It’s finally here!! The Alternative Autoimmune Cookbook: Eating for all Phases of the Paleo Autoimmune Protocol has arrived! Life is about so much more than food . . . and this cookbook covers all the other things that happen when you change your food. The Alternative Autoimmune Cookbook will show you how to restore your health with one flavorful, nutritious meal at a time AND inspire you with the stories of wellness transformation. I hope you will love it! I am so excited to share it with everyone! CLICK ON THIS LINK to learn ALL THE DETAILS about the book and get your copy today. Oh! One special announcement! Thirty ...continue reading
The following guest blog is by Emma King of The Bacon Mum. Emma is a Brit who has been living State side for many years. She is healing herself of Rheumatoid Arthritis and helping her daughter effectively manage an Autism Spectrum disorder, using the Autoimmune Protocol. She is also a professional Learning Strategist and will soon, after deciding through her own journey that she wanted to help other families impacted by autoimmune disease and behavioral/learning difficulties onset by food sensitivities, be a certified Health Coach through the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. You can find Emma here: Blog http://www.thebaconmum.com/ Facebook https://www.facebook.com/thebaconmum Instagram http://instagram.com/thebaconmum Twitter https://twitter.com/thebaconmum As any single working parent will know, ...continue reading
The following guest blog is by Emma King of The Bacon Mum. Emma is a Brit who has been living State side for many years. She is healing herself of Rheumatoid Arthritis and helping her daughter effectively manage an Autism Spectrum disorder, using the Autoimmune Protocol. She is also a professional Learning Strategist and will soon, after deciding through her own journey that she wanted to help other families impacted by autoimmune disease and behavioral/learning difficulties onset by food sensitivities, be a certified Health Coach through the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. You can find Emma here: Blog http://www.thebaconmum.com/ Facebook https://www.facebook.com/thebaconmum Instagram http://instagram.com/thebaconmum Twitter https://twitter.com/thebaconmum Single Mother to an amazing six-year-old, Health ...continue reading
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: Blog www.truenorthaip.com Facebook https://www.facebook.com/truenorth.aip Instagram http://instagram.com/truenorthaip Twitter https://twitter.com/truenorthaip In my previous post, Chronic Lyme Disease and the Autoimmune Protocol – Part One, I mentioned that Lyme is a controversial disease, especially in Canada, which often leaves more questions than answers. But why is Lyme ...continue reading
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: Blog www.truenorthaip.com Facebook https://www.facebook.com/truenorth.aip Instagram http://instagram.com/truenorthaip Twitter https://twitter.com/truenorthaip 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 ...continue reading
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, ...continue reading
Endometriosis Surgery Update can now be found HERE, at Autoimmune Paleo, where I and my blog partner, Mickey Trescott, now blog. Thanks for reading!!
Endometriosis Surgery can now be found HERE, at Autoimmune Paleo, where I and my blog partner, Mickey Trescott, now blog. Thanks for reading!!
I wanted to post an update to my Endometriosis journey today. I'm motivated to do this for several reasons. One is that Endo. is not very well understood & I thought an update would also give me the opportunity to educate a bit on this disease. Two, my approach to dealing with Endo. is changing & I want to share that with my readers, many of whom are also battling with this painful condition. And finally, I just want to reach out again. So much about autoimmunity is lonely & I have a strong desire to help others feel less alone. You can read Part 1 & Part 2 of ...continue reading
Update: A winner was chosen for this giveaway. Thanks for celebrating with me! Today is my two year Paleo-Versary! I was so busy doing life, that I forgot about it!! I was on a phone call with a client & I looked at my calendar & suddenly remembered . . . today is the day. I've been living this lifestyle for two full years and the positive changes have been amazing. What are those positive changes? Let me regale you with my favorite . . . a list! My Celiac Disease is well controlled using a version of Paleo, the AutoImmune Protocol. Shout out to the AIPers, I know you ...continue reading
Can I buy You A Beer? A Celiac Looks At Orthorexia can now be found HERE, at Autoimmune Paleo, where I and my blog partner, Mickey Trescott, now blog. Thanks for reading!!
