Living LEAP: Phase 6

Don’t know what LEAP/MRT is? Missed the start of this series? Click here to catch up!

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Since my last recap a few months ago, I wrapped up Phase 5 and moved on to Phase 6.

Phase 6 is basically where you’re on your own. You’ve learned how to eat and what to eat and now you just live your life!

In Phase 6, you test out your highly reactive foods (red) and see how you respond to them.

All my results are posted here – but as a refresher:

My highly reactive foods and additives (red) are crab, lecithin, lemon, salmon, sesame, and spinach.

My moderately reactive foods and additives (yellow) are beet, cabbage, cashew, cheddar, codfish, coffee, dill, egg, red #40, garbanzo, green pea, maple, oat, pear, pinto bean, rice, salicylic acid, sodium metabisulfate, spelt, and strawberry.

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In addition, you gradually introduce foods into your diet that the MRT did not test in order to determine your tolerance level.

For example, the blood panel didn’t test kiwis, brussels sprouts, kale, or dates. I miss kale chips and roasted brussels sprouts and can’t wait to add them back (if I can – I haven’t tried yet). I have happily added back kiwis and dates. Dates are especially great since they are a nice, filling snack and now I can utilize Larabars when I’m on-the-go.

You also begin a rotation diet in Phase 6. The rotation helps you not over-consume certain foods/food families to the point where you could possibly lose a tolerance for them or even develop a new sensitivity.

An easy way to do this is to rotate food families every three days. For instance, chickens and eggs are both in the pheasant family, so you might eat eggs and chicken on Monday but then you would wait until Thursday to have them again. You wouldn’t want to eat eggs on Monday, chicken on Tuesday, and eggs again on Wednesday because your body isn’t getting a break from the pheasant family. It’s all about variety and making sure to keep your diet diverse.

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What I’ve been eating lately: 

Enjoy Life Food’s Chocolate Chips / Chunks / they’re dairy-free, nut-free, and soy-free.  Easily found at most health food stores, co-ops, or on Amazon.

Elderberry Syrup (Amazon / Etsy / DIY) / this simple immune system-boosting syrup is great for warding off the cold or flu or speeding up recovery if you’ve already caught something.

Theo’s Gingerbread Spice / I’m a huge dark chocolate fan but Theo’s special holiday chocolate bar is my latest obsession. I may have to stock up to tide me over until next Christmas!

Trader Joe’s Salsa Autentica / few ingredients, but full of flavor – goes perfectly with blue corn chips!

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What I’ve been using lately: 

Bumble & Co’s Shampoo & Conditioner / still loving this! The smell is heavenly but it’s a little expensive so I keep it as a treat.

Acure Organic’s Pure Mint + Echinacea Stem Cell Shampoo & Conditioner / my new go-to! The price is right and the mint is invigorating.

Fat and the Moon’s Lip & Cheek Stain / When I first started LEAP, I was kind of bummed when I had to toss all my lipsticks and stains because they were chemical-laden and chock full of red dyes. I missed being able to perk up my look with a bright pop of color. So, although beets are on my moderately reactive list and Fat and the Moon’s product contains beet root, I am pleased to have found an alternative to my old beauty products. Due to the beets, I use this sparingly but love it!

Primal Pit Paste Happy Pits Sensitive Stick / after ditching traditional antiperspirant, I trialled many natural deodorant options. Tom’s of Maine, Fat and the Moon, Crystal… you name it. Nothing was working and I was sick of stinking or having a rash (which I later figured out was from the baking soda) so I went back to my trusty, albeit aluminum-filled Secret. But, I’m ready to get back on track so my next experiment will be with Primal Pit’s new deo for sensitive skin since it’s baking soda free. Wish me luck!

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What I’ve been reading lately:

Secrets from a Baker: How to Make Any Recipe “Real Food Approved”

Why Prebiotics Are Just As Important As Probiotics For Gut Health

Tired Of Nutrition Nonsense? 7 Food Rules Anyone Can Live By

The Problem With Pads and Tampons (and Natural Alternatives)

Good Food on a Tight Budget

EWG’s Healthy Home Tips: Use greener cleaners and avoid pesticides

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How I’m Feeling: 

When I started my LEAP journey last February, I had no idea how much it would change my life but I had high hopes. I’m so pleased with the outcome. It took dedication and a lot of hard work but it was so worth it. In the end, treating your body right and providing for it properly is a process. It’s not a diet or a phase; it’s a lifestyle change. It is something you’ll always be working on.

