The Myers Way® for Life
April 22nd, 2016
“I finished the program, what do I do now?” Whether it’s The Myers Way® Autoimmune Solution Program, The Myers Way® Comprehensive Elimination Diet, or The Myers Way® Candida Control Program, this is a question I hear all the time.
It’s a question I love to hear, and I’ll tell you why. I call it The Myers Way® because it truly is a way of life, and now that you’ve completed your protocol, we get to do some of the most important work of the program – figuring out what this lifestyle looks like for you!
This phase of the program will help you expand your horizons so that you can enjoy the maximum variety in your diet, day-to-day life, and special occasions, while still building a foundation of lifelong health. In this article I’ll walk you through the process of determining what your absolute no’s are, what new foods and habits you can introduce, and what indulgences you can enjoy in moderation. Let’s get started!
Evaluate Your Progress
The first step is to evaluate your progress after completing your program. Have your symptoms fully cleared? Have lab markers like antibody counts, white blood cell counts, and thyroid levels normalized?
If the answer to those questions is yes, then great, you are ready to begin food reintroduction and can skip ahead to the next section! If your symptoms have mostly cleared, but haven’t fully disappeared, I recommend sticking with your program for an additional 2-8 weeks to give yourself more time to heal.
If your symptoms have improved slightly, but are still significant, I recommend exploring other underlying causes that may be contributing to your condition. Do you have any gut infections? Toxin exposure? Are your adrenal glands wiped out from high stress? I recommend working with a functional medicine doctor who can order functional lab testing and perform an in-depth health history to help you answer these questions.
Food Reintroduction Phase
Now you’re ready for the food reintroduction phase! Keep in mind, this step is completely optional. If you’re feeling great and want to continue the diet for life, you are more than welcome to! Just make sure you keep plenty of variety in your diet.
If, on the other hand, you would like to identify your personal food sensitivities and expand your foods list, the reintroduction phase is a very important final step in your program. It will help you determine the perfect diet for your unique needs. If you would like personalized guidance for this portion of the program, our Wellness Coaches are experts at helping people transition from each of The Myers Way® protocols to the reintroduction phase.
Foods to Reintroduce
Which foods you reintroduce and how you reintroduce them depends the program you completed and your health conditions. You can use the chart below to determine the right reintroduction guidelines for you. Note that if you have any autoimmune disease, you should follow the guidelines in the top category, even if you completed a program in the bottom category.
|Program or Condition||Reintroduce Per Protocol||Reintroduce In Small Amounts||Permanently Avoid|
*If you have an autoimmune disease, or any type of thyroid disease, then I do not recommend ever reintroducing gluten or dairy. You can learn why in this article (for autoimmune patients) or this one (for thyroid patients).
How to Reintroduce Foods
You can think of this phase as an experiment. The reintroduction foods listed in the “per protocol” column are your variables, and you are going to measure their effect on your body. You want to make sure your results are clean and reliable, which is why you’ll test only one food at a time. You also want to make sure your results are noticeable and measurable, which is why you will eat each food three times a day for three days. If a food is causing inflammation for you, I want to give your body the best chance to determine that, rather than letting silent inflammation creep in!
- Introduce one food at a time
- Eat the reintroduction food three times a day for three days
- Track your results on the food reintroduction diary (below)
- Go back to the program for three days in between each reintroduction food
- If you have a reaction, take the food back out and go back to the program guidelines until you are symptom-free
- If you don’t have a reaction, take the food back out until you have finished the reintroduction phase
- Add all safe foods back in after you’ve completed the reintroduction phase
For the foods in the “in small amounts” column, you will also add these back in one at a time, but only in small amounts, not three times a day. These foods are still inflammatory, so you don’t want to bombard your system with them. However, you can enjoy them in moderation if you find you don’t react to them.
What to Look for as You Reintroduce Foods
As you reintroduce foods, look for signs of inflammation. Remember reactions can be very mild at first, and can take up to 72 hours to appear, so you want to watch your body carefully for any symptoms. Common symptoms to look for include:
- Autoimmune blood markers increasing
- Brain fog
- Changes in inflammatory/autoimmune lab markers
- Disruptions in sleep
- Heightened emotions
- Joint pain
- Mood swings
- Sleepiness after meals
I recommend using my reintroduction food diary to track your reactions throughout the reintroduction process. This will make sure you are paying close attention, and can help you spot patterns you might otherwise miss. This is a great tool to share with your with your Wellness Coach if they are helping you through the reintroduction phase.
Extra Tips for Food Reintroduction
Here are tips for other important topics I receive questions about in the reintroduction and maintenance phase.
Sugar and Carbohydrates
If you completed the Candida or SIBO protocols, I recommend continuing to limit sugar, and keeping your carbs to no more than 2 cups a day, as these conditions can be recurring.
