I’m currently on the Autoimmune Protocol, a nutrient-rich elimination diet that removes foods that irritate the gut, cause gut imbalance and activate the immune system. You can read more about the protocol and why I’m doing this here. And, if you want to know why I’m on the sugar-free version of the Autoimmune Protocol, you can read about that here.
In case you hadn’t been paying attention, I’m currently a little bit obsessed with health. Specifically, my health and how my diet and lifestyle choices can improve it.
It’s hardly surprising, really. Up to about 18 months ago, LM and I were considered the ‘foodies’ amongst our friends. We were the go-to people for advice on what was new and good in the Sydney eating scene. We’d dine out 2 or 3 times a week. We connected through our food experiences. And, it was fun!
And then, we started joining the dots around some growing health issues. Our dining out stopped. Abruptly.
I haven’t been out to dinner at a restaurant since 2013.
I can’t safely dine out on the severely restricted diet I have been on since the beginning of this year.
What I have been doing is an awful lot of reading on what it is to be healthy in today’s world. And, what I’m learning is both scary and enlightening.
I’m learning that the rate of autoimmune disease is rising at an alarming rate in the western world. I’m learning researchers have identified between 80-100 different autoimmune diseases and they suspect at least 40 additional diseases of having an autoimmune basis. These diseases are chronic and can be life-threatening. I’m learning that autoimmune disease is now one of the top 10 leading causes of death in female children and women in all age groups up to 64 years of age. And, I’m learning that there is a close genetic relationship that exists among autoimmune disease sufferers which explains the clustering found in individuals and families.
So, there’s a genetic component, which you can’t control. It’s a lottery. And, then there’s a lifestyle component. This, you can – to some extent at least – control. And, if you don’t, there’s a good chance that at some stage it may come and bite you. You just don’t know when.
This week, I’ve been dipping into the Detox Summit, an online event bringing 30 experts together to discuss all aspects of detoxification with the goal of helping you return to a healthy state of wellness.
The problem is we are not eating food anymore, we are eating food like products. (Alejandro Junger)
I haven’t had time to listen to all the interviews, but I was particularly interested in hearing from Dr Frank Lipman. I wasn’t disappointed.
Dr Lipman is a New York-based medical practitioner who marries Eastern and Western medicine to facilitate wellness. During an earlier lecture from him, he painted a wonderful picture that resonated for me about how Western medical practices tend to treat the body like a machine – if a part breaks down, we put a patch on it or replace it. Eastern practices, on the other hand, treat the whole body like a garden. Every part of the garden requires attention for the garden to truly thrive.
Even though you may have been given a diagnosis, always ask these two questions with any chronic problem:
1) What is harming you and needs to be removed to permit the body to heal?
2) What is lacking or what does your body need to promote healing? (Dr Frank Lipman)
This time, Dr Lipman was speaking about detoxing and the effects of toxicity on our general wellbeing. Some of the wee pearls that really jumped out for me during his detox session were:
- There is growing understanding that toxic thoughts – anger, resentment and worry – can have devastating effects on health. As you fix mental and emotional issues, you become more resilient and this has a snowball effect on health.
- As a practitioner, if he doesn’t have the answers, he will always treat the gut. Generally, when you treat the gut, you can see improvement relatively quickly and, because of the high levels of serotonin found in a healthy gut, this will have a direct impact on mood.
- Dr Lipman finds gut dysbiosis in at least 75% of his patients. This is caused by a number of factors – GMO foods, antibiotics (including those in meat), an unfavourable gut environment from illness and/or stress.
- More and more people are becoming sensitive to – not only gluten, but – all grains. There is a general growth in insulin resistance.
I have written before (here) that I am a worrier of epic proportions. And, that I’m pretty masterful at hiding my amazing ability to worry. For me, this idea that our thoughts can make us physically ill is a difficult pill to swallow (bad pun – sorry!). So, as I enter week 3 of my gut-healing protocol, it is with a firm focus on watching my thoughts and working at being more present. I’ve a couple of wee experiments on the go – I’ll tell you about them a little down the track.
My new mantra is ‘be kind to yourself’! Maybe it should become yours, too?
How does Dr Lipman treat his patients’ gut? I became very ill in 2003 and again in 2008, having been treated predominantly with Western medicine, I have no idea what state my own gut is at present. It is not uncommon for me to be popping pain relief. Further, being in the present is essential to my well being. Meditation and exercise is the key – Kx
Hey K – the biggest takeaway in his spiel was that it is still very much a trial and error process (how promising!). Dr Lipman observes the patient, supports liver function and prescribes antimicrobial herbs and digestive enzymes, while also removing problematic foods – an elimination diet a bit like what I’m currently doing with the autoimmune protocol, I suspect.
I’m with you – it’s about far more than just diet. I’d add sleep to your meditation and exercise!
AWESOME post TSL! As Hippocrates said, all disease begins in the gut..
I like the analogy of the snowball effect, especially when speaking about emotions. I also have a hard time NOT beating up on myself and find when my healing is on track my emotions are generally very positive.
Hi PI – thank you. These more personal posts are harder to write, so its lovely when people like you comment!
Been raining up here this week – grounding has been a challenge.
Great post hon, I’m right behind you on this journey – 6 months so far. Have tried AIP for 2 weeks, failed, and haven’t got the stamina to try again. Yet. I’ve gone gluten-free and have cut down on sweet stuff massively (8kgs lighter as a result) but could be better. Currently awaiting a battery of tests from my (new) Sydney doc which I’m hoping the results of which are going to spur me on to sort my diet out once and for all. It seems so daunting as there is SO much out there to learn and for the most part, I think many doctors are just one page ahead of us in the books! Keep on trucking, love hearing how you’re going x
Thanks Georgie – 8 kgs, what an awesome result!
I think nobody cares as much about your health as you do. I also think everybody is different – that pesky epigenetics thing – so, it’s very much a looooooong process of trial and error and finding what works for you. It does take some hard work and commitment, and – for me – what is almost harder, is the friends I have who just don’t get what I’m trying to do. On the upside, I’m finding new friends! Stay true!
It all makes sense TSL, but I have to admit that I have been quite lazy with my eating habits.
2BD – it is hard. You gotta do what’s right for you (and that changes)!
Ditto re the friends situation. They think I’m following a fad diet and no doubt think it’s all attention seeking! Sigh.
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