Five Stories of Nutrition and Healing in Autoimmunity

Stories of Nutrition and Healing

Today, I listened to a Phoenix Helix podcast Episode 30. I love her Stories podcasts which are Episodes 1, 14 and 30. In each of these three episodes, Eileen interviews people with different autoimmunity diseases. Today several of the stories really hit home for me.

In the first story, Tracey reversed Scleroderma, Polymyositis, and Raynaud’s with the Autoimmune Protocol diet (AIP). She had severe muscle destruction from her disease and is now back to participating in golfing tournaments and helping to (GASP – she’s 50) take care of her grand babies while running several businesses. Many of her symptoms sound like mine. Even with exercise, she continued to get weaker.

In the second story, Joe healed her severe Psoriasis with AIP. This story was interested b/c stress was a HUGE trigger for her Psoriasis. Even now in near complete remission, a lot of stress will bring on patches. Also sugar is a huge trigger for her autoimmune issues. So while paleo community has “paleofied” many treats using natural sweeteners, even those can be problematic. As Eileen says, if you’re on AIP and still not getting better, remove AIP treats completely to see if that is a trigger. Jo has a blog www.comfortbites.com with best trips for treating psoriasis. What hit home for me was that when she was stressed, it was hard to make wise food choices which of courses makes you feel worse.

In the third story, Dora discusses healing Grave’s disease with AIP. She is early in her journey but is slowly making progress in getting better. She got huge improvements, including a goiter shrinking, after just a few weeks on AIP and being off of steroids for a year. If you want some AIP version of Chinese dishes, check out Dora’s blog, Provincial Paleo.

In the fourth story, Freyja successful treats uveitis with AIP after numerous steroids including eye injections did not work. Interestingly, while she has no symptoms before her diagnosis and AIP, when she went back on a standard diet within hours she felt like she had the flu, she developed psoriasis in 3days, and her back pain which she had learned to live with and had disappeared on the 3months of AIP, was back.

In the fifth and final story, Barbara was diagnosed with Parkinson’s, which her mom also had. While Parkinson’s is not thought to be autoimmune disease, Barbara was told by her doctor to try Dr. Wahl’s protocol for just a few months. She got her life back w/ Dr. Wahl’s protocol. When the holidays came and she ate standard foods, her Parkinson’s symptoms returned.

These stories really drive home for me the importance of nutrition in fighting any chronic illness.

Do you really need phytonutrients in your diet?

Ok, well I titled this post with a rhetorical question – OF COURSE you need phytonutrients in your diet! While nutrition research is unreliable because usually it is based on someone’s recall of what Welcome Basketthey ate over a period of time, I think the research is pretty clear that a plant-based diet has NUMEROUS health benefits. So what are phytonutrients and where can you get them, you may ask!

Here’s what Kim Kash, Team Beachbody Blogger had to say about phytonutrients:

Phytonutrients are chemicals found in plants that are necessary for the health and defense of the plant. Some of them can also be useful to the human body. They’re found in all fruits and vegetables and many phytonutrient-rich foods have deep or bright colors—such as blueberries, red cabbage, tomatoes, and kale. However, not all of these foods are jewel-toned! Whole grains, beans, nuts, seeds, herbs, and spices are also sources of these chemical compounds.

Generally speaking, phytonutrients have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, and they may reduce cancer risks and promote liver health. There are upwards of 25,000 of these chemicals, but some in particular have been studied extensively and are known for their health benefits. Here are a few:

Carotenoids, including beta-carotene, lycopene, and lutein, are responsible for the yellow, orange and red colors in fruits and vegetables. They have antioxidant benefits in the body and promote healthy eyes and vision.

Ellagic acid, found in fruits including strawberries and raspberries, is thought to help protect the body against cancer.

Flavonoids, which are divided into several categories including catechins, hesperidin, and flavonols, may lower the risk of asthma and certain types of cancer, and act as antioxidants and anti-inflammatories.

Resveratrol, found in grapes and red wine, acts as an anti-inflammatory, possibly reducing the risk of heart disease and cancer.

Sulfides, found in onions and garlic, are antioxidants, and support immunity and cardiovascular health. They also stimulate the body to get rid of harmful chemicals.

One great way to get the benefits of many different phytonutrients is by eating foods that cover the full spectrum of the rainbow! Here’s a list of just some of the ones that you can try.

So check out the list of fruits and vegetables and see how many you can get in each day to reduce your inflammation and lead a healthier life!

 

Do you love pineapple but hate cutting it?

