I've been on the Digestive Clearing Diet for two weeks and have not noticed any results. What's wrong?

If you are taking any probiotics, stop taking them, unless recommended by your health professional. Supplements can affect your results.

I’m allergic to beef and pork. What should I do?

You might try to get hormone-free variations of these meats and see if you notice any difference. Rather than just eating white meat and fish, to get a side spectrum of nutrients try various protein sources listed as rare foods in Appendix D in my book, “Digestive Health NOW“.

I was doing really well then things stopped working. Now I’m discouraged. What should I do?

First I would look at any recent changes. These could be ways in which your diet or stress load has changed. Also, changes in the weather changes and biorhythms (circadian rhythms) can contribute to changes in digestive health. Some clients notice that things can go downhill after several days of rain or if they are in indoor environments that are excessively cold or damp. You may need to try to get more exercise and take herbs such as ginger that help fight the cold and dampness. It is important to realize this is a temporary setback; things are not going downhill.

I seem to be super-sensitive. Some food allergy books even suggest rotating cooking oils. Do you recommend this?

Super-sensitive people may benefit from rotating cooking oils. This program focuses on the special needs of people with digestive disorders. My research has led to the conclusion that olive oil is the best all-around oil for most people for cooking and dressings. Sesame oil and flax oil are also good. If you need a more specialized book, I recommend Allergy Cooking with Ease by Nicolette Dumke and The Whole Way to Allergy Relief and Prevention by Jacqueline Krohn,M.D

What if I am already underweight?

If you are underweight, it is very important that you eat adequate protein. You may consider meat soups in the morning if possible during the clearing phase. If you can get pure rice protein without added sweeteners, this would make an easy-to-digest breakfast. After the two-week Clearing Phase, you might want to test soy earlier than most people, as soy can be a good source of vegetable protein. Traditionally, corn is used to help people gain weight, so this may be another food you could consider testing earlier than most people. However, keep in mind that many people with digestive symptoms react to both soy and corn.

I’m a vegetarian. What can I do?

I would urge you to look at the reasons why you are a vegetarian. Vegetarianism is great for people who live in hot climates and who do not do much physical or mental work; otherwise it may be difficult. It is always good to rotate one’s diet, and most of us need to eat more vegetables. Vegetarians in the West often rely too much on dairy products, grains, and beans. The only way you can follow the Digestive Clearing Program is by trying to find rice protein without additives, otherwise it is simply not possible to get adequate protein, as beans are out. You may find that your body is able to tolerate meat better than you think, particularly if you stick to soups and stews and fish. Many of our clients who switch from a vegetarian diet to the Digestive Clearing Program with fish and meat in the form of soups and stews a few days a week do quite well. Other options would be to see an herbalist so that you can take herbs to give you ample energy, or to take amino acid supplements that contain all the basic amino acids. Note that amino acids should be taken under professional supervision. If you have been a vegetarian for a long period, I suggest that you get tested for anemia and Vitamin B12 deficiency.

I did exactly what was recommended, but I still have symptoms. What is wrong?

Our experience dictates that this program has a success rate for 80 to 90 percent of the people who follow it exactly. If you are one of the people for whom it has not work, you may need to do a more stringent elimination diet administered by a health professional (such programs usually involve hypoallergenic protein supplements and a pared-down diet such as lamb, rice, millet, and pears), or you could try some rare foods (see Appendix D). This entails eating foods you would probably never normally eat.

What if I don’t have an appetite?

We recommend eating more soups and stews. Try pureeing and heating all vegetables. It is often better to eat smaller portions throughout the day rather than the standard two or three large meals.

What if I fall off the program and my symptoms return?

You may have an idea as to what is causing your symptoms. Is it a sudden increase in stress or could it be a change in diet? I would suggest that you reread the relevant sections of this program and return to the program.

What if the program doesn’t work?

You will have the satisfaction of knowing that you’ve given your best. This is why following the program exactly is so important. Unless you follow it exactly, you will never have a chance to see the program in action.

Does this mean that I can’t go out for a drink with my friends?

During the five weeks, alcohol is prohibited. You might want to make other suggestions while you are on the program. As long as you are careful to prepare food ahead of time, there are hundreds of activities you can share with friends.

