The 4Rs of Functional Medicine
Remove: The goal here is to remove anything that could be troubling your digestive system and causing you issues. These are more likely to be foods, which is why the elimination diet above proves so beneficial, but it is also likely that your gut could have a bacterial imbalance, parasite, or some sort of infection. In less serious cases, these can be cured with a herbal supplement, but in severe cases you may need antibiotics. The two gold standards of testing in this case will be the elimination diet for food and a comprehensive stool analysis for parasites and bacterial balance.
Replace: During this second phase that you would to add in supplements that will support the body and the healing process. It’s usually a good idea to get yourself a broad spectrum digestive enzyme to support digestion during the gut healing process while also using other supplements such as Zinc (to increase the production of stomach acids). Some people may need to add a HCL supplement here, but you’re just as likely to get the stomach acid production going with an increased Zinc intake without needing to resort to an HCL supplement.
Re-Inoculate: At this third stage that you would start adding in pre and probiotics, as well as a fibre supplement. Normal supermarket probiotics like Yakult are not going to be good enough to get the job done here. It’s likely that you’ll need something a lot stronger then that and go for a broad spectrumstrain product. If you can afford it, the stronger the better. For fibre, I used to recommend psyllium husks, but now lean away from that due to its dehydrating effects. Fibre smart (by renew life) is a good Fibre supplement to use here.
Repair: Now the final stage; to heal the gut. This is where you want to start adding in Glutamine to heal the gut, more nutrients and minerals in the form of Multi vitamins, Zinc, Magnesium, Fish Oils. This is the simplest part of the 4R system. A good supplement to add here which contains a whole host of gut healing ingredients is Intesti new by Renew Health.
The Elimination Diet
There’s no such thing as a perfect diet, but there are certainly foods which will work better for you than others and finding out what these are will pave the path to dieting success in the future. The elimination diet does just that, it identifies the foods which work for you while allowing you to remove the foods which are causing all of the issues outlined in the previous article. Once you get started on your elimination diet, you’ll feel better than ever and get the fat loss process off to an easy start. So what is in elimination diet and just exactly how would do carry it out? Because the whole process will be relatively complex to explain, I will outline it in simple and easy to follow steps so you can get a basic understanding.
The elimination diet starts by eliminating foods which are known to be common allergens. This will include foods such as Eggs, Wheat, Gluten, Dairy, Nuts and a whole host of other items. The key here is to stay in this eliminated state so that the the antigens as mentioned in The Gut Fix… Part 1, are removed (Part of the 4Rs, discussed below) for long enough to reduce the massive stresses on the body and to allow the body to start healing itself. During this time you would introduce supplements which will support digestion, support the healing of the mucosal membrane and restoring SIgA (mentioned here). This phase would normally last from 3-4 weeks. Another fact to add, the stricter the elimination phase of the diet (more foods removed) the better the results will be in the long run.
The second phase of the diet is when you can start reintroducing the foods you have removed. It’s very important that you do this after 3-4 weeks of the elimination phase in order to really feel the effects that foods are having on your body. It is also very important that you only reintroduce one food item at a time, and carefully pay attention to any reaction it may have caused and believe me, they’re easy enough to recognise.
Here is a general reintroduction guideline to follow:
Day 1 – Re-introduce one food item. Eat the reintroduced food a few times throughout the day in separate meals.
Day 2 & 3 – Remove the reintroduced food and pay close attention for any reactions. Reactions are not always instant although they may happen on day 1, in some cases they can take a day or two to manifest.
Day 4 – If a food you add back in doesn’t cause a reaction, you can add it back in to your normal rotation of foods. But if it does cause a reaction, it is advisable to avoid it for another 6 months while you are taking steps to heal the gastrointestinal tract and try again after those 6 months.
Once you have completed your elimination diet and the reintroduction phase, you’ll be on much better footing to start your journey into fat loss or muscle building as you would have found a whole host of foods which work perfectly with your individual physiology which maximise and support and healthy working body.
Once the 4Rs have been completed, you should feel a lot better then you ever have with a digestive system that is now working the way it should as most stressors have been removed from the body. You’re fat loss will have kickstarted dramatically, you’ll have found out what foods have been working against you while also finding a whole bunch of foods that work incredibly well for you. Don’t be alarmed, just because you’ve identified several foods that cause you problems, it doesn’t mean that you’ll never be able to have them again. Just leave them out till you’re a lot further along in the gut healing process and maybe re test them several months down the line.
And remember, no matter how little a reaction caused by a food you consume, it still creates a stress on the body (yes even that drop of milk in your tea). They are basically acting like a poison in your body whether you have a cup full or a teaspoon, so save your health and remove them completely.
If you want to know how to properly set up your own elimination diet, contact me for further details. And if you know anybody who you think can benefit from this information, please use the links below to share the article.