Is Your Leaky Gut for Real or Simply Full of Shit?

 

PART TWO: REORGANIZATION

The Reorganization of one’s diet and habits during the protocol period

This post and the subsequent posts in this four-part series, will fully explain and guide users through this “elimination diet protocol” known as the RepairVite Program from Apex Energetics (the “Program”).  I’ve broken the Program down into four stages:

How I Repaired My Leaky Gut Using the Four “Rs”:

  1. the RepairVite Program description and guidelines
  2. the reorganization of one’s diet and habits during the protocol period (Today’s Post);
  3. the reintroduction of forbidden foods into the diet; and
  4. the permanent reformation of one’s health.

This Program is not for the faint of heart or weak of willed. It’s definitely one of the hardest “diets” I’ve ever been on, but, in the end, it was the beginning of a transformation of my entire way of eating, how I look at food, and how I listen to and treat my body.[/box]

REPAIRING LEAKY GUT SYNDROME

As I stated in part 1 of this series, the RepairVite Program is not for the faint of heart or weak of willed. It is an “aggressive and complete regimen designed to support intestinal health” and to identify possible food allergies and/or food intolerances/sensitivities.  Depending on the severity/chronicity of your condition, your supplementation schedule and the length of time you are required to adhere to the dietary plan will vary. Some sample scheduling guidelines are:

  • Average Leaky Gut Program – 10 days
  • Moderate Leaky Gut Program – 20 days
  • Severe Leaky Gut Program – 30-60 days

Please note that the above timelines only refer to the dietary restriction phase of the program and do not include the 21 day provocation (reintroduction) period that I will explain in my next post.

The nutritional supplements required to repair the damaged intestinal lining, replace the normal flora and digestive enzymes, and remove the infection (RepairVite, Strengtia, and GI Synergy) come with their own guidelines. The amount of each supplement and the number of times per day each is taken would also vary based on the severity of your condition (i.e., Average Leaky Gut Program = fewer doses; Severe Leaky Gut Program = maximum doses)

RepairVite Program Supplementation Schedule 

1.  RepairVite:  Use 1 scoop of powder mixed in 6-8 ounces of water 2 times per day. (WARNING: There is no way to sugar coat it, this stuff tastes terrible. Some say that you get used to the taste, but it’s not true. There’s really nothing that I’ve tasted to compare it to, but I think dirt tastes better. The way I got through my dosing was to mix the scoop in lukewarm water, plug my nose and pretend like I was back in college and chug! chug! chug!)

2.  Strengtia:  Use 1-3 capsules, 1-2 times per day.

3.  GI Synergy:  Use 1 packet, 1-2 times per day.

Based on my symptoms, my chiropractor diagnosed me with moderate leaky gut and probably food sensitivities/intolerances. Due to our high sugar and processed food intake, this is probably where most Americans fall on the spectrum. Here is the program I followed:

Moderate Leaky Gut Program/Elimination Diet for Food Sensitivities Protocol – 21 Days

A.  Supplementation Schedule:

  • 1 scoop of RepairVite, 2 times per day
  • 2 Strengtia capsules, 2 times per day
  • 1 GI Synergy packet, 2 times per day

B.  Dietary Plan

As directed, for 21 days, I also adhered to the strict dietary guidelines that were designed to identify any food allergies/sensitivities/intolerances that I might have and that might be contributing to my fatigue, bowel issues and weight loss plateau. I provided a comprehensive dietary plan in my last post, but, in a nutshell, the plan was as follows:

1.  Eat (this is a short list)

  • Organic vegetables
  • Fermented foods
  • Grass-fed, hormone and antibiotic free meats
  • Low glycemic organic fruits
  • Coconut
  • Herbs and spices

2.  Avoid (this is the “Oh my God! What can I eat?” list)1

  • Sugar (in all of its forms)
  • High glycemic fruits
  • Grains
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Gluten
  • Dairy
  • Eggs
  • Soy
  • Fungi
  • Alcohol
  • Beans and legumes
  • Nightshade foods
  • Processed and canned foods
  • Caffeine

REORGANIZATION

So, for what I thought was only going to be 21 days of my life, I had to reorganize my life around food. Planning and preparing my meals and shopping for food had to become a priority in my life. Food could no longer be a second thought and meals could no longer be spontaneous, fly-by-the-seat of my pants events. No one warned me about this, of course. It sounds easy, right? Eat this. Don’t eat that. I’m here to tell you that, if you are a caffeine, sugar, and carb addict like me,  it’s not as easy as it sounds so below are some tips to help you save some time, energy, and money during the RepairVite Program.

Plan

Plan everything. Plan what you are going to eat for the week, when you will go shopping, and when you will cook and prepare your meals. (This may be difficult for many, but for those of us who love to plan things, it is right up our alley.) I dedicated a chunk of time on Sundays to create a meal plan for the week and make a shopping list. One of the bonuses of this program is that since there are very few things you can eat, your shopping list will be quite short. I also used that Sunday time to plan my workouts for the week and to figure out which day(s) during the week I would go grocery shopping.

