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The following guest blog is by Vanessa Colleran of True North AIP.  Vanessa is a Canadian healing herself of Lyme Disease & two diagnosed autoimmune diseases, using the Autoimmune Protocol.  She is also a certified Primal Blueprint Expert through Mark Sission of Mark's Daily Apple & is studying through the Canadian School of Natural Nutrition to become a Registered Holistic Nutritionist.  You can find Vanessa here:

Lyme Maple

I have Chronic Lyme Disease. Well, at least I think I do.

How strange to not know right? Even while I sit down to write this, it's hard for me to say those words and really believe them. There is so much doubt and uncertainty surrounding this disease it can leave you with more questions than answers. The reason for this is that that there is still so much that is unknown about Chronic Lyme and the best way to diagnose and  treat it.

I have to be completely honest here. I wish I was diagnosed with something else. Not that I wish to have any other disease (of course !) and not that I discount the agony that other people suffer with other diseases. But I do wish that I was diagnosed with something that was at the very least, extremely black-and-white. Something that wasn't so controversial, something that my western medicine doctor didn't deny even existed, something where the symptoms were clear-cut, something where the treatment was easily defined and where progress could be monitored as steady improvement, instead of the waxing and waning vagueness of Lyme Disease. But I didn't get that disease . . . I got Lyme.

I have been suffering from a fairly acute onset of autoimmune disorders (Psoriasis, Reynaud’s Syndrome) as well as a long list of other complaints (extreme fatigue, brain fog, insomnia, sinusitis, allergies….) for about nine years now. Collectively, these have all contributed to a fairly tough existence on all but the few "good" days. Prior to this, I was active and healthy and barely spent a moment in a doctor’s office. Since the onset though, I have spent the last nine years in and out of GP’s and specialist’s offices, getting CT scanned, x-rayed, ultra sounded, blood pulled time and time again . . . all with the hope to identify what it was that triggered such a dramatic decline in my health. All of these tests were not able to provide me with any answers.

Fast-forwarding to a year and a half ago, I started on the Autoimmune Protocol (AIP) after hitting what I guess you could call my rock bottom. It was an act of desperation to make this radical a shift in my diet, but one I was willing to commit to in the hopes that something . . . anything . . . could be improved. Little did I know that it was going to be this diet that led me down the road to getting the Lyme diagnosis to begin with.

They say after having been on a dedicated autoimmune protocol for a period of time, you should start to see some improvements in your autoimmune disease. You are going to certainly notice a difference in many of the other symptoms that you have. But if you don’t start seeing any change in the "big stuff," your specific autoimmune disease(s), then you need to dig a little deeper and see if there is something, like an infection, that could be keeping your immune system suppressed and preventing further healing. This is exactly how the journey looked for me.

After months on AIP and seeing dramatic improvements in my energy levels, sleep, etc.  . . . my "big stuff" wasn’t budging. My skin wasn’t healing. And since it was my skin that was having enough of an impact on my quality of life, I needed to keep going. So I dug a little deeper and visited a naturopath whom I knew was going to be able to test me for the most obvious culprit(s) and for her that ended up being Lyme. Had my test result come back negative, she would have still recommended treatment based on my symptoms alone, as they were so indicative of someone that was indeed battling more than autoimmunity.

So what exactly is involved with treating Lyme Disease? How can someone take a disease that is wrapped up in so much doubt and controversy, and devise a plan to help treat it? It’s to keep it simple and address the following:

  • Diet / Nutritional Supplements
  • Immune Support
  • Antibacterials
  • Detoxification

Since my focus on my health journey up until this point had been primarily centered around the diet, this was the first thing I wanted to address as I was certainly curious about the recommendations that were going to be made. And after being on the AIP for what felt like forever at the time, I certainly wasn’t interested in any more restrictions! But what I was happy to hear was the exact diet the naturopath recommended . . . was for the most part the exact diet, AIP, that I had just mastered. And when I thought about it . . . it made a lot of sense.

With Lyme Disease, you have an immune system that is working hard at keeping the bacteria and inflammation under control, but is struggling to keep up.

With Autoimmune Disease, you have an immune system that is out of control causing inflammation and declaring a war on your own body.

What is needed in both of these situations, the common thread, is nutrition. And the LAST thing you need in either one of these scenarios, but especially in a combined situation like I have, is to continue to add to the insults and make your immune system work harder. Your focus needs to be on a diet that is nutrient dense and void of anything that can:

  • continue to damage your gut and cause intestinal permeability (aka leaky gut…one of the 3 predisposing factors in any autoimmune disease)
  • or suppress your immune system or add to your bodies already inflamed condition.

In regards to diet, “Micronutrient deficiencies that arise from not eating enough nutritionally dense foods (or not digesting those foods properly) contribute to a defective immune system and hinder the body’s ability to heal. A variety of mineral and vitamin deficiencies have been very strongly correlated with autoimmune disease.” -Dr. Sarah Ballantyne, The Paleo Approach.

