Autoimmune dysfunction take YEARS to develop! When I was growing up I remember going with my mom to the local plant nursery to escape into the lushness of perfect tropical plants. Mom and I loved plants. We used this adventure as a way to get out of the house and enjoy nature during the winter months when it was just too cold to walk around the yard. I learned to love the smell of malathion that was sprayed on those plants to kill aphids and other plant diseases, completely unaware of what I was inhaling. Even today I can fondly remember that smell in relationship to my mother and the beauty of nature.
Today I am WELL aware of the deadly consequences of pesticides. Back then all I knew was that these pesticides helped keep the plants looking their best. I can’t say whether those long-ago excursions contributed to my autoimmune disease, but I’m sure they didn’t help. The autoimmune disease does not happen overnight! Looking back at what I consumed, it’s probably amazing that today I don’t have more health issues.
I remember the tuna casseroles, the hot dogs, the mac and cheese, the sodas, and the “special” treat of going to McDonald’s or Burger King to get a Big Mac or the Whopper. Parents didn’t know about lead in toys, the need to “child-proof”, or even the concept of seat belts. My parents DID finally figure out to fence the backyard after I wandered into the neighbor’s house one too many times, and marked up their dolls with a magic marker. Oops.
Today I’m in the battle of my life, to save ME from killing ME. My body is attacking itself because it is confusing. I was completely unaware that this was happening until a series of events WOKE ME UP and I became an advocate for my health.
If you’re reading this article and you have one autoimmune disease, you need to pay attention because you could possibly be at risk for others. Dr. Gerald Mullin from Johns Hopkins says statistically somebody with an autoimmune disease is at risk of a total of 7 autoimmune diseases in his or her lifetime.
The functions of an autoimmune disease is the same for all autoimmune disease. The immune system attacks the specific tissues in the body. We distinguish the different diseases by the type of tissue under attack.
Rheumatoid Arthritis is the immune system attacking the joints.
Multiple Sclerosis is the immune system attacking the myelin sheaths or the coating of our nerves.
Celiac Disease is the immune system attacking the villi in the small intestine.
And, in my case, Hashimoto’s disease is the immune system attacking the thyroid gland.
These are just a few of the many autoimmune diseases. The list goes on and on.
It can take years before enough tissue damage and symptoms are noticeable. It also requires someone (like a healthcare professional) to care enough to test the antibodies in your system to determine WHY you are experiencing various symptoms. And isn’t that the “gotcha” with a lot of health care. It’s so easy and fast to be given a pill to manage the symptoms we experience…just as easy for us to choose sweet foods to satisfy our conditioned taste buds.
It took me 28 long years and symptoms I could no longer ignore before stepping up and standing up for myself. I DEMANDED the tests (after doing a lot of research) to get to the cause of my issues. Knowledge is power!
Fight Back Against the Autoimmune system
Number one – You MUST focus on a strong, healthy immune system. 70 – 80% of our immune system is in our digestive system. Our digestive system is the processing center for the nutrients and vitamins the cells in our body need to stay healthy and fit. We have 50 TRILLION living cells waiting to be fed. You can feed those cells preservative-laden crap and they will continue to drag and be weak, OR you can begin to learn how to eat healthily.
Think of healthy eating as learning a new language. We’ve grown up judging food by taste and texture. If food does not meet our standard of taste or texture, we reject it and move on. After all, there are tons of tasty choices we can make. I’m suggesting to you that to eat healthily you MUST reject the notion of taste and texture AS THE MAIN (and highest) CRITERIA because taste buds WILL adjust within days to the foods we decide we will be consuming.
You are unique, so become an advocate for your health. It all starts with YOU! Question everything so you research what works for YOU. Remember no one knows what you are experiencing more than you.
Stop with the smoking and other bad habits that can compromise your immune system. Alcohol is NOT your friend if you want a strong mind and body!
Be consistent with your eating. You may eat great for 90% of your day and then ruin this by indulging in something very BAD for you in the 10%, erasing away all the good.
Avoid processed foods containing preservatives. Take a look at the lotions and cosmetics you use. Many large name-brands are preservative heavy. Avoid “parfumes” (code for a phthalate that has been shown to contribute to testicular atrophy in males).
Avoid ANYTHING containing parabens or phthalates (used to extend the smell in products). Avoid drinking anything in an aluminum can, and replace underarm deodorant containing aluminum.
Replace toothpaste containing fluoride. Studies have shown fluoride does more harm than good as an adult.
Example of foods to avoid: sugary foods, gluten-rich foods, fried foods, dairy, and caffeine.
Eat foods rich in nutrition: vegetables, free-range organic meats and wild-caught fish, dark fruits such as blueberries cranberries raspberries and grapes. Take a good multivitamin (know your source – not all multivitamins are created equal). Most people are low in Vitamin D so add that if it is not included in your daily supplements.
There are many resources for learning the language of good eating and I will continue to write about it. The main thing is to begin NOW…begin TODAY to take action to migrate to healthy, real, organic food. Know what you are eating and if in question…don’t eat it.
Finally….it’s YOUR choice to be or stay a victim to your condition. It’s not your destiny unless you give up!
For more nutritional information you can make an appointment and we will address your issues and goals to design a program that works for you. One size doesn’t fit all!
Judy Johnston, CHT, NLP,
Integrated Nutritional Health Coach
That’s Life Wellness