Food is our Most Important Medicine
…especially if you suspect (or your doctor tells you) that you’re autoimmune, afflicted with cancer, or suffering from a mystery illness.
It’s here: The link to my controversial pdf: “Know Your Safe Foods” !
(Note: You must be a member to download. The good news: Basic Membership is free!)
As someone who fell extremely ill post-partum, nearly lost at least one kidney, was threatened with dialysis, and endured 6 surgical procedures in just 3 years, I understand the frustrations and fears of autoimmunity and mysterious illness. Yet, I came through them all. I am still here.
Knowledge is Power. Wisdom is Timing.
Here’s the deal: If you are seriously ill, the FIRST thing you need to do is change up your diet. Don’t believe me? Here are two solid reasons why you MUST reconsider what you consume:
- We put food (foreign substances) in our bodies every few hours, every day. If a food is worsening your condition, it needs to stop.
- We need adequate nutrition to heal. A diet of cheese and crackers won’t cut it. A year of carrots and celery isn’t nutritious enough. Think of putting food in your body like stocking a cellar. You want foods that will help you heal, and every food has a different mix or type of vitamins, amino acids, minerals, fats, etc. You want to re-balance what you’ve got that’s in excess or deficient. Friends, food variety exists for a reason.
These reasons above aren’t mutually exclusive. They’re co-dependent.
You can’t just eliminate foods ’til you’re malnourished. (You’ll get sicker.)
You can’t keep eating what’s killing you. (You’ll get sicker.)
So, you may ask, what CAN I do?
You figure out your “safe” foods and you heal.
Can’t I just do a self-elimination, AIP, or Paleo diet?
- Sure, if you’re just trying to improve your health. But if you’re battling serious illness, you want to be more focused. You don’t have a lot of time, energy, or money to waste chasing down rabbits.
But, don’t you preach self-knowledge?
- Yes! But knowing yourself means knowing your limitations. I have done quite a bit of meditation, qigong, and spiritual work — to the point that I could feel the inflammation in my kidneys like sandpaper. Even so, I could not completely detect all my food immune reactivity. In the end, sometimes, we find out that our intuition was correct. Other times, we find out that we were wrong. Way wrong. This is because there are multiple influences driving, influencing, and aiding (or confusing) our interpretation of our experiences.
It’s kind of confusing and overwhelming. I kinda just want a protocol.
- Remember that our food needs are highly individualized. Take me, for example: I found out that squashes, dates, and beets are immune reactive for me. Those foods feature prominently in AIP/Paleo dishes. With all the best intentions, I was literally killing myself with healthy foods. Or consider my daughter, who turned out to be immune reactive to cinnamon, which is an herb often utilized in Chinese herbal formulas for autoimmunity. Listen up because what I’m about to tell you is VERY IMPORTANT:
No protocol (or person) can tell you YOUR safe foods. None. Zip. Zero. PERIOD.
I don’t have a lot of time. Can’t I just eat AIP/Paleo-approved snacks?
- If you’re trading whole foods for processed foods, you’re missing the point. You absolutely must stay away from processed foods and turn to a whole foods diet. (And not having a lot of time is kind of my point.)
Are you suggesting lab testing? Isn’t there a margin of error in that?
- First, friends, take a deep breath and know that there’s a margin of error in everything.
- Second, in food immune reactivity testing, know that you get what you pay for. I’ve done the “cheaper” immune testing. I’ve done the “super-expensive, super-extensive” testing. Bottom line? I wish I had done the super-expensive, super-extensive testing earlier. It would have saved me years of pain, time, confusion, and money. It was worth it. I have yet to treat a patient who isn’t incredibly relieved (upon getting back the results) to have a bit of solid ground regarding what is helpful vs hurtful food. Every single patient (thus far) has been grateful to have a solid starting point where we can start my healing diet and integrative, anti-“Gu”, autoimmune approach. (Explanation of “Gu” coming in future blog post.)
- Third, in “super-expensive, super-extensive” testing, they re-test all positive results to confirm the findings. It behooves them (and their reputation) to give you accurate results.
- Fourth, the “super-expensive, super-extensive” testing goes way beyond basics. These tests examine cooked versus uncooked versions of foods (cooking changes the nature of proteins and thus, the reactivity to such proteins in the immune system). Then, they test not only whole foods, but specific proteins and peptides found in whole foods. For example, they do this with wheat. This makes sense, because the body does not “see” a kernel of wheat during digestion. What it “sees” are all the proteins and peptides of that kernel of wheat broken down into its most basic components. Highest-quality testing also does this kind of super-thorough testing for foods like fish. (And yes, I’ve had a patient test negative in immune reactivity for literally all fish but then POSITIVE for a specific protein in fish. It means the body recognizes this protein and mounts an immune response as soon as it “sees” this protein — once the whole fish has been broken down. Lesser quality tests that only test the whole fish would have told her she can continue eating fish. True story.)
- Fifth, for the food-grade herbs my daughter and I tested “immune reactive” via our blood, we also tested “allergic” via electro-energetic testing on a MORA machine. To me, this corroboration means that high-quality food immune reactivity blood tests are actually pretty accurate. (It also suggests that MORA machines are fairly reliable indicators of helpful vs non-helpful substances for individuals, too.)
Okay, I am starting to get the picture. So, what do I do?
Take some time to think about it.
And then call or email me when you are ready to talk about it.
I am always here for you.
With love, light, and laughter to you on this crazy, maddening, beautiful journey!
Erika F. Marie, LAc.