If you’re like many of our readers, you have known or currently know someone who has autoimmune disease, the leading cause of death among young and middle-age women in the United States (source). Autoimmune disease originates from an abnormal immune response of the body against substances and tissues present in the body.
The treatment of autoimmune diseases is typically with immunosuppression—medication that decreases the immune response. But today, real food diets contributor and blogger, Aleana at Grazed and Enthused, is here to give you 4 steps to be an autoimmune warrior. With these smart tips, you’ll be fighting back against autoimmune disease stronger than ever before.
Alaena believes that eating Paleo and AIP (autoimmune protocol), whether for general health or disease management, can be fun and less stressful if you keep it interesting. The Paleo and AIP lifestyle has made a big impact on her battle with Hashimoto's disease and leaky gut.
Here are the 4 steps you can take today to be an autoimmune warrior.
1. BE YOUR OWN ADVOCATE
Research your autoimmune condition in your spare time, join relevant Facebook groups with titles like Paleo, Autoimmune, Hashimoto's, etc. Find a naturopathic or functional medicine doctor who has success in treating those with autoimmune and GI disorders. Do NOT give up if you don't see immediate results. This is a trial and error process that may take you years to truly understand your unique body and how external factors affect it.
2. EAT CLEAN. EAT AT HOME. EAT FOR QUALITY, NOT QUANTITY
Be in control of your food at least 95% of the time. That may sound inconvenient or time-consuming, but you will get into a rhythm. Allow yourself 1/2 to 3/4 lb of good quality protein per day, at least 3-6 cups of greens, as many non-starchy veggies as you want, and definitely some healthy root-based starches if you're active. Cook in bulk. Always have fresh herbs and citrus on hand to add flavor to food. Take 1-2 hours on Sunday and prep, prep, prep. Your Tuesday self will thank you. I have been eating this way for over 18 months, and it has never been boring. You just have to experiment and have fun in the kitchen with what you CAN eat. Forget what you can't have right now - it's just food. You'll make friends with coffee or rice again in the future, but for now keep your distance and don't think about it too much.
3. HOLD YOURSELF ACCOUNTABLE
You are the only one that can help you. Do not rely on a doctor, a naturopath, Whole Foods or the Internet to heal you. Love yourself enough to realize your future happiness and well-being depends on how you treat your body today. Be kind and forgiving to yourself throughout your journey. Stay motivated by talking about your progress with loved ones. Take 30 minutes a day to do something that makes you feel like your old self whether that's going for an easy run, meditating, painting, or having tea with friends.
4. DON'T BE CRAY
Don't stay up late trolling the Internet for an answer. Sleep is just as important as food. Don't let your leaky gut protocol prevent you from socializing. You don't have to eat with your friends to enjoy their company at dinner. Meditate at least 5 minutes a day, even if your meditation means just being mindful of how you're feeling today. Go out and enjoy your hobbies, friends, and family as if autoimmune disease didn't exist. Do not let it overtake your happiness but let it inspire you to achieve your dreams despite this roadblock. Don't feel sorry for yourself but grateful that you understand your body's needs better than you ever did before.
Are you fighting autoimmune disease? Tell us about it—we read every comment.
This article originally appeared on Grazed and Enthused.