I know the feeling… like you have lost control over your body, a war is waging inside and you feel powerless to stop it because you just do NOT understand what is going on inside your body. Why is it so angry at itself? Those are the things I used to think and wonder about.
But the great news is that I can tell you today there are three main things that contribute to the development of autoimmunity, and I can tell you which pieces you HAVE control over to make a change and get your body balanced again! Not only do I know these things from my education, but I know THEY WORK because it is how I live every single day with lupus and no medications for over six years now, and help my son control his auto-inflammatory disorder!
This time I mean an actual stool and not some type of bowel movement ;-). Think of the causes of autoimmunity as a three legged stool.
Leg One – Genetic Predisposition
Our genetics are US. We cannot change what we receive, but we can get some control how these are shown or activated in our body! It’s true! Just because you receive a gene doesn’t mean it gets used or activated in your body. With that said – a test alone for a gene doesn’t mean you develop diseases or conditions related to having it. But having the gene will be one piece of what ends up as a perfect storm if you develop autoimmunity in life.
Leg Two – Environmental Factors
These include things like drug exposure, antibiotics, etc, toxins in the environment, exposure to germs like viruses and bacteria. We are all exposed to a lot of toxins in our environment daily, some influence our bodies more than others. This includes exposure to germs. This is partially in our control. The unseen things we cannot influence in our environment fall a it outside this realm, but we can work on cleaner products for our bodies, we can choose to use less medications (please ask your doctor before changing any medication), alter our exposure via products like cleaners, plastics, and choose better food sources like organic, as well as better cooking pans etc.
For example, I am genetically inclined to inflammatory diseases (autoimmunity type like lupus), it was shown on a test. I already KNEW I had this condition, but I was tested and it was confirmed as well. In addition, between the ages of 12-14 years old I was treated with MANY MANY MANY rounds of antibiotics and medications for repeated “infections” and allergic reactions that wouldn’t stop. This is environmental exposure.
Leg Three – Gut Balance
This is where people start to disbelieve. And I cannot blame them, especially if they do not have a lot of overtly obvious symptoms. I was one who did not. HOWEVER, I ate a lot of processed foods, and fast foods, and poor foods, and very little nutrient dense foods for my life under the age of 20. It was a pretty typical Standard American Diet. It is what MOST of my clients have been eating their whole life as well. It may be YOUR diet as you read this. I did NOT have any digestive symptoms at all until after I had a diagnosis of lupus and hard started treatment with medications around age 21.
However what I learned is this – if you have an autoimmune disorder your gut is imbalanced – whether you feel it or not. I just didn’t KNOW I had that because I was so distracted by the really obvious symptoms of lupus (which turn out to be signs of digestive imbalance!). I had mouth sores (a sign of food allergy/sensitivity and mucus breakdown in the digestive tract, I had a lot of joint pain (a sign of food sensitivity, and improper nutrient balance), I had extreme fatigue (a sign of the same imbalances), I had skin rashes (same sign as well as gut imbalance). I had other symptoms on and off from pleurisy to urinary – but you know what? Every single one is tied to the same thing – gut imbalance and poor food source leading to that imbalance.
How to Get Control Again
Step 1 – Eat Real Food – Ditch Processed Food
I cannot repeat this fact enough – it is in nearly every single post I do and if you have been following me for awhile you may be starting to realize how IMPORTANT this particular step is in any type of body balance. To learn more about why click here, to learn more about what this means click here.
You will get more nutrient balance by eating real nutrient dense foods. This will even out missing nutrients that you need in order to provide the proper balance in your gut and body processes. Eating real food also removes many chemicals, additives and processing agents (as well as poor ingredients) from our day creating less inflammatory load on our body.
Step 2 – Rethink Your Proteins & Healthy Fats
Think more fish, seafood, less processed meats. Think whole chickens, pastured, not processed or deli style. No more deli meat, no more processed bacon with chemicals and sugar. Straight from the farm pastured bacon – OK. Unprocessed, no chemicals no sugar. Think grass fed beef, but just once a week to keep your biome in balance. The better your protein source the better the healthy fat will be as well.
Most people have an imbalance in fatty acids. They need more omega 3 (anti inflammatory). You do need a balance between 3-6-9 omega, but most people have PLENTY of 6 daily. It’s about balancing the two out. You can do this through these great fish and seafoods sources! Healthy fats include things like butter, coconut oil, ghee, avocado oil, olive oil. We are avoiding canola, vegetable and other industrial random seed oils.
Step 3 – Choose Quality Foods
Sourcing is very important when we have a lot of inflammation in our body – or just in life in general so we get the most nutrients for the money we spend on our food. Organic is always best – it reduces the exposure to some of those environmental pieces we talked about above. To learn more about reading labels and understanding food sourcing – check out this article.
You want wild caught seafood, if there isn’t an option organic is best. You want grass fed beef products, you want pastured chickens and chicken products, same with bacon. Try to avoid a lot of pork, occasional will be OK but it’s naturally inflammatory. Sausage is very processed – best to keep it to a treat vs. routine. If you make your own from the types of high quality animals above – then that’s different. This is about purchasing from the grocery store in typical format. You want the animals to live as close to nature and their natural diet (if not completely) as possible!
The same concept apply for fruits and vegetables, herbs and spices.
Each individual has specific food intolerances and needs to balance out autoimmunity, their gut and more. There are often great supplements from QUALITY sources that can be given to you by an NTP like myself to help you boost your nutrients, and help balance back out your body. Each need is different. Some people need more restrictions to lower inflammation and balance the gut than others. All of these things are determined with the help of an NTP like myself.