My Four-Day Food Rotation Diet and Why It Sucks…
How’s that for a super blunt title?
But for realz. Rotation diets are not fun. Just ask Jeremy. He’ll tell you that about all I have done for the past six weeks is whine about meal planning, prepping, and all things food-related. For awhile I actually felt sort of bad for him for having to listen to it all, but then I remembered that he can eat whatever the heck he wants, so I stopped feeling bad!
Before we get into the nitty gritty of why it is somewhat terrible, I suppose I should back up and explain what my four-day food rotation diet is and why I’m following it.
salmon + parsley over arugula, nectarine, sautéed collards and cabbage
My Four-Day Food Rotation Diet
I started working with my current functional medicine practitioner back in June. As a part of my package, a food sensitivity test was included in the cost of my care. I had thought about investing in a food sensitivity test for several years, but never took the plunge because I had heard and read so many things about false positives and false negatives coming out of the tests. But since the test was already included in my payment, I figured it was kind of a no-brainer to get ‘er done.
My clinic uses the FoodSafe Allergy test. I won’t go into the details of the test since you can read that on your own, but my two sentence summary is as follows:
The test uses the patient’s blood to determine their IgG response (essentially a delayed response to foods as opposed to immediate like an IgE response would be) to 95 different foods. These types of responses may lead to symptoms like joint/muscle pain, headaches, fatigue, etc.
ground turkey + leeks, sautéed broccoli, carrots, & chard with coconut aminos, and sweet potato fries
The actual test itself was super simple. The nurse pricked my finger, squeezed blood onto about four or five small circles on the testing sheet, and they shipped it off to be reviewed. I received my results within about two weeks. So what did they find?
According to the test, there are several foods that I am highly sensitive to and should avoid completely (for now), including: most forms of dairy, eggs, almonds, spinach, bananas (including plantains), and avocados. I’m honestly not that sad about most of these, except for the bananas/plantains and avocados!
There were also quite a few foods that I am “moderately” sensitive to and, therefore, should only be eating once every four days. The list is long: beef, lamb, all grains except oats, all nuts and seeds (except almonds listed above), papaya, raspberries, black olives, cauliflower, celery, cucumber, garlic, green beans, green peppers, lettuce, white potatoes, pumpkin, tomatoes, yeast, chocolate, coffee, cane sugar, and honey.
grassfed beef burger + red onions over arugula, baby carrots, grilled zucchini
I honestly wasn’t surprised to have so many foods listed, but can you see why I was so annoyed?
To be honest, I am a bit surprised that I have found this particular diet to be so challenging. I have done the whole AIP Paleo diet thing (which is pretty restrictive- no gluten, grains, dairy, eggs, legumes, soy, nuts, seeds, etc.) for months, but I definitely feel like this has been worse.
The main reason why I say it sucks is because it requires a ton of planning and organization. My entire meal plan isn’t just focused on what I can eat, but also when I can eat it. If I can only eat chicken every four days, then that means I need to have beef, seafood, and pork (for example) for the next three days until I can eat chicken again. This also means I am eating a lot of the same meals over and over again within a 24-hour period so that I am not having to cook quite as often.
The other really tricky part is that certain foods exist in “families.” So if I eat cauliflower on “Day 1” of my rotation diet, not only can I not eat it again until “Day 5,” but I also cannot eat any of the other foods (broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, celery, collards, kale, kohlrabi, mustard, mustard greens, radishes, rutabaga, turnips, watercress) in its family until “Day 5.” This generally results in me trying to cram all of the foods that I want to eat in that particular family into a 24-hour period. Hence the crazy need for planning and organization.
all the legumes: bean bake and grain-free chickpea flour tortilla chips
For those who know me well, you know I am a very Type-A, organized person. And despite my food charts and lists that I have created for myself, each weekly meal plan can take me anywhere from one to three hours to write in order to ensure I am following the specifications that have been laid out for me. Even with so much care going into it, I still have days where I falter (this especially happens when it comes to rotating basic things like spices and oils). This sometimes leads to guilt and extra stress, which I think is probably actually worse for my body than eating some of the food offenders.
As I said, it has been six weeks since I started this diet. They “say” you should notice changes within about four weeks (this is highly variable, I imagine), and that you can start reintroducing certain “avoid” foods around that time period. For me, though, that would be somewhat pointless since my symptoms have not improved and I would not have much to base the reintroductions off of. Therefore, I am going to continue avoiding the foods listed in that group.
Another thing that complicates the diet is that Jeremy and I leave for a week-long vacation to Colorado and New Mexico in just a few days. As you can imagine, following this four-day rotation while actually enjoying myself would be quite the challenge. So I am going to do the best that I can! That means absolutely no gluten or dairy, while also avoiding the foods on my “avoid” list. As far as the “moderate” foods go, I will do my best to rotate and space them out a bit. But I don’t want to stress about it all too much. As I said above, I’m pretty sure the stress of it all would actually be more detrimental to my health than eating oats two days in a row.
And when we arrive home from our trip? I’m honestly not exactly sure how things will play out. I’ll have to update you on that one later! I have a feeling that a return to the Paleo diet may be on the horizon.
My morale of the story: food rotation diets are NOT easy and NOT fun (but do work for some people)! As far as whether or not I think food sensitivity tests are worth it… I honestly don’t have an opinion on this one. It doesn’t appear this one has worked for me, but I know others have seen success. Different tests can also vary in their reliability. If I had one done again, I think I would find a practitioner who offers the MRT and LEAP tests, as I have heard they tend to be the most reliable. Of course those cost a pretty penny, so that may be for another day!My Four-Day Food Rotation Diet and Why It Sucks #glutenfree #dairyfree Click To Tweet