131 Method Program Modifications
What To Do if You Have Special Nutritional Needs
The 131 Method was not intended for all populations. On each phase, depending on your individual needs, you may need to modify our recommendations. Below you will find links to our program modifications designed to help the most common special populations to find success. When in doubt, please consult with your medical provider regarding your personal needs, medical history, health objectives, special conditions, medical care plan, medications, etc.
While healthy eating and attention to lifestyle have been proven to aid in the treatment and relief of many preventable diseases, we make no claims that The 131 Method can cure, eliminate or even aid in the treatment of such conditions as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, autism, MS, cancer and other diseases. Further, The 131 Method meal plans and fasting protocols were not designed or intended for use by children.
Please consult with your medical provider for modifications should you decide to follow the 131 Method. Specifically we suggest you seek the guidance of a functional medicine provider for a whole person healing approach. For tips on how to talk to your doctor or how to find a functional provider, visit here.
Adjustments for 50-100+ Pounds to Lose
- Reducing inflammation, improving gut health, and ramping up the quality of your food choices will likely elicit weight loss. To accomplish a significant amount of weight loss, keep caloric intake in mind. Start by tracking your typical intake during Ignite so that you can learn what that looks like for you. From there, make sure you are in a mild-moderate deficit from your baseline to promote weight loss.
- As you lose weight your body mass is smaller, which means you will require fewer calories to function. Keep in mind as you progress you may have to continue to adjust and decrease your calorie intake to continue to see results.
- Remember to be patient with your body. It takes time and consistency to become an efficient Fat Burner, and accomplishing this slowly, methodically and safely leads to lifelong results.
- Review any changes to medications or any personal medical concerns with your physician.
Adjustments for Food Allergies
- The recipes you’ll find at the end of the book are incredibly delicious. Simply omit ingredients to which you’re allergic.
- You can try substituting other non-allergenic items in recipes, just know they have not been tested and macronutrients may need to be adjusted.
- Use the Food Allergy Friendly Meal Plan to supplement your 131 journey.
Adjustments for Diabetes
- We encourage you to get a glucose monitor and track your blood sugar levels.
- It’s motivating to see lab values improve, so before making changes, do some testing, either with a provider, or with an at-home glucose monitor.
- It’s important we emphasize that YOU are not a number, so pay attention to how you feel. Some people will feel low blood sugar symptoms at a level of 90 mg/dL while others don’t feel anything until in the 60’s.
- If you feel symptoms of low blood sugar, make adjustments to your plan with an increase in healthy carbs and slow down your rate of new changes.
- Stay hydrated! Individuals with diabetes have higher risk for dehydration.
- Consult with your medical provider before doing a fast.
If you are diagnosed with type II diabetes mellitus and you are on medication:
- Make sure you are measuring your glucose levels.
- Medication dosage and needs must be monitored by a healthcare provider. This program may cause a natural decrease in blood sugar so you must be aware of what to watch for if medications need adjusting by your doctor.
- Stay in close contact with your healthcare team as you start making changes, and let them know that you may need to adjust medications as you go.
- Consult with a medical provider before doing a fast.
- Stay hydrated! Individuals with diabetes have higher risk for dehydration.
If you are diagnosed with type 1 diabetes:
- We do not recommend the Fat Burning, ketosis or fasting components of this program unless you are working very closely with a medical provider who is educated on this. If done incorrectly, there are serious and potentially deadly implications.
- You can incorporate the other components of the program including: reducing inflammatory foods, increasing micronutrients, repairing gut health, etc.
- Pay close attention to your blood sugar levels as you experiment with removing inflammatory foods. You may find that reducing inflammation may alter insulin requirements.
- Stay hydrated! Individuals with diabetes have higher risk for dehydration.
- Ketosis and ketoacidosis are not the same thing. Even well-educated health care providers can scare people away from experimenting because of this common confusion.
