Beat Autoimmune with Baby Steps: Nourish Yourself Daily


“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!” We truly do become what we eat. Don’t you find this super empowering?”

– Palmer Kippola

Reversing autoimmune conditions is possible, but it’s takes commitment, determination, and persistence over time. Lasting change happens in stages and trying to do everything all at once may sabotage your efforts. I’m aiming to simplify things by chunking it down into baby steps in a series of blog posts.

If you haven’t read them already, it makes sense to start at the beginning, so check out baby step one: Embrace a Healing Mindset and then baby step two: Detox Daily.

Baby step three is to Nourish Yourself Daily. These are simple, foundational strategies to calm your nervous system and nourish your body, mind, and spirit. This is where balance is restored and 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 the fastest path to stress relief I know of.

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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 deep and slow belly breaths when you feel stress today. Count to 5 on the in breath and count to 5 as you release the breath. Notice how it feels to engage this relaxation response.

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    Pause and Breathe

    To reduce stress any time and activate the parasympathetic healing mode, take slow, deep belly breaths throughout the day; for example, when you are stopped at a red light, while you are standing in a check out line, before you fall asleep, and any time you feel stressed.

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    Experiment with Breathing Techniques

    For variety and the extra benefits of metabolism boosting, read and practice the breathing exercises in Pam Grout’s Jumpstart Your Metabolism.

2. Add Nourishing Foods, Water and Supplements

Keep it simple: Remove the bad stuff and add in the good stuff.

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    Eat Nutrient-Dense Foods

    Eat a variety of organic veggies: leafy greens, a rainbow of vegetables, garlic, onions, sprouts, healthy fats like avocado, coconut oil, grass-fed ghee, organic and wild protein including meats, pastured chicken, wild fish; and for the calming benefits of l-theanine and powerful polyphenols like EGCG (epigallocatechin gallate) without the huge caffeine spike, sip organic matcha green tea or lattes made with coconut milk; sweeten with stevia or monkfruit.

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    Supplement Strategically

    People with autoimmune disorders tend to be deficient in vitamins: A, B, C, D; minerals: phosphorus, magnesium, potassium, sodium, chromium, selenium, and iodine; and the essential fat, 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., 2Life Extension Foundation (LEF), Nutritional Supplements to Improve Autoimmune Health, For quality supplements, access my Fullscript store HERE.

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    Hydrate More

    Drink half your body weight in ounces of spring or filtered water per day. Herbal tea counts too! So if you are 130 pounds, sip 65 oz. throughout the day — away from food, so you don’t dilute needed stomach acid. 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 sugar cravings faster, rev your metabolism, and reverse autoimmunity.3The Anti-Inflammatory Effects of a Ketogenic Diet, Casey Thaler, B.A., NASM-CPT, FNS, 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;

3. Get Restorative Sleep

People healing from autoimmune disorders need 8 – 10 hours per night. Do what you can to get good sleep.

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    Go to Bed Early

    Make a habit of going to bed before 10 to get the most restorative sleep. They say the hours asleep before midnight count for double, so try to move everything up earlier, like dinner by 6 pm and bed by 9:30 pm. 

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    Create a Sleep Sanctuary

    Turn your bedroom 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.; you snore or breathe through your mouth, consider taping your mouth with simple surgical tape; it’s been a game changer for my health and sleep quality.6

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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. Keep Moving

Copy long-lived Blue Zone inhabitants and move the NEAT way: Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis. Translation: it doesn’t have to be “exercise;” just move throughout the day.

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    Move More Often

    Find ways to add more movement into your day: Have walking meetings, park farther away, take the stairs, take hourly breaks to move, stretch while watching TV, do chair yoga — or whatever you can do to keep moving.

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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. 

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    Lift Weights

    To build lean muscle mass and stave off sarcopenia (age-related muscle wasting) do strength training several days per week. Make it easy by following videos at home like which has free videos for every level.

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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;

5. Connect More

Social connection improves physical health and strengthens mental and emotional well-being.

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    Prioritize Connection

    Lack of social connection has been shown to be a greater detriment to health than obesity, smoking, and high blood pressure. Who can you reach out to today?

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    Feel Connected

    Even if you’re alone, isolated, or an introvert, you can still get the benefits of connection by having an internal feeling of connection with others. How can you feel more connected today?

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    Hug More

    Hugs literally bring you heart to heart with someone. Plus you get the nourishing benefits of oxytocin, the love and bonding hormone. Pets count too, and so does hugging a cushion (seriously), stuffed animal, or yourself. 8

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    Show Kindness

    Research shows that compassion and volunteering have huge health benefits and create stronger feelings of connection. 9Emma Seppala, PhD, Connect to Thrive, Beyond helping others, how can you be kinder and more compassionate with yourself today?

Nourish Yourself Daily – Action Summary

  1. Get in the habit of slow and deep belly breathing.

  2. Emphasize nourishing foods, pure water and shore up nutrient deficiencies.

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

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

  5. Connect more, hug more, and be kind — especially to yourself.

Which nourishing elements will you try or do more of today?

Take good care!

P.S. Want my personal help beating an autoimmune condition? If you live in the continental U.S. (except NY due to state laws) and are ready, willing, and able to invest in your best health, I offer Functional Medicine Total Health Transformation Programs over Zoom. I collaborate with skilled naturopaths who are expert in resolving root causes like hormonal imbalances, gut disorders, chronic infections and toxic burdens which are almost always part of the autoimmune puzzle. Together we provide comprehensive, customized treatment plans, and collaborative, caring support. If you are ready to beat autoimmune and reclaim your best life please book a 30–minute consultation with me to gain clarity, confidence, and explore the possibility of working together.

Image Credit: Jason Leung