LEAP ImmunoCalm Dietary Program
Q. How long do I have to stay on this diet?
A. 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.
Q. How long do I have to avoid my red and yellow reactive foods?
A. 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).
Q. What is a 3-day rotation diet and how does it work?
A. 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.
Q. What if I feel worse during this diet?
A. 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.
Q. Should I keep taking my prescription and over the counter medicines?
A. 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.
Q. I eat out a lot; will I be able to stay on this program?
A. 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.
Q. What if I can’t follow my diet; can I eat foods from my reactive list?
A. 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
Q. If I have a problem with candida, will this program help me?
A. If you are suffering from candida sensitivity (candidiasis), it is important to consult with a physician who is knowledgeable about the treatment. Often, ridding the body of candida overgrowth involves the use of anti- fungal medications or ointments, as well as a more restrictive diet that avoids sources of yeast, and foods that feed the candida, namely carbohydrates and simple sugars. We may recommend the use of probiotics to help re-establish normal intestinal flora.
Q. I have hypoglycemia; will this program take this into consideration?
A. 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.
Q. I am a diabetic; can I be on this program?
A. Yes. The LEAP dietary program can be integrated with the diabetic diet very easily and with good results.
Q. Would my diet be good for other family members?
A. 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
Q. Should I take vitamin supplements while on the program?
A. 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.
Q. What are refined carbohydrates?
A. 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.
Q. I don’t eat breakfast, is that all right?
A. 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.
Q. I only eat one meal a day, is that all right?
A. 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.