by Linda A. Frisch & Abbie Frisch Belliston

With all things questioned that are not on the original plan, take caution. You are at risk for the program being less effective every time you veer off plan. More often than not our response is, “If it’s not listed in the guidebook, it is not approved.” Certainly if you know you are sensitive or have tested positive for allergies to a certain food group, avoid eating that food and choose from the remainder of the approved food list.

If you are eating this and that, not on plan and say, “I’m losing just fine,” our response is, “You’ll never know if you would have done even better had you not manipulated an already proven and successful program.” Just sayin’, folks. We do have decades of clinical experience and truly wish everyone would just stick to the program as it is intended and not change it up to the point that it’s no longer “the program.” Not trying to be mean here, just trying to be straight with you all because we want the best this program has to offer you!

Here’s the thing: You chose SHAPE because your health has declined and/or you’ve gained so much weight you feel like a slug. It’s not just about weight loss, it’s about restoring your health, it’s about you making a choice and sticking with it no matter how difficult. Yes, it takes discipline and total commitment. If you truly, truly desire better health, then you’ll make the necessary sacrifices to restore your health.

Though we are rigid about sticking to the protocol in Phase I, there will be time to add foods back once you reach your goal. Our SHAPE practitioners help you incorporate these foods and see how your body responds. Oftentimes, patients learn that their favorite “comfort food” was the inflammatory culprit. Once they try to add it back, their body starts to talk back and the symptoms they worked so hard to heal begin to return. Ultimately, it comes down to choice. If you were given a life and death prognosis and had to eat clean to live, would you play Russian roulette, hoping you’d be lucky enough to beat the odds? Would you constantly cheat or would you be as rigid as possible to save your life? Would you eat toxic and inflammatory foods, even if they make you feel sick? It’s all about choices! Unfortunately, many do fall back into their old toxic habits and settle for mediocre health.

SHAPE is also about learning to read labels and understanding the difference between “Nutritional Facts” and the “Ingredients” list. We are all about teaching folks to embrace clean eating.

With all that being said, we have approved the following foods that are not currently in our guidebook:

 “Dr. Todd & Linda Approved” extras:

  • Pellegrino Sparking Water (Add Stevia drops for flavor)
  • Sweet Leaf Sweet Drops – IN THE GLASS BOTTLE
  • Nutritional yeast
  • Ground flax seed (buy whole seeds and grind yourself to get the nutritional value – 2 tablespoons, ground, maximum for Phase I: FasTrac)
  • All extracts (vanilla, orange, almond, etc.)
  • Xylitol or stevia gum/candy (ex: Spry mints, Ice Chips & Zellie’s gum/mints)
  • Canned tomato products as long as they have NO SUGAR AND NO OILS
  • Infused vinegars
  • Tamari soy sauce
  • Plain Kefir (NO ADDED SUGAR)
  • Essential oils
  • Boar’s Head (see below) and Applegate deli meats (NO SUGAR ADDED AND NOT CURED)
  • Arrowroot powder (used as a thickener, like cornstarch)
  • Chia and sesame seeds
  • Hearts of Palm, Artichoke Hearts (water packed)
  • Sprouts

 Sprouter Information:

“Victorio” 4-Tray Seed Sprouter

Can buy on Amazon

Buy sprout seeds through Sprout House

Sprouted seeds have 600-800% more antioxidants

Soak 2 Tbsp. of seeds in water overnight or 1-2 days if bigger seeds

Spread a tsp. of seeds in each tray

Every morning, pour a cup of water over the top tray

Every morning, rotate top tray to the bottom of the stack and add water

NOT APPROVED:                                                 

  • Carbonated Drinks (such as: LaCroix & Zevia)
  • Sweet Leaf Sweet Drops – IN THE SMALL PLASTIC BOTTLE (1st ingredient = glycerin)
  • Sweet Leaf Water Drops – water enhancers (ingredient added = glycerin)
  • Cocoa of ANY KIND
  • Protein powder on Phase 1 – Whey protein would be preferred on a case by case basis. Overall, they are not Phase 1 approved.
  • Kevita – (probiotic drink) only stevia sweetened (case by case recom by practitioner)
  • Greens powder drinks – (case by case recom by practitioner)
  • Raw Kombucha that is not made with sugar (hard to find) – some practitioners approve…Dr. Todd really doesn’t in Phase I.
  • Paleo Bars (these have been brought up on Facebook so many times and probably need to be addressed here as SOME practitioners allow one per day.) Dr. Todd doesn’t in Phase I.

Ingredients List vs. the Nutrition Facts Label: What’s Most Important?

The ingredients list is the most important thing to read on any packaged food item. All packaged food products legally must disclose this information and the list is organized in descending order by the weight of each item. For example, in a carton of cottage cheese (see Fig. 1), the first ingredient listed is milk because there is more milk in the product than anything else. Vitamin A Palmitate is listed last as there is less of it than anything else.


