In these two posts, Autoimmune and What to do about Arthritis, I tried to bring you up to speed on autoimmune disease. In another post I shared three autoimmune recovery stories and promised to post more. True to my word, here are three more. As before, the names are fictitious but the stories are true. Continue reading
“I said there was no way that food could be causing this,” were Margaret’s words. “But I was wrong.” And indeed she was.
Today’s question: “You keep talking about autoimmune diseases and I don’t think most people have these. So what is that and what’s the big deal?”
Answer: An autoimmune disorder occurs when your body’s immune system attacks and destroys healthy body tissue by mistake. There are more than 80 types of autoimmune disorders and they may attack body parts like blood vessels, connective tissue, lungs, glands like the thyroid or pancreas, joints, muscles, red blood cells, skin, and nerves (including the brain.) In other words, anywhere. Continue reading
“I have arthritis and am sometimes in constant pain. I thought maybe it was gluten related so I eat gluten free bread but that didn’t help. The doctor says I have irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and none of the medicine is working. What do I do?” Continue reading
There seems to be no end to the number of ailments aggravated or caused by diet. And it seems to be tough for people to give up eating the stuff they just love in the interest of avoiding body fat or an ailment. But some ailments, particularly for men, are harder to ignore.
In my experience, women are very much more concerned about their body fat than men. Dissatisfaction with weight is a perpetual subject of discussion among women; usually a “Do you think I look fat?” thing. Women join together in weight loss support groups. But for men, erectile dysfunction is another matter. Continue reading
Any heart disease in your family? Do you have any kind of heart or artery disease? Odds are really good because cardiovascular disease is the primary cause of death in America. And maybe you are kinda worried about that heart attack, stroke, or aneurysm. So maybe you would like to avoid that. Continue reading
Are you often sick? Do you have conditions that you don’t call “sick” but require you to see doctors and take medications? If so, that probably means your magical immune system isn’t doing its job. And that is a problem.
What is magic? You see something with your own eyes but you can’t figure out how it happens. Maybe it is just sleight of hand performed with cape and wand. And maybe it is like computer programming, really complicated machinations that go on behind the scenes resulting in a game, a document, an edited picture, a website like this one.. Dang, you think. “How do they do that?”
The operation of the human body is truly magical. The Designer, the infinite programmer, provided for everything, including the immune system whose job is security. Security, as you know, is supposed to find things that aren’t quite right and fix them. Illnesses always reflect inflammation somewhere and inflammation means something isn’t right.
When your immune system isn’t working that inflammation just continues, chronically. Your security system’s job is to see a condition and attack the source. Attack the bad bacteria, virus, fungus, or ingested toxin. A really scary example would be cancer. Security is supposed to recognize cells that will become cancer and either fix them or force them to commit suicide before they can even be seen medically. When the immune system fails cancer cells turn into tumors and a tumor is the symptom of the underlying condition.
Woops! Something has avoided detection by security. And we have symptoms.
What are Symptoms?
I talk to so many people with multiple chronic illnesses. Usually they started out with just one, then another, and finally the flood gates opened. Others just have symptoms and most often the doctor gives you medications for those symptoms. Or perhaps you hang out in the non-prescription drug aisle in the pharmacy or grocery store. Maybe both.
Think about your car. When the service engine light comes on, what should you do? Put a piece of tape over the light so you can’t see it? Maybe find somebody to reset the computer so the light goes out (temporarily)? Or maybe you break down and find out what has gone wrong and fix it. The service engine light is a symptom of an underlying problem. As with all health conditions, failure to find/fix the problem could eventually catch up with you in painful and expensive ways.
Symptoms! Always getting a cold or catching every virus going around? Perpetual urinary tract or yeast infections? Maybe you have symptoms that can’t be diagnosed like fatigue, no energy, headaches, pain, or rashes. Doctor runs a bunch of tests and finds nothing. Sometimes you are diagnosed with a condition that is just a name for the symptoms, maybe a “syndrome.” Fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome – stuff like that. We treat symptoms.
Under extreme circumstances we incur treatments that purposely suppress or disable the immune system. This might include chemotherapy and steroids. This, of course, is double trouble.
An occasional illness that frequently heals on its own means your immune system is doing its job. Conditions that don’t fix means the magic isn’t happening; your security system has failed for some reason. We already know that just treating symptoms doesn’t work — otherwise we wouldn’t be taking so much “medicine.” The reasonable question then becomes “What happened to the magic?”
It’s a Toxic World.
As my book describes, there can be two major parts to the problem. One is that we live in a toxic world, exposed to chemicals everywhere we turn. We find them in the soil; on and in our food; in our cleaning supplies/cosmetics, our medications, the water, and even in the air. We absorb those toxic chemicals, our immune system sees them as not right and does its best to deal with them. Our toxic world makes the immune system’s job much more difficult.
Yeah, we are partially responsible for some of the toxicity like smoking or too much drug exposure. But often we are innocent victims with no clue what things are toxic and what they mean to our health. So let’s face it, our best shot at a healthy body is to prepare our immune system for the onslaught so its “best” will be good enough.
What Does Your Body Require From You?
Your magical body creates most of the stuff it needs to function as designed, a heck of a complex program that is only partially understood and frequently misunderstood by the experts. The bad news is that just as a computer report is only as good as the data we put in, your body requires the right ingredients to create the right stuff. Those ingredients come from your food. Think about the variety of ingredients you combine into a salad dressing. If you leave something out, the result is not the same. Same thing happens in your body.
Protein, fat, and carbohydrates are macro-nutrients. These are building blocks in your body, providing basic structure and energy sources. Vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, phytonutrients (by the thousands), enzymes, etc are all the ingredients needed by your body to make the basic building blocks work correctly and provide the nutrients essential to a healthy immune system. These are known as micro-nutrients. They are all available in the food you should be eating. The food you should be eating but perhaps are not.
It’s all About the Food.
It’s All About the Food explains in some detail how the industrial farms and commercially created “foods” have both introduced more and more toxins into our environment/food and diminished micro-nutrients in our diets. The point here is clear. We are no longer providing the nutrients that our bodies need to remain healthy. And so we are sick.
Of particular importance to our immune system is the health of our intestinal tract. This is where everything you eat is digested and moved into your body to do its work. This is where the trash accumulates and is swept out. Up to 80% of security, the immune system, is in the walls of the intestines, prepared (we hope) to catch bad stuff and deal with it.
Everybody has to eat. The billions of good bacteria in your intestines are essential to processing carbohydrates; their “food” is fiber. The residue of the bacteria’s meal is a fat that feeds the immune system. Huge swathes of Americans eat tons of carbs but very little fiber. And because we are sick, we are great consumers of medications including lots of antibiotics. Antibiotics specifically kill all bacteria, not just the bad bacteria.
Consequently we are plagued with “symptoms” like bloating, gas, constipation, etc. We treat the symptoms without correcting the problem. The problem is in our diet.
There is plenty of information and guidance on a non-toxic nutritious diet in It’s All About the Food. Take a look.
When I autograph my book, I always write “to your good health.” So, my friends, here is to your good health!