6R Framework
Remove Phase

The 6R Framework for Digestive Health

The 6R Framework is a comprehensive approach to restoring and maintaining optimal digestive health. Each phase of this framework addresses a crucial aspect of the healing process, ensuring a thorough and effective path to wellness. The first phase, "Remove," is essential for eliminating the factors that disrupt digestive health.

Digestive Health
6R Remove

The "Remove" phase focuses on identifying and eliminating harmful substances that negatively impact the digestive system. This includes removing pathogenic bacteria, parasites, yeast, and other harmful organisms that can disrupt gut health. It also involves eliminating dietary triggers and irritants that cause inflammation and digestive discomfort.

Key Aspects of the Remove Phase:

- Pathogen Elimination: Using targeted treatments to remove harmful bacteria, parasites, and yeast from the gut. This can include natural antimicrobials, antifungals, and antiparasitic agents.

- Dietary Changes: Identifying and eliminating foods that cause sensitivities or intolerances, such as gluten, dairy, soy, and artificial additives. An elimination diet can help pinpoint specific triggers.

- Toxin Removal: Reducing exposure to environmental toxins and pollutants that can disrupt gut health. This may involve avoiding processed foods, reducing chemical exposures, and using detoxification strategies.

- Stress Management: Removing or mitigating sources of stress that can negatively affect digestion. Techniques such as mindfulness, meditation, and stress-relief practices are beneficial.

By successfully implementing the "Remove" phase, you lay the foundation for healing the gut and creating an environment conducive to restoring balance and health. This crucial first step paves the way for the subsequent phases of the 6R Framework, ensuring a comprehensive and holistic approach to digestive wellness.

Digestive Health
Dietary Considerations

Diet plays a pivotal role in maintaining and enhancing digestive health. By making thoughtful and informed dietary changes, you can significantly improve your gut function, reduce inflammation, and promote overall well-being. The following dietary adjustments can help create a healthy and balanced digestive environment.

Key Dietary Considerations for Optimal Digestion

Elimination of Trigger Foods: Identifying and removing foods that cause sensitivities or intolerances is crucial. Common triggers include gluten, dairy, soy, and artificial additives. An elimination diet can help pinpoint specific foods that lead to inflammation and digestive discomfort.

Increase Fiber Intake: Consuming a diet rich in fiber from fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes promotes healthy bowel movements and prevents constipation. Fiber also serves as a prebiotic, feeding beneficial gut bacteria and supporting a balanced microbiome.

Incorporate Probiotics and Prebiotics: Probiotics, found in fermented foods like yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, and kimchi, introduce beneficial bacteria to the gut. Prebiotics, found in foods like garlic, onions, and bananas, feed these good bacteria, enhancing gut health and function.

Stay Hydrated: Drinking plenty of water is essential for digestion. Proper hydration helps break down food, aids in nutrient absorption, and facilitates the elimination of waste products, preventing constipation and promoting regularity.

Limit Processed Foods: Minimizing the consumption of processed foods, which often contain preservatives, artificial colors, and unhealthy fats, can reduce irritation and inflammation in the digestive tract. Opt for whole, unprocessed foods whenever possible.

Reduce Sugar and Artificial Sweeteners: High sugar intake and artificial sweeteners can disrupt the balance of gut bacteria, leading to digestive issues. Reducing or eliminating these from your diet can help restore a healthy gut environment.

Moderate Alcohol and Caffeine: Excessive alcohol and caffeine can irritate the gut lining and disrupt digestion. Limiting these substances can contribute to better digestive health and reduce the risk of gastrointestinal discomfort.

Eat Mindfully: Practice mindful eating by chewing food thoroughly, savoring each bite, and avoiding distractions during meals. This can improve the mechanical and chemical breakdown of food, enhancing nutrient absorption and overall digestion.

By implementing these dietary changes, you can support and enhance your digestive health, leading to improved gut function, reduced discomfort, and a greater sense of overall well-being. Adopting a balanced and thoughtful approach to nutrition is key to maintaining a healthy digestive system and achieving optimal health.

