Beat Autoimmune with Baby Steps: Nourish Yourself!

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Closeup of a freshly cut avocado
Closeup of a freshly cut avocado

“Nourishing foods offer the highest healing potential of any solution we know of. They send healing instructions to your cells and genes. Turmeric instructs: “Cool down inflammation!” Broccoli directs: “Clear toxic estrogen metabolites!” And garlic commands: “Strengthen the immune system!” You truly do become what you eat. Don’t you find this super empowering?”

– Palmer Kippola, Best-selling Author, Beat Autoimmune

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: reversing autoimmune conditions is possible, but it’s going to take your commitment, attention and some time. We’ve summed up key points in our manifesto for healing, and we’re making it easier to do by chunking it down into baby steps in a series of blog posts.

If you haven’t done so already, it makes sense to start at the beginning, so check out step one: Mindset Matters and step two: Remove Your Triggers.

Lasting change happens in stages and trying to do everything all at once may sabotage your efforts. First you have to prepare by embracing a new mindset; and then you need to address and resolve the root causes of disease to make room for the nourishing elements. This is where healing happens.

1. Breathe Deeply and Intentionally

What is key to life, stress relief, deep peace, and a better metabolism? Breathing! It’s free, automatic and yet sadly underused.

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    Become a Belly Breather

    Breathe in through your nose and feel your in-breath fill up your lower abdomen like a balloon. Then release fully.

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    Take 5 for Stress Relief

    Take 5 intentional, deep belly breaths when you feel stress today. Engaging this relaxation response is the key to healing.

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    Stop & Breathe

    Get in the habit of doing deep, slow belly breathing throughout the day; for example, when you are stopped at a red light, or while you are standing in a check out line.

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    Practice Practice Practice

    Read and practice the breathing exercises in Pam Grout’s Jumpstart Your Metabolism.

2. Add Nourishing Foods, Water and Supplements

Keep it simple: First remove the bad stuff, and then add in the good stuff.

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    Eat Nutrient-Dense Foods

    Eat nutrient-dense organic foods: green leafy vegetables, raw garlic, healthy fats like avocado, coconut oil, pastured meats, chicken, eggs & butter, and wild fish.

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    Supplement Strategically

    Get tested for nutrient deficiencies and supplement strategically. Many people with autoimmune disorders are deficient in vitamins: A, B, C, D; minerals: phosphorus, magnesium, potassium, sodium, chromium; elements: selenium, iron, zinc and iodine; and fats: Omega 3.1Metabolic disorders and nutritional status in autoimmune thyroid diseases, Kawika, A., et. al., Postepy Hig Med Dosw (Online). 2015 Jan 2;69:80-90. doi: 10.5604/17322693.1136383., http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25614676 2Life Extension Foundation (LEF), Nutritional Supplements to Improve Autoimmune Health, http://www.lifeextension.com/Protocols/Immune-Connective-Joint/Autoimmune-Diseases/Page-04

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    Hydrate!

    Drink ½ your body weight in ounces of spring or filtered water per day. So if you are 130 pounds, drink 65 oz. per day before and apart from meals, so as not to dilute your digestive juices. Prepare by filling glass or stainless steel containers each morning so you know you’re on track.

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    Go Keto Periodically

    Consider a high healthy-fat, low carb, ketogenic diet to ditch the sugar cravings faster, rev your metabolism and reverse autoimmune conditions.3The Anti-Inflammatory Effects of a Ketogenic Diet, Casey Thaler, B.A., NASM-CPT, FNS, http://thepaleodiet.com/anti-inflammatory-effects-ketogenic-diet/#_ftnref11 4The Ketogenic Diet as a Treatment Paradigm for Diverse Neurological Disorders,Front Pharmacol. 2012; 3: 59. Published online 2012 Apr 9. Prepublished online 2012 Jan 25. doi: 10.3389/fphar.2012.00059; http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3321471/

3. Get Restorative Sleep

People with autoimmune disorders need 8 – 10 hours per night.

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    Go to Bed Early

    Make a habit of going to bed before 10 to get the most restorative sleep.

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    Create a Sleep Sanctuary

    Turn your room into a sleep sanctuary. Turn all electronics into airplane mode and have nothing plugged in by your head. Try using eyeshades and earplugs for total darkness & peace. 5Blue blocker glasses impede the capacity of bright light to suppress melatonin production.; J Pineal Res. 2006 Aug;41(1):73-8.; http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16842544

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    Use Non-Toxic Bedding

    Invest in organic bedding, mattress, sheets and all. You want your sleep to be as restorative and regenerative as possible.

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    Try Progressive Relaxation

    If you have trouble falling asleep or can’t fall back to sleep, try progressive relaxation to focus on, breathe into, and relax each body part, head to toes.

4. Move More

Sitting still for long periods is “the new smoking.”

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    Move Throughout Your Day

    Add movement into your daily routine: take the stairs, walk with a friend, take hourly breaks to move and stretch.

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    Make it Easy

    Create a workout space at home. Sweat a little every day. Get some free-weights, an exercise or yoga mat, and find online videos for your fitness level. Fitness Blender is one of my favorites; free videos with lots of skill and intensity levels.

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    HIIT It!

    Add high intensity interval training (HIIT) to your routine to boost metabolism and build lean muscle in less time than steady-state cardio. 6Reap the Benefits of High-Intensity Interval Training; http://articles.mercola.com/peak-fitness.aspx

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    Stand More

    They say, ‘sitting is the new smoking.’ If you’re at your computer a lot, try a standing desk. You can find a timer app and set hourly reminders for yourself to move. 7Too Much Sitting: The Population-Health Science of Sedentary Behavior, Exercise & Sport Sciences Reviews: July 2010 – Volume 38 – Issue 3 – pp 105-113 doi: 10.1097/JES.0b013e3181e373a2 Perspectives for Progress; http://journals.lww.com/acsm-essr/pages/articleviewer.aspx?year=2010&issue=07000&article=00003&type=abstract

Nourish Yourself – Action Summary

  1. Get in the habit of deep belly breathing.

  2. Emphasize nourishing foods, pure water and address nutrient deficiencies.

  3. Prioritize sleep, and do what you need to do to get 8+ hours a night.

  4. Find multiple ways throughout the day to move more and sit less.

Let us know which nourishing elements help you the most. 

Take good care!

p.s. If you are proactively seeking to heal from any autoimmune condition and want community, positivity, and support, please join our free, private Facebook group: Transcend Autoimmune.

p.s.s. For even greater levels of support, targeted information, and additional access to me and autoimmune experts, join the waitlist for our online membership program, Beat Autoimmune Academy.

Image Credit: Nadezhda1906/iStock