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As many of you know my story of healing was not an easy one. I’ve talked about a few of the different angles and I want to share with you another aspect of my healing that doctors didn’t address- something I had to take into my own hands and work with professional biofilm experts to detox my body, break through the biofilm to kill the bacteria and viruses in my body and heal because antibiotics do not penetrate through the biofilm!
I was in my mid-twenties, and I was practically bedridden. My legs were swollen, my muscles hurt, my belly was bloated like a balloon, and despite what had once been a healthy appetite, I weighed in at less than 100 pounds. My gut was a mess, my immune system trashed, and my once exuberant energy nonexistent. What started as unexplained swelling in my legs (40 pounds of water weight that left me unable to wear anything but spandex) and a misdiagnosis of leukemia, my health spiraled out of control.
The problem was, no one knew what was wrong with me. For years I schlepped in and out of medical facilities all over the country, including the famed Mayo Clinic, racking up nearly half a million dollars in uncovered medical expenses, seeing over 500 doctors, and giving the equivalent of my body weight in blood every few weeks for years. Liver doctors. Kidney doctors. Vascular surgeons. Rheumatologists. Hematologists. They didn’t have any answers; they had guesses. And all of them turned out to be wrong. I was put on pain killers, steroids, antibiotics and water pills and was told that was all doctors could do for me. I spent all of my time and money hoping someone would figure me out.
So, after a life-threatening bout with C-diff colitis, I quit my job to figure out how to heal myself.
I discovered integrative and functional medicine, embarking on years of self-study. I learned how to stop treating my symptoms with Band-Aid approaches by studying holistic modalities, earning a degree in integrative nutrition along the way. I also gathered a team of integrative doctors and healers who helped me identify the root cause. Or in my case, causes: They found Lyme disease, Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, Biofilm, Myocitis, Hypothyroidism, Epstein Bar, Leaky Gut, Chronic Candida, Small Intestinal Bacteria Overgrowth and so much more. These M.D.’s went beyond conventional testing and looked deeper into the root cause of my health issues.
The bottom line: I was “toxic,” a term western medicine doesn’t understand. You name it. I had it. I was off the charts for heavy metals, mold and practically everything else they tested me for. What I needed was a full-blown detox in the truest sense of the word—not a trendy 2-day juice cleanse. Funny thing is that I thought I was healthy (no drinking, drugs or fast food), however I learned toxins come from countless places— pesticides, toothpaste, dish soap, laundry detergent, perfumes, shampoo, processed foods, car exhaust, cosmetics and more. While the word detox is thrown around a lot and is often misunderstood, functional and integrative medicine use detox practices to reset your digestion and reduce the exposure of toxins.
I reveal this detox journey in my book Eating Clean: The 21-Day Plan to Detox, Fight Inflammation, and Reset Your Body, where I go into great detail on how to detox your food, cleaning supplies, personal care products and beauty products. Being healthy isn’t just about eating clean, it’s about living clean. What we put on our skin gets absorbed into our bloodstream and our liver has to filter these toxins to keep us healthy! What I soon realized is that many of the symptoms that we suffer from, everything from acne to arthritis, can be healed by cleaning up your gut health (where almost 70% of your immune system lives) and supporting your liver on a daily basis to remove toxins from our lifestyle. While western medicine hands us a drug or topical ointment to get rid of the symptoms, they’re not addressing the underlying causes of those symptoms.
One of the most fascinating discoveries I had on my unraveling back to wellness was biofilm. To my surprise, this wasn’t something that was ever addressed by all those top doctors and medical centers. It was something that was introduced to me by a brilliant woman and friend of mine, Geri Brewster, an integrative R.D. who at the time was helping me balance the bacteria in my gut.
Biofilm is a very complex topic. Biofilm is a microscopic sticky glue-like substance that cannot be seen by the human eye but allows bacteria to replicate and thrive in a protected environment. It coats surfaces of almost everything we touch: from countertops to the plaque on your teeth to a moldy shower curtain, dirty tile and grout, a baby rattle, a reusable water bottle, a yoga mat, etc. As a culture, we fear bacteria, using antimicrobials to get rid of non-beneficial bacteria. However microbes continue to thrive and non-beneficial bacteria communities increase despite antimicrobial treatments. Aside from external biofilms, we develop biofilms internally in our GI tract from exposure to steroids, antibiotics and a high carbohydrate diet, which leaves us with an overgrowth of non-beneficial bacteria and yeast. There are many types of biofilms, but we’re concerned with the type that hosts non-beneficial bacteria in our bodies.
