Is Your Food Making You Sick?
Are you suffering from a stubborn health problem that won’t go away no matter what you try? Or perhaps the medications and treatments you’re taking aren’t actually getting at the root cause of your illness – but you want something that will? If you feel this way, or know someone that does, consider some important facts:
- Medical research has shown that sensitivities to food and food-chemicals can be involved in a wide array of painful symptoms and chronic health problems
- Sensitivities are a type of inflammatory reactions that is entirely different than food allergy and most doctors are unaware they are different
- If foods and additives in your diet are contributing to your illness, whatever medications you take will ultimately fail because they only mask the symptoms. They don’t treat the underlying cause of the symptoms – hidden inflammation caused by sensitivity reactions to foods and food-chemicals
- And as is too often the case, many medications have side effects that can lead to other health problems
If food sensitivities are causing your illness and you don’t properly address them, you could easily end up suffering for many years, spending thousands of dollars for treatments that will never work the way you want. This is the experience of millions of Americans who have misdiagnosed or neglected food sensitivities. Schedule your Wellness Assessment to learn how our MRT® Food Sensitivity Test and LEAP Diet Protocol can help you TODAY!
An All-Too-Common Problem
Tens of millions of Americans suffer from food sensitivities. Many know that sometimes foods seem to cause symptoms, but they haven’t been able to figure out their reactive foods, so they keep on suffering. Conditions such as:
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- Acid reflux
- Migraine and other headaches
- Weight imbalances
- Chronic fatigue
- Skin eruptions
- Brain fog
And many other uncomfortable lingering health problems are often directly related to hidden inflammatory reactions to the foods we eat. Even so called “healthy” and “anti-inflammatory” foods such as salmon, parsley, turmeric, ginger, blueberries, or garlic can provoke inflammation and symptoms in sensitive individuals.
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There are 3 categories of diet-induced inflammatory reactions: Food Allergy, Food-Induced Autoimmune Disease, and Food Sensitivities. Of the 3, food sensitivities are the most prevalent.
Food and food-chemical sensitivities are highly complex non-allergic (non-IgE), non-celiac inflammatory reactions. They follow multiple inflammatory pathways and may be governed by either innate or adaptive immune mechanisms. They’re one of the most important sources of inflammation and symptoms across a wide range of chronic inflammatory conditions. They are also one of the most clinically challenging.
Due to their inherent clinical and immunologic complexities, as well as a lack of general knowledge within conventional medicine of their role as a source of inflammation in IBS, migraine, fibromyalgia, arthritis, GERD, obesity, metabolic syndrome, ADD/ADHD, autism, etc., food and food-chemical sensitivities remain one of the most under addressed areas of conventional medicine.
Food and food-chemical sensitivities have clinical characteristics that make it very challenging to identify trigger foods. For example, symptom manifestation may be delayed by many hours after ingestion; reactions may be dose dependent; because of a breakdown of oral tolerance mechanisms, there are often many reactive foods and food-chemicals; even so-called anti-inflammatory foods, such as salmon, parsley, turmeric, ginger, blueberry, and any “healthy” food can be reactive.
A Complex Immune System
Recent research into adverse reactions to gluten has uncovered a new form of diet-induced inflammation termed “non-celiac gluten sensitivity” (or GS). Gluten sensitivity is 6-8 times more prevalent than celiac disease, can provoke a wide range of clinical symptoms, and has been proven to activate the innate immune system, a branch of the immune system that has been almost completely neglected for years by researchers as a source of diet-induced inflammation and symptoms. But gluten is just one potential piece of the puzzle. As stated previously, any food can trigger an inflammatory response, even so-called anti-inflammatory foods. The key is to know which specific foods and food-chemicals are triggering reactions in each specific patient. That’s the beginning of the best way to design an eating plan that will produce the maximum clinical benefit.
Common Feature of Food Sensitivities
The single common feature of all diet-induced inflammatory reactions is that they ultimately cause mediator release (cytokines, leukotrienes, prostaglandins, etc.) from various white blood cells (neutrophils, monocytes, eosinophils, lymphocytes). This is true whether reactions are immediate or delayed, whether dose dependent or not, whether governed by the innate or adaptive immune systems, whether cell-mediated or hormorally-mediated, and whether inflammation remains at a sub-clinical level or becomes clinically symptom-provoking. All food-induced inflammatory reactions involve mediator release, which is the single most important event leading to all the negative effects your patients suffer, including symptom generation.
Sensitivities are complex non-allergic, non-celiac inflammatory reactions that can involve both innate and adaptive immune pathways. A variety of triggering mechanisms trigger reactions in various types of white cells leading to the release of proinflammatory and proalgesic mediators. Mediator release and cellular reactivity ultimately results in subclinical and clinical inflammatory effects manifesting in a variety of clinical conditions and symptoms.
