I admit, I have a very personal interest in the treatment of autoimmune diseases. My son was diagnosed with Celiac disease at the age of six. I have always enjoyed and have had success working with this population of people, but with the events in my own family, I have become obsessed. I spend my free time researching and learning as much as possible about the broad scope of autoimmune disease. I have compiled a list of great reading materials that I have found eye-opening and key to my practice in the treatment of people with autoimmune conditions.
Our immunity is closely linked to the health of our gut. More and more research is finding that a disharmony in our digestive system directly correlates to the the regulation of our immune system. We are not only what we eat, but we are what our microflora creates. Did you know that 90% of our serotonin and 50% of our dopamine is created in the small intestine? That our regulator T cells (the part of our immune system that acts as a self-check mechanism) is thought to be stimulated by the microbiome of our environment? That autoimmune conditions have risen with the increase of hygiene? We need bugs. The little teeny-tiny ones that live in dirt and around animals. It is no coincidence that children growing up with animals have less allergies then their non-pet exposed peers. Put the down Purell, chuck the anti-bacterial soap. Regular soap is good enough; in fact, regular soap is better. Not only does anti-bacterial products contribute to anti-biotic resistant bacteria, but they are indiscriminate. They take out the good with the bad, further contributing to a dysbiosis of our environment.
There are a few cookbooks that have helped us not only navigate the crazy world of autoimmune disease but have really added to the joy at our table.
The Autoimmune Paleo Cookbook, by Mickey Trescott, NTP
The Naked Foods Cookbook, by James Barry and Margaret Floyd, NTP
The Healthy Gluten Free Life Cookbook, by Tammy Credicott
Autoimmune disease is simply the body attacking itself. There is a cellular confusion as to what is one's own body and what is a foreign body. Chinese medicine and acupuncture have the incredible nature of being able to fit where Western allopathic medicine doesn't. I have experienced so many patients who struggle with autoimmune disease become disenchanted with what Western medicine has to offer - steroids, immune-suppressants, etc. all topical treatments for a deeply rooted condition. Acupuncture and moxibusion, Chinese herbal formulas, as well as dietary and lifestyle recommendations are all key to the success and longevity of patients dealing with the self attacking the self. From a more philosophical and spiritual perspective, it is about helping a person become so exquisitely clear on who they are, that there is no confusion by the mind or by the body as to what is self and what is foreign. This is the domain that I love to work on. My mentor, Thea Elijah, has said, "If you are not you, you are ill." It is my distinct honor to support my patients in being more themselves.