Sure, it’s a roller-coaster and, yes, you fall off the wagon every once in a while. But, you get back up because you’ve realized that you only have one body, one life, and no one can take care of it but you. It’s a big responsibility but you can do it! And when you need a little help, there’s a whole supportive community out there waiting with open arms. I’ve met many new people on my LEAP journey, found wonderful blogs to follow, and fantastic businesses to support. There’s a whole movement of individuals who are in the pursuit of health and wellness in a simple, all natural way. It’s incredible and inspiring!

I get asked many questions about my recent life change and about how MRT / LEAP works. However, after I’ve explained everything, the next thing I usually hear is, “So, you can never eat those foods again?!” and “There’s no way I could ever do that! If I had to stop eating XYZ, I’d die.”

My response? Sure, if you take the MRT test and follow the LEAP protocol you might find some of your favorite foods are reactive for you. But then, if you are feeling bad enough to give MRT/LEAP a try, wouldn’t you be willing to do just about anything to feel better? In truth, most people who have to give up a favorite food or two (or more!) realize that after their symptoms are resolved, it’s really not worth it to go back to feeling awful just for a food.

And, just because the MRT reveals you have food sensitivities, doesn’t mean you will always have the same sensitivities. Some people with food sensitivities have found that after giving their body/immune system time to calm down (usually months), they can enjoy foods they were found sensitive to so long as they are not over-consumed. Others find that they’re always sensitive to those foods or that although the reaction has lessened it still remains a sensitivity. It all depends on the person.

Furthermore, like I mentioned earlier, there’s always the possibility that new food sensitivities can develop.

That’s why it’s so important to vary your diet as much as possible as this may help prevent new sensitivities from developing. One food sensitivity theory is that because our immune system is weakened and we continue to bombard our body with the same foods over and over, we develop sensitivities to the repeating foods/chemicals.

A diverse diet is crucial to help ensure you are receiving the variety of nutrients your body needs, which in turn helps support a healthy immune system.

So, in the end, maybe you will have to give up your favorite foods. Or, maybe you won’t. But if you feel like your body is out of balance or you’re suffering from some of symptoms listed here – I can’t help but think you owe it to yourself to take that leap, face your fears, and possibly give up that that favorite food in exchange for a healthier, happier life.

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So, that’s what’s been going on over here!

Again, if you have any questions about things I’ve written about or about MRT/LEAP in general just let me know. Wishing you all good health and happiness!

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8 thoughts on “Living LEAP: Phase 6

  1. I’m also on phase six, have been failing at the three-day rotation, finding it difficult to break free from eating the same foods over and over with minimal rotation. I realize this can cause me to develop sensitivities — What’s working for you in this phase — what’s helping you — for example — I feel so good that I’m in a “safe place” food wise — please share more — I’m five months in now.

    • Hi Susie – I like to say my Phase 6 is a work in progress because like you I’m struggling with the rotation meal plan too. I just do the best I can! :) It’s easier w/ fruits and veggies to do the rotation because there are so many. I always get stuck on the meats since I only rotate through a few. What does help me is setting the three-day rotation to not be typical days like Mon,Tues, Wed start over but by doing 24 hour cycles instead. My 24 cycle starts at dinner one evening and goes through until dinner the next day. So for example I may eat chicken / green beans / apple for dinner one night and then I’ll eat those same foods as left overs for lunch the next day. Then that night’s dinner might be something different, like spaghetti with turkey meat sauce / grapes and for lunch the next day it’ll be the same. Then that night’s dinner is tilapia and a salad and next day’s lunch is those leftovers. Then you’ve made it to that 4th day and could technically start the rotation over but wouldn’t since there are so many other tasty dinners to make :). But this really helps me because I don’t feel like I have to make a brand new dinner and lunch every single day. Hopefully this helps! I know what you mean about feeling in a safe place food-wise! It’s a wonderful feeling. Except, last month I got a little too comfortable and slacked on my rotations and ate tons of cheese and ate the same things over and over… womp womp. Trying to get back on track because I don’t want to ever be out of my “safe space” again. It’s too much fun feelin’ good!

