You have just been diagnosed with an autoimmune disorder and you’re a little scared. “My body is attacking itself?” You may have been told of the progressive nature or that you will likely be diagnosed with another autoimmune disease within your lifetime. You leave the doctor’s office a diseased person as if you’ve just caught something. Conventional medicine offers wonders for some things, but for an autoimmune disorder the treatments are usually anti-inflammatory and immune suppressing drugs that offer their own set of side effects. These drugs don’t address the underlying problem.
To create an autoimmune disease your body’s immune system overreacts to something real then gets confused and attacks human tissue. If you remove the biggest thing your immune system is reacting to then it calms down and stops attacking the body, calming the autoimmune fire. This applies to most autoimmune disorders from irritable bowel diseases and arthritis to thyroid, skin, joint and tear duct autoimmune disorders.
The quickest way to calm the autoimmune reaction is with diet. Every day we put food into our bodies so every day we have the opportunity to change what we put in. Could the initial immune response be from your morning bagel or your lunch yogurt? You could be poisoning yourself on a daily basis and not even know it! Yes, bagels and yogurt are traditionally healthy foods, but they are only healthy for those who can digest them. If you have weak digestion, then the bagel and dairy may not get broken down, instead they leak into the bloodstream. The body recognizes the bagel or yogurt pieces as foreign and the immune system mounts an attack against the foods as if it were a virus. Suddenly the immune system is on overdrive and it gets confused, attacking a body part. The immune response can happen to other foods as well; it is just more common with wheat and dairy because the protein molecules are large and because so many people eat wheat and dairy every day.
In most cases, 1 week of eliminating suspect foods shows a dramatic improvement of symptoms. To get the full benefit of this food therapy, work with a nutritionist who can walk you through a 30 day elimination diet, making sure you aren’t ingesting any offending substances and helping to strengthen your digestion.
Instead of a bagel and yogurt you may have an egg and a corn tortilla or a rice based cereal with an almond based milk. There are some tips and tricks to making this work, such as how to cook rice pasta and making sure your medications don’t contain any allergens.
Autoimmunity isn’t something you catch and it does not have to be progressive or lead to another diagnosis. If you continue doing the same things that triggered the autoimmune condition, then yes; the same conditions will produce the same results. I have the privilege of helping people navigate this journey from the shock and fear of a new disease to the empowerment of taking control of their health and calming the fire of an autoimmune reaction. Some sicknesses don’t respond as well, but most autoimmune conditions can be reversed using simple changes in food. If you continue to threaten your immune system, it will continue to attack the tissue resulting in a progressive disease and if you remove the threat to the immune system, you can calm the autoimmune fire.