In the past few years, I’ve learned so much through reading countless books on Lyme disease, PCOS, Detox, Autoimmunity, etc.; working with Integrative M.D.’s; attending conferences and working with people like you. What I didn’t know at 25 (I thought Western medicine was the end all-be all), I know now: We have the power to turn our lives around without pharmaceutical drugs. We are able to turn on/off our genes (something called Epigenetics) if we’re predisposed to chronic illness or autoimmune disease, cancer, etc via lifestyle, food and environmental changes. This has honestly changed my life and made me incredibly passionate to help people like you, give you hope and keep you positive whether you’re faced with illness or just trying to clean up your life from the toxins we’re exposed to each day in our tap water, processed/packaged foods, air and personal care products.
Here are a few things that may be helpful for you to know about Autoimmune Disease.
- HOW IT WORKS.
What is autoimmune disease? Well, it’s when there’s a mistaken identity between your body and something else. Our immune system sadly mistakes different parts of our body as foreign invaders (enemies) and in our immune system’s effort to heal our bodies, it hurts us! The goal is to calm our immune system, heal our leaky gut, turn off the genes that are harmful to us via Epigenetics and reduce systemic inflammation in our bodies.
- AUTOIMMUNE PROTOCOL
What causes inflammation? Processed packaged foods, sugar, refined oils, gluten, dairy, soy, GMO’s, non-organic food which is filled with pesticides, antibiotics, growth hormones and herbicides. Another cause of inflammation is toxins in our personal care products, beauty products, water, air and home environment such as mold. My approach to healing autoimmune disease is avoiding the toxic foods mentioned above and filling your plate with healthy fats (SOOOO important for healing autoimmunity), lean proteins and fiber from fruits and veggies. Check out my Elimination Diet for more information on how to heal your Leaky Gut.
- CHOOSING THE RIGHT FOODS.
Organic is the most important change you can make. It might be more expensive but you’re not putting toxins into your body, which add to your body burden, when you eat organic. Bone broth, fermented foods like sauerkraut and kimchi, organic poultry and red meat, seafood and lots of healthy fats from avocado, coconut oil, soaked nuts and seeds, and fruits n’ veggies.
- CHANGING YOUR LIFESTYLE.
Shower and kitchen sink filters so that your thyroid and skin is not absorbing chlorine in your tap water when you shower AND when you eat. You’ll want lots of sleep- at least 8-10 hours per night, sunshine for vitamin D, laughter, playtime, relaxation, light yoga or walking and meditation. Making these lifestyle changes can be tough at first but you’ll soon start to notice changes and you’ll be feeling much better. Trust me, my days working at VOGUE weren’t like this—I’ve had to make HUGE shifts in my life to heal and cut out foods, people, plans, vacations and much more so that I could rest.
- TAKING TIME TO HEAL.
It takes many years of changes to develop in our bodies that cause these autoimmune diseases so expect slow changes month by month –not overnight. You’ll notice changes in your health, skin tone, weight, energy, strength, appetite, cravings, and more. Slow and steady is best. Remember that; don’t try to rush anything. That will just stress you out more and raise your cortisol which will lead to more inflammation- yuck!
- LEARNING HOW TO SLOW DOWN.
Get OUT of your gym. Stop saying yes to everything and everyone. Go for a walk, take a nap, say NO to people without feeling bad and take charge of YOUR health. Slow down and take a bath to rest your beautiful body!
- LOVING YOURSELF.
Learn to love yourself. Do whatever it is that you need to do–to Love yourself. Journal, rest, take deep breaths, and enjoy a movie or meditation. Learn what works for you and just DO IT. Paint, draw, take up pottery…..do anything that makes you feel alive and in love with every part of your life.
- KNOWING THAT WHAT WORKS FOR OTHERS, MAY NOT WORK FOR YOU.
What works for everyone else, may not work for you. Do what makes YOU feel good- not what everyone else is doing. Trust me. I’ve been down this road for a decade- there comes a point where you have to be still, listen to your body and give it what it wants. If you want a bag of cashews- eat them. It probably means your body needs fat. Stop feeling guilty about calories or the foods you are eating (unless they’re junk foods) and nourish yourself.
- ACCEPTING THAT YOU’RE NOT ALONE.
There are 50 MILLION Americans with autoimmune disease –you are NOT alone. There is help out there to guide you and support you and all you need is to take deep breath and start somewhere. You’ll find the community you need and you’ll be guided to what will help heal you. Many people feel terrified and don’t know where to start but I’m living proof that you can take small steps and stay in the present without getting overwhelmed about the future and the long road of recovery ahead of you.
- UNDERSTANDING WHY AUTOIMMUNE DISEASES ARE INCREASING.
The rates of autoimmune diseases are on the rise. It’s important to understand that we need to take charge of our health and remove toxins that we’re increasingly exposed to each year in our food, air, water and environment as well as viruses. Know that toxins are everywhere and it’s your job to figure out how to get them OUT of your body easily so that you can heal your organs, immune system and more!
- BE YOUR OWN DOCTOR.
Sadly, I’ve had more doctors miss SO many things that were wrong in lab results. YOU MUST learn how to read your blood work, saliva tests, stool tests, etc. It’s a full time job- I know….I had to do it for myself but once I did, I became smarter, knew what questions to ask my doctors and felt more and more in control of my health.
Try to buy everything organic. Here’s why: The Benefits of Eating Organic.
- 3 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 clove garlic peeled
- 3 large fresh beets
- 1 Tbsp. water
- 1 spring fresh rosemary
- 1/2 red onion thinly sliced
- 1 head kale finely chopped and stems removed
- 1 Tbsp. finely chopped fresh cilantro
- Juice of 1 large lemon
- pinch fresh lemon zest
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Set the beets, garlic and rosemary on a large piece of parchment paper. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon of oil, water, a pinch of sea salt and pepper. Fold the parchment paper into a pouch and fold over the edges to seal the beets inside.
Transfer to the oven and cook until beets are tender, about 45 minutes. Remove from oven; set aside to cool.
Rub the skins from the beets using a paper towel once the beets are cooled then thinly slice the beets and garlic (or cut into cubes).
Transfer to a large bowl with 2 Tbsp. remaining olive oil and the remaining ingredients; gently toss to combine and serve. Season to taste with sea salt and pepper.