“I use to have an incurable disease.”
I was diagnosed with MS back in 2007 but am now symptom free. I love telling people I USE to have an incurable disease – it always gets a reaction. That confused, quizzical look on their face, followed by a “Whhhat?!$#? – How is that possible?”
Well, the fact is, it IS possible.
I’m not here to tell you that climbing out of those debilitating symptoms is easy. It’s not. Most people need help, support and guidance from a healthcare practitioner who has experience working with autoimmune conditions.
As a Board Certified Nutrition Consultant, I dedicate a great deal of time doing just that – helping people who are dealing with multiple sclerosis, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome and other types of chronic conditions.
In my practice, I’ve learned a few misconceptions and mistakes that people make when they’re attempting a self-healing approach, or sometimes working with a healthcare practitioner who isn’t getting them on the right track.
Below are my top 5 keys to success if you are considering a nutritional program for MS or another autoimmune condition.
- Reasonable time expectations. As I tell my clients, your body didn’t develop this dysfunction in a few short weeks and you can’t reverse it any faster. If you’re going to start an elimination or a candida diet, you need to be thinking long-term. The amount of time will depend on your symptoms, degree of dysfunction and how long you’ve had symptoms. Significant healing will take months, not days or weeks. For many people it can take 2 to 3 years before significant improvement is realized.
- Be tenacious. Most people find it difficult to be 100% compliant with the very restrictive candida diet and end up slipping up now and then, and that’s ok. But slip-ups have to be minimal and infrequent or you won’t achieve success. A little taste of something — a sip or two of an alcoholic drink, an additional small serving of berries, or even an unexpected dose of stress will almost always cause a set-back, especially in the first few months. If you don’t have the discipline to get back on the horse, it’s going to gallop off into that blazing frontier of healthy living without you.
- Be comprehensive with your diet. Chronically ill people have come to me for help after trying their own version of a candida diet. I’ll often hear, “I cut back (not “cut out”) sugar and gluten but didn’t notice any improvement after 3 or 4 weeks so I figured those things weren’t my problem”. First of all, the 3 or 4 week-long attempt was way off (see point #1 above on “Time”). And secondly, it is critical that ALL sources of sugar, gluten, bad fats, chemical-laden foods (i.e. processed foods) are eliminated. Your food eliminations need to be comprehensive – you need to cut out every little scrap of crap (catchy, don’t you think?) you’re ingesting or you won’t reduce the candida, rebalance the microbiome; and heal the dysbiosis and intestinal permeability that have invaded your gut. In other words, you have to be “all in” with this program or you’re wasting your time. Be fanatical about reading labels. Investigate EVERYTHING that goes into your mouth, right down to the teaspoon of mayonnaise you use on a hamburger patty.
- Consistent use of nutritional supplements. There are times when using supplements makes sense, and one of them is when someone is afflicted with an autoimmune condition. The root cause of autoimmunity is often traced to candidiasis, an overgrowth of candida fungus in the gastrointestinal tract[i], and creates other problems that prevents the small intestine from properly absorbing nutrients. Trying to correct an autoimmune condition without the use of supplements would be like trying to cross Lake Erie in a row boat – laborious, frustrating and you might not make it. An experienced healthcare practitioner will get you set up on a series of several supplements that will augment your new, spiffy, clean diet plan. He or she will monitor you periodically along the way and recommend changes as you progress. Your main job is to stick to the plan — consistently!
- Belief and vision for a healthier You. For some of you this point will teeter on “woo-hoo” theories, but it is a core trait of every person I work with who makes it to the finish line. You must BELIEVE this will work. Having strong convictions and visualizing your body healing will keep you focused, determined and diligent.
“Whatever the mind of man can conceive and believe,
it can achieve”..[ii] Napoleon Hill
Your daily belief mantra includes:
- your body can heal
- your internal biochemistry will be positively altered by the changes in your diet
- your body can rid itself of the harmful toxins that have accumulated
- you will regain part or all of your mental clarity, physical stamina, mobility and enthusiasm for life.
Your beliefs are a strong elixir for the mind and body, but are not enough by themselves to change the biochemistry of a body dealing with autoimmunity. There is a powerful, synergistic effect when using the combined steps in this formula:
Strong Beliefs +
Reasonable Time Expectations +
Comprehensive, Clean Diet Plan +
Nutritional Supplements +
Support & Guidance
Don’t fall prey to that “incurable” label. With the proper guidance, planning and resources you can help your body tap into its innate healing ability.
Using the formula above, you have a great shot at one day being able to look someone in the eye and tell them “I USE to have an incurable disease”.
Note: This information is provided as a resource and for educational purposes only. These recommendations are not intended as a substitute for consulting a physician or licensed healthcare practitioner. Individuals dealing with a serious or chronic health issue should consult with your doctor before beginning a nutritional program, taking supplements, discontinuing medications or eliminating foods from your daily diet. This information is not intended to replace medical advice from your doctor or to diagnose any health condition.
[i] National Institutes of Health, 2013. EMBO Mol Med June, 2013; 5(6). “Genetic Susceptibility to Candida Infections”. Retrieved 1-19-17 from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3779444/
[ii] Wikipedia, March, 2008. Reference Desk/Archives/Language, Famous Quotations, retrieved 1-19-17 from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Reference_desk/Archives/Language/2007_March_18.