The SIBO Saga: Part 4 can now be found HERE, at Autoimmune Paleo, where I and my blog partner, Mickey Trescott, now blog. Thanks for reading!!
The SIBO Saga: Part 3 can now be found HERE, at Autoimmune Paleo, where I and my blog partner, Mickey Trescott, now blog. Thanks for reading!!
The SIBO Saga: Part 2 can now be found HERE, at Autoimmune Paleo, where I and my blog partner, Mickey Trescott, now blog. Thanks for reading!!
The SIBO Saga: Part 1 can now be found HERE, at Autoimmune Paleo, where I and my blog partner, Mickey Trescott, now blog. Thanks for reading!!
Earlier this month a fan, Tracey, of my blog posted a question, "Hi Angie, I see you posted 'No Poo Results' 11 months ago. I was wondering if you are still a 'no poo' ambassador? I am thinking of giving it a try." I thought it was a great question and deserved a good update blog. The last time I followed the traditional hair cleansing routine was over a year ago. January 7, 2013 was the last time I used regular shampoo followed up by conditioner. That said, I am not strictly "No Poo" any longer, I have become a "Low Poo" convert. I loved "No Poo" and used it ...continue reading
SIBO (Small Intestine Bacterial Overgrowth) is a really hop topic these days, not just among my Facebook fans, but all over. It is becoming more and more clear that SIBO is strongly linked to lots of health problems, especially autoimmunity. In fact, I was recently listening to a Balanced Bites podcast where Chris Kresser said this, "I recently saw a study that suggested that over 80% of patients with Fibromyalgia have small intestinal bacterial overgrowth & that treating SIBO can significantly improve the symptoms." I've had other health practitioners tell me that almost all of their AI patients have SIBO. Today, I wanted to write a follow-up to a post ...continue reading
MTHFR? MTWhat? can now be found HERE, at Autoimmune Paleo, where I and my blog partner, Mickey Trescott, now blog. Thanks for reading!!
I had such an awesome year! A really, really good year. (If I'm not sounding real enough, see the bottom of this post.*) It is impossible for me to truly convey how grateful I am for this past year, but I can start by saying, "I was healthy." I had the first year in as long as I can remember without a single cold or flu. No strep throat. No bronchitis. No sinus misery. I stayed well the entire year.That doesn't mean I had totally perfect health. I struggled some with glutening and a rise in my antibody numbers early in the year. I battled with SIBO. I found out ...continue reading
But How Do I REALLY Eat This Way? can now be found HERE, at Autoimmune Paleo, where I and my blog partner, Mickey Trescott, now blog. Thanks for reading!!
Rock Bottom can now be found HERE, at Autoimmune Paleo, where I and my blog partner, Mickey Trescott, now blog. Thanks for reading!!
Insecurity: What Happens Behind the Scenes can now be found HERE, at Autoimmune Paleo, where I and my blog partner, Mickey Trescott, now blog. Thanks for reading!!
Do you CSA? CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture. CSAs are one of the ways I make sure our family gets lots of fresh, seasonal, local fruits and veggies and I totally HEART it. I thought today I'd get all the deets on CSAs to those of you who aren't familiar with them, in the hopes that you'll find one in your area and get signed up for next season. Some of the produce from my CSA this summer. What is it? Community Supported Agriculture is when you, as a consumer, buy a share of a local farmer's produce. When the season begins and the farmer starts harvesting, you are ...continue reading
For most of us the school year has begun. Our kids are back to the grind and we are happily whipping up Paleo lunches for them to carry off each morning. Right? Wrong. By far one of my biggest challenges getting my family into the Paleo lifestyle has been school lunch. Can we all agree that what we are serving in our schools (at least in the US) barely passes for food? Obviously it comes nowhere near Paleo ideals, but packing up a Paleo lunch for our kids to take instead is no easy task. First, the food itself is a challenge. Second, getting our kids to eat the food, ...continue reading
"It is never too late to give up your prejudices." -Henry David Thoreau How open are you to changing your mind? What kind of evidence or experience would move you to take a completely different view on a long held idea or a completely different way of being after acting one way for long time? I've written about this topic before. You can read about how I was wrong here. It took alot for me to change my mind about my diet, but when I decided to try a different approach it changed my life. When I reevaluated my approach to food, it touched off many other reevaluations in my ...continue reading
Stretching Your Health Care Dollars can now be found HERE, at Autoimmune Paleo, where I and my blog partner, Mickey Trescott, now blog. Thanks for reading!!
