Optimal Health is not complicated. Maximize, Minimize and Prioritize. Do these three things consistently and your body can naturally heal and repair from even the scariest diagnoses.
I've put in over 10,000 hours of study in applied functional medicine and functional diagnostic nutrition. I've coached hundreds healing from everything from infertility to autoimmune disease and cancers. I'm fascinated by complex health histories and marvel at the bodies natural ability to heal, once we've uncovered hidden stressors and get to the root cause of of the dis-ease.
I say this not to brag (although client testimonials are what keep me going). I say this because sometimes it's so easy to get caught up in all the data and to forget the fundamentals. To forget the simple solutions.
Let me give you an example. I've seen multiple clients with intense anxiety and autoimmune disease (where the body is literally attacking your own tissue), heal both (symptoms in remission), by eliminating gluten and other food sensitivities. I am not talking about celiac. Many will test negative on IgE test but that does not mean that they can tolerate gluten. In fact, if you have a cancer or an autoimmune disease then the first thing you have to do is remove inflammatory foods, and heal the gastrointestinal tract. It is intestinal permeability (leaky gut) that has allowed large protein molecules to enter the gut associated lymphatic tissue (GALT) to create the antibodies that attack the tissue. If you cannot remove the inflammatory foods, then you cannot heal the gut.
This is fundamental to functional medicine. Unfortunately, this is still not common knowledge in conventional medicine. Once you have one autoimmune disease you are prone to others. The only way to reverse the flood of antibodies attacking the body, is to turn off the spigot.
I've asked myself, why do we suddenly have this epidemic and increasing numbers of autoimmune disease? When I graduated from nursing school in 1981 there were a handful, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, MS, Crohn's. Now there are over a hundred! We didn't know then that epilepsy, macular degeneration, and type 1 diabetes (called juvenile diabetes way back then) are also autoimmune. I didn't know this as a nurse. Most of your doctors don't know this. I didn't know this until I studied functional medicine. Years ago, I was diagnosed with my first autoimmune disease, vitiligo. I was told there was nothing I could do about it. I was told to just wear sunscreen over my unsightly hands, elbows, knees and spots on my mouth and eyelids. I also wore a lot of makeup back then.
How has this happened in my lifetime? First, we are bombarded with chemicals and toxins in our food, water, personal care, cleaning products and lawn service products. Second, our wheat used to be 4% gluten. Today it has been hybridized so that it is ~50% gluten which makes for wonderful gummy, gooey breads. Good for the tastebuds, not so good for your gut.
Unfortunately, both of these factors play havoc on the gut. Chemicals, toxins, OTC drugs and gluten cause inflammation and wear and tear on the thin lining between the gastrointestinal tract and the immune system. The immune system is your friendly police force designed to protect you. When there are foreign invaders like undigested food, the police start firing and your body feels the collateral damage.
Gluten also causes the excretion of zonulin which actually opens up the tight junctures in the gut allowing undigested protein to enter the gut associated lymphatic tissue (GALT). These tight junctures are designed to only allow macronutrients like amino acids to pass thru the gut and send bigger molecules downstream for further breakdown and digestion.
If your your defense system has to spend all of its resources fighting undigested food particles, what is left over to fight viruses, toxins, chemicals and pesticides (which also pass through)?
Today, a colleague just posted another new study from the NY Times that dormant viruses can cause multiple diseases . A second colleague posted a story in the Atlantic how autoimmune disease is the root cause of psychiatric disorders in young children. These are treated with heavy duty pharmaceutical interventions which can be life-saving. What is missing from these stories are the fundamentals. Well meaning providers and newscasters are not educated on the fundamentals. Review the first slide to see the effects on the brain, the adrenals and systemic inflammation.
So what do we do to prevent, and heal and repair our out-of-control autoimmunity? We enlist the 5 R's of functional medicine. Simple Solutions that are the fundamental foundation to health:
- REMOVE the inflammatory foods,
- REPLETE nutritional insufficiencies, (whole foods/micronutrient testing)
- REPAIR the gut lining with supplemental herbal solutions, aloe vera, bone broth soup
- RE-INOCULATE the gut,
- REST and digest (or mate and ovulate if that is your goal) and alleviate external and internal hidden stressors.
The truth is this. I don't care how many supplements and/or medications you are taking. If you cannot sleep, and you are still eating food that is inflammatory, then you are resigned to a lifetime of drugs to alleviate symptoms. Good for big pharma and the processed food industry, not good for you!
If you want to heal, then commit to simple, small incremental changes over a minimum of 3-6 month period. Otherwise you will continue to waste money on other therapies. You cannot ignore simple solutions, and the fundamentals. Not if you want to heal from within.
Let me know if you are ready to remove the physical blocks and uncover hidden stressors that are keeping you from obtaining optimal health. I have left the Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders and am now opening up my practice to taking on a few more committed clients. I welcome the opportunity to be a witness to your optimal health. Please schedule a short discovery call with me to see if we are a good fit for each other.
About Lisa Jackson, RN, CHC, RYT-500, FDN
Lisa is an author, inspirational speaker and a coach with a mission to inspire others to feel and look their best at any age.
She is the former Executive Director of the Integrative Wellness Program for the Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders.
Lisa's book, Savvy Secrets: Eat, Think and Thrive outlines her seven-step process towards optimal health that is fun and transformational.
Lisa is part of the New Self Health Movement and the Wellness Inspired Network. When she is not coaching, speaking or writing, you can find her practicing yoga and joyfully sharing Carpe Diem Dance.