The first thing a food sensitivity sufferer needs to do is identify their inflammatory foods and food-chemicals. In the past, this has been easier said than done for many reasons:
- Food sensitivity reactions may be delayed by hours or even days after ingestion. Even if you suspect food sensitivities, would you consider that the headache you have right now was caused by something you ate yesterday?
- Food sensitivities are dose-related. This means a small or moderate amount of a reactive food may not cause any noticeable symptoms, but a larger amount does. Or perhaps when you eat 2-3 moderately reactive foods at the same time, you get symptoms. But if you ate only 1 of those foods you wouldn’t.
- If that wasn’t enough of a challenge, reactive foods vary widely from person to person, even if they have the same symptoms
- There are usually many reactive foods and food-chemicals, not just one or two.
There are also complexities with how the inflammatory process occurs inside the body making it impossible for traditional allergy tests to identify sensitive foods. Remember – these are sensitivities not allergies. Unfortunately most doctors know about food allergy but are unaware of food sensitivities. Therefore, if they don’t know about food sensitivities they won’t know the signs and symptoms of them, and won’t be able to guide you correctly in how to identify your hidden reactive foods. Fortunately, the patented Mediator Release Test (MRT®) can make this difficult situation much easier.
MRT® is a simple but very powerful blood test. MRT® is patented because it provides clinically relevant information that no other sensitivity blood test can provide. MRT® is the only blood test that quantifies the inflammatory response to foods and food-chemicals, letting you know not just which foods you should stay away from, but more importantly which foods are your BEST foods – those with the lowest level of reactivity. In fact, independent studies confirm MRT® is the most accurate and most comprehensive blood test available for food and food-chemical reactions. The information MRT® provides directly translates into the most effective therapy – the LEAP Anti-Inflammatory Eating Plan.
LEAP is the most effective therapy because it routinely produces the most complete results in the shortest time possible. For people who desire additional support beyond the testing alone, dietary counseling from Certified LEAP Therapists is available. LEAP dietary care provides you the opportunity to get the maximum benefit from your testing. If you want the best, you can have it with LEAP. LEAP has helped thousands of patients across the country turn years of suffering into a bright, happy, healthy future, free of the symptoms that once seemed an inescapable part of life. Even world class athletes have used LEAP to help them be their absolute best. Find out today if your health problems stem from food sensitivities. Schedule your Wellness Assessment TODAY. You’ll be glad you did.
How long do I have to stay on this diet?
The dietary management strategies used in the LEAP Program are not the same as those found in fad diets. The LEAP Program is an individually tailored dietary wellness program which can be used for your whole life. Most of our patients find that after a few weeks of sticking to their program, LEAP becomes a habit and becomes a natural part of their day-to-day living. In addition, our patients usually feel so much better they don’t want to return to their old eating habits.
How long do I have to avoid my red and yellow reactive foods?
It is important always to avoid foods that cause your immune system to react. The best way to be sure that a reactive food is safe again is to “challenge” it after a period of abstinence, usually three to six months. This should be done under the care of your healthcare provider. In some cases, it may be important to retest to see if reactions have changed, as is often the case with sensitivity reactions; but retesting is usually a matter of clinical need (i.e. you begin to feel sick frequently again, even though you are following your plan carefully).
What is a 3-day rotation diet and how does it work?
A rotation diet is a universally accepted dietary approach to treating food sensitivities. A 3-day rotation diet limits one’s exposure to foods from the same food family to once every 3 days. For example, if chicken and eggs were low-reactive foods, you would be able to eat them freely on Monday (the first day of your rotation diet), but you would not eat them again until Thursday. This limits your exposure and thus decreases the chances of developing new sensitivities.
The most commonly reactive foods (such as wheat, cow’s milk, corn, egg, soy, and cane sugar) are thought to be most common because they are eaten the most frequently and in the greatest proportions of any foods. One theory, which explains this phenomenon, states that when we eat the same thing over and over again, we lose the ability to properly break down and assimilate that food. When the improperly broken down food molecule gets absorbed during digestion, our immune system recognizes that food particle as being an enemy, and begins to attack the food whenever it is eaten. This process is called “loss of oral tolerance” as we no longer “tolerate” the food we once did.
The best way to prevent new food sensitivities from arising is to limit our consumption frequency of the foods in our diet. The 3-day rotation diet accomplishes this. We recommend you start your 3-day rotation diet approximately one month AFTER you have started your elimination diet. You may not have tried all the foods listed on your rotation diet at this point, so just rotate the items you have already tried and found you tolerated.
What if I feel worse during this diet?
Sometimes, when food sensitivity patients eliminate their reactive foods, they begin to feel temporarily worse than they did before the diet. Maybe they have less energy, more aches and pains, headaches, more irritability, or they just feel that they are getting worse instead of better. If this happens to you during your first week on the program you should actually get excited because that is one of the main signs that you are on the road to recovery.
