Reactive Foods and Elimination Diets (Scary Foods)

Hey everyone!

Drop your menu everybody and start to look closer.   A new type of diet is in town and it’s all the rage.  You are about to hear about it at barbecues, at the gym, and your doctor’s office and you will see it nonstop in every MAGAZINE you look at.

The hot new buzzword for health and longevity with nutrition is elimination diets.  Sometimes referred to as “Reactive Foods

The above was my headline for a lecture I presented back in 2014!

Fast forward to today – this idea is NO longer revolutionary, no longer cutting edge and no longer controversial.

Hopefully you’ve heard of it and have either tried to play with it or wanting to learn more.  If not, well…that’s exactly why I write this stuff.

OK, so what are these, what does it mean and how does this affect you?  Do you need it?

Short answer – Yes, It is something you should be familiar with.  There will be success in eliminating bad stuff out of your diet and out of your body immediately – in all aspects of your life.    You will lose weight, feel better, lift more, run faster, have better sex, think more clearly  – life as you know it -will be better.

But the people who really NEED this – like desperately HAVE to figure this crap out, those are the people with real deal medical conditions.   Fatigue, rashes, joint pain, fibromyalgia, sleep pattern issues and seriously, damn near everything.    If you have anything “weird” going on – chances are the diet is a HUGE part of the issue.

This idea has and will continue to change the medical treatment for people with long-term inflammatory issues and the implementation of this is WAY BIGGER than what you think.

My own brother had a lot of success treating his rheumatoid issues that took him from a  “peak of life high school wrestling coach”  to some days needing a cane just to get around.

So what are we talking about here?

Many of these plans, and there are thousands of them out right now, focus on a new way of looking at health by “eliminating” foods that your body treats basically like an allergen.  Now look, allergy and reactive foods are not the exact same thing.  However, the line that the common media and subsequently a lot of doctors use to differentiate these two terms is blurring.  The terms are thrown around sort of interchangeably and really, the treatment – which is simply the elimination of these from your system, is the same – so get the gist here… You eat X and your body reacts poorly.

It sounds a lot like an allergen right?   Well it’s not exactly – an epi pen wont be needed nor will it even help.  The proper term is reactive food and it is a bit different than a common allergic reaction such as a bee sting or cedar oils.   But…It is a really easy concept if you think of it similarly.

Typical food reactions will show  increased water retention, so a short term weight gain.  The extra water is part of the response to try and process the food through your guts.  You’ll also notice, if you’re paying attention, an instant histamine reaction.  (stuffy nose, light congestion).

Sometimes it is the amount and frequency of the foods.  For instance steak might be fine for a person, but have it two days in a row and you get the reaction.   Sound crazy?   Actually it’s fairly common.  Your body just doesn’t like a certain product at certain levels and it bugs out.  Probably, at some level, you’ve already been flirting with some version of a reactive food plan already.  It’s not obscure anymore and the whole Gluten Free thing has got HUGE – Your supermarket has an entire row dedicated to it!

I have shared ideas on Lectins, Keto, intermittent fasting on this site even – and the article reads about the same .  Dr. Gundry and his Lectins diet and book, takes this whole thing deeper – from reactive foods, to the actual cause – so if you want more info – click on all the links I’ve posted above –

I wrote this article to basically water it down a bit, make the pieces easier to digest and understand.

Small proteins traveling through the gut wall due to cell wall barriers working incorrectly or being hijacked is tough.   Reactive food?  That’s easy…

Grog eat X. Grog feel Bad.  Grog no eat X.

I’m sure you or a friend has heard of grains, especially gluten causing problems?  Lactose Intolerant?   Dairy, sugars, Paleo, RAW, Vegan – all of these, minus a few basic ethical food choices are types of elimination plans.   These plans aren’t new, just newly packaged and marketed.   And lately, researched and advanced.

And I will tell you, they aren’t bunk.   This idea of reactive foods is quite real and backed by real science.   I have tried a 20-30 day trial myself and learned a ton about my body.  I have taken a new style reactive foods blood test.   I constantly test and experiment.  I make better decisions because of the knowledge I have about what reacts with my body and in what volume and have become fairly acute in understanding when something that has been ok for me for a long time, or even a “healthy food”  is now a reactive food – and obviously, not healthy for me anymore.

How do I know when I’m reactive? Clues…such as a 3-4 lb weight gain the next day, a feeling of bloatiness, soft(er) abs {I’m not a six pack guy on normal days by any stretch} and usually within fifteen minutes of eating something I’m reactive to- just a little more snappy and jumpy than normal – Stuff my kids do that usually makes me chuckle now makes me agitated.    Give me 7 Pringles and have my kids get all the pets out and play…It’ll drive me nuts!   And this is after just a small amount – can you imagine 3-4 potato chips causing a 3-4 lb weight gain?    I couldn’t  – but it does!

A single granola bar or bowl of oatmeal, yep…for me it does – Potatoes and oatmeal were my first Reactive foods!   The removal of these from my diet basically jump started my entire “re-look” into what I was taught in school and what most of us in the health field regurgitate about Nutrition but is basically 20-50 year old science that is wrong.   I sat and ate lunch with my 5th grader today – it was very eye opening to see what these kids think about Nutrition by 5th grade. – much of it is terrible advice and poor science.  More old wives tales than solid nutritional foundations at this point in time.  It’s turned into bad and good.  Only – either/or.  Food isn’t a pass/fail test.  It is a relationship with lots of moving parts.

