How to Really Tame Your Autoimmune Disease
Posted by Lisa on April 13, 2015 / 8 Comments
If you have an autoimmune disease you know all too well that no cure exists. Once triggered, it’s just there. The genie can’t be shoved back in the bottle – at least not yet, according to modern medicine.
But there is another way. I’m living proof that much can be done to reverse or “tame” your autoimmune disease to the point of consistent, symptom-free bliss. And truth be told, I’ve become a pretty darn good autoimmune tamer!
If you haven’t read my About Me page, I’ll give you the short version. Three years ago I was your quintessential corporate warrior – burning the midnight oil, addicted to my devices and eating fast food while running between meetings. A stressaholic, workaholic, crappy foodaholic.
Then, I got smacked sideways.
Within the span of two years, I was diagnosed with not one, not two or three…but four autoimmune diseases. To say my world went topsy turvy would be an understatement.
Thank you sir, but I do not want another!
So I did something major. I restarted my life. A reboot or do-over if you will. Because two years of expensive lab testing, genetic testing, microbiome testing and research all led to the same, simple diagnosis. I had a faulty lifestyle. I was unknowingly triggering and flaring the crazy immune civil war inside my body.
Once I realized that, I managed to completely tame all four autoimmune diseases in under a year, with these five simple steps.
1. Heal your leaky gut
If you have an autoimmune disease, odds are that you have a “leaky gut” – a not so scientific name to describe increased intestinal permeability. In short, food proteins, toxins, and bad bacteria leak from your gut into your bloodstream and set off a chain reaction of inflammation and immune dysfunction.
As long as your gut (which houses 70-80% of your immune cells) is leaking, your immune system will be in constant attack mode and confused as to your own tissue versus that of a foreign invader. The moral of the story? Heal your leaky gut, heal your immune system.
2. Reduce your stress levels
Stress does not reside solely in your brain. When you have a bad day at the office or feel the pressures of daily life, it affects you physically.
During times of chronic stress, hormones such as cortisol and norepinephrine are released, inadvertently shutting down your digestive and immune systems. Those systems, the ones needed most to protect your body from disease, become weak and vulnerable.
It should come as no surprise then to learn that chronic stress is a major contributor to leaky gut and autoimmune flares. In fact, I put it on par with an unhealthy diet. So if you’ve changed your diet and you’re not seeing progress, adopt some simple and easy stress reduction techniques into your lifestyle. You’ll be glad you did!
3. Prioritize restorative sleep
You may not think much about sleep, but this basic bodily function plays a significant role in your healing and wellness. When you’re sleep deprived, massive, inter-connected systems are affected, such as your digestive system, immune system, endocrine system, metabolism, cardiovascular system and neurological system, among others.
These “mission critical” systems keep you healthy and properly functioning. But we sometimes forget. Because sleep deprivation from a bad day at the office, late night TV watching or checking your devices in bed can significantly impair your “rest and recharge” state and the regulation of your immune system.
4. Be active (preferably with mother nature)
Regular, daily activity is crucial for an optimized immune system. If you live or work in a concrete jungle (aka – big city) and sit for a good portion of the day, it’s all the more imperative to find a park, beach or nature trail to recharge your immune system.
Exercise increases blood circulation in the body, which allows white blood cells and other immune substances to move freely and stay on the lookout for viruses, bacteria and disease. It also simply makes you feel good. Getting outside increases your vitamin D exposure while more significantly lowering stress-related cortisol versus indoor exercise. Another point scored for outdoor activities.
5. Celebrate joy and gratitude (and live passionately!)
Autoimmune diseases can easily make you feel down in the dumps. Fatigue, frustration and resentment seem to take center stage. Yet a negative mental outlook can quickly moot all the efforts of the previous four steps.
How? Because your mind is more than a Jeopardy-winning contraption. It’s also a hard-core immune boosting machine!
Practicing mindfulness, joy and gratitude has the effect of turning down the volume knob on biomarkers related to inflammation. Scientifically proven. So work to celebrate the simple joys of life and surround yourself with infectiously happy, positive people. It’s the best free medicine there is.
As for me, I realized that what made me happiest in life was three-fold: helping others, eating real nourishing food and traveling. With my life restart, I’ve now been able to combine all three – and I’ve never felt better!
So rather than wait for modern medicine to figure out how to get that autoimmune genie back in the bottle, I recommend doing a little taming and training instead. Sound good?
Still need more help? Want to feel waaayy more radiant? Good news – I’m available for some heart-centered, wellness-boosting, 1:1 health coaching.