- Ketoacidosis is a dangerous condition where ketones AND blood glucose are elevated. In individuals with normal glucose/insulin regulation or well-controlled diabetes, the body has a feedback mechanism (using insulin) that will prevent ketones from becoming excessively high. A ketone blood level could be over 20 mmol/l versus the traditional 3-5 mmol/l with nutritional or fasting ketosis. The high levels of ketones also acidify the body, hence the term ketoACIDosis. Blood glucose levels will also be over 600 Mg/dL.
- Ketoacidosis can be a concern if someone has poorly controlled diabetes or Type 1 Diabetes with improper insulin adjustment.
Adjustments by Phase
- In Ignite: If you decide to experiment with your macronutrients and reduce carbohydrate intake, we recommend doing so slowly and monitoring your blood sugar. If you experience dizziness, severe fatigue and notice low blood sugars, adjust your macronutrients and increase real food carbohydrates and increase whole food sources of carbohydrates.
- In Nourish, micronutrients are critical for optimal insulin sensitivity and glucose metabolism. We encourage lots of nutrient dense plants during Nourish. In order for insulin sensitivity to work, the cell needs to be nourished with nutrients like magnesium, inositol, chromium, etc. These nutrients are found in plants!
- In Renew, adjustments are based on how you feel. There are no concerns about MacroPhasing with diabetes. If you notice hypoglycemia symptoms on Lean Green or Fat Burning days, adjust and increase your carb intake. Alternatively, if you experience high blood sugar levels all day during Carb Charge days, consider returning to Ignite or Nourish again until you’ve improved your metabolic flexibility and insulin sensitivity.
- Stay hydrated & review our information on electrolyte imbalance.
- Consult with a medical provider before doing a fast.
Adjustments for History of Eating Disorders
- If you currently know you have an eating disorder, the 131 Method is not for you at this time. We recommend seeking individualized counseling before delving into any nutrition program.
- If you have experienced an eating disorder in the past, the 131 Method should only be done if you’ve completed therapy, feel confident in your positive relationship with food and have clearance from your physician to begin a new health journey.
- Fasting protocols can be a slippery slope for those with past eating disorders. Fasting is not recommended for those with a history of eating disorder.
- All phases of the 131 Method can be followed according to the program recommendations, without a fast.
Adjustments for FODMAP & Nightshade Friendly
- FODMAP is a term used to categorize different types of carbohydrates. These are fermentable sugars from commonly consumed foods. It stands for Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides and Polyols. Those with IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) may benefit from following a low FODMAP diet.
- Adjustments during the 131 Method can include the elimination of high-FODMAP foods and by using the FODMAP friendly filter in the recipe section inside of the virtual program.
- Certain vegetables are classified as nightshades. Nightshades are completely healthy for most people, but can be potentially inflammatory for others. Those with a sensitivity to nightshades can trigger an inflammatory response in the body after consuming. Nightshade foods include tomatoes, tomatillos, tomato-based products (ketchup, BBQ sauce, some soups, etc.), peppers (bell peppers, chili peppers, tamales, pimentos, cayenne), white potatoes, eggplant, okra, capsicum, tobacco (not a vegetable), paprika, gogi berries, sorrel, gooseberries and pepino melons.
- For more details on FODMAPs and Nightshades, review this lesson inside Club.
Adjustments for High Levels of Activity (endurance athletes, etc.)
- Highly active individuals will need to pay close attention to ensure caloric intake meets your energy needs. Add extra meals or snacks for proper fueling based on what you need.
- Signs that you may need to up your intake include decreased athletic performance, decreased recovery from exercise, increased rate of perceived exertion, poor sleep, unusual fatigue, low motivation/drive to exercise and muscle fatigue/cramps.
- Depending on the fuel you prefer to use during training and competition (carbs or fat) you will likely need to adjust the recommended macronutrient ratios to meet your needs.
- Never adjust your eating plan just before/day of competition.
Adjustments for Nursing Moms
- How fast the baby weight comes off differs for every woman. Remember that you spent nine months growing a human being, and it can take nine months or more to lose all of the weight postpartum. In the 131, we’ll never focus on a number on the scale, so instead, focus on other markers of success: clothes fitting, better skin, energy, clarity, etc.