How Much Is Your Health Worth? can now be found HERE, at Autoimmune Paleo, where I and my blog partner, Mickey Trescott, now blog. Thanks for reading!!
A Winning Combination: Healing From Gluten Exposure can now be found HERE, at Autoimmune Paleo, where I and my blog partner, Mickey Trescott, now blog. Thanks for reading!!
This is the final blog in my AIP vacationing series. I hope all of you found the kinds of information you needed about how to vacation while still adhering to this very restrictive template. It was a big experiment for me and it turned out easier than I had expected. There were some moments though . . . did I cheat? That's the big question, right?We did attempt to eat out once. There is a restaurant near the University of Quebec at Montreal (UQAM) called Zero 8. They do not feature ANY of the eight common allergens on their menu (get it . . . Zero 8). No seafood, no ...continue reading
Our vacation was so rejuvenating for the whole family. There are lots of reasons for that, but I think a major one was that we took a technology break. It was really important to me that we unplug while we were in Montreal and the results were well worth every minute away.I'm not a tech hater. Very honestly, I heart the Web about as much as I heart Paleo. I was captivated as a child by encyclopedias, dictionaries, atlases, and other reference books. For me, the arrival of the internet was like having this endless, deep source of all the fascinating info I had craved as a kid. (When I ...continue reading
Duuuuck Faaat . . . Soooo Gooood Have you ever truly, truly vacationed without eating out? Tasting yummy new foods that, importantly, were made by someone else and do not involve you or your family members performing the clean-up duty is the name of the game on vacation, right? Not having to lift a finger is vacation, right? That's what I thought, too. Here's how our vacation changed, because eating out was not on the table. I thought about this topic alot while we were in Montreal. I went on a business trip when I first started AIP where I prepared all my meals in a small hotel room kitchenette ...continue reading
Did you know that you can learn more about a country's current culture by visiting their grocery stores instead of their museums? I mean, I like a good museum as much as the next guy, but when I want to really get immersed in a new culture . . . I go grocery shopping. Think I'm reaching a little, see the examples below. Supermarket comes to my door via enterprising young women in Sierra Leone. Organic, Free Range chicken eggs sold at a supermarket in Montreal. See the difference? Even if you've never visited either locale, you already learned alot about Sierra Leone and Montreal. Don't you love the "liberated ...continue reading
Seriously, you guys are going to LOVE that I took a vacation. We left very early last Sunday morning (June 23rd) for Montreal, Quebec and arrived home very late on Friday night (June 28th). I am feeling re-energized by those six days away and have come home with loads of practical tips on how to have an awesome vacation while staying healthy and sticking to AIP. My goal is to blog every day this week on what I learned about AIP vacationing; what worked, what didn't, lots of new meal ideas, how to set a pace that works for your health, discovering new places, etc. I'm calling this "The AIP ...continue reading
Readers, I am in the process of working out a huge refocus in my life. I've taken some really big steps recently in an attempt to eliminate as much stress as possible from my life. One of the things I am trying to prioritize is doing things I love that feed my soul. I've worked so hard on my diet for over a year now, with tons of ups and downs. All that time I knew I needed to find a way to make sure I also started feeding my soul, but I didn't really do much about it. To be fair to myself, learning all that is necessary to ...continue reading
"It is a wise father that knows his child." -William Shakespeare I don't think there is a greater need in a child's life than to have a father who is watching. Watching from the perspective of loving protection, definitely. I mean more than that though. I mean observing, learning . . . understanding their child. When your father truly knows you, it is shows that he has gone above and beyond all the "normal" father stuff. He has done more than provide, protect, and guide. He has invested his time in the deep work of knowing his child. I am a very lucky woman, because my husband is that kind ...continue reading
