Education – Putting it all together properly requires ‘Rotation’
Variety is literally the spice of life
Health is a funny and fragile thing. We often don’t respect or value it until something goes awry. Once it does, it is often very difficult to rectify. Many people live with ailments and discomfort that after a time, just become ‘normal’. These can be reversible but in an ideal world this wouldn’t occur. In the world of natural medicines, prevention is always better than a cure. It is about identifying the underlying cause of symptoms and then treating the cause, not the symptom.
One of the most effective ways to prevent ill health from occurring is through what you eat. Studies have shown that many health conditions begin with inflammation (1,2,3). A lot of this inflammation initially resides in your digestive system. It is therefore paramount to address how to prevent the onset of inflammatory conditions in your digestive tract. One of the key approaches to this is not just healthy foods or timing it right; it is also about how often you eat a particular food. Rotation of all foods is of paramount importance when it comes to digestive wellness.
A nutritious and healthy food is only healthy for you if your body assimilates it and responds to it properly. If not, then any food whether it be a super food or an unhealthy food can cause chaos to your digestive health resulting in inflammation and unwanted symptoms. One of the crucial tricks in prevention of ill health is rotation which is today’s topic. Reasons, evidence and practical application will be explained to help give you insight, interest and empower your decisions.
Rotation & You
- What are your food fixes?
- Which repeat foods do you notice yourself eating daily?
- Do you snack on the same foods or always eat the same breakfast?
- Are you health conscious and say, ‘oh it’s ok because the foods I always eat are healthy foods’
Healthy foods are only healthy if you digest them properly. It all comes back to your digestion. Your digestive health is often influenced by what you eat and how often you repeat the same food.
You are only as healthy as your digestion.
Is Your Food a Health or Hindrance?
As mentioned, food is only as healthy as your digestive health. The healthiest of foods can work against you if you over extend your relationship with that food. Eating a food too frequently can also contribute to food sensitivities. Often over consumption of a particular food can lead to digestive problems and contribute to something known as ‘leaky gut’.
This leaky gut creates food sensitivities (IgG), and can manifest in a similar way to a food allergy (IgE) although it is only a temporary problem. An intolerance can largely be rectified with the right approach unlike a food allergy which is generally permanent. If you are sensitive to a food, correcting this takes both discipline and time after which the food can then be reintroduced (on rotation) to the diet (on average 12 weeks later).
I’m Perfectly Healthy
Fabulous. Let’s ensure you maintain this good health. Ensure you rotate your food as much as possible. A food should be eaten ideally every 48 hours but no more than every 24 hours, even if you are in good health. This is especially important for common food allergens (see below). Prevention is better than a cure so be aware and actively rotate your food content to stay on top.
Most common Food Allergens
- Dairy products – from cow’s milk
- Citrus (oranges, lemons, grapefruit and lime)
- Nightshade family (potato, tomato, aubergine and capsicum)
I Have a Few Digestive and/or Health Concerns
A common rotation food plan that has been shown to be effective is the ‘4-day rotation diet’. If you are suffering from unknown food intolerances or even suspect that you are but can’t identify a culprit, then a ‘4-Day Rotation Diet’ for a duration of 4 weeks is often very effective.
In short, rotation helps you to understand your food better. Helping to identify foods that could be triggering whatever symptoms it is you suffer from.
The 4 day rotation diet generally reduces symptoms.
What is the Point of Rotation?
Everything you eat has biochemical components. When your body reacts negatively to a food it mounts an ‘immune response’. This calls on your white blood cells to attack the particles of food that shouldn’t be in your blood. When this happens there is a catapult of reactions that takes place.
The end result is symptoms. These symptoms can typically include:
- Low energy
- Skin eruptions
- Low immune system
- Frequent colds and infections
- Breathing problems
- Digestive disturbances
- IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) type symptoms
- Muscle aches and pains
- Sleep problems
- Low mood and more
The solution is to:
- Rotate then
- Identify then
- Eliminate then
- Observe then
- Reintroduce then
- Rotate indefinitely once reintroduced (to prevent reoccurring intolerance)
An inevitable consequence of proper rotation is good health and lack of cravings. The point of a rotation diet is that it lets your body recover from the effects of a food before you eat it again which decreases the response of your white blood cells. This response is what causes your ‘allergic symptoms’. Often we are not sure which foods our body is responding to badly. Therefore, until it is made clear rotation helps foods you eat to work optimally for you with the least adverse effects.
But it is not just for people with health concerns. This is ultimately about prevention. If you have good health rotation is even more important as it can allow you to maintain your optimal health.
Your Age Clock – the Ticking Time Bomb
- If you are 30 and below you have age on your side
- When you are 30 – 35 you still have age on your side but need to tread a little more carefully.
- From 35 onwards your body can likely become more sensitive to how you treat it.
As you age, biochemical imbalances are more likely to occur. When you are young, the body can buffer inflammation and potential to intolerances much more effectively. Often health effects of lifestyle choices only come to fruition mid to late 30’s.
- Foods you crave can often be the culprits contributing to an intolerance
- Rotating your foods gives your immune system a chance to rest.
- Example foods and rotation can be viewed here with in depth practical detail. Pages 3- 10 have a lot of practical and recipe ideas for rotation https://www.gdx.net/core/interpretive-guides/Allergix-IG.pdf (The document is from one of the leading diagnostic testing laboratories in the USA).
Health Concerns that can Especially Benefit from Rotation
- Food intolerances
- Low energy – lethargy
- Candida (Fungal infection)
- Digestive health problems
- IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome)
- Any inflammatory condition
A food intolerance can have a delayed onset. This delayed response is known as an ‘ IgG4 intolerance’ and can take hours or even days after the food has been consumed to cause you symptoms (5). This is why it is important if you suspect there are foods that disagree with you to rotate only every 4 days and not more frequently.
Being a detective takes time, patience and planning but if you imagine your life free of your current symptom whether it is physical or mental, is this planning then worth the possible result of identifying this food villain?
Fast Fix Option
These days we are all wanting a fast fix, and there is an easier solution to identifying food sensitivities. The end result will still mean you need to rotate your foods to avoid increasing your intolerances but at least you have a starting point to help motivation.
So, the solution is a food intolerance test. This is an IgG test not an IgE. An IgG is an intolerance which means it need not be permanent and can be rectified if you fix your gut. An IgE on the other hand is a permanent allergy and not one that can be cured by a rotation diet or any other protocols mentioned above. Many nutritionists can easily conduct these tests which are then sent away to international Diagnostic Laboratories for analysis. After this test, you receive a report to tell you which foods your body is having an adverse reaction to.
What it comes down to is that food is in fact a science. It biochemically reacts in different ways to different people. It is about being aware of yourself and taking food seriously. Health takes both time effort and energy, but in the long run it is well worth the benefits of living life to the fullest.
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The Fitness First Get Fit Nutrition Programme has been formulated in conjunction with Sara Valentine at Valentine Nutrition.