Digestive Health
Environmental Toxins

The "Remove" phase of the 6R Framework for Digestive Health is crucial for eliminating factors that negatively impact the gut. In addition to dietary changes, it's essential to address environmental toxins that can harm the digestive system. These toxins can come from various sources, including food, water, air, and everyday household products.

Key Steps to Reduce Environmental Toxins

Avoid Processed Foods and Pesticides: Processed foods often contain preservatives, artificial additives, and harmful chemicals. Whenever possible, choose organic, whole foods to reduce your exposure to pesticides and additives that can disrupt gut health.

Filter Your Water: Tap water can contain contaminants such as chlorine, heavy metals, and other pollutants. Using a high-quality water filter can help remove these toxins, ensuring that the water you drink and cook with is clean and safe.

Use Natural Cleaning Products: Many conventional cleaning products contain harsh chemicals that can be inhaled or absorbed through the skin. Opt for natural, non-toxic cleaning products to reduce your exposure to these harmful substances.

Choose Safe Personal Care Products: Personal care products, including shampoos, lotions, and cosmetics, can contain harmful chemicals like parabens, phthalates, and synthetic fragrances. Look for products with natural ingredients and avoid those with potentially harmful additives.

Reduce Plastic Use: Plastics can leach harmful chemicals, such as BPA and phthalates, into food and beverages. Use glass, stainless steel, or BPA-free containers for food storage and drinking water to minimize exposure.

Improve Indoor Air Quality: Indoor air can be polluted with toxins from cleaning products, mold, dust, and off-gassing from furniture and carpets. Use air purifiers, houseplants, and ensure proper ventilation to improve indoor air quality.

Limit Exposure to Heavy Metals: Heavy metals like lead, mercury, and cadmium can be found in some foods, water, and household items. Avoid using aluminum cookware, choose seafood known for lower mercury levels, and be mindful of potential sources of heavy metal exposure.

Support Detoxification: Support your body's natural detoxification processes by incorporating foods that aid liver function, such as leafy greens, beets, garlic, and cruciferous vegetables. Staying hydrated and getting regular exercise also help facilitate detoxification.

By taking these steps to reduce environmental toxins, you can create a healthier environment that supports your digestive system. Eliminating these harmful substances is a critical component of the "Remove" phase, laying the foundation for improved gut health and overall well-being.

Digestive Health
Food Allergens & Sensitivities

Food allergies are a prevalent health issue that affects millions of people worldwide. While there are numerous potential allergens, some foods are more likely to cause allergic reactions than others. Here’s a closer look at the six most common types of food allergies:

Gluten: Gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley, and rye, can cause serious health problems for those with gluten-related disorders like celiac disease or non-celiac gluten sensitivity. Gluten is also a primary source of pesticides.  Reactions can include gastrointestinal distress, skin rashes, and joint pain, but gluten sensitivity can also cause leaky gut syndrome. Healthier replacements include quinoa, amaranth, brown rice and millet.  

Dairy: Dairy allergies are primarily caused by an adverse reaction to the proteins found in cow’s milk, namely casein and whey. Symptoms can range from mild digestive discomfort to severe allergic reactions like anaphylaxis. Dairy is a common allergen for children, though some outgrow it as they mature. Dairy is also highly acidic to the body, causing the body to leach calcium from the bones to buffer the acid. This is counterintuitive to conventional wisdom and Big Ag telling us the dairy is a vital source of calcium. Instead, consider coconut, almond or hemp milks which are also rich in calcium and plant-based, they are less acidic and inflammatory to the body. 

Soy: Soy allergy is particularly common in infants and young children and involves an immune response to the proteins in soy. Symptoms can range from mild (rashes, itching) to severe (difficulty breathing, anaphylaxis). Many children outgrow soy allergies as they get older. Soy is also more than 90% GMO.

Eggs: Egg allergies are another common food allergy, particularly in children. The proteins in both the yolk and the whites can trigger reactions, which can vary from skin rashes and hives to respiratory issues and anaphylaxis. Many children outgrow this allergy as they get older. Eggs also contain an inflammatory acid called arachidonic acid. 

Corn (including high fructose corn syrup) Corn allergy is less common but can be problematic for those affected. The symptoms of a corn allergy can include skin rashes, stomach pains, and even anaphylaxis. Since corn and its derivatives are prevalent in processed foods, avoiding it can be challenging. Corn is >90% GMO. 

