Autoimmune diseases,,”what are those anyway”.

The 2 words, “autoimmune disease” can be intimidating and foreign to some but for others the phrase “autoimmune disease” is a relentless attack of the most debilitating kind. You probably know someone with an autoimmune disorder because they are very common in society now, and there are commercials galore promoting the latest pill that will give people their life back. Let’s look at a few of the most common autoimmune disorders.

Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease that can cause chronic inflammation of the joints and other areas of the body. Rheumatoid arthritis can affect people of all ages. The cause of rheumatoid arthritis is not known. Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic disease, characterized by periods of disease flares and remissions. In rheumatoid arthritis, multiple joints are usually, but not always, affected in a symmetrical pattern. Chronic inflammation of rheumatoid arthritis can cause permanent joint destruction and deformity. Damage to joints can occur early and does not correlate with the severity of symptoms. There is no known cure for rheumatoid arthritis. The treatment of rheumatoid arthritis optimally involves a combination of patient education, rest and exercise joint protection, medications, and occasionally surgery.

Lupus is an autoimmune disorder that causes chronic inflammation throughout your body. It can affect any or all of your organs, resulting in dozens of physical symptoms ranging from headaches to irregular heartbeats. Most of us are protected by an immune system that attacks invading bacteria and infections. If you have lupus however, your immune system can’t tell the difference between foreign cells and your body’s natural cells and tissues. As a result, inflammation starts to build throughout your body, causing many physical problems, such as joint pain, muscle aches, fatigue, rash, sensitivity to sunlight, Raynaud’s phenomenon.

Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, or Hashimoto’s disease, is a chronic autoimmune disease also known as chronic lymphocytic thyroiditis. The name Hashimoto’s thyroiditis comes from the pathologist who in 1912 first described the microscopic features of the disease. In general, there is a gradual loss of thyroid function, often accompanied by enlargement of the thyroid gland, also known as a goiter.  Some of the symptoms of Hashi’s are fatigue,  mental fogginess and forgetfulness, feeling excessively cold, constipation, dry skin, fluid retention, muscle aches pains and stiffness in joints, depression.

Keep in mind that these disorders have been on a steady rise in the United States and are being diagnosed in younger and younger people. Many young children suffer with these disorders now that literally have them living in a physical life of what was once thought to only happen in the very aged. These “unseen” disorders are misunderstood by most and have devastating effects on people’s lives. Marriages break up, jobs are lost and sometimes the sufferers of these illnesses can be overcome with depression due to the relentless exacerbation of symptoms. Why are these illnesses on the rise and what can we do to help ourselves, friends and loved ones who suffer from these type of illnesses? The medical establishment would say that they have a pill or a shot for those things, but in reality these do not treat WHY a person gets an autoimmune disease in the first place. They simply mask the symptoms. Really,,if you had cancer would you be happy if the doctor came up to you with a Band-aid and said,,”here ya go, now your better.”



Is there such a thing as dirty meat?

We are starting with meat and why grass-fed beef is cleaner and healthier for you. Cows, biologically, are created to graze on grass – not feast on nutrient-poor, genetically modified grains.  Grain-fed beef is the result of large agribusinesses wanting to fatten up cows as quickly as possible, regardless of the harm it does to their health (not to mention how grain diminishes the nutritional quality of the meat consumers wind up eating!). Another reason I love grass-fed beef is that it’s simply cleaner.

Feedlot cattle stand all day long in dirt and manure. You can imagine how much harder it is to remove all the fecal contamination given that scenario. They are literally hip deep in their own dung until they are taken to slaughter. That is just NOT RIGHT.  Pasture-raised animals are much easier to clean because they come from small herds raised in relatively clean pastures.

Then there is the issue of the cattle being given rBST and rBGH shots. The rBGH stand for recombinant growth hormone and causes the cattle to grow quickly, not naturally,,just quickly. The rBST is recombinant bovine somatotropin and is used interchangably with rBGH. Both of these hormones have been found in the end product of meat that you buy at the store and both of these are not healthy for either the cow to be given or us to be eating.

