Principle #1: Start with the most nutrient rich food plan and get more restrictive only if necessary.
Most self-proclaimed diet “gurus” are talking about the many things that should be strictly limited or excluded from your diet. However, we want you to be as inclusive as possible, because all ‘real’ food has nutritional value. If our bodies do not receive the nutrition they need to function optimally, then healing is slowed or prevented all together. So this is the balance that we must maintain: Exclude certain foods to which you (and your immune system) may be reacting while maintaining or even improving your nutritional status. That’s why we have had the most success with beginning with a three week Antigen Elimination Diet. This therapeutic food plan is designed to exclude the most common foods that can continually annoy the immune system. Scientists estimate that around 70% of the immune system is located in the gastrointestinal tract and if the immune system is ‘irritated’ by components (antigens) in what we eat, inflammation occurs. Since inflammation is the root cause of many health problems, the Antigen Elimination Diet is a great place to start. Within 21 days of starting this therapeutic food plan, the immune system can cool down, inflammation can decrease significantly, and many symptoms can greatly improve. In fact, many patients return for their follow up visits reporting that joint pains, headaches, skin rashes, fatigue, and many other health issues have completely resolved! A significant number of my patients have convinced their spouses to follow the dietary protocol with them and most spouses report feeling better as well. If you are seeing 80-100% improvement in your symptoms after 21 days then we’ll begin to plan separate reintroductions of each food group that you have eliminated to see if any individual food group causes a recurrence of your previous symptoms. If/when we identify a food sensitivity then we’ll re-eliminate this food group from your diet for another 2-3 months while you eat all the other food groups to which you have not had a reaction. In this way we can zero in on food intolerances and sensitivities so that you can maintain the broadest nutritional intake with minimal dietary exclusions. This approach is much more conducive to an excellent quality of life and makes going out to eat a lot less stressful!
In Part 3, we'll talk about what to do if you're not seeing improvement on this diet. Coming soon!