Reduce your stress reduce your symptoms and start to get your life back
One important and NECCESSARY way of finding freedom with autoimmune disease is by doing all that you can to reduce the stresses and triggers in your life and start bringing down anti-bodies.
This means of course looking at an anti-inflammatory whole food diet. Looking at your digestion to make sure you are actually ABSORBING all of the nutrients from your organic whole food diet.
Dialing in on sleep, thats right! This always gets looked over but is probably one of the most important pieces of the puzzle.
Make sure that you are optimizing your sleep with sleep rituals to tell your body its time to hit the hay, reducing the exposure to bright lights and blue light screens, avoiding caffeine after 3 pm and even taking the appropriate sleep supplements if you feel you need them, such as magnesium.
Reducing your exposure to toxic chemicals in your drinking water, personal care products, makeup and cleaning supplies
Now we can talk about emotional stress, always being “on” is a sure fire way to always being inflamed! Its super important to incorporate daily practices that RELAX you. Such as taking walks in nature, meditating, prating yoga or just cutting off work time at 6 pm and switch over to relax time! The best time of all!
Reducing exercise…say whaaaaaa?! Yup you heard me right! Over training can be an excellent source of stress on your body and your efforts of getting six pack abs by intense cardio at the gym might actually be working against you. If you are on a healing path, it might be time to trade out the running shoes, for just right now anyway, for more gentle exercises like yoga or moderate weight lifting, long walks or hiking. And besides being active throughout the day is far more affective in weight loss than a one hour super intense cardio session.
if you feel like your diet protocol is a chain.
I get this feeling in such a big way!! As an avid traveler it can be completely disheartening to feel like I can’t do certain things because of my healing diet. These are often thoughts that have crossed my mind: forget about dating, how can I find a restaurant that would cater to me? Can you stay paleo while traveling Israel? I don’t know if I can say yes to this banquet because they might serve something that is not AIP compliant. I love my grandmothers traditional Slovenian baking but it has (gasp) GLUTEN!
This can sometimes be one of the hardest parts of being on a healing journey, you feel held back by your diet and lifestyle, you can’t do the same things you did before, you can’t go out to the same places, you have to say no to invitations from friends to go out to dinner, you sometimes CRAVE those black list foods in the worst way!
I get it. Lets be real, it sucks! But its times like these that I like to remind myself of the following:
How horrible I felt before I started this healing journey and was eating all of those foods
How I have changed, I am not the same person on a molecular level and on a spiritual level. taking time to care for myself has nurtured love for myself and nurturing my body with real food has nurtured regrowth of every cell in my body
Food is for feeding, NOT ONLY FOR ENTERTAINMENT. A lot of our hang ups on food come back to the memories, culture and conditioning that is associated with it. After remembering that it isn’t the food that makes going out with friends enjoyable, its the COMPANY its nice to realize that I can still enjoy that part and enjoy the feeling of feeling good in my body at the same time.
Working around it, there is always a way to work around your diet so that it isn’t such a big burden, one way is by batch cooking for a busy week, preparing for parties by making your own dishes to bring, doing research for nights out on the town , asking for support from friends and family, finding fun activities that do not revolve around food, making your own dinner parties with your diet compliant treats.
Its because of your diet that you got your life back! At the end of the day, no matter how hard it can be to stay on track its easy to forget that one of the big reasons you are able to get up in the morning and have energy to go to work or without pain is BECAUSE of your diet, and in that sense your diet doesn’t look so much like a chain as a life raft!
when you are experiencing a flare
This one is tricky.You are on a healing diet and you experience a flare, WTF?! flare ups could be as small as a breakout on your skin to as big as mind numbing pain. There have been times when it seems that I am doing everything RIGHT and I flare up! It is super annoying! And can sometimes seem random and out of the blue.
In a perfect world there would be no flare ups and we would heal in a perfect linear path up! But life is messy and so can a healing journey be. But here is what I usually do when this happens.
Play detective: sometimes its important to really take a close look at your life in the past two weeks to try to figure out what could have been a trigger for you, that means examining: food senstivies at restaurants, stress, loss of sleep, traumatic events, accidental toxin exposure, even an episode of over training could have tipped you off.
If you figured it out, learn your lesson and try to avoid that trigger next time.
Dial in your diet and lifestyle to bring things back into balance, that means dialing in sleep, diet and stress.
Accept it and let it go! There are two things I ask myself when I experience this:
Am I truly suffering in this moment? In this very moment I lean into the discomfort and ask this and almost always the answer is no! Most of your suffering comes from the frustration of the experience and not so much the experience itself. Come back to this moment and ask yourself, are you truly suffering right now?
Will this last forever? And of course the answer is no! Its important to remember that this too shall pass. And what a relief it is when we do remember that!
Realize that everyone has struggles in life, this just so happens to be yours
We forget that even celebrities have their fair share of problems as I said everyone does, it is just a matter of ACCEPTING them as a part of life and your reality AT THIS MOMENT.
It could ALWAYS be WORSE! There are people suffering all over the world, we sometimes choose to block other peoples suffering when we experience our own but reminding ourselves that ALOT of people have it ALOT WORSE than us can really put things into perspective. You could be experiencing all that you are AND be a refuge watching your homeland being destroyed by war!
The real key in overcoming the victim mentality is to challenge instead what you have to gain from it. What is it here to teach you about yourself? How has this experience changed the way you view the world? How you appreciate the little things? How you slow down to take care of yourself better than before. How it has made you slow down and listen.
Seeing this illness as a blessing as apposed to a curse will give so much freedom by taking power away from it and lifting the weight of the “burden” and shining light in the darkness.
Work on discovering ULTIMATE freedom
Finally to really find freedom in Autoimmune disease is really an opportunity to journey inward and find freedom in life!
Now I don’t mean to get all yodi on you but to truly find freedom its time to take the time you are caring for yourself to explore the root of suffering.
In buddhism they believe the root of suffering is our attachments and aversions to things that we think we cannot live without and the things we try so badly to avoid. Examine what those are for you in your life and find comfort that everyone has them and that just by bringing awareness to them you automatically take some power away from them.
Freedom is living a life without attachments and aversions where you simply live in the present moment, with no internal conflict, no deep seeded desires driving your mind away to the future where you simply live here NOW, enjoying all the beauty that exists as it is.
I challenge you to look inward at your own attachments and aversions and even begin a spiritual practice of some kind. The rewards will be great and will bring you one step closer to FREEDOM.