Why is it that, as a trained nutrition expert and serial over-planner, I sit here and wonder what I’ll be eating next week? It’s not because I’ve procrastinated and don’t have a meal plan or that the fridge and pantry are bare with no time to grocery shop. It’s also not because I’m getting swept away to some far off place where I’ll be wined and dined. Nope, that would be nice. It is because I will be starting an elimination diet. Yes, I said the word DIET. And yes – I mean an eating plan that I will follow for a short period of time and then move on from. Finally, I don’t know what it is that I will be eliminating – and therefore eating - just yet.
Two days ago, after another unexplained illness, I decided it was time to finish something I started a long time ago that will help me personally and professionally. I am talking about becoming a Certified LEAP Therapist (CLT). LEAP™ stands for Lifestyle Eating and Performance and is an effective protocol that is followed to arrive at an individualized anti-inflammatory eating plan. There are many foods that are being touted as anti-inflammatory these days, but just eating those items isn’t always helpful because for some people those “anti-inflammatory’ foods are actually the source of the problem. The LEAP protocol is based on the results from the patented Mediator Release Test (MRT).
Let’s go back a little further than two days ago, 10 years or so to when I first heard about LEAP and MRT. I had an employee who wanted us to pay for her to get certified and I was skeptical of it all. I was not yet aware of all of the research on food intolerances but I supported the employee in heading down the certification path so we could learn more about it together. Unfortunately she needed to resign before completing the process so for me it was out of sight out of mind. Fast-forward about 8 years, during which time I had a myriad of illnesses, tests and hospitalizations but no real answers or diagnosis, and I had another employee approach me about becoming a Certified LEAP™ Therapist. I picked right back up with her and supported her interest. It was about 1 year ago, after we both left our respective jobs, that I decided if I was really going to learn what the protocol was all about, I was going to need to become certified myself. When I’m skeptical of something I like to learn all I can about it and I learn much better from doing. It was also about 1 year ago that I was hospitalized again and started thinking that maybe I could benefit from LEAP. I ordered the materials and began studying.
Now, here I am awaiting my results of both the MRT and my certification exam. I’ve been keeping a detailed food and symptom log for the past 4 days and boy can they be a pain to fill out to the level of detail a registered dietitian would want to see! But, it’s already been helpful in identifying some possible triggers, which keeps me motivated to continue with it. Here is a sample of some of the other thoughts going on in my head. I also included my restructured thoughts – an exercise I would do with my clients to help maintain a positive outlook.
While I am hopeful my restructured thoughts will be found true over the next few weeks, I also want answers so I can resume planning. The one ingredient that is often, but not always, eliminated for the first 10 or so days is dairy. So I will start with planning to either eat all of my dairy containing foods the next few days or quarantine them until I know they are safe for me again. Regardless of my personal outcome from this diet, I can say for sure that I will be a more compassionate clinician as a result of this LEAP™! And as new CLT, I will not be taking this LEAP alone as I’ll have my LEAP mentor, Jan, alongside of me to understand my personal results and the nuances that arise with my clients.
Off I go to inspect my food labels for hidden sources of dairy – did you know some lunch meats, breads and even potato chips may have dairy in them?!
If you are a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist interested in becoming a CLT or happen to be interested in experiencing the MRT and LEAP protocol yourself, you can find out more about them here www.nowleap.com or by contacting my LEAP mentor, Jan. The purpose of this blog is not to discuss the protocol, but instead provide you with insights into someone going through both the certification process and the eating plan. And honestly, I’m thinking that by making the process more public I will hold myself more accountable – we all need to do what holds us accountable!
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I'm a busy mom with a passion for sharing practical advice to help you live the healthy and balanced life you envision. Warning: the information is evidenced-based, but the delivery will often contain humor!