- Before rushing to lose the baby weight, remember that feeding your baby is priority.
- Wait until your milk supply is well established before making any changes. This could take anywhere from six weeks to a few months. Decreasing carbohydrate intake too soon could risk a decrease in milk supply.
- Every woman is very different as far as milk production and it’s hard to say exactly how many carbohydrates you need to maintain adequate milk production. We recommend keeping your carbohydrates moderate and continue eating healthy fats.
- Play around with your macronutrient ratio to figure out what is best for you. There is no magic number.
- If your body is already adapted to low carb eating (if you’ve been through the 131, if you’ve practiced fat-burning eating styles before), you may be able tolerate going much lower in carbs in the fat-burning stages of the 131 than a mom who has never done this.
- We encourage slowly adjusting macronutrients (balance of carbohydrates/protein and fat) and monitoring milk supply, energy, mood, etc. to determine what you need.
- Women while breastfeeding are encouraged to have an extra 400-500 calories per day. Since we do not count calories in 131, make sure to have have one extra healthy meal per day, or add an extra portion to your meals for added substance.
- Adequate hydration is always important, but especially important for milk production. Aim to drink 10-13 (or more) cups per day.
- We recommend nursing as long as possible and as mutually agreed upon between mom and baby.
- Once you are done nursing, you’ll be able to test every level of 131 with 100% concentrated effort, and have a better understanding of how to do it! So take notes carefully, even if you won’t be applying it right now.
- Fasting of any kind is not recommended when breastfeeding as it may impact supply.
- In Ignite- Modify the macronutrient percentages for your needs. Listen to you body and monitor your milk supply. If it’s decreasing, increase your intake of either total calories or carbs. Maintain a comfortable window of eating. Omit the intermittent fasting fast in Week 3. If milk supply is well established and you’re ready to experiment with lower carb eating, ensure adequate fluids and electrolytes, as low-carb diets are a natural diuretic.
- In Nourish, follow the plan as outlined and according to what works best for you. Some women may want to keep more animal proteins than recommended if anemic or low on iron. The key is to focus on organic, grass-fed options if you do use them. Iron is found in many foods other than meat including legumes, dried fruit, dark green veggies, spirulina, and tempeh.
- In Renew, follow the plan as outlined eat according to what works best for you. Aim to keep your caloric intake similar across all days. If needed, consider adding in some extra servings of greens and protein, or healthy fats or complex carbs, even if that is not on the “plan” that day. In order to maintain your milk supply, extra energy is required. By Renew, you’ll understand what days work best for you. Omit the intermittent fasting & fast in Week 3.
Adjustments for Pregnancy
- Talk to your doctor about a healthy weight gain goal for you. Healthy weight gain can include anywhere from 11-40 pounds, depending on your pre-pregnancy weight.
- We do not recommend ANY forms of fasting (intermittent or nutritional fasts) when pregnant. In those phases where fasting is discussed, simply omit.
- During the first trimester, no additional calories are needed during pregnancy. During the second trimester, an additional 340 calories a day are recommended. During your third trimester, and additional 450 calories per day are recommended. Add extra meals and snacks to accommodate the extra energy needs.
- A mother’s diet and excessive weight gain during pregnancy can permanently affect the child’s metabolism.
When pregnant, the body has a harder time maintaining blood sugar balance, but Blood sugar control should be a major focus during pregnancy.
- You may need to play with the amount of healthy carbs throughout the program to feel your best. While there are plenty of mothers who follow a low-carb, high-fat diet throughout their entire pregnancy, the ability to maintain energy and good health will depend on each individual.
- 90-150 grams of carbs per day is suitable for most women. Like always, some women can eat less, while others can eat more.
Intolerances and sensitivities can arise or disappear while pregnant, among other strange things. You may need to retest some foods when you are not pregnant or nursing again.