Look closely in the dairy aisle and you will inevitably see cartons of milk labeled “contains no rBGH” or “contains no rBST,” often followed by the disclaimer “no significant difference has been shown between milk derived from rBST-supplemented and non-rBST-supplemented cows.” Seems pretty bizarre to market the fact that your milk doesn’t contain rBGH and then go on to state that there’s no empirical difference between it and rBGH treated milk. It may interest you to learn that the latter disclaimer–that there’s no proven difference between rBST and non-rBST treated cow milk–is the result of lawsuits brought by agricultural industry giant Monsanto against dairy farmers who make a point of marketing their non-rBGH treated dairy products as such. So why all the hubbub and litigation?

In 1991, a non-profit farm advocacy group reported that cows treated with rBGH in a Monsanto-commissioned study at the University of Vermont were showing an unusually high rate of birth defects in their calves, as well as an increased incidence of mastitis–a bacterial infection of the udder.

The symptoms of mastitis include inflammation and the secretion of pus and blood into the milk. To avoid contamination and ensure the health of their cows, Monsanto began treating their cows with antibiotics. Antibiotics are also secreted into milk and may pose health risks to humans. FDA regulations rely on pasteurization to remove hormones, antibiotics, and bacteria from milk, but many critics allege that the FDA’s testing standards for hormonal and antibiotic content are inadequate.

To this day, the safety of rBGH in cows and humans remains a controversial matter. However, it has already been banned in every country of the European Union, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and Japan–and many major American retailers are heeding consumer concerns as well. Safeway, Kroger, Walmart, and Starbucks have all stopped selling rBGH-treated milk.

2 weeks turned into 4 and 4 turned into 6,,,

Having made peace with the whole getting rid of my food stash issues and now resting in the faithfulness of knowing that God was not going to let me starve, we were now living in a “clean kitchen” and by clean I mean clean food. Our first 2 weeks were met with some of the usual detox symptoms of slight headaches, fatigue, and being irritable.  I must be completely honest the hardest thing to give up was coffee. Just typing the word coffee makes me want a cup. I have always loved coffee. The flavor,,the smell; even when I was only 3 my parents would catch me taking sips out of their cup. To give this up I knew that I was serious in my attempt to rid myself of the health issues that were plaguing me and as the weeks went on my body finally relented to the fact that no amount of screaming from inside was going to get me to cave in and drink the coffee. I did hide the coffee maker in the garage but, hey,,ya gotta do what it takes to save yourself from ..well yourself. When my husband and I returned 2 weeks later to our nutritionist, we were so proud of ourselves so when we were told to go on for another 2 weeks, needless to say we were a bit deflated. When you have your sites set on a certain time frame,,it’s a bit easier to deal with the very limited diet knowing their was a light at the end of the tunnel. Heading into 2 more weeks was not fun, but when we were told after those 2 weeks to go for 2 more weeks due to some issues my husband was having, it almost felt like forever. It’s funny though because when we finally started to reintroduce foods back into our very clean, detoxified bodies we were able to see immediate responses to foods that our bodies had an intolerance to. In case you have never done a detox diet with subsequent reintroduction of the main allergic food groups, in order to see your food intolerances; here is a brief summary of how it goes.

So you start off by doing 2 weeks of a clean diet.  No processed foods. No caffeine. No sugar and of course none of the below listed foods which are the most allergic foods:

Peanut and peanut products
Soy and soy products
Milk and milk products
Wheat and wheat products

Then as you clean or detox your body, you slowly start reintroducing foods from some of these groups to see how your body reacts. Your diet should also be completely organic and only eating clean meats. My next post will be describing in detail what clean meats are and why organic produce is the best thing we could do for our health today.

Ain’t it the truth?

The first step in a long trip.

