The number of people affected by autoimmune disorders seem to be growing fast. I have never heard of an autoimmune disease or knew of its existence up until years ago when I was confronted with it myself. After my bodies major self attack the first period was filled with lots of heavy duty medications and shots to repress my immune respons and to soothe the inflammation going on in my body. Medication is of course needed in acute situations so that we can take back the control over our bodies and health. I knew there had to be another way than staying on these medications for years to come and started to heal and calm my body with a new way of eating and living.
Rheumatoid arthritis, Lupus, IBD, Crohn’s Disease, MS, Celiac disease, Diabetes type 1, Psoriasis, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, Myasthenia gravis, Graves’ disease, Basedow’s disease and many more fall into the autoimmune category. And like often with western medicine are the symptoms treated with taxing and damaging medications and there is no effort being done to remove or solve the cause of the problem by eliminating triggers.
Everybody reacts to stuff differently. Some people are more resistant to lets say gluten, pathogens or stress. I was apparently not one of them. Looking at my diet in the past I see lot of the food I used to eat are on the inflammation causing list ( except alcohol, never cared for that ). Add in some stress, building a business, little kids etc. … it just adds up. Symptoms like sun allergy, food intolerance, rash, painful joints and fatigue should have given it away though, those conditions are not normal.
Our immune system is what protects us from attacks and unfriendly intruders. An autoimmune reaction can develop when the body is continuously fighting something like an infection, allergy, a leaky gut, a lack of nutrients, parasites or stress. Some think that a virus called Epstein Barr virus is the actual causer of autoimmune reactions. EBV was discovered in the early 1960’s and there is still not much known about it except that most people are carriers of this virus. A leaky gut is also often seen as the cause and starting point of autoimmune reactions. Read HERE more about the Leaky Gut Syndrom.
Drugs and medication used to calm the body are pretty strong and have major side effects. Of course these are needed in acute situations but then it is also important to know that we can take back the control over our own bodies and health so the drugs possibly can be reduced or eliminated. Calming the inflammation down is the way to get the body back in balance and in peace.
Strategies to extinguish or prevent an immune disorder are,
1. Enjoying a diet full of anti-inflammatory foods like lots of fresh veggies, sprouts, greens and ripe fruit. A small amount of plant based protein like nuts, seeds and legumes and a little amount of healthy fats like avocado, coconut or nuts. Dark green and orange veggies like sweet potatoes, carrots, pumpkin and purple berries are very rich in antioxidants. Dark leafy greens are a great source of chlorophyll and enzymes to transport oxygen and to ease the work of your digestive system. Here you will find my pH list to make adding more alkalizing foods to you daily diet easier.
2. Adding anti-inflammatory spices like turmeric, ginger and rosemary. Turmeric with black pepper is a very powerful combo!
3. Eliminating foods that actually cause inflammation in the body like omega 6, corn- , soy- or safflower oil. Also trans fats often used in prepackaged foods, refined sugar, animal based fats and protein and gluten.
4. Adding daily supplements like B12 and vitamin D3. Also making sure that you are getting enough plant based omega 3 like from hemp seeds or chia seeds.
5. Repairing your gut with the right foods and supplements like probiotics, digestive enzymes, L-Glutamine and Quercetine. About 60% of our immune system is represented under the thin protective lining in our gut. When this layer gets damaged, our immune system is activated and reacts to specific foods, toxines and parasites present in the intestines. The lining can be damaged due to eating certain proteins found in unsoaked ( unsprouted ) grains. Also gluten, sugar, GMO treated crops like corn and soy, acidifying foods and dairy can be the cause of a leaky gut. The best way to calm the body is by following an alkalizing, wholefoods, low fat, plant based diet, check out my pH list to make adding alkalizing foods easier.
6. Daily exercise like walking, yoga, riding a bike or rebounding. Just move your body, gets your lymph’s moving, detoxing and your heart pumping.
7. Deep relaxation through meditation, breathing exercises and yoga. De-stressing is crucial in collaboration with a balanced diet.
8. Getting enough sleep is a must. A lack of sleep disturbs the bodies metabolisme, creates cravings in sugar and simple carbs and has a negative effect on your energy and mood
9. Almost everything with “too” added to it like too much sun, too much stress, too little relaxation, a too shallow breath … you get it!
10. Get checked for hidden infections, yeast, bacteria, food allergies, gluten intolerance and heavy metal toxicity so you know what to avoid and give extra attention to.
Looking back, it is clear that there were multiple factors which have contributed to my leaky gut and from there on to developing these autoimmune reactions. Too bad I did not know about this at the time, but hey, now I do and I learned a lot and am happy to share it! It is wonderful to learn that our bodies can be calmed down, restored and repaired through food and a new lifestyle. There are lots of conditions that are presumed as being “normal”, think of eczema or painful joints. It is not normal to have to live with inflammatory based conditions. Your body is telling you that there is something going on and you should act!
ps. Always talk to your healthcare provider about changes you are planning to make in your diet, exercise routine or supplementation.
I hope you find this info useful,