When it comes to the ‘Leaky Gut Diet’, nothing is set in stone. With some well-placed basic parameters in mind, it can be modified and custom-fitted to your own liking. That’s the beauty of this diet; it’s that flexible. This very same quality is also its drawback. Its adaptable attribute means that there are plenty of leaky gut diets out there that guarantee great results. Whether they work or not is for you to find out. It’s a double-edged sword.
Below are some of the most common leaky gut diet practices out there.
1.) Whole Foods Diet. It’s exactly like how it sounds. A diet that consists of food items that are unprocessed or slightly processed. In other words, foods that are as closest to their natural state as possible. This diet is pretty straightforward. You only choose the freshest vegetables and meat products and stay away from the words fortification, refinement and enrichment in every food item you purchase in the market. Whenever possible, choose organic, free-range and hormone-free poultry and animal products as well. Then, supplement your diet with fresh fruits, whole grains, nuts and seeds. Always remember to avoid packaged and processed foods especially those that have fillers in them as they’ve been known to aggravate the leaky gut syndrome.
2.) Cook Your Food. Digestion is impaired when you have a leaky gut so naturally, raw food items especially vegetables, can’t be digested properly. It’s highly recommended for any dieter to perfectly cook his/her food in order to be properly digested by the body. For meat products, cook until tender while for vegetables, a quick sauté would do the trick. If you can help it, choose foods that are easy to digest such as whole bagels, cornmeal, skinless poultry, lean turkey and fish just to name a few. Whatever you do, skip fiber-rich and fatty foods as they are hard to digest and have been known to cause diarrhea.
3.) Food Ratio Regulation. This is the part where the flexibility of the leaky gut diet is the most pronounced. When it comes to food ratio, everything can be modified and altered to what suits you best. Genetically and ethnically speaking, we are all different from one another so it also follows that our body reacts to a certain diet regimen differently. Some people function better with higher carbohydrates in their diets while others are better off with higher proteins. Others prefer 50:50 and so on and so forth. It doesn’t really matter what ratio it is. There’s no magic number or a fixed figure. The key is to find that sweet spot; that optimal food ratio that’s ideal for you. You can mix and match every possible combination of food items. For example, having a meal of mostly meat and fewer vegetables on one day then, doing the exact opposite thing the next day. Record your reactions to both meals and choose the one that you’re most comfortable with. It’s really more of a trial and error process more than anything else. Once you find the combination that works best for you, do some minor tweaking here and there and stick with it–simple as that. It’s no rocket science; just a simple mathematical operation involving ratio and proportion.
4.) Food Allergies. Food allergies go hand in hand with leaky gut syndrome. Both are somewhat connected or interdependent with each other. Prevention is better than cure so avoiding food items that trigger allergic reactions would be a great way to mitigate the symptoms you’re experiencing every now and then. The most important thing to do is to determine which foods you’re allergic to and design a diet regimen that would not only cure intestinal permeability, but also eliminate allergic reactions for good.
Some foods to avoid are as follows:
- Dairy products
- Gluten-containing food items like barley, rye and wheat
- Soy-rich products such as salad dressing, tofu, vegetables and more
- Refined carbohydrates like white sugar, white rice, white flour etc.
‘Food Rotation’ is a diet regimen that helps in pinpointing and eliminating food allergies and intolerances that you might have. It basically requires dieters to eat only biologically related foods in one day throughout the whole 4-day period. Each designated day has different set of foods to be eaten. The food items and beverages being consumed are then recorded in a journal (one for each day) with corresponding time, date and adverse reactions (if any at all) after every meal. As soon as you find an identical adverse reaction to the same food in two different journals, you’ve got yourself a food intolerance or perhaps an allergy–depending on the time it takes for the reactions to start showing up. Just remember that allergies create immediate and obvious symptoms like anaphylaxis while intolerances have delayed immune reactions that manifest 2-4 hours after a meal such as migraines and IBM (Irritable Bowel Syndrome). In whichever case, remove the food item from the diet immediately and only reintroduce it once your gut is completely healed.
There are many ways to skin a cat. The leaky gut diet might differ from one person to another but its key principles remain the same: All are centered around finding the ideal foods to eat, regulating food ratio intake and designing a regimen that identifies and eliminates food allergies/intolerances effectively. So long as you don’t stray too far away from these key principles, you’d be alright. You know your body better than anyone else and a worthwhile dietary regimen should underscore that significant factor; not undermine it. Follow the simple steps above and jumpstart your healing process as you see fit—in your own terms and at the manner of your choosing. Well, almost, but close enough. Either way, you can’t ask for a better deal than that!