JJ: What are some foods you believe can cause problems for many people?
LGR: Some examples are shellfish (with the exception of scallops), turkey, pork, eggs, Greek yogurt, roasted nuts, asparagus, green beans, tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, beans, oatmeal, salmon . . . the list goes on. This does not mean these foods are bad for you. It just means that, based on my research, there’s a possibility that these foods won’t work with your chemistry.
JJ: Your list consists of foods that most nutritionists would say people should eat. How do you explain the fact that your results often conflict with studies done by scientists who’ve invested millions of dollars and years of laboratory research?
LGR: Much of their testing isn’t done on an individual basis. Each person is chemically unique. Foods may be healthy in a vacuum, but when combined with your individual chemistry, they can be quite toxic.
JJ: So research reflects averages, not individual experience?
JJ: How does reactivity change as we age?
LGR: I’ve noticed that changes in your reactions to foods come in spurts. There’s generally a leap around age 25, then a big one between 33 and 35, another big one around 42 or 43 and another one around 50. For some women, there’s a leap with the birth of their first child—and a second child throws all women for a loop. Because of the increase in chronic inflammation over the years, the food you’re eating now will have a different effect on you than it did when you were a teenager.
JJ: What are you basing your numbers and conclusions on?
LGR: On my own research. On my clients. All I’m using is data that I’ve compiled.
JJ: Let’s look at a specific example from your list. What is the problem with oatmeal?
LGR: I’d estimate that 95 percent of the people I work with can’t eat oatmeal without gaining a substantial amount of weight. It can cause two days’ worth of constipation and particularly affects my migraine sufferers.
JJ: You know, oatmeal gives me indigestion, but I’ve always thought I must be crazy because it’s supposed to be so good for you.
LGR: Exactly! That’s just it. Everybody’s saying, “I thought I was crazy” and “I thought I was the only one.” People are making themselves eat these foods that are supposed to be good for them and cutting out the cookies. But the cookies aren’t the problem! The problem is letting other people tell you what is healthy for you.
JJ: Can you explain the theory behind The Plan?
LGR: The Plan is basically an elimination/rotation diet in which we’re looking for responses to specific foods. Tests should be done on everything you eat on a regular basis. If you eat fish, you should be tested on fish; if you eat pork, you should be tested on pork; and so forth. Most people eat 30 to 40 of the same foods regularly, so I would run through all of those to make sure they’re working for you.
The Plan starts out with a three-day cleanse. It rotates from season to season and is tailored to each individual. I recommend lots of fresh vegetables that are lower on the reactive-food list, as well as brown or basmati rice. The first day after the cleanse, I start to program in foods that, based on my research, are the least reactive. I have structured it so that you should be losing half a pound a day. If you’re not and your weight stabilizes, it means that the food you ate is mildly reactive for you; if you gain half a pound, it means the food is reactive. If you gain one or two pounds, we know that food is really toxic for you and you just shouldn’t eat it.