In regards to supplements, To heal and feel better requires a multi­vitamin with an essential set of vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and antioxidants. A good multi­vitamin improves functioning of the immune system, muscles, brain and nerves, hormones, organs including the kidney and liver, detoxification, and decreases inflammation. It also protects the body from the toxic effect of prescriptive antibiotics.” -Marty Ross, MD, Treat Lyme and Associated Diseases.

So without me even realizing it, I had already taken the biggest step I could to help my body get strong enough to fight this infection or any other infection I might be dealing with, by adopting the Autoimmune Protocol. Making a shift to this elimination diet, my ND explained, is the hardest part of the treatment protocol and what she finds her patients struggle with the most, but the work is imperative. With any disease you may be trying to heal yourself from, if you don’t have your diet correct, then all the time and money spent on medications and other treatments might end up being a big, fat waste. It’s the diet, the provider of basic nourishment and building blocks for all of your body systems . . . the immune system being in the spot light here . . . that is essential for any healing to happen. Make this your starting place. Don’t get paralyzed by all the unknowns and uncertainty surrounding this disease as there is much you can do immediately to begin feeling better again.

If I were to be asked for advice from someone that may just be starting out on the long road with Lyme & AI disease, what I would do first, I would say this. For me, it’s twofold:

  • Address your diet. And be honest with yourself about this. Healing from Lyme can take on average 2 years so you’re already in this for the long haul. Healing from an autoimmune disease takes just as much of a commitment. Take the steps to ensure you can provide your body with the basic nutrition it needs to strengthen the immune system and heal. Reach out and get help if you need to. Angie Alt has a great program called SAD to AIP in SIX, where she will guide you and a community of others just like you, through this transformation in a gentle, supported way. Check out her program here: http://autoimmune-paleo.com/groupcoaching/
  • Let your symptoms and your history be your guide and trust in those. There are many problems with the testing surrounding Lyme. You can easily obtain false positives and false negatives in your tests, so don’t let the result of any one test stall you. If your symptoms and history lean towards Lyme as a possibility . . . then trust this part of your story.

A couple great places to get started:

 

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TPAC-Final-front-cover-sm2

I've been trying really hard for a long time now to practice as much balance as I can with social media.  It sorta' has a way of taking over our lives, especially the lives of bloggers.  One way I've tried to hold the line is by limiting my social media accounts.  Another way I try to practice balance is by using a dumb phone.  That's right . . . I don't own a super cool smart phone, I own a slider from, like, probably 1999.  I know it is totally lame, but honestly all I want my phone to do is make a call (granted my phone is so old I basically have to get in a time machine to make the call, but that's beside the point).  Limiting the number of accounts I have & not owning a smart phone meant that I wasn't hanging out at the most happening spot on the internet though.  You guys know the spot I'm talking about . . . INSTAGRAM!  But I didn't care, I told folks my getting a smart phone & joining Instagram would essentially herald the End Times.

Signs of The End Times:

  • War
  • Famine
  • False Prophets
  • Angie joining Instagram

My AIP soul-sister, Mickey, of Autoimmune Paleo, came to stay with me a few weeks ago though & like a true sister, she gave it to me straight.  "Angie, you need to get real & get on Instagram."  We went to party with some local bloggers & they all ganged up on me.  Naturally, I succumbed to peer pressure like a total weakling.  Geez!  Good thing they weren't drug dealers!  I could have easily ended up a junkie on the streets in a matter of weeks thanks to their extreme pressure tactics.  LOL!

You can find me on Instagram HERE now.  My smart phone has been ordered & in the mean time I'm lugging around my Ipad & learning the ropes.  I'll admit all the pictures are alot of fun to peruse & I hope soon I'll have lots of interesting stuff for you guys to check out.  So far you can probably find me at the hashtag #noideawhatiamdoing .  Hahaha!

Giveaway

So, let's get to the point, this is a giveaway after all!!  I'd love to have you join me (& teach me!) on Instagram & I wanna' sweeten the deal.  I have a brand new, SIGNED copy of The Paleo Approach Cookbook by our favorite lady, Sarah Ballatyne (aka The Paleo Mom).  You can win it by following me on Instagram!  All you have to do to enter is follow my Instagram account:  http://instagram.com/angie.alt & leave a comment on the picture of The Paleo Approach Cookook.  One of the comments will be chosen at random & I'll announce a winner on October 12, 2014.  I'll ship anywhere in the world, so get in there Australia, NZ, & Europe (I know you guys are around!).  Can't wait to hang out with on Instagram!!

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Group Project 3

You can join 100's of other folks that have been through the SAD to AIP in SIX program.  They've transformed their lives & you can too!  CLICK THIS LINK to sign-up!

May 1st marked my two year AIP-versary!  After two years of following this lifestyle and especially recently with becoming a health coach, I've noticed that there is not a step-by-step process to take a person all the way from Standard American Diet to Autoimmune Protocol in a clear, supportive way.  This leaves a whole segment of the AI population out of the healing loop . . . the group that needs uncomplicated, easy to maintain stages of elimination combined with the encouragement they may be lacking in their personal or social circles.  I wake up at night thinking about the folks who know about AIP, but are stuck in SAD.  So, I decided to do something about it!

