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?

Detoxing can feel like the cold I just had.

So this week I have literally been ‘seeking health’ whilst fighting a cold, and a summer cold at that. Colds are bad at any time, but summer colds just seem exceptionally uncomfortable. Hot weather and a stuffy nose, not good. Do I put the fan on because it’s hot, or turn it off because I just got some chills? Soup?, in the summer? All of that is just not fun and I am glad to say that I am feeling much better.

I am going to pass on a bit of medical advice I received from the Nutritionist that actually had me and my husband do the detox and started us on this journey. He was kind enough, after I had posted a question on his Facebook page about “what was the benefit of gargling with salt water anyway?” He could not give me medical advice on Facebook and I understand the implications to that, all I wanted to know was “why did my mother always tell me to do it?” Was this an old-wives tale or was it the salt water really helping my adrenal glands and the gargling that helped stimulate my vagus nerve? I wanted some logical, hard evidence for doing this vile action since I really didn’t like it. He was kind enough to call and, while I was taking a nap, and give my husband this little advice for a sore throat. He said to get sea-salt, and baking soda (aluminum free), then the hottest water I could possible gargle with and mix them together. He didn’t give exact amounts so I used 1/4 tsp of the salt, 1/4 tsp of the baking soda and 8 oz of water. First you gargle with this concoction and then right after quickly drink some iced water. * I love ice water and my husband had been forbidding me to drink it with my sore throat, but ha, ha, I got my iced-water*. I followed the instructions he gave and TA-DA,,no kidding my throat felt so much better. Almost scary miraculous. He had given the explanation of “something or another canceling out the pH of something”,,but my husband does what most men do, they don’t get DETAILS. I may have to ask for a formal reason later on, but for now this helped immensely and I thought I should pass this on to anyone who might have the need. 

Back to detoxing…”ah do we have to?”,,yes we do because really it’s such a good thing to do for your body. We are inundated with toxins from our foods, air, water, environment etc. Detoxing takes a stress off our internal organs and gives us a chance to clean out and start fresh. My husband and I headed into our detox with hopefulness and a cleaned out kitchen to avoid cheating. Cleaning out my kitchen was harder than I thought. I had stock piled all this food to be a good wife, buying mass quantities of on-sale processed foods that would keep for years and years in cans and boxes, not really thinking that if these foods could keep that long, there must be a ton of preservatives in them and were preservatives really healthy for me? So after jumping over that mental hurdle, I ran into another one. How many of you stock pile to feel a sense of comfort that you will always have food? It wasn’t until I was asked to give up my stock pile that I realized how much dependence I had in it. This, for me, was an ah-ha moment and spiritual question. Did I place my security for the things that I NEED, (food, shelter, clothing) on my “pile” versus a faithful God that had always supplied over and above what I needed? My mind went to those in other countries who live from day to day not knowing if they will eat at all and to my life of never missing a day without food. Now, I have had some lean days when rice was the whole menu, but NEVER,, did I not eat. So with renewed faith in my Father who has never let me down since the day I placed my life in His hands, I got down to business and cleared out my kitchen of food-like products that were doing more damage than good. It feel like a relief, because I am always asking for Jesus to show me anything that I need to let go of in the flesh in order to cling more tightly to Him and He did and it was all wrapped up in me seeking health at any cost.  Image

No Processed Anything.

I bet if you’re my age 49, and grew up in the United States, you probably have no idea how much processed food you eat. I know that I certainly didn’t. After my first appointment with the new doctor, he gave my husband and I a detox diet. Now the only time I had ever heard of the word detox was in relation to getting off drugs, but never in reference to my diet.  Heck if I managed to make, what I thought was, a homemade dinner consisting of a boxed Hamburger Helper with a side-dish of bagged salad and a glass of soda, I thought I was doing pretty darn good. Well, at least I wasn’t going out to eat fast food more than others right? So what’s the problem? The problem was that the food I was giving to my children (this part really bothers me) and my husband was not food at all. It was “processed food product”. Check out your labels and see how many times you see those 3 nifty little words together. So about this time you may be asking yourself:

“Are processed foods a health risk?

The main health risks of processed foods are well known – they are evident in worldwide disease statistics.

‘First world’ countries that consume lots of processed foods like breads, cereals, sugary foods and fatty foods, are stricken with diseases like diabetes, cardiovascular disease and cancer. What else could you expect if a large portion of your diet was based on foods loaded with poor quality calories like sugars and fats, and contain significantly less fibre, vitamins and minerals?

When you think of it that way, it’s easy to see that processed foods are causing obesity.

Yet only 100 years ago, the leading causes of death were infectious diseases – we ate a lot more whole foods back then, with much higher nutritional value. And obesity wasn’t a problem. ” –

So the next logical question is what are “whole foods”right? This is the category of foods that our new doctor wanted us to eat. We were to do a 2-week fast with no dairy, no sugar, no processed foods, and only low glycemic fruits. We were to eat small meals 6 to 8 a day. We were to eat nuts and/or seeds for our snacks and get this,,non roasted with no salt. I didn’t even know that nuts had a flavor but salty.  Basically a whole food is described as ” They are the unprocessed, untreated and organic foods that we find in nature. They are low sodium, organic, and heart-healthy.” There now, doesn’t that sound easy and good? It did sound good and I was all the way IN on this new diet. I was excited to see what my body would be like detoxed and all this good food should make me feel like Wonder Women right? Uh-huh,, word of warning, detoxing is hard.