I feel my husband lean over and kiss me on my forehead. My eyes start to open and adjust to the light in the recovery room. I'm groggy, but trying to speak a little. My husband gives me a sip of ice water. Then I make a rather blunt announcement to him (and all the nurses in ear shot)."These doctors . . . they don't know SHIT!"Yep. I wake up from medical procedures in world-renowned teaching hospitals and use the moment to keep it real classy. Even pumped full of lots of drugs and with a sore throat from my third endoscopy, I've got enough moxie to let my doctors ...continue reading
Last Saturday, May 25, 2013, I participated in a big, historical moment. It was the day that two million people in 436 cities, in 52 countries first marched against the huge agribusiness giant, Monsanto. My daughter and I marched with other protestors in Washington, DC . . . and I could not be more proud. So I must be an extremely liberal, dirty-hippie-weirdo, right? Nope. I'm not. Let me tell you a little about me. I live in a very typical American home, in a very typical American suburb. I drive, in a boring grey Honda, a very average American commute (about 20 minutes) every week day to my job. ...continue reading
I Don’t Have "Yummy" Amnesia can now be found HERE, at Autoimmune Paleo, where I and my blog partner, Mickey Trescott, now blog. Thanks for reading!!
This Is My Plan B can now be found HERE, at Autoimmune Paleo, where I and my blog partner, Mickey Trescott, now blog. Thanks for reading!!
I've been thinking about another post on body image for awhile. I've touched on this topic a number of times on my blog: here, here, here, here, and here. Working on body image over the last year allowed me alot of time to think about how to foster healthy body image in my daughter. I wanted to use this Mother's Day blog to talk about how we as mother's can have a powerful influence on our daughter's view of self. I had some of the normal awkward phases with my body during puberty and I was always pretty self-conscious about being underweight, but it wasn't until I got really sick ...continue reading
Yesterday, after sharing my most recent blog post, "A Day As A Celiac" I noticed some negative comments and I decided to address it loud and clear right here on the blog again today. Basically, the commentator said that as a Celiac my story of a typical day was "extreme," represented "obsession," and that my life was probably a "sad, awful existence." I was furious, but not because this person made those comments about my life. Sharing myself so openly on a blog means I am gonna' get a little of that nonsense. I was furious, because the comment came from a fellow Celiac. I am disheartened on the deepest ...continue reading
A Day As A Celiac can now be found HERE, at Autoimmune Paleo, where I and my blog partner, Mickey Trescott, now blog. Thanks for reading!!
Holy Moly! Readers I am blown away by all of you. On Wednesday, I celebrated my Paleo-Versary with a giveaway of Mickey Trescott's new e-book The Autoimmune Paleo Cookbook and a signed copy of Sarah Ballantyne's (The Paleo Mom) soon to come book, The Paleo Approach: Reverse Autoimmune Disease, Heal Your Body. The rules of the giveaway were simple, I asked you to like my Alt-Ternative Autoimmune page on Facebook (if you hadn't already) and leave a comment there about why you like my blog. YOU GUYS ROCK! The comments you left were incredible. I am humbled by the kind words you had for me and all the encouragement of ...continue reading
Sweet Success! Confession: Right after taking this pic, I got in trouble w/ a park ranger for leaning on this old, beautiful cork tree. Law breaker & Paleo believer. It's today!! One full year of Paleo! 24/7/365! I freaking did it!* I seriously woke up with butterflies in my stomach thinking about it the last few days. I am so proud of myself for being so darned fully committed to my health and healing for this long . . . and it is only the start! I think I can officially say it now. Paleo is my lifestyle. I have a super rad GIVEAWAY to celebrate the day. As many ...continue reading
SIBO. That acronym strikes fear into my heart. It stands for Small Intestine Bacterial Overgrowth. SIBO happens when bacteria (and sometimes yeast & fungi too) that would not normally be in the small intestine show up there and throw a giant party. According to Dr. Allison Siebecker, "Simply put, Small Intestine Bacterial Overgrowth is a chronic bacterial infection of the small intestine. The infection is of bacteria that normally live in the gastrointestinal tract but have abnormally overgrown in a location not meant for so many bacteria." (You can go to Dr. Siebecker's SIBO website here, to get all the in-depth details behind everything mentioned in the post.) There are ...continue reading