You can always expect that you have a certain amount of biofilm in your body, it’s just a matter of whether or not it’s running interference in your gut function or impacting your immune system. For example, if you have eczema or psoriasis on your skin or residual symptoms from Lyme or SIBO (Small Intestinal Bacteria Overgrowth) or recurrent infections from superbugs, you most likely have a biofilm situation. Furthermore, if you’ve had a lot of exposure to antibiotics, steroids and/or a high carbohydrate diet and you experience numerous unwanted symptoms then it’s suffice to say that your gut developed enough of an unhealthy biofilm that needs to be shed in an effort to rebalance your gut flora. There are specialized tests that can be accessed through an Integrative doctor. You can also expect there is a certain amount of external biofilm in your work and home environment, which is why I use a specific probiotic cleaning product (you can check it out here) to clean my body, office and home.
How to Shed It
To shed biofilm, the goal is to create a healthy environment by disrupting the non-beneficial bacteria’s protective biofilm that they’ve housed themselves in. We do this by killing off non-beneficial bacteria and yeast while repopulating beneficial bacteria. This is done very specifically in a sequential fashion of diet modifications and a low sugar and carbohydrate lifestyle, coupled with specific enzyme support, natural antimicrobials, prebiotics and probiotics. This should always be done under the guidance of an integrative or functional nutritionist or doctor because treatment must be customized.
It’s important to know that if you are going to be on antibiotics or steroids or if you eat a high carbohydrate and/or sugar diet, then it’s key to work with a practitioner who knows about mitigating the damaging side effects by implementing pre-and probiotics foods and supplements. Prebiotic foods include: onions, leeks, dandelion greens and asparagus. Probiotic foods include: kimchi, sauerkraut, and pickles.
My best advice to anyone who is going through a never-ending health journey is to learn how to recognize that you have the power inside of you. Sounds easier said than done but my turning point was when I stopped giving my power away to others who were telling me to do certain protocols or eat certain foods that didn’t feel right to me. You know your body best. If broccoli makes your tummy bloat- listen to that and get to root cause as to why. If gluten makes you feel sleepy, it’s not for you. Trust yourself and start listening to your body; you know yourself better than anyone else. I wish my 20-year old self had the courage to listen to my body more and to stop giving my power away to doctors who kept guessing. I never want anyone to go through the hell I went through for ten very painful, traumatizing, exhausting and expensive years trying to figure out how to be healthy in a real way. For anyone out there suffering, I get it. I was there for far too long. Hang tight and know there is a light shining in your future that’s waiting for you to claim. My 10 year journey of chronic illness was a blessing in disguise. It amazes me that my own unraveling was the catalyst for something so much bigger than me. It has brought me to where I am today, feeling whole, healthy and strong enough to reconnect with the world. Today I’m in perfect health; I feel more open and alive after unwrapping the life that I’ve hidden for so long and let myself be what I was always meant to be.
I wrote this article for Danny Seo Magazine to bring awareness to the subject of biofilm in March of 2017.
Share your thoughts
Hi Amie… Sorry I intended to type “sinus issues”, not “issues”. :). Gail
I am about to order the Probiotic Power cleaning solution now. Do you use the same ratio of product-to-water as specified? Do you use this product all over your home? Do you use the body spray? If so, where? I know you used to have issues as I did.
You can contact them; their founder is wonderful and she will help you! xx
Hi Amie. Your posts really hit home for me. I’ve been dealing with unexplained bowel issues for years and recently it has gotten so bad (thyroid, hormone issues) that I am honestly about to give up hope and cannot function on a daily basis. Would you be willing to speak with me briefly to discuss your story and what you have found to be successful. Please let me know!
Thanks Laura; happy to work with you as a client for a session to help you! It would be my pleasure. Big hugs! xox
Thank you – I’m already loving your book and can’t wait to start to change my life – thanks again!
Hi! I was introduced to your book and blog because we’re from the same area! And also unfortunately because I am 4 years into serious health issues and so much of what you have to say resonates with me. I did the holistic thing before then back to conventional and now I’m back to holistic and trying to fight biofilm for the 3rd time. When you were able to rid the biofilm from your body did you experience detox symptoms? The last 2 times I tried I was told that I would likely feel severely ill, but nothing ever changed so I’m curious to know if this happens to everyone or just some people? Thanks for sharing all of your wisdom!
