I recently realized that Living Lovely Autoimmune is gaining traction and turning into much more than some humble ramblings on my journey with an autoimmune disease. In light of this I should probably introduce myself properly, and fill you in on what it’s all about!
I am incredibly humbled and in awe of how many of you are beginning to visit my site and try my recipes. I never once thought that this blog would go anywhere when I began, but as my passion for food, nutrition and wellness grows, so does my desire to bring that passion to all of you.
Life is always a journey – and rarely an easy one – but being diagnosed with an autoimmune disease or other chronic illness can sometimes seem like a death sentence. It isn’t, of course, but it is a clear signal that our lives are changing, whether we fight it or not. So what if we try to accept it? What if we could make changes of our own in order to mitigate the changes being made out of our control? What if we could live our life even more fully than we ever did when we were “healthy”?
These questions are what Living Lovely Autoimmune is all about.
Like a plant pushing up through the asphalt, whether your medicine be food, nature, community, love, sound, or prescription medication, we can all have a vibrant life no matter what holds us down.
Having used dietary changes to aid my own illness, food as medicine is my most passionate love. As time goes on and I deal with the occasional inevitable flares, I am slowly learning how our relationship to food, the world around us, and even to ourselves has such an incredible impact on our health and healing efforts.
I began my healing journey with the Autoimmune Protocol, as put forward by Dr. Sarah Ballantyne, and have been successful and endlessly inspired by this elimination protocol. It works on the premise that it is just as important what we eat as it is what we don’t eat to heal autoimmune inflammation. Nutrient density is a gold star phrase in this protocol, and so vegetables, bone broth and organ meats are key players in the healing of the gut lining and maximizing the vitamins and minerals we need to function optimally when compromised by autoimmunity.
Though this protocol is centred heavily in the Paleo Diet, and I am passionate about the value it can hold, I have to make it clear that there is not a single way of eating that suits every person. Not a one! And that is perfectly okay. We all come from different backgrounds and cultures, and we have all adapted slightly differently to the current state of our plates. Some of us thrive on low-carb, some of us keep our adrenals happy with higher carb, some of us feel amazing on higher animal protein, and others less so. A vegan protocol can work as a temporary cleanse or as a life-long change: everything depends on your own body.
That said, my food philosophy generally boils down to this:
1) Everything in moderation, even moderation. It’s not as confusing as you may think, and way more enjoyable if you don’t think about it too hard!
2) Love your food as the astounding life-giving force it is. What is life without food??
3) Play with your food, enjoy it with every sense, and let it heal you with it’s simplicity when necessary. Food is love, even if you are dealing with a chronic illness and need to avoid something for a few months or even years to heal. There are so many more options available to us from every corner of the globe and you should never feel deprived!
4) Be adventurous, be curious, be open. Food and nutrition can take you absolutely anywhere you want to go.
Whether you are eating to heal an illness or not, these wise words from the lovely Sophie Dahl really hit home for me: “…if we take the time to be conscious of the needs and wants of our own bodies, rather than permanently fixating on what’s wrong with them, then the whole…thing immediately becomes less of a struggle” (Miss Dahl’s Voluptuous Delights: Recipes for Every Season, Mood, and Appetite, pg 195, Harper Collins, 2009).
Happy eating, healing, and adventuring.