What is a rotation diet?
It’s about switching up the foods you eat on a 4 day rotation to ensure that you’re not eating the same foods every day.
The foods we eat day in and day out can be the most likely culprits for intolerance, especially if we have gut issues, because our bodies aren’t designed to eat the same thing over and over again. So if there’s something you eat ALL the time and suddenly you’re bloated AF – you may just need to lay off it for a while.
You have to know that the rotation diet alone will not heal your gut or heal food intolerances. It’s not about calories, restriction, or perfection. It’s about getting a variety of foods!
Surely, the goal is to heal the gut. However, an important piece of gut healing is to remove inflammation, and stopping new intolerances from forming. Thus, a rotation diet can be an amazing strategy within a gut healing template.
- Food rotation increases food variety and nutrient availability, helping the body receive the nutrients it needs to heal and keeping the enzyme pathways in the liver and body, in general, working better. This decreases the load on the immune system. Because there are essentially fewer toxins present, the body can detox more effectively.
- Resting the immune system from those potentially harmful, invasive foods that the body responds to at any level due to decreased overall exposure is an effective means of lowering overall stress and calming down the system.
- Reducing cravings by balancing and cleaning the body via the above mechanisms decreases exposure to invasive foods.
- Generally, rotation dieting greatly enhances a person’s awareness of what foods his/her body does and doesn’t handle well, again resulting in one being less likely to keep overstimulating her/his immune system.
- Reducing local and global inflammation improves the health of the gut wall (the small intestine being the most important), decreasing leaky gut syndrome.
- Bowel movements generally improve, therefore, autointoxication is reduced.
- Sleep quality is enhanced, greatly improving autonomic balance, organ and gland functioning, brain and nervous system functioning, tissue regeneration and recovery from stress and exercise, while reducing inflammation and much more.
- All the factors mentioned above, including the health improvement stemming from rotation dieting with “awareness” results in better food choices and often one is less hungry. This is pivotal in the reduction and clearing of fungus and parasites, which decreases inflammation and toxicity significantly.
So we now know the WHY, but what about the HOW?
Keeping a log of your food, drinks and symptoms is essential to long-term success. The more challenged one’s health is, the more comprehensive the approach to applying rotation diet concepts and tracking needs to be.
Track and plan
Sit down every Saturday and make a plan for the week, and consider all factors. Are there any crazy nights that week? Will you be eating out one day? Write out what you plan to eat for each day of the week, and use Sunday to prep. I use the notes in my iPhone to make a rough plan like the one above!
You want to track any symptoms throughout the week. As times goes on, it will become easier to see patterns and ferret out anything that isn’t working.
Simplify your meals
I know these gorgeous bowls on Instagram with 7 different kinds of vegetable in ⅓ cup portions each look appetizing. In reality, that’s not what you want to be doing if you’re following a rotation diet.
Structure your meals to be a protein, 1-2 vegetables, and a healthy fat. Keep it simple to give yourself more options to rotate! It’s easier to prep, and can be just as delicious.
The freezer if your friend
Let’s say you make a big nourishing soup with tons of veggies and eat it on Monday. You’re not feeling like playing with eating it two days in a row, and would rather wait until Friday, but don’t want to waste it. Throw it in the freezer!
This is one of the easiests ways to plan ahead and stop from wasting foods when you’re trying to get into a rotation habit. Most foods like meatballs, soups, and roasted veggies freeze well, especially if you’re only keeping it in there for a week or two.
Eating with the seasons is what nature intended us to do, and one of the best things to compliment a rotation diet. Go to a farmers market, or do a quick search every couple of weeks to see what’s seasonal that you can enjoy, rather than just buying the same things over and over again. Even if you’re on a four day rotation, that doesn’t mean that eating the same things that are not always in season within that rotation is the best course of action.
I try not to buy things like watermelon or pumpkin out of season, and really enjoy it when it’s in season. That way, if I happen to eat a lot of it over those weeks when it’s seasonal, I don’t really sweat it as this is what nature intended to do!
Don’t over complicate it if you don’t have to
I know what you’re thinking… “Are beef and bison too close? What about turkey and chicken? Or all cruciferous vegetables?” It can get complicated.
Start small. Especially in the beginning! The beauty of following this sort of plan is that you do really start to figure out your triggers. If you start to realize that chicken and turkey back to back produce some sort of reaction for you, then you can adjust.
However, when you’re just starting out, the goal is to just get in some variety and get in the habit of not having the same thing day in and day out.
Perfection is not required
Eating sweet potato two or three days in a row isn’t the end of the world. Don’t beat yourself up if you do. Even if you eat it several times a week, try and take the next week or two off. The point is that you’re not eating sweet potato every single day of your life, and not to be perfectly rotating on a four day rotation for the rest of your life.
If you eat the same foods back to back do not worry! Just keep trying to stick to variety!