On December 30th I wrote a blog about my goals for being more than just not sick. I announced my intentions to use 2013 to become optimally well. One of my top five goals for getting there includes eliminating poisonous products from my beauty routine. I showed you the results of using the No Poo Method to cleanse my hair. It has been really successful. I love it and plan to continue this method indefinitely. Another area that I have been working on, since early December, is how I cleanse my face.I have struggled for the last six years with acne. There are lots of reasons for my serious adult ...continue reading
Last Saturday, March 9th, I attended an all day Paleo nutrition workshop hosted by Diane Sanfilippo of the website, Balanced Bites and the New York Times best-selling author of Practical Paleo and Liz Wolfe of Cave Girl Eats . (BTW, if you have not picked up a copy of "Practical Paleo" yet, you are just doing yourself a ridiculous disservice. This book is the must-read of Paleo.) So, what did I think of the workshop . . . it was totally ass-kickingly aaaaawesome. Seriously, hands down, best $100 I have ever spent. Absolutely the best $100 I've ever spent on education (visualize me angrily fist pumping about the U.S. higher ...continue reading
Holy Roasted Butternut Squash Batman! Today is my blog anniversary. I've been blogging for four years, since March 10, 2009. You can see my first ever post (about our first day living in West Africa) here. It has been an unbelievable ride. I started out trying to tell the story of our little family exploring some of the great big world, but as I became sicker and sicker with undiagnosed Celiac disease, the blog became a journal of my misadventures and terrifying experiences with illness in a foreign land. There are even long silences on the blog . . . those are the months where the illness was stronger than ...continue reading
I know it hardly seems possible . . . but I may, may . . . have made a huge fool of myself wearing various strange undergarments in an attempt to deal with a hernia (only may though, I might also just deal with this by imagining myself as having been really cool and comfortable in Spanx). Because I don't have a hernia! What . . . the . . . heck?!Readers this is a lesson in getting second opinions. So, to recap, this past summer, I noticed a small bulge at the edge of my C-section scar. It seemed to hurt off and on and after worrying about it ...continue reading
The Dreaded Set Back can now be found HERE, at Autoimmune Paleo, where I and my blog partner, Mickey Trescott, now blog. Thanks for reading!!
Today marks one year since my Celiac diagnosis. My Celiac birthday, if you will. I’ve thought a lot about all of the frustrations I encountered trying to navigate the medical system after my diagnosis. One of the ways I want to celebrate my Celiac birthday is by writing a very practical, straight forward guide for newly diagnosed Celiacs. Average time span from onset of symptoms to diagnosis is 8-11 years for most Celiacs. A lot of damage can occur during that time, but most doctors (even Celiac “specialists”) will not explain to a newly diagnosed patient what that damage might be or proactively evaluate the patient for these issues. Here’s ...continue reading
Back on December 30th, I wrote about my top five health goals for 2013, in this post. I said I would regularly report back on my progress. I had already begun experimenting with my beauty routine, so naturally I have results to share in that area with you first. Today I want to share with you the outcome of using the No Poo Method for my hair.So, let me cut to the chase . . . the results of not shampooing my hair are awesome! Totally true story. The last time I washed my hair with shampoo and followed up with conditioner was on January 7th. I was so, so ...continue reading
How often do people admit they were wrong? Like you, for instance . . . when was the last time you admitted to being wrong about something? I'll give you a bit to try and remember. While you're thinking, I'll tell you a story about a time I was wrong. Not too long ago I had completely different ideas about what constituted a healthy lifestyle. I had always been thin, so I had never tried any kind of diet at all. I knew that being thin did not always guarantee health, but I thought I was relatively safe from all the "major" stuff. I wasn't going to have a heart ...continue reading
Measuring Success can now be found HERE, at Autoimmune Paleo, where I and my blog partner, Mickey Trescott, now blog. Thanks for reading!!