I’ve designed a program, "SAD to AIP in SIX," to be that step-by-step process.  If you are the person who was out there ready and willing, but lacking the right fit . . . here it is.  I hope you’ll find this method answers your need for guidance from "I'm ready" to "I'm there!"

If you would like to know what the program offers, if the program is the right fit for you, and what you'll learn over the six weeks, CLICK THIS LINK.  You'll find easy on-line set-up & start date information for the next group!

I can't wait to get started!

anigif

If you woke up tomorrow, and your internet looked like this, what would you do?

Imagine all your favorite websites taking forever to load, while you get annoying notifications from your ISP suggesting you switch to one of their approved “Fast Lane” sites.

Think about what we would lose: all the weird, alternative, interesting, and enlightening stuff that makes the Internet so much cooler than mainstream Cable TV. What if the only news sites you could reliably connect to were the ones that had deals with companies like Comcast and Verizon?

On September 10th, just a few days before the FCC’s comment deadline, public interest organizations are issuing an open, international call for websites and internet users to unite for an “Internet Slowdown” to show the world what the web would be like if Team Cable gets their way and trashes net neutrality. Net neutrality is hard to explain, so our hope is that this action will help SHOW the world what’s really at stake if we lose the open Internet.

If you’ve got a website, blog or tumblr, get the code to join the #InternetSlowdown here: https://battleforthenet.com/sept10th

Everyone else, here’s a quick list of things you can do to help spread the word about the slowdown: http://tumblr.fightforthefuture.org/post/96020972118/be-a-part-of-the-great-internet-slowdown

53 Comments

28-Days-of-AIP

UPDATE:  This giveaway is over.  The winner was Diane B.  Congrats to Diane!  Go checkout this book folks!  You will not be disappointed.

Have you ever come across an awesome food blogger & thought, "Sigh.  I want to try all of these recipes.  I just wish they were organized into menu plans for me."  (BTW, I actually do say the word, "sigh" out loud when thinking to myself.)  If you are anything like me, you love trying new, delicious foods, but you are not necessarily a gigantic fan of tedious menu planning & shopping list creation.  I teach people to do this . . . every day . . . for a living, but I must confess I do not like menu planning.  I create one every week & I make up the list every week, 'cause I know it works, but deep down I can't stand it.  When I started AIP, this chore got a whole lot more "chorey" for me.

Enter my hero, Christina Feindel of A Clean Plate.  As far as I'm concerned she might as well be swooping in to my rescue with a kick-ass cape & a body suit on, because she is saving me from one of my most dreaded duties . . . menu planning & shopping list creation!!  Plus, she is one of those awesome food bloggers who have tons of new, delicious recipes I want to try, but I'm just not organized enough to get 'er done!  Christina has written a very affordable, uncomplicated e-book, 28 Days of AIP, with four-week's worth of fully AIP menu plans & shopping lists covering some of her most unique & tasty recipe creations.  Breakfast, lunch, & dinner, seven days a week, for four weeks, & all AIP.  See what I mean?  Hero material (cape & body suit not required).  As per ushe, I want to tell you guys why I love this book with a list.

Reasons why I love 28 Days of AIP:

1)  Somebody did the work for me!  For real people, what do I want more than anything else?  Not a red Ferrari, not a mansion overlooking the beach, not a vacation in Fiji (well, okay, I sorta' want that).  I'm a simple girl, I just want somebody to pick up a little bit of the slack for me.  I want some pre-planned menus & shopping lists, that's all.  Wish granted!  Christina has laid it all out so beautifully in her e-book.  The shopping lists alone could be a piece of art compared to the messy excuses for shopping lists I write up every week.

2)  Variety is the spice of life.  My menu plans have been a bit dull lately.  I tend to get into routines and make too much of the same thing over & over.  This is not good from a health perspective, since food variety also helps ward off nutrient deficiency, but it is also not good from a psychological perspective.  Research shows that novel experiences help us feel happier.  Christina has managed to create four whole weeks of delicious, varied meals.  Morning, noon, & night you can look forward to something you may have never tried before, especially because Christina has a knack for adapting ethnic foods to AIP.  I feel much less bored already!

3)  The healthy stuff is all there.  You know what I had trouble with?  Making sure I get at least nine cups of veggies a day.  I don't always get enough servings of seafood in every week.  Organ meat several times a week.  Nope, not always.  Christina remembered it all & planned it for me though.  A Five-Veggie Stir-Fry that is sure to help me squeeze in all those veggies.  Salmon Fritters.  Yes, please!  And a liverwurst recipe that is so incredibly flavorful I won't have to worry about trying to choke down my organ meat quota.

You can purchase a copy of 28 Days of AIP here or check out my giveaway below.

Giveaway

I honestly love 28 Days of AIP & think that you'll find a copy of your own extremely helpful too.  Lucky you, you can win one here!  All you have to do to enter is go like Christina's Facebook page & then come back & leave a comment on this post letting me know you liked her page.  One of the comments will be chosen at random & I'll announce a winner on September 3, 2014.  This is an e-book giveaway, so no worries about shipping costs.  It's open to anyone, anywhere  (See Australia, NZ, & Europe, I've got your back!