Hi, friends! Today I’m going to expand just a little bit more on a topic I touched on when I explained the difference between different types of food sensitivity testing. However, since then, I’ve received the same question many many times so I thought it would be good to write the answer once so everyone can see it. If you haven’t read that post, I highly suggest going back through it really fast. I explain how I became a believer in food sensitivity testing and my experience with the different test options out there.
Once someone decides they want to do the test, the number one question I get from clients is “Can’t I just avoid the foods I test high for?” What is the LEAP protocol and do I really need to do it?
If someone hands you a food sensitivity test and just tells you to avoid your reactive foods, in my eyes, they are doing you a disservice. Here is why:
- You don’t account for all the untested foods in the world. So by just avoiding the foods that show up high, you are still exposing yourself to potentially inflammatory foods that were not tested.
- Because you are still exposing yourself to potentially inflammatory foods, the inflammation never entirely dissipates.
- Because the inflammation never fully dissipates the immune reaction redirects itself to new foods instead of just calming down. This will likely cause the need to retest. (This is most often seen in my clients who avoid gluten and then develop food sensitivities to gluten-free grains such as corn and tapioca.)
- You will not identify other issues that could be present such as a candida problem, food family issue, or outlying reactions.
- You will likely feel better for a while, but never fully resolve the problem.
Leap Protocol: Lifestyle Eating and Performance
I didn’t put very many dates on these phases because how quickly someone progresses through these stages is very often related to how sick they were at the beginning of the program. When clients are in remission, they will typically improve faster than those that aren’t.
Limiting to foods that were tested safe. For my clients, I determine this list of safe foods by looking at lowest reactive foods but also a few other things. I consider reactive chemicals that may be present in certain foods that did not test reactive. I even consider food families that might be an issue. Lastly, I consider common irritants like cruciferous vegetables, dairy and gluten as well. I take type to put a unique list of foods that will help bring down inflammation and dissipate symptoms for my clients.
Start adding in safe foods as determined by considering the things above. Again I put together a detailed list for my clients, so they have groups of foods to get through before moving onto the next one. If they react, I help them identify what food was the issue and what to do.
They start adding in untested foods that are not a part of the food families or chemicals we identified.
Eventually, after 90 days or so we can start adding back in the foods that tested medium reaction. By that time the client has a distinct idea of which foods continue to bother them and which ones don’t. Likely they can bring back many of the foods they tested medium to high for because they’ve done an excellent job at bringing down the inflammation and immune response overall. I recommend at this point they have these foods in a rotation and try not to have more than one in the same day.
We check in throughout the next 10 minutes to discuss potential problem foods. The best example of this is a client I recently determined that high fodmap fruit (but not other foods) were an issue for her. So we backed off on those, and she felt a lot better. I provide resource and support as clients go back to their regular diet.
Benefits of Following the LEAP Protocol
The temporary annoyance of following the LEAP protocol after doing food sensitivity testing is well worth it for many reasons:
- You know once and for all what is right for your body and what isn’t.
- You have support to help you figure things out instead of cutting out foods randomly.
- You never have to go on another diet again or try the latest “gut healing craze.”
- You may be able to get off certain medications that are currently costing you money.
- You get to the root of the problem by bringing down the inflammation systemically.
Hopefully, that helps clear some information up, let me know if you have more questions! I think the next one I will do will be about the different types of conditions that most often benefit from food sensitivity testing. Also, don’t forget to check out these posts:
More information about GI Health and Food Sensitivities:
- Why I Don’t Recommend Elimination Diets
- What Is Inflammation?
- Why You Need Probiotics for Optimal Health
- Prebiotics to help retain the probiotics
- Healthy Fats for Digestion
- Food Sensitivity Test Options