For all protocols and conditions, I recommend keeping sugar to a minimum, since it can be so damaging to your health and suppresses your immune system Try using fruits like dates and bananas to sweeten treats instead of sugar or sweeteners, you’ll be amazed at how much your taste buds have changed during this process!
Caffeine and Alcohol
As with sugar, I recommend limiting your caffeine and alcohol intake. If you do consume caffeine, consider switching to tea instead of coffee, and make sure to skip the cream and sugar. Keep an eye on your energy levels, it’s ok to enjoy coffee in moderation if you simply enjoy the taste and experience, but not if you’re relying on it to get through the day.
If you’re going to a party or happy hour and want to enjoy a drink, I recommend choosing a cocktail. Wine and beer both contain yeast, most beer contains gluten, and ciders can be very high in sugar. I recommend a distilled liquor, like vodka, rum, or tequila, with sparkling water and a splash of citrus.
After you’ve completed your initial program, and as long as you don’t have Candida Overgrowth, fermented foods can be a great tool for supporting gut health and your microbiome. Fermented foods are natural probiotics, meaning they are full of live bacteria and the nutrients that feed them. This is why you want to avoid them while your gut is still healing or if you have a yeast problem, because these nutrients can feed the bad organisms too.
I’ve been experimenting with more fermented foods in my diet lately, and I’ve really enjoyed it! One of my go-tos is sauerkraut, since I can quickly top protein or veggies with it. I purchased mine at the store, but you can easily and affordably make it at home. I’ve also started making my own water kefir using Culture for Health’s Water Kefir Grains. They have great how-to videos that walk you through the process step by step.
Indulgences vs Cheat Days
For special occasions like birthdays and holidays, I completely understand wanting to factor in indulgences. I, myself, have a big sweet tooth and for my birthday I always enjoy a gluten-free, dairy-free baked good, like a cupcake.
The key here is to think of these as rare indulgences and not regularly occurring cheat days. For example, on my birthday I might enjoy a GF/DF cupcake, but I don’t go crazy and also eat pizza and a candy bar. I also save these indulgences for days that are truly special. To be honest, I don’t really feel the need to cheat, now that I’ve seen first-hand how these foods affect my body and my health.
Some people subscribe to the 80/20 principle, meaning they follow dietary guidelines 80% of the time and allow for 20% wiggle room. My concern with this method is that these indulgences don’t just temporarily upset your digestion or leave you with a headache, they increase your inflammation and push down the path toward chronic disease. To put it plainly, each of these splurge days is damaging to your health, and after completing a program, you owe it to yourself to not put setbacks like these in your path.
Which Supplements to Take After Your Program
You were likely taking a specific set of supplements while completing your program. Now that your program is over, you might be wondering whether you should continue them, discontinue them, or start new supplements. The answer depends on your symptoms and your health history, but here are a few pointers to help you figure it out. Our Wellness Coaches can also offer one-on-one guidance on which supplements are most important for your unique needs, and how to take them.
After Completing Any Program
There are four essential supplements that I recommend for everyone to take every day. They include a multivitamin, probiotic<, Vitamin D3/K2, and Omega 3s. You can purchase all four of these at a 10% discount in The Myers Way® Essentials Kit, and you can read more about them in this article.
After Completing My Autoimmune Solution Program
In addition to the essential supplements, there are five supplements that I recommend for every autoimmune patient to take. Many of you were likely taking them while following The Autoimmune Solution Program, and I recommend continuing with them. They include Cirucmin Phytosome, Acetyl Glutathione, Immune Booster Capsules, Resveratrol, and Glutamine Capsules. You can purchase these together in The Myers Way® Autoimmune Kit and save 10%.
After Completing A Gut Health Treatment (Candida, SIBO, Parasite, Leaky Gut)
As you know by now, gut health is extremely important. I recommend taking GI Repair Powder or Glutamine Capsules to ensure that you maintain a healthy gut that does not become leaky, in addition to the essential supplements.
If you have completed my Candida Control Program, you can take 1 capsule of Caprylic Acid as a maintenance dose for an additional month to prevent future yeast overgrowth. You can also do a short course of Caprylic Acid in times when you consume more sugar than normal (such as the holidays), or if you’re prescribed antibiotics, as these can both cause yeast overgrowth.
For supplements targeted toward specific symptoms or health concerns, such as hormone imbalances, detox support, MTHFR mutations, difficulty sleeping, and more, you can check out my online store.
If you’d like personalized guidance as you transition out of your program, our Wellness Coaches would love to support you via a one-on-one Wellness Coaching Session. They can help you design your “maintenance” diet and choose the best supplements for your needs.
I’m so excited you’ve come this far, and I can’t wait to see where your health journey takes you next!
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