Food sensitivity has been likened to food addiction, and physicians who treat food sensitivities have observed for years that patients often go through temporary withdrawal symptoms when they avoid their reactive foods. This is thought to be a kind of “cleaning up” of all the allergens in your system, and a simultaneous re- calibration of your biochemical equilibrium.
Withdrawal from caffeine may also cause headache, drowsiness and fatigue. Reducing your caffeine intake PRIOR to Phase 1 of your elimination diet may help limit these symptoms. The most important thing if you are experiencing these withdrawal symptoms is to be in contact with and follow the advice of your doctor. In many cases, a simple OTC pain reliever like Tylenol or Advil can help “take the edge off” so to speak if you are not reactive to any of the ingredients. Also, extra water consumption can also help minimize the temporary symptoms of withdrawal.
Should I keep taking my prescription and over the counter medicines?
You should always follow the advice of your doctor regarding prescription medications you are taking and never stop the medication on your own, as this may have serious side effects. You may however find that after following the LEAP Program that your symptoms have diminished to the point where you may need to consult with your doctor to adjust the dosage of your medication. Your doctor or pharmacist can help you to check to see if your medications contain any of your reactive ingredients and advise you on any needed changes.
I eat out a lot; will I be able to stay on this program?
You can stay on the program while eating out; however it will require more planning and a thorough knowledge of hidden sources of your reactive foods. It is also important to ask your waiter or the chef about ingredients in the foods available. Refer to the sections on Common & Hidden Sources of Test Substances and Restaurant and Travel Tips for more information.
What if I can’t follow my diet; can I eat foods from my reactive list?
When you consume reactive foods, the physiological, immunological, and biochemical effects in some cases can set back your progress by weeks. Therefore, we never advise our patients to eat foods that test reactive or that are known to provoke symptoms. If you are in a situation where it is impossible to follow the specific phase of your program, the next best thing is to be sure to limit your diet to only those foods on your low-reactive list. This may work until you can go back to your original plan. Remember that your results will be compromised the more you stray from your eating plan.
By following your LEAP Program your cravings should subside considerably within the first 5-10 days on the program. Remember that cheating on the program cannot bring about any long term benefit and usually results in short, medium, and long term problems. Another thing that may make it easier to give up foods you crave is to understand that in reality, your reactive foods are poisoning you. Many people crave chocolate. But how many people would eat chocolate covered poison? So if you can understand that your reactive foods are poison, it becomes easier to find an alternative.
General Program Questions
I have hypoglycemia; will this program take this into consideration?
Yes. Hypoglycemia is a condition in which your blood sugar decreases below normal levels. Dizziness and severe lack of energy are the most common symptoms of this condition. Regular eating patterns are the most important dietary therapy to regulate blood sugar. Smaller more frequent meals eaten every two to three hours can ensure a proper supply of blood sugar.
I am a diabetic; can I be on this program?
Yes. The LEAP dietary program can be integrated with the diabetic diet very easily and with good results.
Would my diet be good for other family members?
It may or may not, depending upon their individual reactivities. Each person responds differently to the foods, chemicals and additives that they are eating. It would be best to have them do the LEAP Test and have an eating plan developed for their particular needs.
Diet & Nutrition
Should I take vitamin supplements while on the program?
Supplements can be a convenient and useful way to make sure that you are getting the right amounts of essential vitamins and minerals. Be sure to check your current supplements for reactive ingredients and follow the advice of your healthcare provider. Often we recommend that you avoid any non-essential supplements during the early phases of your plan, then introduce them one at a time as untested items and monitor your response.
What are refined carbohydrates?
Refined carbohydrates are processed foods rich in simple sugars. Refined carbohydrates have far less nutritional value than their whole food counterparts and should be eaten sparingly. White sugar, white flour, corn syrup and foods with these ingredients (baked goods, desserts, candy, soda, etc.) are examples of refined carbohydrates. If you consume simple sugars frequently, the amounts not immediately used or stored by the liver will be stored as fat.
I don’t eat breakfast, is that all right?
It is very important not to skip breakfast. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day because it kick-starts your metabolism, helping with weight control, and provides important energy for your daily activities. It has been said that if you skip breakfast, you will gain a pound a year. Your light meal should be in the evening.
I only eat one meal a day, is that all right?
Actually, your body requires a steady stream of calories and nutrients to function optimally and one meal a day won’t provide this. It is best to consume three normal sized or five smaller meals per day starting with breakfast.
Are you suffering from a stubborn health problem that won’t go away no matter what you try? Or perhaps the medications and treatments you’re taking aren’t actually getting at the root cause of your illness – but you want something that will? Schedule your assessment for our food sensitivities test today and let us help you live a healthy life once again.
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