SOLVING THE PUZZLE TO DIET-INDUCED SYMPTOMS & INFLAMMATION
We are excited to announce that Nourish will now be offering food sensitivity testing! The LEAP (Lifestyle Eating And Performance) program is beneficial for a number of medical conditions and symptoms, most significantly for Irritable Bowel Syndrome with diarrhea, migraine and chronic headaches, and fibromyalgia and other arthralgias.
Food sensitivities can play a role in many common health conditions. Chronic health complaints such as digestive problems, headaches, joint and muscle pain, and fatigue are all symptoms which can be caused by our immune system’s “reaction” to foods, additives, or other substances in our diet. Sometimes the reactive food is something easy to identify, like milk. Other times, there are many reactive food or chemicals. In addition, reactions can be delayed and/or dose-dependent. This means we may not feel the effects until many hours or days after we have eaten the foods, or unless we eat enough of the food. For these reasons, dealing with food sensitivities on your own is very difficult–unless you have LEAP.
If you feel like you have food sensitivities, the first thing you need to do is identify which foods and food chemicals are causing you problems. MRT (Mediator Release Test) can do this. MRT is the most accurate and patented blood test that quantifies how strongly your immune cells react to a panel of 150 foods, additives, and chemicals. Even if you have been diagnosed with a known IgE food allergy, MRT identifies non-IgE mediated cellular reactions, which would otherwise go undetected and thus symptoms would persist.
Once you have results from your MRT, the LEAP Immuno-calm Dietary Management Program is implemented. Your dietitian will develop an elimination diet specific to your individual MRT results, and guide you through a 6-Phase food reintroduction schedule while minimizing symptoms. The elimination diet does require you to initially prepare your own foods from scratch, and avoid processed or convenience foods. But, if you work with your dietitian and avoid your reactive foods and chemicals, you will likely start feeling symptom relief within two weeks, as inflammation subsides.
If food sensitivity isn’t addressed, you will likely remain ill. Testing is essential to identify your food and food chemical triggers, and Medical Nutrition Therapy is also essential to ensure the test results get put into practice. Our dietitians will provide insight, understanding, and practical strategies to enable you to assess the likelihood that diet is playing a role in your illness, and then how to effectively manage the dietary component.
HOW DOES THE PROGRAM WORK?
FREE initial consultation: you will sit down with a dietitian and discuss your health concerns, symptoms, answer your questions, and determine if the MRT test is right for you.
Coordination of blood draw: assistance with scheduling a blood draw at your local lab/phlebotomist. There is a lab conveniently located within Park Medical Associates.
Mediator Release Test: panel of 150 foods and chemicals.
MRT results with 60-page informational booklet: provides in-depth guidance about foods/chemicals, shopping and food preparation tips, menu planner, recipes and more.
Visit 1: test results will be reviewed, as well as meal planning to initiate Phase 1 of the elimination diet.
Visit 2: food & symptom logs will be reviewed. We will discuss your progress and work further on meal planning to prepare you for Phase 2.
Visits 3-5: continued guidance through Phases 3-5 of the diet. By this point, your symptoms will be markedly improved! You will begin to add back new foods and expand your variety of foods and recipes. By Phase 6, you will learn how to eat a more normalized diet.
E-mail support: have a question or need help finding a good recipe for a yummy snack? Keeping a food & symptom diary and staying in touch with your dietitian helps you stay on track and troubleshoot any issues that may arise in between visits.
IS OUR FOOD SENSITIVITY PROGRAM A GOOD MATCH FOR YOU?
We would love to work with you, if you…
- Suspect that food is contributing to your symptoms and keeping you sick
- Want answers that are specific to your individualized needs
- Are willing to change your diet and try new things
- Have experience cooking foods from scratch, or are willing to learn how to cook
Our program is not for you if you…
- Are unwilling to give up foods that you test positive to (things to consider: chocolate, cheese, wine…)
- Rely on packaged/processed foods and take-out and/or you are unable or unwilling to cook from scratch
- Do not have the time or motivation to get creative in the kitchen
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS:
1. What is the difference between food allergies, food sensitivities, and food intolerance?
These terms are often used interchangeably and often inappropriately. Food allergy is the least common adverse reaction (affecting 1-2% of the population adverse) involving the immune system–and the most dangerous. You would know immediately if you had a food allergy due to a severe hyper-reaction and massive release of histamine and chemical mediators from white blood cells. The most common foods implicated with food allergy are nuts, shellfish, and other foods containing sulfites.
This mechanism is very different from the triggering mechanisms found in food sensitivities. Food and food-chemical sensitivities are highly complex non-allergic (non-IgE) and inflammatory reactions that can affect any organ system in the body. The reactions are often delayed, taking 45 minutes to several days to produce symptoms, making it very difficult to diagnose clinically. Sensitivities often develop over time in a gradual manner, and this causes you to become accustomed to a certain amount of suffering which you experience as “normal”. Food sensitivities may also be dose dependent, meaning a small amount of the triggering food may not cause symptoms, but a larger dose would.
Food intolerance can produce some digestive symptoms that are similar to food sensitivity, but it doesn’t involve the immune system. Instead, when the food is consumed, it is not properly digested and begins to ferment inside the gut, producing symptoms. An example of this would be lactose intolerance.
2. What is the cost of the program? Do you accept insurance?
The MRT test is $375. The cost of the blood draw is an additional $25 and is performed at Park Medical Laboratory at our Green Spring office. Insurance does not cover the cost of the test. However, your insurance plan may cover the cost of your visits for dietary counseling after you get your results. You are responsible for calling your insurance plan to see what is covered under nutrition services.
3. How long do I have to stay on this diet?
The dietary strategies in the LEAP program are not in any way a fad diet or weight loss diet. The LEAP protocol is implemented for about 30 days. At this point, the patient transitions to a more normalized diet, while avoiding triggering foods and testing new foods. Most patients feel symptom relief after just a few weeks and find that the anti-inflammatory protocol becomes a part of their day-to-day living.
4. Can I just do the MRT without the consults?
Many people think that interpreting the results of the MRT is simple: just avoid your reactive foods. But, to truly reveal the cause of your symptoms and begin healing, you need to start with a customized elimination diet that is nutritionally balanced. Identifying reactive chemicals and their sources can especially present as a challenge for someone who is not trained to do so. With your wellness and best interest in mind, we do require a certain level of commitment to the program by attending your first consult to interpret the results with our certified LEAP therapist dietitians.
5. I do not live in Baltimore, can we still work together?
Absolutely! We work with clients near and far via Skype and phone.
HOW TO GET STARTED:
- Schedule your free 30 minute consultation by calling (410) 583-7140 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
- You will be e-mailed a symptom survey to provide additional information about your health. Please fill this out and submit online prior to your consultation.
- Once we have determined if the LEAP program is right for you, we will schedule your MRT.
- Within 7-10 days after your test, you will be contacted to set up your first visit. Your dietitian will create an individualized elimination diet based on your results and review the expectations for the rest of the program.