Figure 1 (from

As a general rule, if the list is more than a few lines long, you can’t pronounce and/or picture an ingredient in the list, you probably shouldn’t consume it (see Fig. 2)– the only exception here would be the technical names of vitamins and minerals (e.g. Vitamin A Palmitate, Riboflavin, Calcium Lactate). While companies are legally obligated to tell you the ingredients in their products, they don’t have to tell you their source or whether or not it should actually be considered “food.”


Figure 2 (from

Here is a list of some toxic ingredients to avoid during your SHAPE journey and beyond:

  • Added sugars (Though not all of these are toxic, they all need to be avoided during Phase I and Phase II): sugar, cane sugar, evaporated cane juice, turbinado, Sugar in the Raw, agave syrup, coconut sugar, palm sugar, molasses, maple syrup, honey, honey crystals, raisin juice concentrate, beet sugar, dextrose, fructose, high fructose corn syrup, corn syrup, corn syrup solids, maltodextrin, erythritol, sorbitol, maltitol
  • Artifical colors: listed in the US as FD&C Red No. 40, Blue No. 1, Yellow No. 5, carmine extract, tartrazine, lake, etc.
  • Artificial preservatives: benzoates, sulfates, sulfites, nitrates, nitrites, sorbates, calcium propionate, BHT, BHA, Disodium EDTA
  • Artificial sweeteners: Aspartame (trademarked as Equal, Nutrasweet, or Aminosweet), Saccharin (trademarked as Sweet’n’Low), Sucralose (trademarked as Splenda), and acesulfame potassium
  • Hydrogenated Oil: often listed as “partially” or “fully” hydrogenated vegetable oil, shortening
  • Monosodium glutamate: also known as MSG and often listed under pseudonyms like autolyzed yeast extract, hydrolyzed vegetable protein, calcium caseinate, and many more

Here is a list of books that explain these and other food additives in more detail and be sure to check out the documentary list HERE on the SHAPE ReClaimed website:

  • Fast Food Nation by Eric Schlosser
  • The China Study by T. Colin Campbell
  • Don’t Eat This Book by Morgan Spurlock
  • The Consumer’s Dictionary of Food Additives by Ruth Winter
  • Food Additives: A Shopper’s Guide to What’s Safe and What’s Not by Christine Hoza Farlow, D.C.
  • The Hundred-Year Lie by Randall Fitzgerald
  • What to Eat by Marion Nestle

The Nutrition Facts label is secondary in importance. This chart is also legally mandated to be printed on all packaged food labels. At the top (see Fig. 3), you’ll find the serving size and how many servings are in the container. Then, Calories and Calories from fat, meaning that some of the calories come from carbohydrates and protein. A dietary Calorie is a unit of energy – all foods contain stored energy, which we consume and utilize when we eat that food. The nutrients are then listed with amounts in grams (a unit for weight) and in % Daily Values (%DV). The 7g of Total Fat means that in ½ cup of this product, there are 7g of fat. The Total Fat is broken up into 4 types: Saturated, Trans, Polyunsaturated, and Monounsaturated. Then Cholesterol, Sodium, Total Carbohydrate (which includes Dietary Fiber, Sugars and in some cases, Sugar Alcohols), and Protein are listed with their grams and %DV while the vitamins and minerals are listed with only a %DV. The %DV is a government-instituted guideline based on a 2000 Calorie/day diet. According to the FDA, 5% is considered low and 20% is considered high. For calcium in this example, a ½ cup serving contains 2% of a person’s daily recommended intake. For a 2000 Calorie diet, that would be 40mg, meaning they would need to consume 960mg more calcium to meet the recommended daily allowance. The %DV will vary depending on a person’s caloric needs.


Figure 3 (from

With all of that being said, the Nutrition Facts label can be misleading. For example, some individuals require more protein for optimal health and will need to exceed the recommended daily amount. The Nutrition Facts on some products, like cottage cheese and yogurt, say that they contain sugar even if there isn’t any added sugar in the food itself – dairy products contain naturally occurring sugar in the form of lactose. Also, if there is less than 0.5g of a particular nutrient per serving, it can be listed as 0g.

This last point is especially true when hydrogenated oils are present. Hydrogenated oils are 100% pure trans fat, but in the case of the product in Figure 4, the serving size is small enough that the amount of Trans Fat can be listed as 0g. Be assured that this product is NOT trans fat free or healthy in any way. Did you also notice the sorbates and benzoates?


Figure 4 (from

So, when you’re at the grocery store reading labels, check the Ingredients first for added sugars, oils and any toxic ingredients. Ask yourself, “Can I picture this ingredient in my mind? Is this list long or short? Am I struggling pronouncing this word?” Evaluate your answers to make an informed and healthy decision!

Boar’s Head Approved Deli Meats:

All Natural Lemon Herb Turkey

All Natural Oven Roasted Beef

All Natural Smoken Turkey

All Natural Turkey

All Natural Tuscan Turkey

deluxe oven roasted beef

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