to identify their problem foods and to reduce their patients’ exposure to the foods that cause their symptoms.
When you’re on an elimination diet, you don’t give up these foods forever. This is a short-term solution that allows your body to have a reset of sorts. Then after a while (3 – 6 months), you reintroduce foods one at a time to see if you still have problems with them.
Elimination diets may help reduce symptoms in many conditions:
- Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
- Chronic migraines
- Eosinophilic esophagitis (autoimmune condition affecting the esophagus)
- Skin conditions like eczema
Elimination diets usually have two phases — the elimination phase and the reintroduction phase. During the elimination phase, you cut potentially problematic foods out of your diet. And when you enter the reintroduction phase, you add foods back in — but in a very controlled manner.
Elimination diets aren’t easy. So it’s important to remember that they don’t last forever — usually just a few weeks. The goal is to create a sustainable eating plan that helps you get the nutrients you need without the symptoms that hold you back.
When you eliminate foods, you also might eliminate nutrients that your body needs. An experienced dietitian can help ensure you don’t develop nutritional deficiencies in the process.
The Problem with Elimination Diets
Elimination diets have a number of advantages including identifying problem foods and improving your symptoms.
But there is a problem.
Most people don’t want to give up foods they like. It’s discouraging. Food brings us nourishment, but it also brings us joy. Eating is fun!
When the entire focus of your eating is what you can’t have, it’s not fun anymore. A lot of people get discouraged and give up. And an elimination diet that you don’t follow doesn’t do you any good. Your symptoms return and you’re back at square one.
Lifestyle Eating and Performance: A Better Option for Elimination Diets
I hated seeing my clients discouraged and tempted to just give up. So I stopped using traditional elimination diets in my practice. I knew there must be a better way.
I’ve found something with all the advantages of the elimination diet, but without the emphasis on deprivation. My patients don’t have to focus on what they can’t eat. They get to focus on what they can eat.
I utilize a food sensitivity test called the Mediator Release Test (MRT). If you’d like to learn more about the MRT and why I use it in my practice, check out this article.
Once I get my client’s results for the MRT test, we work together to create a diet protocol that will help not only reduce their symptoms, but also address the root cause. But I NEVER just hand them a list of foods they can’t eat.
One of the greatest advantages of the MRT test is that it not only identifies the foods you should avoid, but it also indicates which foods are the best for you. And that’s where we put the focus.
The Personalized LEAP Program
The LEAP program, which stands for Lifestyle Eating and Performance, is based on your MRT results and all the information that makes up your full clinical picture. You work with a Certified LEAP Therapist (CLT) so you can seamlessly integrate the LEAP protocol into your life.
LEAP is the most effective diet therapy I have found to rid patients of the chronic and debilitating symptoms that show up in a variety of conditions including:
- Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
- Chronic sinusitis and sinus headaches
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Chronic fatigue syndrome
- And more…
The LEAP program provides a diet protocol aimed to rid you of your symptoms within the first 10-14 days of treatment! Then you phase into a diet protocol designed to prevent future food sensitivities from ever developing.
And with the LEAP protocol, patient compliance is in the 90+% range. When you focus on the foods you enjoy that actually help you feel better, your motivation skyrockets. When you spend your time thinking about what you have to give up, you get discouraged. That’s just human nature.
And when compliance is high, results are too. Once you start to feel better, you become more motivated to stick to your eating plan. You develop habits around the foods that make you feel good and then it’s smooth sailing!
I love using the MRT test and LEAP program in my practice. My clients feel empowered and motivated to take charge of their own health. And I love watching them regain their energy, eliminate their symptoms, and get their lives back!
How Does the LEAP Program Work?
The first step in my process of getting to know a new client is a consultation call. I’ll ask you some questions so I can get to know you, your concerns, symptoms, and your goals. Then if we determine that the LEAP program is right for you, we’ll get you started!
You’ll get your blood drawn at a local lab for the MRT. The MRT tests for 140 most common foods and 30 food chemicals. We’ll get your results back within two weeks.
I’ll look at the big picture of your health and symptoms — everything from your lab results, to your food journals, to your specific concerns — and create a customized diet plan that fits you, your lifestyle, and your nutritional needs. Then we’ll work together to implement the plan in a way that is comfortable for you!
I will support you throughout your journey. It’s important to me that my patients know exactly how to bring their food plan into their lifestyle. Following your LEAP plan takes some getting used to, but it shouldn’t disrupt your life.
I’ll monitor your food diaries and symptoms. And I’ll provide careful instruction on reintroduction of foods into your diet. We’ll work together with phone/email follow up for up to 90 days, or more if needed.
I’ll help you figure out menu planning, recipes, and shopping strategies. We’ll break down and simplify your plan so you feel comfortable and know exactly how to incorporate it into your life.
You’ll also have access to the LEAP MRT Facebook Community so you can communicate with other LEAP patients and LEAP practitioners. This list will provide support, recipe ideas, and helpful tips.
Plus, I’ll work in concert with your doctor so you know your medical team is all on the same page — focused on helping you feel your best!
Ready to find out your trouble foods and start feeling better? Schedule a consultation with me today and we’ll see if the LEAP Program is right for you!