- The immune system is suppressed slightly during pregnancy, leaving you more vulnerable to foodborne pathogens. For that reason, it is recommended to stay away from raw, undercooked or non-temperature controlled meats (like sushi, rare steaks or lunch meats), unpasteurized milks and juices, processed/chemical-laden meats (salami, conventional sausages, etc), and high contaminant seafood.
- It is also best to keep caffeine intake to the equivalent of 1 cup of coffee per day. Avoid use of artificial sweeteners and soft cheeses from unpasteurized dairy. Wash your produce thoroughly and to cook all proteins to safe internal temperatures.
- In Ignite: Stick with the higher end of the carb recommendations, 10% of daily calories coming from carbs or more.
- Is ketosis safe during pregnancy? Review this article on ketosis and pregnancy.
- In Nourish: Some women may want to keep more animal proteins than recommended if anemic or low on iron. The key is to focus on organic, grass-fed options if you do use them. Iron is found in many foods other than meat including: legumes, dried fruit, dark green veggies, spirulina, and tempeh.
- Another nutrient to monitor if reducing animal protein is vitamin B12. B12 is imperative for fetal development and deficiencies are linked to miscarriages, neural tube defects and preterm delivery. 62% of vegetarian women are deficient in B12. It’s important to have sufficient B12 during pregnancy and while breastfeeding. If vegetarian or cutting down on animal protein, make sure your prenatal vitamin has B12.
- In Renew: Follow the plan as outlined eat according to what works best for you. Aim to keep your caloric intake similar across all days. If needed, consider adding in some extra servings of greens and protein, or healthy fats or complex carbs, even if that is not on the “plan” that day.
Adjustments for Thyroid Conditions
- Whether that’s slow (hypothyroidism), fast (hyperthyroidism) or an autoimmune thyroid issue (Hashimoto’s or Graves’ disease), addressing the underlying cause or causes is your key to wellness.
Before beginning changes, consider getting some initial lab testing so you have objective measurements to track. We recommend requesting the labs bulleted below. These can be ordered by your healthcare provider. If they refuse to order, either find a new provider or look into ordering them yourself (www.directlabs.com).
- Free T4
- Free T3
- Reverse T3
- TPO Antibodies
- Reducing inflammation is incredibly beneficial for those with thyroid imbalances. Removing inflammation is actually critical if you want to improve Hashimoto’s or Graves’ disease and reduce thyroid antibody numbers. We strongly encourage experimenting with reducing inflammatory foods if you have hypothyroidism.
- Fortunately, reducing inflammation is incredibly beneficial for those with thyroid imbalances (especially Hashimoto’s and Graves disease). We strongly encourage experimenting with reducing inflammatory foods if you have hypothyroidism.
- Ketones stimulate the pituitary gland which communicates with the thyroid gland. Therefore, being in a state of ketosis (Fat Burning mode) can provide both anti-inflammatory benefits and a thyroid hormone boost. However, if you don’t actually get into a state of ketosis and continue low carb, high fat eating or do a fast, and you feel terrible, you need to modify your plan. Don’t push yourself! There may be more gut and hormonal healing that needs to be done before you’re ready for a fast.
- Tolerance with both intermittent or extended fasting varies per person. Some people notice increased energy and thyroid improvement while others feel fatigued and moody. You’ll need to listen to your body and adjust as needed.
- If you try intermittent fasting, slowly adjust your window to expand as tolerated. Then, complete a fast if you feel ready.
- If on Thyroid Medication: While reducing inflammation and stimulating hormone production are just a few of the benefits in the program, those benefits can also change your natural thyroid hormone production. As you make dietary and lifestyle changes, you may require medication changes. This needs to be monitored by your physician.
- Removing inflammation is critical if you want to improve Hashimoto’s or Graves’ disease and reduce thyroid antibody numbers.
- Ensure you’ve tolerated intermittent fasting before embarking on a fast, and if on thyroid medications, consult with your physician. No fasting if you struggle with keeping weight on.
