Monday, July 21, 2014

the decision to end the immuno calm/LEAP diet

i am super appreciative of all the support and wise advice you've shared with me in the past week. after much debate, heart to heart talks and consideration, i have finally come to peace with the decision to stop the immuno calm/LEAP diet. 

it wasn't an easy decision. i was incredibly conflicted between feeling the stubbornness to finish the diet out, the desperate hope that the way i was feeling would improve versus the skepticism i had about the results and the desire to be happy and enjoy life once more. at the end of the day, i chose the option that would allow me to immediately improve my quality of life.

as most people who want all the data before they make a decision, i had a pro's and con's list. see below. maybe it will be helpful for those considering this diet, or for those who are curious as to why i wanted to stop.

please note: i am not an expert on any of this stuff, so all views/opinions expressed are that of myself and my experiences, and in no way fact or advice from an expert!


pro's 


  • i think the MRT test does identify some foods that don't and do cause inflammatory reactions in your body (but see also first bullet in con's). these are probably the foods you eat less often, so i think this makes it a little more accurate
  • i learned A LOT about what was going into my food. having to obsessively check labels for any ingredients that could have a hidden trigger in it was exhausting, but it was eye opening. i am much  more aware of all the junk i'm eating, and i'm trying to make more conscious decisions now to eat less processed foods that have a list of ingredients in them 5 miles long

con's

  • i think the test results are misleading and i wish i had known this before shelling out my hard earned $$$ to do this whole thing. the reason i say this is because there is no "clean" baseline. meaning, the only way to get a baseline that can't be skewed (or already have some inflammation in it) is to not eat anything for 1-2 weeks so your body is completely flushed of any types of triggers, and then test to see what the body reacts to on a completely clean baseline. but people can't not eat for weeks, so what happens is when you take the test, your system is already inflamed. so you're testing for inflammatory reactions when you already have inflammation. now, i'm sure some of the test takes this into consideration when they're looking for statistical significance. but, what this also means is that the foods you're eating most often (which turn out to be a lot of the foods that registered high on my reactivity chart) will have some inclination to register as reactive because they've most recently been in your system which is already inflamed. i hope that makes sense. it's kind of confusing but basically it means there's room for error and misinterpretation of the rest results because your body is already at a level of inflammation. foods that score high might not really be reactive, but because your body is already agitated, they showed up on the test this way
  • i wouldn't consider this a "diet", it's more of extreme restriction. and i understand the point of the extreme restriction is to heal your body, keep out the reactive things. but if the test isn't 100% accurate, how can i trust that the things i'm adding are really safe? and, i do not believe it is sustainable to have such a restrictive diet. granted, after the 10 weeks, you're supposed to be able to continue to introduce new foods, but if you are adding something new one day at a time, it could be a full year before you could be back to 50% of the foods you were eating before
  • i also don't think this is a sustainable lifestyle for me. after the 10 weeks, the diet suggests you do a food rotation. you're not allowed to eat the same foods two days in a row. instead, you need to be on a three day schedule. so if i eat pork on monday, i can't have it again until thursday. and you have to do this for nearly EVERYTHING. i'm sorry, but i don't want to be meal planning for the rest of my life to a micro-managed level. that's ridiculous
  • i felt controlled and trapped by food. and that is, never, ever a good thing
  • food is a social gathering point. i couldn't go out to eat with friends or family and when i did have a meal with friends or family, everyone felt bad because we couldn't be eating the same thing. and it made me feel bad that they felt bad. not worth it to have everyone feeling bad over something that was completely optional. gatherings should be fun! not guilt ridden


so maybe my list is a little skewed. i'm sure people who had positive experiences with the program would have more pro's to chip in, so my apologies if this isn't quite a neutral recap. bottom line is a i learned a lot from the experience, but if i had really known the degree to which the results might be misleading, or how the foods you eat most commonly might show up reactive but not really be, i might not have decided to fork over the cash to do this. an expensive lesson learned, but at least i do have a lot of food education to take away from this whole thing. and good education is usually not cheap :)

4 comments:

  1. Yes, I could see where this diet was very restrictive. What are you going to do now? Have you discovered which foods you really need to stay away from?

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    1. I have discovered a few I need to stay away from. I am mostly trying to do portions in moderation (because too much of anything can make you feel icky), stay away from a ton of processed junk, avoid the things I know aren't great for me, and be more alert to how my body responds to food. I've also started a probiotic which I think has helped a lot!

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  2. I'm actually relieved for you to have stopped this diet! I agree with you that quality of life has to count for something. Good for you in trying to find that healthy balance and a lifestyle that really works for you! I hope you continue to feel well!

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    1. Thank you! So far, so good! Although I discovered something interesting about what was really contributing to how crappy I was feeling... will post about it soon!

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