Book Review – “The Autoimmune Wellness Handbook: A DIY Guide to Living Well with Chronic Illness”

I was recently diagnosed with Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis which is an autoimmune condition where your thyroid attacks your immune system. The thyroid is small butterfly shaped gland at the base of your neck below your Adam’s apple. This disease often leads to an underactive thyroid in most patients (myself included) which is known as hypothyroidism.

I received all of this news quite unexpectedly at the doctor recently. I had been feeling very tired lately and was experiencing some hormonal irregularities but I had no idea what the culprit was. My naturopath ran a million tests and this was the diagnosis. I have to admit, the information was overwhelming. I have a friend with hypothyroidism who is treating it with a prescription so I knew a little about it, but I had never heard of Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis. In terms of treating Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, most doctors would be inclined to prescribe you a pill and let you go. I would prefer to get to the root of the cause (my naturopath would too) so she suggested some lifestyle changes to manage the autoimmune disease.

She recommended removing gluten from my diet as gluten has a very similar molecular structure as the thyroid gland. Your body then begins to attack both and totally exasperates the problem. It has been hard eliminating gluten from my diet as I’ve never noticed a sensitivity to it and consume it often, but I am working on completely eliminating it from my diet. Being a holistic nutritionist I treat many clients with a gluten intolerance but it has been so interesting to be the patient!

After doing more research on my own, I came across what is called the Autoimmune Protocol (AIP) which is diet for autoimmune disease sufferers such as myself. The idea behind this diet is to heal your body and gut through food alone. I am a huge advocate for good nutrition and consider myself to eat very healthy (it is my job after all, lol!), but this diet and the book “The Autoimmune Wellness Handbook: A DIY Guide to Living Well with Chronic Illness” opened my eyes to the types of foods that, while “healthy”, might actually be worsening my condition. This book does a great job at walking a person through the initial diagnosis, the importance of being your own heath advocate, lifestyle changes to support your health, and delicious AIP recipes to nourish the body.

I’ve only read the first 20 pages of the book but I love the message. I’ve been relying on my naturopath for a lot of information interspersed with my own online research and some of my holistic knowledge, but I now feel empowered to learn everything I can to make the most informed decisions for my health. The diet itself can be a bit restrictive as I can’t eat any grains, dairy, nuts, seeds, and nightshades, but I am learning to embrace this new diet if it helps me feel my best. I’ve just started on this journey but I will be posting more in the future in hopes of helping anyone else suffering with this disease!

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