My son loves fresh pineapple. I can take it or leave it (usually leave it) but being a mom, you sacrifice yourself for your kids. Well, sacrifice no more! I bought this pineapple slicer on a whim. My son was able to use it effortlessly. I was so impressed, I had to try it myself!

Pineapple Slicer

And here is the finished product! No more cutting off the tough outer skin from a pineapple! It was easy to get the pineapple off the tube and then cut the rings apart!

Pineapple Slicer

 

With the easy of cutting a fresh pineapple and reading about its health benefits at Medical News Today, I will be sure to add fresh pineapple to my diet.

One cup of fresh pineapple chunks provides 131% of your vitamin C needs for the day, 2% of vitamin A needs, 2% of calcium and 2% of iron.

Pineapple is also a source of important vitamins and minerals such as thiamin, riboflavin, vitamin B-6, folate, pantothenic acid, magnesium, manganese and potassium and antioxidants and polyphenols, such asbeta-carotene.

Fresh pineapple is the only known source of an enzyme called bromelain, which has been used in studies to determine it’s effectiveness in alleviating joint pain, arthritis, reduce inflammation, inhibit tumor growth and shorten recovery time following plastic surgery.

If you have a kitchen gadget that you just love and makes your life easier, leave me a comment and a link to it! Maybe there is something else out there I really, really need and I just don’t know about it yet!

Autoimmune Protocol and Dining Out = Trouble

When you are following the autoimmune protocol (AIP), it is quite challenging to eat out. Even a simple salad can have hidden triggers in the salad dressings such as artificial sweeteners, seed spices, and preservatives. So I was quite delighted when I saw that Panera Bread (the name says it all as to why I don’t go there – GLRaspberry VinaigretteUTEN heaven!) is cleaning up it’s act! They had to change over 100 ingredients to fit it’s new cleaner food promise! Who knew that salad dressings would be the most challenging to clean up! If you’re just starting on your autoimmune protocol adventure, it’s best to not eat out until you’re safely past the reintroduction phase. Once you know your trigger foods, you can begin to navigate the restaurant menu with care.

You can read the entire article on Panera Bread in the May 6, 2015 edition of Fortune Magazine. So when you’re eating out, be mindful of the eateries  that are trying to clean up their act and support them! It can be challenging to visit such places as Panera Bread with the family when on a restricted diet. I hope it continues to get easier to find healthy, clean food when you are out and about enjoying a meal with family and friends.

Panera is particularly excited about its efforts to “clean” up salad dressings. Beginning Tuesday, the restaurant’s salads will be made without artificial sweeteners, colors, flavors and preservatives. Many of the company’s sales, like the new Kale Caesar salad, are made completely without those artificial additives.

“Salad dressings were the most challenging category by far for us [to change],” said Burnett. All commercially made dressing are packed with those ingredients, so Panera had to get creative.

The company also had to be patient. It took two months just to determine what the ingredients were in the Greek salad dressing, for example, and another four months to reformulate the dressing so all the ingredients and the process to obtain them fit in Panera’s new standard. Panera then spent months testing the new formulation in its restaurants.

 

My kids love to whip up their own salad dressings. One of their favorites is Balsamic vinaigrette from the 21 Day Fix nutrition guide.

Balsamic Vinaigrette

6 Tbsp balsamic vinegar

1/4 c fresh lemon juice

1 tsp. raw honey (or pure maple syrup)

2 tsp. Dijon mustard (not-AIP)

6 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

1. Combine vinegar, lemon juice, and honey in a medium bowl; whisk to blend.

2. Stir in mustard; mix well.

3. Slowly add oil while whisking; mix well.

You can store left over dressing in the fridge in a sealed container. Hold at room temperature for 30min or sit in warm water and  give it a good stir before serving.

 

If you’re on autoimmune protocol, do check out Dr. Amy Myer’s new book, The Autoimmune SolutionShe includes several salad dressing recipes including a handy “Create Your Own Salad Dressing” chart. You choose your oil, your vinegar, your juice and your seasoning from the list of choices and there you have your own AIP-compliant salad dressing!

 

Dr. Terry Wahls – Healing MS with nutrition, exercise, meditation

This is a wonderful video by Dr. Terry Wahls. She is a traditionally trained physician who lived life on the other side of the desk – as a Multiple Sclerosis patient. She was quickly confined to a zero-gravity chair for most of the time until she started researching animal models for healing the brain. She has a book titled,

The Wahls Protocol – How I Beat Progressive MS Using Paleo Principles and Functional Medicine.

I am dealing with the possibility of a second autoimmune diagnosis, Myasthenia Gravis. It’s time for me to further refine my nutrition so that I’m able to keep the level of fitness that I so enjoy.

To watch the video, just click here.