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Autoimmune Disorders

Why Am I So Achy and Tired?

​Our body’s immune system protects us from disease and infection, invaders in our bodies if you will.  But what happens when our immune system goes out of whack?  When it thinks our own body tissue is an invader and and  starts attacking itself?    This is the basic principle behind Autoimmune (AI) Disease.  Your immune system attacks its own healthy cells by mistake.
 
First, you must advocate for yourself. Second, you must be willing to make changes in your diet and your lifestyle.  If you are not willing to make changes, then you are left with medications to control symptoms, rather than a treatment plan that gets to the root source of the issue.

  • Get checked for underlying infections, such as Lyme’s disease, yeast, mold, H pylori and Epstein-Barr
  • Get checked for celiac disease and heavy metal toxicity.
  • Do IgG allergy testing to try to identify food allergens.
  • Remove sugar, dairy, grains, legumes and gluten from your diet, these are all inflammatory foods.
  • Exercise regularly, this is especially important for fibromyalgia patients.
  • Decrease your stress with meditation, yoga, art
  • Take a good quality probiotic, fish oil and Vitamins D and C
No one is really sure what causes Autoimmune Disease.  Some think it comes from a build up of heavy metals, or is triggered by a virus like Epstein Barr or herpes simplex.  It seems to run in families, and we are certainly seeing a lot more of it than we did 50 years ago.  It has been hypothesized that the processing of our foods has led to widespread inflammation in our bodies which, in turn, has triggered an autoimmune response in susceptible people. You may have heard the term “leaky gut”, which is a breakdown in the gut lining from the Standard American Diet.

There are over 80 different types of autoimmune disease and many present in a similar fashion, which makes diagnosis a challenge.  It can take 5- 10 years before you have an actual diagnosis, and even then, it can change.  Most autoimmune diseases begin with fatigue, muscle aches and a low grade fever.  Inflammation is also a key component of AI disease.  Sometimes you have symptoms of redness, swelling and pain, and sometimes the inflammation can be seen in your bloodwork.

Autoimmune disease is characterized by flares, where the symptoms worsen, and remission, where you can almost feel normal.  It can attack any part of the body including the heart, brain, nerves, muscles, skin, blood vessels, eyes, lungs, kidneys, joints and digestive tract.  It rarely only involves one body system.  For example, Lupus (SLE) affects the skin, kidneys, heart, blood vessels and more.

Symptoms of autoimmune disease include fatigue, muscle and joint aches, headaches, anxiety, brain fog, skin rashes, stomach complaints, weight gain or loss, general feeling of malaise, stiffness, and feeling “wired and tired”.

The most common forms of Autoimmune disease include, rheumatoid arthritis, systemic lupus erythemetosus (SLE), psoriasis, vitiligo, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, Graves disease, Sjogren’s syndrome, ankylosing spondilitis, multiple sclerlosis, myasthenia gravis and scleroderma.  Celiac disease, fibromyalgia and Type 1 diabetes are also considered AI disease.

Treatment focuses on reducing inflammation.  Your rheumatologist will likely prescribe  simple corticosteroids, chemotherapeutics like Methotrexate or biologics like Humera and Enbrel.  So what can YOU do to help yourself?

 
Autoimmune Friendly Meatloaf

Ingredients

1 tablespoon coconut oil
1 cup cauliflower, processed into “rice” with a food processor
1 zucchini, peeled and grated
1 carrot, peeled and grated
½ onion, minced
4 cloves garlic, minced
½ cup parsley, chopped
2 teaspoons sea salt
2 tablespoons fresh thyme and/or marjoram
2 egg yolks (omit if on the elimination diet)
2 lbs ground beef, lamb, or pork mixture (I used beef and lamb), room temperature
3­4 slices pastured bacon


Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • In a skillet, heat the coconut oil and saute the onion, zucchini, carrot and cauliflower rice for about 5 minutes, adding the garlic at the very end. Let cool.
  • In a large bowl mix the egg yolks with the herbs and spices including the fresh parsley. Add the meat and vegetables to the bowl. Mix gently with your hands until just incorporated.
  • Transfer the mixture to a 9 x 5 loaf pan, making sure to spread it evenly into the corners. Lay the bacon strips across the top, tucking them in to the ends if they are too long. Cook for 45­-50 minutes, or until the internal temperature reaches 155 degrees.
  • Remove from oven and carefully pour off liquid, reserving it to cook veggies in later.
  • Put the loaf back in the oven for 10 minutes under the broiler to crisp up the bacon. Let sit for 10 minutes before slicing