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Q & A with Dr. Vikki: Diet and a Leaky Gut

Dr. Vikki Petersen, a Doctor of Chiropractic and Certified Clinical Nutritionist, is founder of the renowned HealthNOW Medical Center in Sunnyvale, California.

She is co-author of  “The Gluten Effect,” a bestselling book that has been celebrated by leading experts as an epic leap forward in gluten sensitivity diagnosis and treatment.

Dr. Vikki herself is acknowledged as a pioneer in the field of gluten sensitivity.  Featured in an exclusive interview on CNN Headline News, Dr Vikki is also endorsed by the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness and The Gluten Intolerance Group of North America for her contributions to gluten awareness in our country.

Hi Dr. Vikki,

How does one allow a leaky gut to heal when they are universally reactive to ALL foods? Would you recommend a paleo diet or one more focused on veg with a side of meat?

I’ve been juicing leafy greens, about 4 cups worth, with ginger and garlic. I’m trying to give my stomach a break because it hurts whenever I eat anything solid so I actually only eat one small meal a day comprised of meat and very few veg and then I do a berry smoothie with coconut oil, protein powder, chia seed, almond milk, hemp seed, cinnamon.  Is this helping or harming?

– Laurel

Hello Laurel,

Your question of how does a gut heal when one is reactive to ALL foods is a bit like the chicken or the egg question.  Typically the reason one would be reactive to ALL foods is due to a leaky gut.  The leakiness is allowing partially digested food to leave the gut and get out into the bloodstream’s immune system where the immune system reacts to it as if it were a toxin.

We have had several patients such as yourself and the key to healing the gut and reducing the reactive foods was to:

  1. Diagnose and remove the major contributors, food-wise. e.g. dairy, gluten, corn, soy – the big allergens.
  2. Implement a rotation diet with the rest of the foods so as to not let the immune system “see” them too often and thereby lessen the reaction.
  3. Do a stool test and find out what pathogens were present and then treat them. This is a BIG part of healing the gut.
  4. Utilize dietary supplements and sometimes food based protein powders to reduce inflammation and aid in healing.

I think juicing is a good idea and greens are very nourishing.  Hemp is a possible cross-reactive food with gluten so perhaps best to avoid that one.

Eating one small meal a day is not enough nutrition.  I do appreciate the your stomach hurts and I’m not insensitive to that.  I do encourage you to try to get some help with the recommendations I made above and of course know that you’re always welcome to come to see us.

Lastly, I cannot state an opinion as regards “harming or helping” because that would be diagnosing you which I am unable to do without seeing you physically.

I hope this was of some help!

To your good health,
Dr Vikki Petersen
Founder of HealthNOW Medical Center
Co-author of “The Gluten Effect

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The winner of a FREE GlutenTox Home Test kit is…

#23 Suz Reagan!

Congratulations Suz, I will email you for your shipping information. 😀


If you take any type of NSAIDS (Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) on a regular basis, I encourage you to watch the following video from Dr. Vikki:

Have a question that you would like to ask Dr. Vikki?  Email your question(s) to:

For more healthy diet tips check out Reader’s Digest (a supporter of this site but the information provided is not guaranteed to be in concordance with the gluten-free diet).


  1. Thanks Heidi. I hope that was helpful for more of your readers. Absolutely do number 1 anyone out there. It's a huge relief. For myself I'd love to rotate the 5 foods I've got left that only minimally cause intense pain but, they've all I've got left. The third option has always been problematic but I'm trying to get my doc to order the Cyrex Labs intestinal permeability and it's like pulling teeth.

    The big question I still have and many others may as well is WHICH supplements and protein powders? WHICH probiotics. Brand names would be helpful but I don't know if that's considered prescribing or is unethical?

    My dearest hope is that others will see these questions and answers and get help ASAP. Folks don't wait 50 years wondering what's going on and declining the whole time. The answers are right there in front of you in large part thanks to Heidi. Do what you need to do to live your best life.

    • I am new to this site (9/6/11) and I am wondering how Laurel's doing. I also would like to encourage her to research the Specific Carb Diet and to look for the book, Breaking the Vicious Cycle, Intestinal Health Through Diet by Elaine Gottschall. Also, a couple of websites to look at: and SCD has changed our lives!!!