Your pain won’t go away no matter what you try. The medications and treatments you received barely cover up the symptoms, leaving you with side effects and no true relief. Your health problem is interfering with your work, relationships, stress, and your life.
Your food is making you sick and you may not even know it.
Sensitivities to food and food-chemicals can be involved in an array of symptoms and chronic health problems including:
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- Heartburn, acid reflux or GERD, stomach pain, gas, bloating, diarrhea, constipation
- Irritable bowel diseases (IBD): Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis
- Migraines and headaches
- Chronic fatigue
- Fibromyalgia and muscle pain
- Arthritis and joint pain
- Eczema, hives, and skin rashes
- Weight imbalances and water retention
If what you’re eating is causing your illness, any medications you take will ultimately fail because they’re not eliminating the source of the problem. If you don’t properly address food sensitivities, you could suffer for many years and spend thousands of dollars on treatments that will never work.
How do Food Sensitivities Cause Symptoms?
Food sensitivities are complex reactions of the immune system. In people without symptoms, immune cells recognize food particles as safe substances and no immune reactions occur. In people with symptoms, the immune system loses tolerance to certain foods. These food particles become ‘foreign’ substances, forcing immune cells to attack through releasing chemicals called mediators, such as cytokines, leukotrienes, histamines, and others. If these chemicals are released in the gut, gut issues arise. If released in the brain, migraines, headaches, and brain fog can arise. If released in the muscles, muscle pain can arise. The image below shows the different symptoms that can be traced back to food sensitivities.
There are several reasons that contribute to the immune cells losing tolerance to certain foods. Incomplete digestion of food due to lack of or weakened digestive enzymes capacity is a major contributor. Medications that lower the acidity of the stomach (PPI’s like omeprazole, Prilosec, lansoprazole, Prevacid, Protonix, Nexium, etc) lower the overall digestive ability of the gut, resulting in food particles that aren’t completely broken down to structures recognizable by immune cells. Undigested food particles can also get fermented by gut bacteria, causing inflammation that worsens the digestive system’s ability to process food. Leaky gut or increased intestinal permeability causes food particles to pass through the gut to the bloodstream. When immune cells are faced with these undigested and unrecognizable food particles, they attack and react to them, making you feel sick. Other things like gut dysbiosis, infections, food poisoning, and nutrient deficiencies contribute to the development of food sensitivities.
“Fatigue is gone. I am completely off of Aciphex. No more GERD or acid reflux. No more brain fog, bloating, joint pain, snoring and improved vision (WOW).”
-David Galen, Galen Photography, Washington DC
Food sensitivities can still be causing your symptoms even though previous food allergy or sensitivity tests showed nothing. The test I use is called MRT, which stands for Mediator Release Test. Food sensitivities are not food allergies. Food allergies are IgE immune reactions measured through IgE skin or blood tests. Food sensitivities are completely different immune pathways, they are non-IgE mediated. Your allergist may have told you that you don’t have food allergies, but that doesn’t mean you don’t have food sensitivities.
Food sensitivity tests are not all equal. Many doctors run food sensitivity panels using IgG tests. IgG’s are antibodies, and some practitioners use these tests to identify food sensitivities. However, this kind of test is not useful because IgG indicates exposure to the food, not necessarily a sensitivity to the food. In fact, a normal immune system will produce IgG antibodies as a reaction to proteins in the foods you eat, and a high value means that you frequently eat this food and tolerate it. It doesn’t mean you are sensitive to the food. Many of my patients say that they didn’t notice any improvement to their symptoms following their IgG test results, confirming that IgG tests do not uncover hidden food sensitivities.
Food sensitivities can be causing your symptoms despite a normal colonoscopy, endoscopy, stool testing, and others. These kinds of tests are used to investigate gut inflammation, irritation, bleeding, etc. They are important to rule out digestive conditions like gastritis, Crohn’s, colitis, celiac disease, and others. However, these tests do not address immune reactions to foods and will not tell you whether you tolerate a food or not. If you have irritable bowel disease (IBS), gas, bloating, diarrhea, constipation, heartburn or other symptoms and your doctor told you they couldn’t find anything wrong with your gut, you are a good fit for this program.
“I handle food better, as in digest things better, without suffering the effects of a bad digestive system. I am not in pain, or bloated, or lethargic anymore. I haven’t had a headache in a long time. I have more energy. I feel more present.
I really enjoyed working with Mrs. Zibdeh. She honestly wanted me to be better. She will do everything to help you succeed.”
–Sophie R, Herndon, Virginia
Typical elimination diet protocols are tedious and not useful. Typical elimination diets that start you on certain foods are completely based on guesses. I have not been able to identify a single food that was safe for every patient I worked with over the years. Any food, healthy or not, and including spices and herbs, can trigger a reaction. Eliminating some foods, without clearly knowing which ones are safe, will not give you the relief you’re looking for.
Food sensitivities are not easy to uncover without testing. The process of uncovering food sensitivities without proper testing can be long and tedious. Food sensitivities are delayed reactions, and symptom can appear after 72 hours of eating the food. Food sensitivities are also dose dependent, and eating a small amount may be tolerated but a large amount is not. Considering that you can eat 100 items (including foods and food chemicals) in a 72-hour time frame, pinpointing problem foods, even with a food diary, is almost impossible.