- If you have hypothyroidism (often Hashimoto’s, the autoimmune type), research suggests that limiting carbohydrates too much may be detrimental. You may not want to push your carbohydrates lower than 20%. Don’t worry, you will still reap huge benefits from eliminating inflammatory foods, even if you can’t reach ketosis. As you improve your gut health and continue to cycle the 131, you may be able to return to Ignite later on and reach ketosis at a later time. Listen to your body
- If your doctor isn’t willing to listen to you or doesn’t support your attempts to improve your health using diet, consider seeking out an integrative health doctor in your area.
Tips if you are Underweight or Need to Gain Weight:
- Do not fast or ONLY use the methods that include calories (OMAD or shortened window).
- Pay attention to the gut healing and what foods are inflammatory to you. You may not be digesting or absorbing those nutrients, which means gut healing is in order.
- Keep your healthy carbs at the higher end of the recommended ranges.
- Keep fats high and at the upper end of the recommended ranges. This is the macronutrient that will provide high calories in small volumes. Do not skimp here!
- You can still follow the recommendations for reducing inflammatory foods, increasing micronutrients, gut healing, MacroPhasing, etc.
Adjustments for Seeking Weight Maintenance or Weight Gain
General Recommendations for Weight Maintenance:
- Investigate gut and hormonal health. If you struggle keeping weight on, there may be underlying factors as to why.
- Ensure you’re eating plenty of fats at each meal.
- Add an extra tablespoon of oil when cooking, extra spoonful of nut butter or eat the entire avocado, versus just half, when a recipe calls for it.
- Consider upping carbs a bit more (healthy versions, of course) than the recommended amount. You may want to keep your percentage on the higher end of what’s recommended during Ignite.
- If you opt for a fast, choose the one that still allows calories (shortened window, OMAD or continue your plan without fasting).
- Consider supplementing with collagen and/or BCAA’s for amino acid support.
- BCAA’s help maintain muscle mass and enhance the ability to use fat as fuel (fat oxidation). They provide your muscles energy during exercise because they are metabolized differently than other amino acids.
- Collagen provides a wider range of amino acids (with the exception of tryptophan). It’s an easy way to ensure you’re getting adequate amino acids without having to focus on individual ones.
- Keep in mind, if you’re aiming for ketosis, these are still protein sources, so as you’ll learn in the coming weeks, too much may keep you from Fat Burning mode due to gluconeogenesis (which is explained in other lessons).
Hey! We know you’re smart. So we were just going to say “use your common sense.” You have a lot of it! But our lawyers wanted us to remind you of the following.
You should consult your physician or other healthcare professional before starting this or any other diet, nutrition or fitness program to determine if it is safe for you.
You’ve heard it before, but it’s really important if you or anyone in your family has a history of high blood pressure, heart disease, if you have ever experienced chest pain when exercising or have experienced chest pain when not engaged in physical activity, if you smoke, are on prescription drugs, have high cholesterol, are obese, diabetic, pregnant, or have any known or suspected conditions which might be impacted by a shift in your nutrition or the time and/or frequency of your meals.
Do not start this program if your physician or healthcare provider advises against it. While you will customize your approach, we will offer “general” suggestions, meal plans and recommendations. You are encouraged to customize and personalize your approach and listen to our . body. If, however, you experience faintness, dizziness, confusion, pain or shortness of breath at anytime while following the 131 Method, stop immediately and see your doctor.
The site and the 131 Method principals offer health, nutrition, lifestyle, and fitness information designed for educational purposes only. You should not rely on this information as a substitute for, nor does it replace, professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Most of us wait too long before we go see a doctor. Change that approach. If you have any concerns or questions about any part of your health (including your mental well being) you should consult with a physician or other healthcare professional as soon as possible. Don’t ignore, disregard, avoid, or put off going to the doctor.
The use of any information provided on this site and the practice of the 131 Method principals should be undertaken with full knowledge and consent that you do so at your own risk (it probably sounds like we’re gong to have you swimming with sharks. It’s not that serious, but you know how lawyers are).