Time Management in the Kitchen can now be found HERE, at Autoimmune Paleo, where I and my blog partner, Mickey Trescott, now blog. Thanks for reading!!
Back in early November, I wrote a short blog for you on some of the ways that eating AIP changed my life. Who knew that changing what one puts in one's mouth could make such a huge impact. I thought today I'd circle back to this topic so I could show you five more ways it has transformed my life: Five Ways That AIPaleo Changed My Whole Life: 1) It changed what my cupboards & refrigerator look like . . . my kitchen is not overstuffed with tons of boxes, bags, & cans filled with toxic food-like substances anymore. There is no pasta. No pasta sauces. No frozen dinners. No ...continue reading
I am about to REALLY expose myself so that we can all enjoy a little laughter as the best medicine . . . that means that you all have to be incredibly kind in return. Putting myself out on a limb here. 😉 So let me tell you all the story of how a skinny girl like me found herself purchasing Spanx. Believe it or not it all starts with my nemisis, Celiac Disease. When I gave birth to my daughter 12 years ago, I had to have an emergency C-Section. She was frank breech, which means her feet were tucked up to her head & her head was not ...continue reading
When Nobody Understands can now be found HERE, at Autoimmune Paleo, where I and my blog partner, Mickey Trescott, now blog. Thanks for reading!!
Oddly, I think 2012 is going down as one of the best years of my life. I guess being diagnosed with a disease that will require an enormous, life-long dietary adjustment could be considered the worst year ever. That's not how I feel though. After spending more than a decade getting increasingly ill & worse yet, increasingly afraid, I am profoundly grateful for the answers I found this past year. Profound is a big word to use there, but I really want to convey the intense relief that diagnosis represents when one has been struggling in the dark for so long. I feel more empowered than I have ever felt ...continue reading
I think I might be a Paleo-vangelist. In May I discovered Paleo & began a version of it called Autoimmune Protocol. It was so powerful that I haven't stop talking about it for going on eight months now. I am never going back to eating a Standard American Diet (SAD) ever again. And I don't even mind. I've had about four moments lasting approximately 4.6 seconds when I felt I might like to eat something horrifying like a Twinkie or giant slice of fast-food pizza, but in general, I don't even think about those other anti-nourishing food-like substances. Remember, cheesecake is not medicine, no matter how much we want it ...continue reading
This is what Celiac Disease looks like. The following interview is shocking. When I watch it I feel rage. I want to yell at the screen. I want to cry in frustration and pain. It is completely okay to not understand the Celiac journey, but trivializing a long, traumatic illness that can and does lead to death is ignorant and cruel. The doctor conducting the interview, even though he is a celebrity doctor, is offensive, uninformed, and just plain insensitive. The actress being interviewed is a Celiac. She is still working hard to undo the damage that has been done to her body over 19 years of misdiagnosis. Even though ...continue reading
She Doesn't Look Ill & Other Misconceptions can now be found HERE, at Autoimmune Paleo, where I and my blog partner, Mickey Trescott, now blog. Thanks for reading!!