Peanuts  Peanut allergies are among the most severe food allergies and can trigger life-threatening reactions, including anaphylaxis. The allergen is the protein in peanuts, and even trace amounts can cause symptoms. Unlike some food allergies, peanut allergies are often lifelong.

Each of these food allergies requires careful management, which might involve carrying an epinephrine auto-injector, reading food labels meticulously, and communicating with healthcare providers to ensure a safe and healthy diet.

Digestive Health
The Elimination Diet
The first step to healing the gut

The 6R Framework for Digestive Health is designed to address and heal the gut by systematically identifying and removing factors that negatively impact digestive function. A cornerstone of the "Remove" phase is the elimination diet, a powerful tool to identify food sensitivities and intolerances that can cause inflammation and disrupt digestive health.

What is an Elimination Diet?

An elimination diet involves removing specific foods and food groups from your diet that are known to cause sensitivities, intolerances, or allergic reactions. After a period of elimination, these foods are gradually reintroduced one at a time to observe how the body reacts. This process helps identify which foods may be contributing to digestive issues and other symptoms.

Steps of an Elimination Diet

1. Preparation: Begin by preparing yourself mentally and logistically. Plan meals and snacks that do not include potential trigger foods. Keep a food diary to track what you eat and any symptoms that arise.

2. Elimination: For a period of 3-6 weeks, eliminate common trigger foods from your diet. These typically include gluten, dairy, soy, eggs, nuts, corn, and nightshades. During this phase, focus on eating whole, unprocessed foods such as fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and healthy fats.

3. Observation: Monitor your symptoms closely during the elimination phase. Notice any improvements in digestion, energy levels, skin health, and overall wellbeing. Keeping a detailed diary of your symptoms and food intake can help identify patterns and correlations.

4. Reintroduction: After the elimination phase, reintroduce the eliminated foods one at a time, typically over 3-5 days for each food. Carefully observe and record any reactions, such as digestive discomfort, skin changes, or fluctuations in energy levels. This step helps pinpoint specific foods that may be problematic.

5. Analysis and Adjustment: Based on your observations, determine which foods to avoid permanently and which ones you can enjoy without issues. Adjust your diet to exclude the problematic foods and continue to monitor your digestive health and overall wellbeing.

Benefits of an Elimination Diet

- Identify Food Sensitivities: The elimination diet helps identify foods that cause adverse reactions, enabling you to tailor your diet to your unique needs.

- Reduce Inflammation: By removing trigger foods, you can reduce inflammation in the gut, leading to improved digestive health and reduced symptoms.

- Improve Nutrient Absorption: Eliminating irritants allows the gut lining to heal, improving the absorption of essential nutrients and enhancing overall health.

- Enhanced Wellbeing: Many individuals experience improvements in energy levels, mental clarity, skin health, and overall vitality after completing an elimination diet.

Elimination Diet
Uncover Hidden Food Sensitivities and Transform Your Health

Food intolerances, allergies, digestive issues, and food irritants can significantly disrupt our daily lives and overall well-being. While there are tests available to identify food intolerances and sensitivities, these can be costly and their effectiveness is sometimes questionable. One reliable method for determining which foods may be causing digestive upset is the elimination diet.

An elimination diet is a structured approach designed to pinpoint foods to which an individual may be sensitive or allergic. This method involves systematically removing certain foods or food groups from the diet that are suspected of causing adverse health effects. After a period where these foods are completely avoided, they are reintroduced one by one, allowing the individual to observe how each affects their body.

The primary goal of an elimination diet is to identify specific foods or ingredients that contribute to symptoms such as digestive distress, skin eruptions, headaches, joint pain, or fatigue, which may be overlooked in standard tests. This approach is especially beneficial for those suffering from conditions like irritable bowel syndrome, eczema, or allergies, where food sensitivities are commonly implicated.

By pinpointing which foods trigger negative responses, individuals can tailor their diets to minimize or eliminate discomfort, thereby enhancing their quality of life. It's crucial to conduct an elimination diet under the supervision of a healthcare professional to ensure it is carried out safely and effectively, and to prevent nutritional deficiencies.

