Recently a client emailed me some questions about the rotation diet after getting her ALCAT results. I thought they were such great questions I just had to share.
Q. First, I have read different things about what rotation means. Some says you can eat one thing one that day and then not again for four days. Other schools of thought are that you can eat something multiple times during 24 hours then not again for four days. I would prefer the 24 hour method because then I can, for example, eat leftovers at lunch from the dinner before that stay off that food for four days. I would like to know your take on the rotation.
A. I think the best thing to do is think of the ration in terms of days, not hours. So, that would be your waking hours of ONE day, not 3pm until 2:59pm the next day. “Breakfast” is supposed to break a fast, which does, to some degree, help clear your system. Eating a food on consecutive days would mean you have to clear it twice…and some foods take more than a day to clear anyway. You could do a yellow* (mildly reactive) food more than once per day if you want. It would increase the intensity of the exposure, and you would have to be that much more careful for the next 4 days. And remember, quantity matters.
Q. Second, on my yellow list, do I need to stay away from all of them for a week even if I have been staying off some of them for weeks? For example, I haven’t had any cow’s milk product for over 3 weeks. Can I start rotating that back in now or do I need to wait until I’ve stayed away from everything for a week?
A. Stay off of all of the yellow list items even though you have already been avoiding one. The goal for avoiding all of them is to give yourself the experience of what it feels like NOT to be in reaction. Items you have not been tested for should be avoided in this first week as well. Only when you complete this week should you begin to reintroduce those foods, one at a time–making careful note of any return of symptoms.
Q. This rotation seems like so much planning. I’m hoping it will become second nature at some point. And, some things don’t seem reasonable. For example, am I supposed to use different milks (coconut, almond) and different oils (olive, sunflower) every four days and only use seasonings like black pepper every four days? That seems ridiculous difficult and, frankly, expensive. I wouldn’t use milks quickly enough, for example.
A. Yes, you are supposed to rotate things like milks and oils. I don’t know if milk is something you use every day, but if you consider using it only a few times per week then the most you would need is 2 different kinds. Same with oils. Oils keep very well in the fridge and a few different kinds would easily carry you through a week. Olive, flax, grape seed, and hemp are excellent choices. Black pepper is so over used it is a tough one to avoid even if you try. If it is something you have a sensitivity to I would recommend just avoiding it completely for now. Chances are you will have plenty of accidental exposures unless ALL of your meals are homemade. Don’t worry though, there are plenty of other spices to play with.
In the beginning it is always difficult to navigate new information. It is new. You have to learn what is on what list, come up with menu options that fit, change recipes, find new restaurants, experiment with new foods… Once you have come up with foods, recipes, meal plans, and new habits that work, it is much, much easier. Figure the first 3 weeks will be a learning curve, and from there it will be pretty easy. It will become second nature.