Last week we wrapped up our 17th Healthy Eating Workshop. Very exciting.
Six weeks of exploring better eating habits to transform your health is the focus and each year the group that gathers inspires us. In our last class we spent a great deal of time discussing the relationship between allergy, immune response and diet. If you suffer from allergies, asthma, eczema or any of the many autoimmune disorders, then by definition you have an overactive and twitchy immune system.
So what do you do?
Today we’re going to discuss an approach to diet that can calm down your immune system and reduce your symptoms, even with severe autoimmune disease. The approach is often called the “rotation diet” or the “Rotary diet“. The originator of this system is Theron G. Randolph, MD and his approach to allergies is more broadly referred to as the field of Clinical Ecology.
Dr. Randolph was an allergist and he treated thousands of people. He came to see food allergies as a variation on addiction, and his ideas do explain some of the things we commonly see when we work with people on their food sensitivities. Dr. Randolph proposed that when you eat the same foods daily for weeks at a time you develop an addiction to those foods.
Consider coffee as an example. If you drink coffee daily and have a type of addiction to coffee, you know that if you suddenly give up coffee, you might have some withdrawal symptoms. The question then becomes: what if this common experience people have with coffee was also true for many other foods?
As another example Dr. Randolph found almost universal reaction to corn in the people he worked with, not overly surprising considering corn (in its many forms) is present in almost all processed food. When he would put people on a diet free of ALL corn for 4 to 5 days and then reintroduce corn, most people had some sort of toxic reaction. Corn in some form is even present in many beers and alcohols, and Dr. Randolph proposed that many of the problems that people have with alcohol are actually problems with the other food products in the alcoholic drinks.
Some of the ideas in Clinical Ecology may not seem intuitive. How do you explain why some people might eat a certain food daily, even multiple times a day, with few seeing problems, but who see improvements in their health when that food is removed? The body at times becomes desensitized when that food is always present, but cheers when we remove it for a time.
This brings us to one of the basic interventions used in Clinical Ecology – the rotation diet.
In a rotation diet, you don’t eat the same families of food more often than every four days. For example, if you eat chicken on Monday you won’t eat chicken again until Friday. You would choose a different protein source for Tuesday Wednesday and Thursday. (And since eggs are in the same family as chicken, you would only eat eggs on the same days that you had chicken.) You would do the same rotation with oils, carbohydrates, nuts and seeds, fruits, vegetables, etc.
As you might guess, keeping to this type of diet takes some real planning and diligence, but if you have serious allergies, multiple chemical sensitivities, or a serious autoimmune disease then the payoff can be worth the effort.
In part two of this article, we will give you a sample schedule of how you might put this diet together. Like so many things we propose, just try it to decide if it might be of value for you.
If you’re interested in more information there is a book just click the link:
Alternative Approach to Allergies, The New Field of Clinical Ecology by Theron G. Randolph, MD and Ralph W. Moss, Ph.D.
Look for Part Two in the coming days. In the meantime be well. To Your Health