The elimination diet is not just about following a trend or restrictive eating plan; it’s about understanding how different foods impact our health and vitality. We often emphasize the quality of fuel we use for our vehicles, yet neglect the quality of what we consume. Processed, packaged, and artificially flavored foods can exacerbate health issues, leading to systemic inflammation and chronic diseases.

By adopting the elimination diet, we focus on clean, easily digestible foods that are low in sugar and free from potential gastrointestinal irritants. This allows us to identify possible triggers for adverse reactions more effectively than some food sensitivity tests.

This approach emphasizes functional nutrition, encouraging us to treat our body responses with curiosity and attentiveness, akin to how a scientist would observe experimental results. Addressing gut health is often the first step in managing various health issues, considering the gut's extensive influence on other body systems.

Prioritizing gut health helps illuminate the intricate connections between our digestive system and aspects of health such as mental well-being, hormone balance, cardiometabolic health, immune response, and inflammation. Starting with the gut sets a solid foundation for overall health and vitality, reinforcing the notion that all aspects of our health are interconnected and equally important.

Elimination Diet
Elimination Phase

Step one is the elimination of all known allergens (see above) and all foods that you suspect you have a sensitivity to. Sometimes the stressor food is counterintuitive, something healthy and good for you like carrots, spinach or rice can be the culprit. Anything you know or suspect you have an intolerance or sensitivity to, should also be eliminated during the elimination phase. Ideally, you will remain in this phase for at least three weeks.

During the initial phase of an elimination diet, the focus is squarely on removing potential irritants that could be causing adverse reactions within the body. This deliberate process helps individuals manage symptoms more effectively and promotes enhanced overall health and wellness.

Key Foods to Eliminate:

  • Peanuts
  • Tree Nuts (other than peanuts)
  • Dairy
  • Eggs
  • Wheat
  • Soy
  • Fish
  • Shellfish
For those looking to implement a more comprehensive elimination strategy, consider also avoiding the following:
  • Citrus fruits
  • Gluten-containing grains
  • Artificial colors, preservatives, and sweeteners
  • Nuts
  • Refined sugars
  • Alcohol
  • Caffeine
  • Corn
  • Processed foods
  • Hydrogenated oils

Special Consideration: Nightshade Vegetables

Although not typically excluded in standard elimination diets, many individuals find that they are sensitive to nightshades. It may be beneficial to remove these during the elimination phase:

  • Tomatoes
  • Potatoes (except sweet potatoes)
  • Peppers (including bell, chili, and sweet peppers)
  • Eggplant
  • Tomatillos
  • Goji berries
  • Paprika
  • Pimentos
  • Ashwagandha
  • Bush tomatoes
  • Cape gooseberries
  • Capsicums
  • Cayenne pepper
  • Chili powder flakes
  • Chinese 5 spice
  • Cocona
  • Curry powders
  • Garden huckleberries
  • Condiments like hot sauce, ketchup, BBQ sauce
  • Steak seasonings
  • Tamarillos
  • Pepinos
  • Spices containing peppers
  • Garam masala spice
  • Kutjera
During the elimination phase, monitoring how your body responds to the reintroduction of nightshades is crucial. Note changes in food tolerance, mood, and digestive health. If adverse reactions occur, consider restarting the elimination phase without these vegetables.

Duration of the Elimination Phase

Commit to this phase for at least 3-4 weeks, ideally spanning a full 21-28 days, before moving to phase 2. 
Adherence to the elimination diet guidelines is critical for discerning potential triggers and managing dietary sensitivities effectively. This commitment can significantly enhance your ability to pinpoint and eliminate foods that detract from your well-being.