Once you’ve created your meal plan and drafted a grocery list, it’s time to shop. At first, this was a time consuming process because I had to read every label to make sure that it didn’t contain any of the ingredients in the “avoid” list. To save you all some time, here is what I suggest when shopping:

  • Avoid foods in cans, packages, bottles, etc. They will probably contain some type of soy by-product because soy is in everything. There’s a saying that goes something like this:  “If it grew on a plant, eat it. If it was grown in a plant, don’t eat it.”
  • Buy fresh fruits and vegetables if you can. To save money, take trips to your local farmers markets where you can usually buy local, organic produce for cheaper prices.
  • Visit the butcher in the supermarket and have him/her point you to the grass-fed beef and organic meats instead of reading all of those little signs yourself. Also, if you want fresh ground turkey and they don’t have it, ask the butcher to ground some for you. Be assertive, but friendly, about your needs. That goes for restaurants and meals with family and friends as well.
  • Buy wild Alaskan salmon in the can. Do not buy tuna in a can because it will most likely contain soy. Costco has the best price on the wild Alaskan Salmon.
  • Buy organic chicken/turkey sausage (Aidells, Applegate, etc.). Although they come in a package and have more sodium (via sea salt) than I like, they are a good meat alternative and make quick, easy breakfasts.
  • Drink organic herbal tea because water gets boring. Tulsi and Traditional Medicinals have some good flavor options.
  • Buy fresh lemons, grapefruits, cucumber, etc. and add them to your water. Not only are they effective anti-inflammatories, they take the boredom out of drinking just water.
  • Buy Kombucha tea and drink it when you are craving soda, sweets, and/or alcohol. If you don’t know what Kombucha  is, don’t look it up because it may gross you out. It took some time to find the tastiest one, but GT’s and Synergy are organic, are fairly easy to come by, and have some great flavors. Watch the sugar content though and try to stick to 2-4 grams of sugar per serving (there are 2 servings per bottle.)
  • Buy unsweetened almond milk, coconut milk, or almond/coconut milk . So Delicious even makes an almond milk with added protein.

Prepare

Now that you’ve got your meal plan in place and your food purchased, it’s time to prepare it. Unless you are a gourmet chef or love to cook elaborate dishes, I suggest keeping it simple. Most of us aren’t used to preparing 3-6 meals a day so the base amount of time devoted to meal prep will likely increase. By keeping dishes simple, and cooking meals with 5 or fewer ingredients, prep time can be contained and minimized. Additionally, with fewer ingredients, you’re more likely to everything you need in your pantry already. I also suggest cooking meats, soups, etc. in bulk so that you have leftovers and can just grab and go.

To keep it simple and since it was for a short period of time, I stuck to eating the same meals nearly every day with only a few variations. I was given a sample menu, but I found that the recipes were more time consuming to prepare than I wanted and Kale and roasted vegetable soup in the mornings for breakfast didn’t sound appetizing to me. Maybe the lack of variety in my meals during the program was a bad idea for me (I’ll get into the reasons why in a subsequent post), but it was easy, fast and required very little thought after the first few days. If anyone is interested in sample menus and/or recipes, I’m happy to provide some upon request. Remember, you are free to eat whatever you would like (provided you stay within the guidelines). This is not a calorie restricted diet so eat when you are hungry.

Since my morning cup of coffee and a quick sandwich from the deli down the street were no longer options for breakfast and lunch, I did find that I had to reorganize my time. I began setting my alarm to wake me up 45 minutes earlier during the week so that I had time to make my breakfast, lunch and two snacks to take to the office. Some might prefer to make their daily meals the night before while cooking dinner, watching the nightly news, or before going to bed, but I have actually come to enjoy my morning food prep routine.

Execute

So you’ve got your breakfast, lunch and snacks laid out on your kitchen counter ready for work (or, by the looks of it, ready for feeding an army). How will you get it to your place of employment? Transporting all of that food in a convenient, manageable way can present a challenge, especially if you use alternative methods of transportation such as bicycles, trains, or buses. To make my food transportation more manageable, I purchased a lunch sack that fit my salads, veggies, etc. and a Blender Bottle for my morning shakes. The lunch sack came with it’s own ice pack so there was no need for me to try to find a way to stuff my salads into our already overcrowded office refrigerator and the Blender Bottle conveniently transported my liquids. I still use both to this day.

Educate

The final step in the reorganization process is education. By reading food labels, taking time to think about your food and its ingredients, and learning to listen to your body during this detox program, you are educating yourself and learning what is best for your body. By speaking up and asking for what you need, you are teaching yourself that you are worthy of being heard and of having your needs met.

Your friends, family, and co-workers will most likely have no understanding of why you would subject yourself to this kind of repressive deprivation for an obscure condition that may or may not be legitimate. Educate them about the theory behind leaky gut syndrome, its symptoms, and why you chose to participate in the program.

While on the RepairVite Program, many will call you crazy. Some will find your willpower inspirational. Others will think you’re being difficult. Most will tell you that they “could never do it.” I’m here to tell you that you are not crazy, you’re informed and receptive. Your willpower will be tested, but you will inspire yourself as well as others. You aren’t being difficult, you’re caring for yourself. Finally, and most importantly, you can do it and you should do it.

1 When you first start this program you may experience upset stomach, diarrhea (mild), headache and/or general malaise. This is due to the die off of negative bacteria, yeast, parasitic infection and/or sugar and caffeine withdrawal. These symptoms should reduce rapidly over 2-4 days. (In my case, I had a mild headache and general malaise for 10 days due to the caffeine and sugar withdrawal.) If you continue to experience these symptoms, contact your doctor.