Just as a long journey begins with the first  step, so did my journey to finding my way back to a healthy life. I know that most people would have went straight to their doctor and run a battery of tests. What does “running a battery of tests” mean anyway? I’ll tell you what it means, you start at your internal medicine doctor and give them your main complaints. In my case it would have been my extreme fatigue and rapid weight gain. The usual CBC (complete blood count) would have been done and maybe the ever present TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone) test as well. Factoring in my age, over 40 and my sex, female they would have concluded that I needed to get on a heart-healthy diet, exercise more and for heaven’s sake stop smoking and drinking (2 things I don’t do).  Had I mentioned my depression and mood changes, I would have been prescribed an anti-depressant in record time with the promise that if it didn’t work they could add 1 or 2 more anti-depressants to make sure it did.  The reason I know that this is how my doctor encounter would have turned out is because I saw it happening all around me to friends, and family members. No real answers. Not even any real effort to allow the patient to talk about what their body is going through, just a 5 min consultation adding up symptom A with symptom B and prescribing the “most popular” medication C. I also was a Medical Transcriptionist by career and after 9+ years of doing medical reports you already know what the doctors are going to prescribe based on symptoms before you even get to the end of the report.

That was not the road I happened to land on, thank God, and I really do thank God. You see, I had no health insurance at that time, due to the economy and my husband being laid off,,,blah, blah,blah. You have heard the story dozens of times by now either in your own life or people you know so no long explanation is needed. At the time, with how lousy I was feeling and the fact that no amount of healthy eating or exercise was getting me anywhere,,,I was desperate for answers. I felt sorry for myself that I was doomed to the “no insurance” crowd and yet God had a plan in it all.

At this point in my story, I must introduce to you a friend of mine that has walked along side me through this journey. She was not a strong healthy friend that took pity on me and helped me up ; no she was a sick, unhealthy friend that came and crawled along beside me in this journey; at least until we could stand,,and then walk and now as we are both doing much better we appreciate the fact that we had each other to  bounce feelings, ideas and opinions off, and someone who really knew what I was going through because she was living it herself. In fact, I must say that she had it much worse than I did. She had suffered with extreme fibromyalgia for years, to the point of being on multiple medications, anti-depressants,etc, and the whole gamut of pills that conservative medicine throws at you in attempt to make you think you’re healed. Your body knows better though and in the end you are left wearing a medication band-aid on a very painful and chronic illness.  The meds just add to the health problems with their own side-effects, plus the knowledge that you are probably poisoning important vital organs in your body. You know we probably need those organs healthy too.  Gee, ya think? So you see these health issues that had just recently started in me, she had been dealing with for many, many moons. As it happened, my friend found out from another friend,,, (isn’t that just how it happens sometimes) about a doctor that had treated her, and she had great results. Now this doctor was not your average MD, but rather a chiropractor who was studying to be a Certified Nutritionist. Yeah, I know it sounds weird, but weird can be good sometimes and this time it was awesome.

After much prayer and believing she had heard from God on the issue, my friend started seeing this doctor and I knew something was right. In the morning when we would meet to walk, instead of the regular zombie-like appearance, she was glowing and happy and darn-it, she looked like she actually had some good sleep! She began to tell me, with all the excitement of a person who was just struck gold, all about this doctor that she had met and what he was having her do to feel better. Having known her for a while, I could see a remarkable change in her and if he could do this for her, I wanted to see this doctor.  I had to know what he did and what did he give you? (there had to be a wonder pill for this kind of energy) Her answer stunned me. As we walked in the park, she began to share how this doctor changed her diet. What?…diet? Boy what a change too.  This is what he did. He removed all processed foods from her diet-BAM, gone. He removed all sugar-BAM,,(this one is painful). He removed all caffeine.  He put her on an organic food diet. I had heard of organics, but never thought much about them other than that they cost too much.  I expected her to tell me about her pitiful little food supply and how she was starving her way to good health, but her glowing face and pepping step proved different. What she did convey to me was a healthy diet menu, and the doctor encourage her to eat a little something every 2-3 hours. Now what kind of doctor puts you on a diet and then tells you to eat more often?