  2. Hi Meg! I really appreciate your blogging about your LEAP experience. I have gotten my results, but haven’t started my elimination diet yet. So far I’ve just eliminated my reactive foods from my diet. Now that you are an experienced LEAP person, are there foods that you were never able to reintegrate on an occasional basis? You talk in your blog a lot about what you were able to successfully add, but aside from mushrooms, I was wondering what couldn’t come back.

    • Hi Kari,

      Thanks for commenting! I really should do an update on my diet since it’s been awhile now.

      As a refresher here are my sensitivities:

      Most reactive (reds): crab, lecithin, lemon, salmon, sesame, spinach
      Moderately reactive (yellows): beet, cabbage, cashew, cheddar, codfish, coffee, dill, egg, red #40, garbanzo, green pea, maple, oat, pear, pinto bean, rice, salicylic acid, sodium metabisulfate, spelt, strawberry

      To answer your question:

      I actually stopped testing foods after awhile – it gets pretty tiresome if I’m being honest. I avoid all my reds because I’ve had enough run-ins with them to know they still make me feel not great (bloated, headaches, etc). Lecithin and lemon really get me! As for the yellows, some I didn’t eat before LEAP so I never tested those (beet, cabbage, cod, coffee, spelt). I avoid salicyclic acid, sodium metabisulfate, and red #40 because who needs those chemicals/additives in their system anyway? I don’t eat eggs (still give me a stomachache) but can tolerate them a bit in baked goods (probably because there’s so little egg in the cookie or muffin you actually eat – since it’s spread through all the batter). I sometimes have cheddar or a dill pickle as a treat but if I eat them too often my GI issues flare up. On occasion I’ll eat a pear or a few strawberries, but I don’t go overboard – just in case. And yes, although mushrooms are on my list they still bug me. I also don’t drink any alcohol because I hate beer and anything else – vodka, wine, etc. make me sick 20 mins – 1 hour after consuming. Usually it’s the sulfates in the wine that do me in but I’ve also gotten sick after vodka (which I don’t believe has sulfates?) so I just avoid it all together. I drink kombucha instead and still have a wonderful time, without all the extra calories. :)

      Hope that helps!

  3. I’m just entering Phase 6 and would love to ask a few questions since you’ve walked this road before. Hope it’s ok if I just fire away and hope you’ll have time to respond:) On Day 4 of rotation, do you repeat the same food from day 1 or food in the same category? If I’ve already eaten foods in Phase 1-5 and think they are safe, should I try other foods in the same category? Do you still only introduce 1 new food/day? Can I eat any of the same food on day 2 and 3 as I do on day 1 (I usually have some form of oatmeal for b’fast…granola, overnight oatmeal, cooked)?

    • Congrats on making it to Phase 6! It’s been a long time so I don’t remember completely – but I think on Day 4 you can either repeat the same food from day one or food in the same food family (as long as you’ve tried them already and they’re nonreactive). Like you could eat chicken Monday and then Thursday eat chicken again. Or you could eat chicken Monday and then eat eggs on Thursday. You should not eat the same food as you did on Day 1 on Day 2 or 3 (so eating oatmeal daily isn’t a great idea – maybe down the line you’ll be able to do that though!). Anything I deemed safe during Phase 1-5 I included in my rotation. I would then introduce one new food at a time. Usually I’d eat it a few times on one day and waiting like 2-3 days to see if there was a reaction. I honestly didn’t do the testing of each new food at a time for very long because it got tiresome. I also only stuck to the strict rotation diet for a few months I think. I relaxed a bit after that. I still made sure to try to eat a variety and not eat the same thing day after day after day. I still took a break from foods if I started feeling bad again. I just did what I was comfortable with and what worked for me. I still avoid my reds because I’ve trialed them a few times and it didn’t go well. I have been able to add back a few of my yellows but only in small doses and not that often. There’s a sample menu and instructions/explanation of the rotation plan in the middle of this pdf that I think its helpful (it’s not LEAP but similar): https://www.gdx.net/core/interpretive-guides/Allergix-IG.pdf . I’d also recommend working with your dietitian for a few weeks during Phase 6 until you get the hang of it, maybe he/she can help you come up with a few menus too.

      Good luck!

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