Back to potatoes and oats – “whoa Chad – does this mean oats and potatoes are out?”  well no, not really.  Potatoes and oats aren’t bad foots, (well maybe oats (see Lectins) -heck sweet potatoes and oatmeal are supposed Superfoods right?…but not for me.   For you?  Who knows…you have to test it to find out.

As I’ve stated, reactive foods are not allegies.  Many times, reactive foods are reversible, not a true allergy, just something that’s not wanted in your system at this time…  weird yes, but I make better choices for me because of this info.

The problem with the way foods react is inflammation.  Yes!  The biggest HEADLINE  word for health in the last 2 years and sure to be the main issue treated worldwide over the next 2 decades.   Look, it’s not that a little inflammation will kill you, but with food, and especially without knowing what is causing it, is chronic inflammation (the next biggest buzz word in medicine.)

Your body, in basic terms, just doesn’t function while it’s fighting inflammation.  Nothing works like it should – not energy creation, fat removal, cancer fighting cells, muscle growth, healing capabilities, hormones, sleep pattern, pain regulation…NOTHING!    You have to get rid of inflammation to let the body heal correctly.  This is why real diseases like rheumatoid, psoriasis, cholesterol problems, diabetes and Cancer are all jumping on the inflammation bandwagon for treatment options.

AND THIS IS WHY there is a million new drugs, ads, diets and trainers focusing on it.  Because it’s worth Million$$.

Like I stated earlier, I like the idea, I like the plans but ladies and gentlemen, if I come off preachy sometimes, I’m sorry but I’ll say it again, “USE YOUR HEADS!!!”

Do you have to give up all wheat, all potatoes, oatmeal?  – NO!     “Wait Dr. Peters, did you say Dairy was BAD?, NO wait, Just ALL GRAINS?”   NO NO NO!  Please don’t throw a hand grenade at a problem that needs a hammer and nail.

Again, as I’ve said over and over in the healthfield, it’s not the idea that’s wrong, it’s the practical application… (ex: removing all grains when it’s a gluten or rice deal.    Or all dairy and all meat, when it may be just one form or too much at once.)

You need to take the time and figure out what works for you and you only. Quit jumping on the fads and use the information to make a better decision.   If a gluten free, Paleo diet that a caveman would be proud of and it works for you, fine, but c’mon, BJ’s Pizza tastes really good sometimes!    I can handle a pizza and beer sometimes because I’m not fighting a disease state.  If you ARE in fact treating Cancer, diabetes, colitis or anything like this then DUDE, the pizza isn’t worth it right now.   Fix your body.  Help your body fix itself!

This chronic inflammation and elim diets deal is going to just get bigger and bigger.  It has already – its already better than when I wrote this article the first time 4 years ago.   Look at my site:  We have evolved!    Play with what works for you and believe me you can.  I started this morning differently than I do nearly every other morning and felt like crap all day long.  Its real, and by paying attention to just how junky you feel after eating junk you’re on your first part of the journey.  We’re all built differently, so what works for you won’t work for me.   You can make your body healthier, feel better and find those hidden abs with the right approach and decision making while still enjoying some of the great foods and drinks that work with your system.

The article is pretty much over but I have a couple tools I like to help with this idea.

The book the Plan was a revolution and the one that started me on the journey of reactive foods but its tough – it takes 30 days plus and has a lot of prep.   This is the future and now…

The company Everlywell has an incredible blood test that is about $200 you can do at home – I sell these in my clinic and you can get them on Amazon.  It changed my world! This is so much easier than a 30 day test!

There is a company called 1 Step – where you fill out a food journal and the company has a dude that looks over all your stuff and systematically removes just 1 food at a time that is a likely candidate of crap your eating.  Genius, for those a little less motivated and stubborn – but even without the website – the idea itself is powerful – remove just 1 thing at a time that’s crushing your day.  Do it for a month – now find another.

6 thoughts on “Reactive Foods and Elimination Diets (Scary Foods)

  1. Great article for me. Validated my theory that my diet can cause fibro flares for me. I’ve done Keto diet before and the most amazing thing for me was that I got rid of all my pain. Because I was eating clean? That was enough proof for me to begin watching what goes into this body. Thanks again.


    1. Really look into this stuff Gail!!

      That Everlywell reactive food blood test would be the best $200 you’ve ever spent

      Worth not having ONE flare up! Now is the time to figure this out.


  2. I had a hard time taking this seriously because it was written with very unprofessional and juvenile language. Misspellings and grammatical errors galore too. While I can relate to food reactivity and it is a very real thing, I refuse to believe this was written by a medical professional. It also failed to address that the underlying issues need to be resolved, and how to do so. No one is going to live on chicken, vegetables and raw nuts for the rest of their lives. Eliminating reactive foods is a good first step – but we need to progress from there.


    1. Sorry about the writing. Obviously, I’m a medical professional not a professional writer.
      Hopefully, over the years I’ve improved on that aspect as well.
      I truly believe these reactivities to foods often ARE the underlying issue and go a long way towards keeping the body from healing.
      Also, i think you missed the point. Often some of these foods are in fact chicken, certain vegetables and nuts.
      This article is not at all about an elimination diet but more about the rationale behind why elimination diets have success despite no focus.

      The entire point is- find the culprit rather than strictly guesswork.

      In any regard, thank you for reading and for commenting. It’s the only way I get better. I’ll address the errors and rookie writing skills this Wednesday.


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