I get a lot of questions about autoimmune disease. And I get it. Not only do most people not know what it is, but a lot of doctors also don’t explain it well.
So, what is autoimmune disease? Well, we’ve got to back up a bit…
What Are Antibodies?
To explain autoimmune disease, I want to take you back to science class for a minute.
I’m sure you recall learning how your body makes antibodies and what they do. But in case you’ve blocked it all from your memory, let’s review.
Your body produces antibodies to protect you from diseases and to fight off illness. Your antibodies fight viruses, bacteria, and anything foreign that invades your body.
Antibodies are why vaccines work; once your body fights off the vaccine, you have the antibodies built up to resist that illness if it tries to enter your body again.
So if you had chicken pox as a child and you get exposed to it again later, your body remembers that it fought that off and it quickly destroys those pathogens so that you won’t get that illness again.
That’s the power of antibodies.
What Is Autoimmune Disease?
When things aren’t working the way they should, your antibodies begin to attack your own tissues instead of just illness.
Your body thinks that its own tissue is a pathogenic invader. Not good, right?
I think we can agree that it’s not good when your body is trying to eradicate its own tissue.
The crazy thing about autoimmune disease is that it takes time to realize there’s something going on because it takes a while for there to be enough tissue damage for you to even notice.
Want to learn even more about what Autoimmune Disease is, how you get it, what doctors don't tell you, and what to do about it? Read or watch my free series – Autoimmune Disease 101.
How Do I Get Autoimmune Disease?
A common question is whether autoimmune disease is contagious. The answer to that is a firm no. It is most definitely not contagious.
It can generally be stated as being ⅓ genetic, ⅓ environmental, and ⅓ diet and lifestyle.
A great example of an environmental contributor is the Epstein-Barr virus.
The proteins in the Epstein-Barr virus mimic human tissue in their make-up. So when someone gets the Epstein-Barr virus, the body gets confused and begins to not only attack the virus itself, but also the tissue that looks like it.
Another contributor to autoimmune disease is a high-stress lifestyle.
If you live under a constant, high level of stress, you are opening yourself up to intestinal permeability which can lead to all sorts of issues, autoimmune disease being one of them. Is that the right phrase? Intestinal permeability?
How Can I Avoid Autoimmune Disease?
Sometimes, as humans, we have bad luck.
Nobody plans for car accidents or losing a job. And when it comes to our health, we can’t control everything. So there’s always a chance you could get an autoimmune disease even if you do everything right.
Generally speaking though, taking good care of yourself is the best way to avoid autoimmune disease.
A healthy diet filled with whole foods, some exercise (but not too much), mindful meditation, and just taking basic steps to care for your body go a long way toward protecting yourself.
My AIP JOURNEY: My Symptoms
Now, on to the fun part. Let’s talk about my own autoimmune disease…well, diseases.
I’m 15 days into the AIP diet now and my dry skin is completely cleared up.
The extra tiredness I felt during the first few days has mostly gone away and I haven’t needed an afternoon nap in several days.
What I Ate VLOG for Days 12-15
In this video, I share what I ate on days 12-15 so that you can get an idea of what kinds of food I eat and the recipes involved.
The AIP Recipes I made:
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Day 12 –
Lunch – I was away from home again so I had more of the crepes with turkey, prosciutto, fig/apricot jam, and arugula. I also had more Jackson’s Honest sweet potato chips and another of the AIP Carob Chocolate cookies.
Dinner – I had taken salmon out of the freezer but none of us wanted it, so instead, we made a ham and pineapple pizza from the Healing Kitchen cookbook.
Breakfast – This was Mother’s Day and this Mom wanted pancakes. I served the pancakes up with white sweet potato hashbrowns and another apple-sage sausage patty. I also treated myself to a maple latte from The Healing Kitchen Cookbook.
Lunch – I piled tuna salad on a leftover crepe. I added celery, avocado mayo, sugar-free cranberries, parsley, and salt.
Dinner – Creamy broccoli mash, asparagus cooked with balsamic vinegar, and the salmon I had pulled out the night before. The only problem was that the salmon wasn’t good. One bite and I threw it out and cooked myself 2 pieces of bacon instead.
Breakfast – Leftover coconut chicken (I could have had this last night when the salmon was bad!), patacones, and 1 leftover pancake.
Dinner – Cranberry, slow cooker pork over a root veggie mash. I served this with some beet greens sauteed with garlic.
Breakfast – Comforting Breakfast Casserole from the Healing Kitchen cookbook drizzled over the top with honey.
Lunch – Leftover pork and veggie mash from last night.
Dinner – Roast chicken. One traditional with salt and pepper and one with salt and herbs for me. (I like to follow this recipe of Ina Garten's, but will replace the pepper with some herbs instead and replace the flour with arrowroot powder) Doing 2 chickens provides us with plenty of leftovers for meals later in the week. With the chicken, I’m serving a sweet potato gratin (recipe from The Healing Kitchen)
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