Elimination Diet
What to Eat

Despite the exclusions, you still have plenty of food options available:

  • Organic, non-GMO Vegetables (Ideally low starch and non-starch varieties)
  • Unprocessed, clean, lean protein 
    • Hormone-free, pasture-raised beef and lamb
    • Free-range chicken and turkey
    • Wild-caught cold-water fish
    • Wild game (bison, cornish hen, duck, elk, pheasant, venison, kangaroo, ostric
  • Legumes
  • Rice
  • Lentils
  • Grass-fed ghee
  • High-fiber, low-glycemic carbs
  • Beans
  • Fermented Foods
  • Healthy Omega 3 Fats
  • Nuts and seeds (depending on your individual list of foods, avoid peanuts)

Elimination Diet
Food~Mood~Poop Journal

After you have decided on and committed to your elimination list, you will keep track of everything you eat during the elimination phase. Keeping a food, mood, poop journal is an invaluable tool when navigating an elimination diet, as it helps to track the effects of specific foods on your body. By diligently recording what you eat, how you feel emotionally, and the quality of your digestive output, you can gain clear insights into which foods may be causing undesirable symptoms. This journaling process not only captures dietary intake but also mood fluctuations and bowel movements, providing a comprehensive view of your body’s responses to different foods. Over time, patterns may emerge that highlight potential food sensitivities or intolerances. Armed with this detailed information, you and your healthcare provider can make more informed decisions about which foods to eliminate or reintroduce, tailoring your diet to optimize your health and well-being.

Elimination Diet
Reintroduction Phase

Often, once your diet is clean, (such as 3 weeks into an elimination diet) your body will become more sensitive to offending foods. An offending food will often provoke symptoms quickly after consumption (10 min - 24 hours). During this phase of the elimination protocol, we will reintroduce the foods we have eliminated, one at a time, while closely tuning into the body to monitor for both immediate and delayed signs and symptoms. During this phase, we will diligently observe and document any signs or symptoms that may indicate the body is unhappy with the reintroduced foods.

After three weeks of committing to a clean eating plan, individuals often notice remarkable improvements in their overall health and well-being. Now, it's time to determine which foods may be causing adverse reactions and should be permanently eliminated from the diet. Here's how to approach the reintroduction phase:

1. Select a Food for Reintroduction: Choose one of the foods you eliminated during the initial phase and reintroduce it into your diet.

2. Reintroduce Gradually: Consume the chosen food 2-3 times per day for 2 or 3 days to assess its impact on your body. Be sure to test foods in their most pure form (fresh, whole foods rather than mixed into a recipe or with other foods)

3. Track Symptoms: Keep a detailed journal to monitor any symptoms that may arise after reintroducing the food. Note changes in mood, digestion, elimination, headaches, rashes, or any other disruptions, including post-prandial pulse elevations or spiking glucose (if you are tracking glucose)

4. Identify Problematic Foods: If symptoms return after reintroduction, consider permanently avoiding the food. Remember, sensitivities may not be permanent, but the focus now is on healing your gut.

If you don't notice any reactions continue eating the food for 4 days, at least twice per day. If no reaction occurs during this time period, congratulations, you can put this food back into your diet. 

Sometimes you can eat a food on one day and feel fine, but on the second day, you may notice a reaction. Signs to look for include dizziness, fatigue, headache, itching, bloating, nausea, gas, constipation, diarrhea, indigestion, anal itching, post-meal sleepiness, ear itching, nose itching, rubbing, flushing, heartbeat or pulse changes, brain fog, joint pain, depression.  

If you notice any reaction during the 4 days of testing, stop eating the test food and add it to the problem list, wait until all symptoms have resolved before testing the next food on your list. 

5. Gradually Reintroduce Other Foods: Introduce other eliminated foods one at a time, observing your body's response each time. Follow this order for reintroduction: organic, cage-free eggs; organic, rBGH-free dairy; non-GMO corn; non-GMO fermented soy; legumes; wheat/gluten.

6. Monitor and Rotate: If no adverse changes occur and you feel good, incorporate the food back into your regular diet rotation. Wait for 3- 4 days before introducing a new food to allow for proper monitoring.

7. Keep Experimenting: Continue to experiment with different foods to identify what works best for your body. Pay close attention to any recurring symptoms and adjust your diet accordingly.

Remember, your body knows best, so pay attention to its signals. If you experience a recurrence of old symptoms within the first 24-36 hours of reintroducing a food, consider avoiding it. Wait 3-4days before introducing a new food to observe any reactions.

By following these steps and listening to your body, you can effectively navigate the reintroduction phase of the elimination diet and make informed decisions about your long-term dietary choices

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