What's the deal with Autoimmunity and why is it effecting so many people?
Simply put, for those of you who don't already know, autoimmune conditions consist of the immune system having an inappropriate response to triggers, attacking the body itself. Autoimmune conditions include Type 1 Diabetes, Psoriasis, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Inflammatory Bowel Disease, MS, Lupus and more, so it's no little thing.
Many people are reaching out and asking what they can do, so let me try to sum up my approach.
I want you to imagine you have a bucket inside your body where all the toxins and stress go.. all the bad stuff. Pack it in there good and tight. This bucket does have a some small holes in the bottom where this stuff can leak out and flush itself in appropriate ways (ie: bowels, kidneys, liver, skin and lungs). This bucket is filling faster than it's emptying though and eventually it begins to spill over.
Now, depending on what you're genetically predisposed to or based on your history, that spill over is going to look different from person to person. The spill over can be Cancer in one person, Chrons in another, Arthritis or Liver Disease in someone else. I first read about this theory in my early 20's and it really resonated; I noticed my vision getting spotty and my head starting to swim a little when stress piled up and would have to take measures to calm my system down and empty that bucket a little to find balance again.
I've read about this theory more recently in Dr. Cabral's The Rain Barrel Effect which challenges the idea of disease entirely and focuses more on the bucket or 'rain barrel' itself. In more recent years I've noticed my rosacea flaring, my digestion slowing down, my irritability spiking. These are early warning signs that my bucket is getting near full, and catching it before it worsens is key. The spillover at this point is manageable but what spillovers am I not seeing?
So, what do we do? Well, first off we need to notice what's in that bucket. There are small things that pile up quickly including toxins like synthetic fragrances, emulsifiers and preservatives (dish & laundry detergent, perfume, skin care, soap etc), harsh chemicals (found in new cars, new fabric furniture saturated in flame retardants, chemical cleaners etc), and food.
When it comes to food we've got the big, nasty Glyphosate (among others) which is not only used as a herbicide but also a desiccant (quickly killing and drying wheat for instance for easily timed harvest). Then we have bud killing agents to stop veggies from sprouting and anti-fungals to prevent rot. There's also radiation when foods like nuts cross borders and of course many other chemicals used before, during and after harvest. Ever notice the complete lack of fruit flies in grocery stores in North America?
This is why I strongly advise buying local where you can ask your farmer what they use, or buying organic. Check out the Clean 15 and Dirty Dozen lists to see what produce is least and most sprayed. Also, avoiding canned foods, processed meats, conventional sugar, and all the stuff we know we should avoid. And then incorporating lots of cruciferous vegetables and soluble fiber rich foods to flush toxins out of our system more easily, emptying that bucket faster than it fills! Looking into dietary changes including The Bean Protocol by Unique Hammond can be life changing. Her protocol focusses on consuming beans with every meal (along with a balanced diet) as toxins need to attach to soluble fiber in order to be flushed, otherwise they get reabsorbed and sent back to the liver for a nasty cycle that can lead to serious inflammation and autoimmune conditions. And beans as we know are the richest source of soluble fiber, so add a couple tablespoons to each meal already!
Then we look at stress.. yikes. Is there anything you can let go of? Or something you can do now so the stress doesn't linger? Make that call, say no, or delegate. I find I have more stress in procrastination than in doing a task. And once it's done, oh the relief!! I've also begun telling people I can't get together until after the garden is put to rest or after it's been planted... letting people know I'm just too busy.
Yes, we can take herbal supports along the way and yes, there is more to the story, but this is a good start and something to chew on for now :)