I wanted to try a different approach for my migraines. I went from having 2 severe migraines a week to none (a mild headache if any). I thought I would never feel any relief from them. After following the protocol, I have definitely seen positive results. I would encourage anyone with migraines to look into a nutritional protocol, especially the MRT test, because you will be surprised what foods that you may be eating might be causing some type of trouble without you knowing it. You will see positive results, as long as you remain steadfast and consistent for the most part.
—Lujain S, young mom of 2, Leesburg VA
Symptoms of food sensitivities are subtle and can go under the radar for years. Food sensitivity symptoms are often subtle, slow, chronic, and delayed, compared to food allergy symptoms that are acute and immediate after eating the food. You can live years with headaches, brain fog, fatigue, bloating, muscle pain or other related symptoms before you address the problem. You may have forgotten what it is like to feel good, healthy, and energetic. You will find out how good your body can feel after you go through the food sensitivities program.
“This is the best I have felt in a long time. This program [MRT-LEAP food sensitivities program] has changed my life. I went from having to drag myself through the day to being energetic, alert and feeling wonderful over-all.”
–Glen S, Executive Recruiter in Marshal, Virginia
Untreated food sensitivities are a chronic internal physical stress. A chronically activated immune system that’s constantly fighting food is considered a source of inflammation. Inflammation predisposes you to many chronic diseases like heart disease, diabetes, cancers, and inflammatory bowel conditions. Inflammation and stress elevate your cortisol level and prevent you from losing weight. They also contribute to swelling and water retention. Without addressing food sensitivities, these conditions will persist and even get worse with time.
Take this questionnaire to see if food sensitivities are affecting you.
(ps. there are no wrong or right answers on the questionnaire. Any symptom is related to food sensitivities, and multiple symptoms indicate more chances of food sensitivities playing a role)
Click HERE to download a sample test result
“I don’t miss the way I was eating [before food sensitivity program]. I’m feeling awesome. It’s been so easy. Now I see the giant light at the end of the tunnel.”
–R.S., Great Falls, Virginia
What Does the Food Sensitivities Program Involve?
- Initial assessment consultation: full medical, nutrition, and lifestyle assessment, discussing symptoms survey and past dietary modifications and therapies. We will ensure you’re a right fit for the program. Might also include a plan prior to testing or receiving the results when applicable.
- MRT food sensitivity test: testing your reaction to 120 foods and 30 food chemicals (both natural and synthetic). It’s a simple blood draw that requires a special kit. If you’re coming to our office in Herndon for your initial consultation, we will provide the kit and instructions on where to get the blood drawn. If we’re working virtually, we’ll mail you a kit and help you find a lab close to you. You can download a sample result to see what foods are being tested. You don’t need to be fasting. Your follow-up appointment to go over your results will be scheduled 10-14 days after you complete the blood draw.
- Follow-up visit 1: review food sensitivity results and receive your own individualized phase 1 plan, a menu for meals and snacks, tips for shopping and cooking, product recommendations that help you stick to the program, resource book, and detailed action plan
- Follow-up visit 2: usually after following the eating plan for 10-14 days. Assess progress, review symptoms and food diary, instructions for the next phase, receive more meal ideas, and start the gut healing protocol depending on progress
- Follow-up visit 3: usually after following the eating plan for 30 days. Assess progress, review symptoms and food diary, troubleshoot if needed, receive instructions for the next phase, and start (or add to) the gut healing protocol depending on progress
- Follow-up visit 4: usually after following the eating plan for 60 days. Assess progress, review symptoms and food diary, troubleshoot if needed, and start (or add to) the gut healing protocol depending on progress
- Follow-up visit 5: usually after following the eating plan for 90 days. Assess progress, review symptoms and food diary, troubleshoot if needed, long-term instructions, and start (or add to) the gut healing protocol depending on progress
- Unlimited email support in between sessions to ensure your success
This program is for you if:
- You’re dedicated to your improving your health and getting rid of your symptoms
- You’re willing to cook your own food for at least 1 month
- You’re willing to let go of any food if it comes back reactive
- You’re willing to try new foods
- You’re willing to give up alcohol for at least 1 month
- You’re willing to combine food sensitivities program with overall gut healing protocol that involves specialized dietary supplements (recommended for best results)
This program is NOT for you if:
- You eat out on regular basis and cannot or do not intend to make your own meals
- You’re selective of the foods you eat and not willing to try something new
- You’re not willing to give up certain foods from your diet
- We do not offer the test without consultations. The results are not always easy to interpret, and there are many layers involved when we select the foods you will eat on this plan. Your success depends on us working together.
While we see great results with the majority of patients going through this program, every now and then, we have a patient who continues to have some symptoms despite following the program (although they’re often reduced in severity or frequency). In that case, it’s not that the program didn’t work. Rather, something else is contributing to the problem. If this happens to you, it doesn’t mean you wasted your time and money because you benefited from ruling out food sensitivities and reducing inflammation. The next step would be to dig deeper, and I will continue to work with you until we find the core of the problem and get you feeling great again.
Click HERE to schedule your Restore your Health Strategy Session call to find out if you’re the right fit for this program.