Thank you so much Alli; lovely to hear from you. Who are you working with? I would highly recommend a Biofilm specialist. You may not be getting the correct protocol you need to break through. xox
Amie, I received your book yesterday and am anxious now to begin getting on board. My problem about hair loss (just the top of the head – not all over thinning or loss) was addressed years ago and the doctor told me to use Rogaine. I wanted to refresh your memory here about an important reason to write you in addition to getting the detox for other reasons. My question is, after I read your book – then do I stop the rogaine while beginning the detox? I’m worried that if I stop it, say at the beginning of the detox, then I’ll start losing the hair again. But if I wait until I’ve detoxed, and then stop the Rogaine, will that defeat everything I’ve worked for? Sorry if this is confusing – just not sure WHEN to stop the Rogaine……I don’t want to lose my hair and the Rogaine apparently has stopped the loss from continuing. Thank you!
Hope you are loving my book! That’s something you’ll have to stop doing to detox, yes. You can’t use chemicals when you are detoxing. I highly suggest finding an alternative without chemicals to Rogaine. xox
Hi Amie, I love the new Healthy Apple. You are a ray of light to many people . I heard that you may be going to 1440 after it opens. When your parents were here I gave them the info but you were already on board. My two sisters and brother-in-law are working incredible hard to have a successful opening. I have recently started a vegan diet and one of the keys for me is new and fun recipes. Your book is my go to for great meals.
Thank you so much Cathy; that means so much to me. Have a beautiful week! Big hugs. oxx
Thank you for this article. I found out I have chronic Lyme last February and I have been on antibiotics since October. I was told that I have biofilm and have added Serra Peptase to my supplements. My frustration at this time is the feeling that I don’t have a good medical support team. I have one doctor that is very pro-antibiotic, but not very helpful in suggesting how to help my body cope with all this medicine. My other doctor works with all the supplements and relies heavily on bio-meridan testing. With him it just feels like he is constantly experimenting, but not managing what we have already figured out. Do you have any suggestions how to find a better alternative? I am in the state of Wisconsin. Some days I feel that I just want to stop everything and try to figure it out on my own, but I am sure that is not a good idea. Thanks again. Looking forward to your response.
My best advice is to get all your doctors working together. If it feels like they are experimenting then they are not for you. Follow your intuition and TRUST yourself. I went down so many wrong roads because I did not trust myself when I got messages like that. I’m with you; that’s what I did. I stopped everything and figured out out on my own. I was exhausting to deal wtih people who were guessing for me! Trust yourself. Big hugs. xox
Amie – Wow – Thank you so much…..I will order your book and figure out how to NOT lose any more hair!
I just recently discovered your blog and am fascinated by all that you have learned. You have a very real way of writing and it is appreciated! You mentioned the probiotic cleaning products – what brand do you use. Do you have any suggestions to get started? Also, are there home made products that can be created? Open to learning what I can. Thanks!
Thank you Jennifer. I just added the link to the blog post but here it is again. I don’t know of any that are homemade. P2P is the best I know of; the founder is amazing! Lover her and her work. Check it out here: http://www.p2probioticpower.com/home-cleaners/
Thank you so much for this. I have been following your advice now for a while, and love what you have to say; I’m so grateful. I do have one strange question that may or may not be related in some fashion. I have been taking Rogaine for years now, and it has always bothered me that if I’m putting it on my scalp, then surely my body is absorbing it somehow, somewhere. Do you have any thoughts on this as far as what you’ve discovered on the toxins in our environment and on our skin? I don’t know why I began thinning hair on the top of my scalp but my dermatologist did a biopsy and said to begin using the Rogaine as the solution to stop losing my hair. Was my diet the culprit then? If you have time to read and answer this, I would be most grateful. I love all you have to say and contribute and appreciate that you’re trying to educate us that life doesn’t have to be full of years of misery!
Thank you Cathy; great to hear from you! Yes you are absorbing it! Your skin absorbs everything you put on it and Rogaine is all chemicals! I suggest reading my book, Eating Clean: The 21-Day Plan to Detox, Fight Inflammation, and Reset Your Body (click the sidebar on my website to order) as I go over this in great detail with beauty products and chemicals, etc. Sending you so much love. Have a beautiful day! oxx
I have been working with a functional medicine doctor for almost 2 years now, and at times am frustrated because I feel as though I am not seeing the results I was hoping for. Luckily, my issues are not nearly as extreme as what you had gone through, but I have hope knowing that these things take time, and my body is slowly healing itself and I am learning so much along the way! My doctor talks a lot about biofilms, so this was very interesting to read. I love your recipes and advice, thank you for sharing!
Thank you Kristen! So lovely to hear from you. Stay positive. Healing takes time. If you’re not getting better, maybe try a different functional/integrative doctor. Big hugs. xoxx