This is Part 6 of my 12-Part Series on Leaky Gut and Family Health. Part 1: Leaky Gut: What Is it, And Do You and Your Child Have It? Part 2: Leaky Gut According to Chinese Medicine Part 3: The 4 R’s to Gut Healing: Removal (Step 1) Part 4: The Feingold Diet for Behavioral Problems Part 5: Real Food 101 Part 7: The 4 R’s to Gut Healing: Replacement (Step 2) Part 8: Reinoculation Phase for Healing Leaky Gut Part 9: Repair Phase for Healing Leaky Gut Part 10: Challenges of Going Through Dietary Changes and How To Succeed Part 11: Raising Kids with Healthy Cravings and Part 12: Leaky Gut: Tying It All Together
Have you made the switch to a Real Food diet, but still aren’t noticing much change in your child’s condition or your own health? For some individuals, a leaky gut and multiple food sensitivities may be getting in the way of optimal health–even on a Real Foods diet. If you haven’t read the previous articles about leaky gut, you should go back and read those first so you can understand the foundational premises of this article.
It’s becoming increasingly common in today’s world that when we switch from eating processed foods, artificial ingredients, genetically modified foods, and meats containing hormones and antibiotics, we still don’t fully recover. This is because the gut has been damaged by these substances, and the gut has to heal before total recovery can occur.
In addition to eating a Real Foods diet, it’s important to pay attention to where your food came from and how it was grown or raised. Were your vegetables and fruits sprayed with insecticides and other poisons? These chemicals are not tested for human safety even though they don’t wash off the food when you rinse it. In addition, corn and soy are often genetically modified by inserting DNA from another kingdom (bacteria or virus) into the plant. Again, this has not been proven safe for human consumption. Some studies suggest that genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are capable of tearing holes in the gut. There are reports of livestock fed GMO crops having extremely thin intestinal walls and even having their GI tracts explode after being fed GMO feed. Genetically modified foods are not allowed to bear the Organic certification, so the best way to avoid GMO food is to buy organic. This also insures that your food wasn’t sprayed with insecticides.
Individuals with a leaky gut are often urged to undergo testing for food allergies and food sensitivities. These tests may reveal sensitivities to numerous real foods: chicken, beef, eggs, cauliflower, broccoli, beets, onions, grapes, cherries, lemons, apples, dairy, eggs, spices, and more. This is without a doubt extremely overwhelming. I have seen patients who submit to various types of food allergy testing, with each test showing entirely different lists of foods that they were supposed to avoid! That is just one of the reasons why I usually don’t recommend food allergy or food sensitivity testing because it only tests for one very specific moment in time in a person’s life. Depending on what they ate, their stress levels, and the season, their sensitivity levels may very well differ one moment to the next.
What I rely on the most is what has been shown to work clinically for large numbers of people. When leaky gut has been properly diagnosed with the right functional lab tests, there are a handful of different foods that have been clinically recognized as culprits for most individuals. This has been known in the medical literature for decades. Those culprit food include: corn, soy, legumes (beans, peanuts), grains, nuts, seeds, chocolate, coffee, eggs, nightshades (potatoes, tomatoes, eggplants, peppers), and dairy. This list can seem overwhelming at first, but it is not even close to the list of 50 or more foods that an ALCAT test or similar will tell you to avoid. (An ALCAT test is not recommended, by the way. Results are inconsistent with clinical presentation.)
Avoidance of the common culprit foods listed above is referred to as the Autoimmune Paleo Protocol (AIP). These common culprit foods should be completely avoided for 4 – 6 weeks. After that point, you can begin adding one food back at a time and watching for adverse reactions for 72 hours before adding the next food.
Next up, Part 7 of my 12-part series on Leaky Gut will be the “Replace” in the 4R Healing Protocol for Leaky Gut.