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Conditioned Food Avoidance & Sensitivity Trap (C-FAST)

I created the C-FAST cycle to show how people get caught in restriction and worsening sensitivities.

When you are stuck in the C-FAST cycle:

C-FAST Video

I have summarized the basic concepts in the Simplified C-FAST diagram.  

If you want more details, please watch the video below. We explore how Janet got stuck in this vicious cycle. 

To learn how she healed her nervous system’s overreaction to food, please download our Food Reintroduction Basics e-book.

Janet's Story

Play Video


Misconceptions About Conditioned Food Sensitivity

Conditioned food sensitivity is not:

  • “In your head”: Medical professionals often dismiss their patient’s concerns and may suggest the patient is exaggerating their suffering. However, conditioned food sensitivity causes debilitating, physical symptoms.
  • A person’s fault: Most people suffering from mysterious symptoms get very little support from the medical system, which leaves them vulnerable to the fearful food messages that fuel the Food Avoidance & Sensitivity Trap. Conditioning is an unconsciously learned reaction.
  • Permanent: You can change the automatic reactions that are causing your conditioned symptoms.
  • The sole cause: In many cases, both conditioned and physically-driven reactions (e.g., celiac disease, food allergy, etc.) contribute to an individual’s food sensitivities.

Conditioned Food Avoidance & Sensitivity can devastate your physical and mental health, making you feel:


Frustrated by an endless cycle of elimination diets.


Hopeless that you will be on a restricted diet forever.


Scared to eat.


Angry that you cannot enjoy food like other people.​


Alone because your restricted diet makes socializing difficult.​


Exhausted because your life revolves around food.


Confused about what you should and should not eat.


Worried that you are not getting adequate nutrition.

C-FAS Screening Tool

I am working with a team to validate a screening tool to identify individuals that may be experiencing conditioned food avoidance & sensitivity. If you would like to be notified about our progress, please enter your email address below. 

Team members:

Madison Simons, PsyD

GI Psychologist, Digestive Disease and Surgery Institute, Cleveland Clinic

Dr. Simons specializes in treating motility related gastrointestinal conditions. She is particularly interested in the precipitants and consequences of dietary modification in digestive disease and the overlap between gynecologic and gastrointestinal conditions.

Johannah Ruddy, MEd

COO and Executive Director of the Rome Foundation

Ms. Ruddy is a doctoral candidate in public and population health with a research focus on the impact of stigma in chronic illnesses and gender related bias in healthcare and serves as the COO of the Rome Foundation, an independent not for profit 501(c) 3 organization that provides support for activities designed to create scientific data and educational information to assist in the diagnosis and treatment of Disorders of Gut Brain Interaction.

Hannah Hunter, MSc, RD

Allergy Specialist Dietitian, Guy's Hospital

Ms. Hunter splits her time between outpatient clinics, research, and health professional education. Her research interests include peanut allergy, pollen food syndrome and eosinophilic oesophagitis.    

Sarah Ballou, PhD

GI Psychology, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.

Dr. Sarah Ballou is Director of GI Psychology at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. She specializes in behavioral therapy for patients with chronic digestive conditions, with a focus on disorders of gut brain interaction and inflammatory bowel disease.