UPDATE: I originally wrote this post in late 2012, after my annual physical. A year later, in 2013, I knew alot more: 1) I had confirmed pancreatic insufficiency, for which I now take prescription enzymes with each meal. 2) I also had confirmed fat atrophy, which had caused basically a large "dent" in my upper thigh, close to my hip on the right side. It could not only be felt, but also was visible. Thankfully, it had resolved & my weight had stabilized. 3) My Hemoglobin A1c was lower at 4.9. I will be getting these numbers looked at again soon, so I've been thinking about this old post. I've ...continue reading
It was great to take a little "off the beaten path" look with my readers at one of the deeply emotional, but not to often discussed aspects of long-term illness. "How do I handle the way it has changed my outside?" I hope that reading the various perspectives of working artists on the nature of sickness & beauty was inspiring to some of you. Being able to view our bodies in a new light or even to stretch ourselves so much that we are able to view the illness itself as a sort of gift, is a very "lightening" act. As I thought more about "lightening" acts, I started to ...continue reading
Troy is the third & final artist I asked to write for my series on illness & physical beauty. I met Troy long before I knew what an autoimmune disorder was, let alone that I would one day be battling three of them. One of the first pieces of his work that I saw was a beautiful table made from piece of wood that was clearly imperfect. Knowing how he looked at imperfection, I thought he was a natural choice, when I started considering how disease can affect not just our inside, but our outside. Here are his thoughts: I am attracted to beauty as an artist. I do not ...continue reading
Jana Buchholz I met Jana when I was 18 years old. It was an unusual meeting, because she is German & I met her in a tiny town in Wyoming (for my international readers, that is the least populated state in the U.S.). In a place like that, her special qualities shone very brightly. She became a remarkable photographer & recently I asked her to write for me on the subject of disease & beauty. Here are her thoughts: I hope I will manage to answer the question, as English is not my mother tongue, as you know. To me, beauty is more connected to the "unvisible" or to put ...continue reading
Nico Leunen I've been incredibly blessed in my life to meet lots of interesting people from all sorts of backgrounds. Some of the most unique among these people are artists, people I know who are making their livings by showing the rest of us beauty. I decided recently, as I pondered how illness affects a physical appearance, that I would ask some of these people to write guest blogs for me on the topic. I felt that if anyone could tell the true story of disease & beauty it would be them. During the time our family lived in Freetown, Sierra Leone (West Africa), we became very close friends ...continue reading
This is genius! I said true stories, right? Honest emotions, right? Vulnerable, right? Well, here goes nothing . . . What I want to say in this post is really personal, but I also feel like it is worth putting my "stuff" on the line. I think it goes right to the humanity of illness. I want to be bold enough to tell the inside stories to the outside world. "If I'm sick, can I still be pretty?" "If I have a disease, does it negate my beauty?" I've been mulling that question over in my mind for weeks now. I don't have body dysmorphic thinking, it isn't like I ...continue reading
UPDATE: I have now been following the autoimmune version of Paleo for three years. I have healed enough that I can enjoy a (as in one) glass of wine or a hard-cider semi-regularly with no issues. I still do not drink any of the "hard" liquors (like the Gin I lamented in this post), but I am okay with it and actually have adjusted very happily. For those that will point it out, I also know that I can get gluten-free versions of communion bread, but I still have not crossed the bridge. There is something a little awkward about handing the pastor your g-free loaf with a little wink ...continue reading
I promised last time that my next blog would be about some of the enormous lifestyle changes that came with eating Paleo/AIP. Living outside our accepted food system is surprisingly tricky on many levels. I have been shocked at the intensity of the mental battles it has involved. It is a huge part of the story I really want to tell. However, I got so many requests for information about how to start the "self healing" process, that I decided to redirect so I could share sources with all of you. A few important points, before I list all these fantastic websites & blogs though. If you are considering beginning ...continue reading
A little cut & shave & these guys would be Paleo hotties! I got diagnosed with Celiac Disease in February 2012. My doctor woke me up from an endoscopy, confirmed the blood test results from earlier & basically said, "Go forth & eat gluten free & don't call me in the morning . . . or ever again really." Although I had not suspected Celiac at all, I was not totally unfamiliar with the gluten-free concept. Even luckier, my husband was very supportive & got right on board with me. We immediately went to work learning about label reading, places I could "safely" eat out & eagerly reading all the ...continue reading
It took me seven posts & almost a month to tell you the story of my autoimmunity. I feel like it was sorta' long-winded, but there was a point to all the rambling & (for those of you that have been along for the ride for quite some time now) all the rehashing. I wanted you to understand how bad it was, so that when I tell you what I'm doing in an attempt to fight it, you'll get it. You'll nod your head in approval as you read & say to yourself, "I get why she's doing this." Maybe if you are battling some health issues of your own, ...continue reading