I tried the Anti-Candida Diet once, and it didn’t work that well. Why not?

The Anti-Candida Diet works for many people. For others, it may not be balanced enough. Some of the products that are recommended with the Anti-Candida Diet (for example, caprylic acid) are hard on the digestive system. Finally, many people have problems with Candida because their digestive systems are weak. Our program is designed to strengthen the digestive system. Constitutional herbal therapy is also very helpful, but you need to see an herbalist to pursue this route.

I often travel for work. Can I do the program while traveling?

The two-week Clearing Phase needs to be done at home. While theoretically the first two weeks and the reintroduction could be done while traveling, it’s very difficult to do so. We recommend choosing a three-week period when you can do the program at home. This would be the two-week Clearing Phase and a week of rotating foods. If you truly get stuck and have to travel, when eating at a restaurant, have meat, poultry, or fish with nothing added. Baked and boiled potatoes or steamed vegetables are usually safe.

Does it take a long time to cook all these foods?

It may take longer than going to delis. However, not only will your gut thank you, your heart will thank you also. There are strategies that help make cooking less time-consuming. For example, you can cook the majority of the week’s food on Sunday, or at the same time that you roast vegetables you can bake a roast and cook soup. Like many parts of the program, it’s essential that you keep remembering the benefits, not the difficulties, if you want to succeed in healing your digestive system.

Will I be on this diet the rest of my life?

No. It is meant to be a starting point. The goal is to find out which foods seem to be aggravating your digestive system. Hopefully you will be learning about new foods that you can incorporate into your diet so that your diet is more varied than before starting the program. Also, in time, you will learn which foods your body absolutely does not tolerate, and which foods can be incorporated every three days instead of every day.

I eat only chicken and fish, yet I see that your meal plan includes a lot of red meat. Why?

Chicken and fish are good, but our meal plan includes a lot of red meat because you may be missing nutrients only found in red meat and game.  But, if you cannot eat red meat, instead try eating foods that will gain you the necessary missing nutrients.  Our meal plan is trying to emphasize the point of eating a more varied diet.  It is also possible that by limiting your diet, you may develop sensitivities to chicken and fish.

What if I’m cured during the Introduction Phase?

Great. If you have no digestive problems while preparing to go onto the Digestive Clearing Phase, you don’t need to continue. Certainly many of the treatment principles (stress-reduction and exercise; reducing coffee, alcohol, and processed foods) help a significant number of people with digestive problems. I would suggest that you keep this up and eat with great variety.

What if I just can’t complete the program?

If you have noticed some benefits without finishing the program, please acknowledge yourself for trying and make a conscious note of the changes that seemed to help. If you feel that you still have a long way to go, I suggest locating a holistic health professional who may be able to suggest vitamins or herbs that can help. For some people, it is much easier working with a practitioner. My book Healing Digestive Disorders lists hundreds of natural therapies that should help. If you feel that you have received no benefit, you probably found yourself at a stressful period of your life in which making changes was just not a possibility. If this is the case, I again urge you to visit a holistic health professional. If you are unable to make any diet changes at this time, at least maintain the stress-reduction and exercise part of the program.

What if I’m taking pharmaceutical drugs? Can I still do the program?

If you are stable and have been taking the medication for several weeks then yes you may still do the program.  However, if you have recently begun taking a medication, you should wait until you have been on it for several weeks.  Before reducing or eliminating medication, we recommend to always discuss it with your health professional.

My doctor says there’s no science behind this. Who’s right?

Despite the best science in the world, many digestive problems are considered incurable. Medical science is particularly good at diagnosing conditions. It is not particularly good at creating health, which is the purpose of this program.

How about taking vitamins?

I usually recommend high-quality, hypoallergenic supplements. If you have been taking a product and still have digestive problems, it makes sense to stop what you are taking and then reintroduce a different supplement during the Reintroduction Phase.

Can I use soy milk?

During the Clearing Phase (weeks 3 and 4) beans and bean products such as soy milk are excluded. While beneficial for many people, especially menopausal women, and less allergenic than milk, many people with digestive disorders are intolerant to beans. As it is highly concentrated, soy milk may present an additional problem. If you enjoy soy products, you may consider testing them earlier than is indicated during the reintroduction phase.