MSMonday: My Healing Story
I’ve talked at length about gut healing and healing over the past few months. I figured it would be time to talk about my own healing story and how gut healing fit into the puzzle for me.
I have Multiple Sclerosis. I was diagnosed in 2009. My ten year “anniversary” will be coming up next summer, in August in fact. My how time flies. At first, I wasn’t aware of any type of healing. I thought I was going to be stuck on medication and at the mercy of my illness. How wrong I was.
After going gluten free for a while as a trial, I wanted to know more of the “whys” behind it. Why did that make a difference, why did that have anything to do with how I felt, why did the food I put into my mouth have a correlation to my physical symptoms and feelings. That led me to learn about Paleo. What I learned about just made sense. The science added up. I wanted to learn more and apply what I learned to my life. This was the start of my healing journey.
My research led me to learn about the Autoimmune Protocol, a more specific paleo template designed for individuals with autoimmune conditions that would give them the nutrient density needed to start healing their bodies from the inside out. I was hooked on reading as much as I possibly could. I wondered how did my doctors not tell me about this? Because they don’t know themselves. Sure, they know the anatomy basics, and immunology ins and outs, but somewhere along the line in their med school classes, they forget these parts. Doctors are only taught 4 hours of nutrition classes throughout med school. No wonder they don’t get the healing power of food. I also read a quote by a doctor that said “if I prescribed nutrition, I’d be out of a job”. That says it all right there.
Getting to my breaking point took a year and a half. I had been gluten free and paleo off and on, but going “all the way” and taking the plunge to full elimination AIP took awhile. I thought I could feel better just by being paleo and that would suffice. But I was wrong. One of my biggest barriers was I let the words of others get to me. I heard from others (who wouldn’t be eating this way either!) how hard it would be, and how impossible it would be. I let them talk me out of healing for a over a year. (HINT: Don’t do that!). Finally, I was able to stand up for myself and in my own power and started AIP in January of 2016.
Back to my breaking point for a sec. When I look back at my symptom journals from 2015, I was in rough shape. Constant fatigue, severe pain and strong sensory symptoms that significantly impacted my day. Not to mention GI symptoms and distress constantly. I had to do something different.
Starting AIP was the best gift I have ever given myself, because it gave me my life back. Once when I was dealing with total numbness on my right side during a relapse, I said to my then boyfriend (now husband) “I’d rather deal with pain, than this nothingness”. How wrong I was. I hadn’t met pain yet. The intense pain I felt for months made life almost unbearable. But AIP took that pain away. The exhaustion that made the idea of taking a shower, or even getting up off the couch to make a cup of tea sound overwhelming, evaporated. And the sensory issues, the tingling and really weird sensations that would leave me cringing significantly diminished.
Now, none of this happened overnight (unfortunately). I don’t want to give that impression; that I ate this way for a week and I was good to go. Not the case. It took time and effort and work. It took planning and cooking and dedication. But eventually, my days started to look different. And when I looked back after three months, I could confidently say I was a different person.
After three months I felt confident enough to try some reintroductions. I was successful with eggs, nuts/seeds, coffee, chocolate and a little dairy. Nightshades are still a no-go for me, and that will probably be the case for a while. Which makes sense, I saw the most improvements in my healing when I eliminated nightshades.
I feel like I owe a lot of my success to the efforts I put into healing my gut early on into my journey. I had bone broth regularly, I took supplements, including collagen daily, I tried to reduce my stress as much as possible and exercise smart as well. I knew gut healing was a long game, and I was all in. Often people think that gut healing and AIP (or any other healing diet) are two different things. But that isn’t the case at all! They are really one in the same. AIP is just one path to get to gut healing. And gut healing means disease healing as well.
What helped the most?
Daily (or as much as possible) bone broth. This is one of the most healing things we can be consuming, so having it frequently is so helpful. I like to make mine plain, so I can flavor it as I’d like when I go to have a cup. Keeping it simple. I would see these awesome recipes, but they would be so time consuming and with so many ingredients, which I didn’t have yet. Just sticking to the basics at first, veggies, protein and fats, made it so much easier to wrap my head around. Once I got my pantry stockpiled more, I was able to branch out with what I was cooking. Support. I couldn’t have done this transition without my husband. He was and is my rock, and always has my back, no matter what crazy idea I have. Once I said I wanted to go all in with AIP, he was all in too. Find those people. If you don’t have them in real life around you, find them online. We have an amazing community!
AIP was the right healing path for me, but it might not be the right path for you. There are many options out there. The point is just to pick one, and start. You don’t even need to fit into a box with a label to start healing either. You can do that all on your own.
If you’re interested in hearing more about how to start your own gut healing journey, then join me on November 1st, 2018 at 3pm EST for a Free Webinar all about my 5R Method for Gut Healing. More information can be found here.