Today, October 15th, is Blog Action Day 2012. In the past I have participated in Blog Action Day to blog about topics like: Water & Hunger. This year bloggers in 108 countries wrote about "the power of we." Thousands of writers all over the world are using their blogs today to focus on one important global topic . . . how working together we can help one another. There were alot of difficult moments on my way to getting a Celiac diagnosis. In many instances, I did not get the help I needed from doctors & the medical system in general, but there were also wonderful moments. Breakthrough moments. Moments ...continue reading
I've just had my second medical evacuation in West Africa & the seemingly random & unrelated symptoms of my progressing Celiac Disease are getting scarier. I still have almost a year before I know what is wrong. I returned to Sierra Leone for a short time after being discharged from the hospital in Senegal. I needed to reconnect with my husband and daughter before I left for our annual home leave in the U.S. ahead of them. I was still desperately trying to finish a bachelor's degree (I am an example of a very, very non-traditional student) & I needed to get back to the States in time to take ...continue reading
The strange, seemingly disconnected symptoms continue. Unraveling the problem is even harder, because I am living with my family in the developing world. Then the scary things started to happen. I had crazy muscle spasms, especially in my back and legs. I had terrible pain in my bones, especially in my rib cage. I had swollen glands off & on. Sometimes I had a hard time speaking, like I couldn't get words out or I stuttered. I couldn't concentrate. I was taking on-line college courses & I noticed my ability to concentrate on class work & reading dwindling rapidly. I even noticed here, on my blog, my ability to think ...continue reading
I've got two diagnosed autoimmune disorders. I've just had surgery for one and I am about to move back to West Africa. Now to get my third diagnosis . . . I can feel myself start to wake up. I have that slow feeling that happens with coming out of full sedation. Sounds are far off and my sight is just coming into focus. I look down and remember the IV in my hand. I've had a very rough couple of months leading up to this & another needle pushed through my skin and into my vein sets off alarm bells in my brain. Then I see my husband sitting ...continue reading
My husband & I were well into a difficult journey trying for a baby, but we had not found answers in the traditional health care system. We were ready to try another approach. We turned to a holistic clinic for help. Our insurance would not cover it, but we were inching toward our third year of hoping to have a baby, so we forked over the cash. Interestingly, the practitioner suggested I do a detox. I gave up anything wheat-based, plus meat & dairy for a month. I drank teas to help stimulate the liver and added loads of nutrient and probiotic-rich powders to my meals & drinks. I took ...continue reading
These next two posts are incredibly personal stories, but I have decided to share them publicly anyway. I think the road to diagnosis, particularly of autoimmune disorders, is far too long. I think the more of us willing to share how we got here, the more of us that can reach answers sooner. For me, now battling three autoimmune disorders, I know that those answers matter. It is important to go into battle knowing who your enemy is. In 2007 we moved across the country for my husband's new career in International Development. The move was crazy, as are most cross-country moves, but the new location was great. We had ...continue reading
Recap from Part I: It's 2000. I've just had a baby & then I develop a little skin condition. Turns out the skin condition is an autoimmune disorder. I don't know that yet though. I'm starting to have some other troubles & I'm wondering what is wrong with my body. The new troubles were sorta' vague, but definitely there. My tummy was a little uncomfortable after some meals and I was having a bit of difficulty with "regularity." BTW, I don't really want to write a love letter to the whole wide web-iverse about my bowel movements, but digestive disorders, like Celiac, do tend to come with this sort of ...continue reading
First a quick disclaimer: Let's make a little deal reader. Let's agree that this is a story blog. I'm going to tell you a story and since I'm a human being, the story is going to be colored & shaped by my personal experience. When & where "facts" are needed to help me tell the story, I'll do my best to mention the source of that information. This isn't a research blog though, so it will then be your job, if you want more "fact," to go out & dive deep into the bottomless pool of information we all have at our finger tips (I heart the Web). I would ...continue reading
This post was first published on March 10, 2009, one day after we arrived in West Africa. Here it is. The Alt blog. It is just too crazy trying to keep up the emails & this allows you all to read (or not read) at your pleasure. Soooooo, Africa. Wow! There is so much to tell & we haven't even been here for 24 hours yet. We got on the plane in Denver at about 1 PM on Sunday, March 8th. We flew through Atlanta & Paris & arrived in Conakry, Guinea at about 9 PM on Monday, March 9th. We walked off the plane & the heat & humidity ...continue reading