After the Darkest Day, A New Light is Born

Celebrating New Light

This morning is dark, rainy and cold. But somehow, instead of feeling depressing, it feels mysterious – a beckoning to slow down, rest, breathe. While we are pulled a thousand different directions at this time of year, it is – for those of us in the Northern Hemisphere – actually the best time of all to stop the incessant rushing and go within.

There is something magical about this time –  and not the flashy, busy type of magic. This is a quiet, still magic, heavy with possibility, if we allow it. In fact, magic isn’t even the right word for what hangs subtly in the air along with the mist, rain and snow. Is there even a word to describe the mysterious, gentle light that we must focus on deeply to see, this time of year? A light all the more wonderful because of its subtle nature.

I invite you to click on the above link and enjoy my article on the Winter Solstice, published on page 107 of Bella Mia Magazine.

My Bachelor’s degree is in Anthropology. This background inspired me to research how a group of ancient people, the Celtic’s of Ireland, viewed the astrologically significant event of the Winter Solstice. Regardless of your faith, or lack thereof, there is something unique about this time, the shortest day of the year, that gives way to new light as we tilt closer to the sun, once again.

Happy Holidays to each of you!

And if it doesn’t feel particularly happy for whatever reason, I wish you peace. May the coming year be the one that we find clarity as a human race, and begin moving into a better time.

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Reset Your Digestion and Assimilate Your Life

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December is here! There is something unique about this month. Another year, wrapping up. Tis the season to take stock of all that has occurred, to allow it to sink in. Wait – most of us barely have time to breathe this time of year, let alone reflect!

But, every experience must be digested. The obvious association with the word ‘digest’ is food and the digestive tract. However, everything we go through – all that we read, the conversations we engage in, the experiences we have –  must be processed. The physical system of digestion is but one mechanism used for this type of purpose; there are also the spiritual and mental levels. These levels are equally important, if not more so, to our health and well-being.

We are overwhelmed with news right now. Information is coming at us so fast, there is no time to assimilate it on top of our already busy lives. And so,our systems are becoming backed-up at alarming rates. This is impacting the state of our collective unconscious. We are collectively clogged up.

How can we remedy this? The benefits of meditation are gaining solid, scientific backing. Slowing down, even for a few minutes a day, and simply breathing deeply can help immensely.

Another way we can give our overloaded body/mind/spirits a chance to properly assimilate everything, is to give our physical digestive systems a rest. Between parties and festivities this month, consider eating only an easily digested food for a couple of days. As the digestive system rests, the other areas have a chance catch up – to deal with all that we are being forced to deal with.

Here is a recipe for Kitcharee – the perfect food for this type of reset. I make up a big pot and save some in a glass container in the fridge to be warmed up throughout the day. The idea is to eat nothing but this food. Water and tea can be consumed, but this reset only works if we truly give our bodies a break from sorting out myriad foods and additives.

Give yourself a rest, on the level that you can affect, while still engaging in your busy life.

 

Simple Kitcharee

Ingredients

1 cup uncooked organic basmati rice – soaked (Soak your rice in water for around 8 hours to make it easier to digest. Drain the water you soaked it in, leaving only the rice)

1 cup  green mung dahl – soaked (Same process as with the rice, but dahl can soak for 24 hours) This legume can be found in the bulk section of a good health food store.

5 tablespoons organic ghee

2 tablespoons whole coriander seeds

1 tablespoon whole cumin seeds

3 tablespoons organic turmeric

1 teaspoon sea salt

7 cups pure water

To prepare:

In a big stockpot, melt the ghee over low heat. Add the coriander seeds and cumin seeds, stirring continually. When you hear the coriander seeds begin to pop, add the turmeric and salt, as you stir. When the paste is mixed together, add the mung beans and stir them in well. Now add the rice, stirring well. Add the water and turn the heat up to high. Allow the mixture to boil for about three minutes, then cover and turn the heat down. Simmer for around forty-five minutes, until the water is gone and you have a soft porridge. You may add steamed veggies of any kind, except for white potatoes, to add variety.

 

 

To Live Joyfully

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When we feel joyous, we feel connected. Being engulfed in joy is like swimming in a crystal clear ocean on a sunny day – we are supported, uplifted, weightless. Remember a moment when you were truly joyful; it may be a simple memory, like dancing to good music, or having a meaningful conversation with a friend; or it may be a big life moment, like kissing your husband for the first time, holding your little baby, or attaining a hard to reach goal.

Sometimes joy seems elusive, slippery and hard to grasp. Day to day life can lose its luster, and joy feels distant, attached to a memory or a future plan.  Joy and health are interrelated; the more joyous we feel, the less stressed, inflamed, depressed and heavy. Daily joy leads to better health. How can we bring more joy into our lives, attaining it regularly?

I have found many nuggets that have helped me move into a state of joy more often, in the ancient science of Ayurveda. Ayurveda is a body of knowledge that can be applied in our lives in conjunction with our current medical plan, religion, or system of belief. If one chooses to apply aspects of Ayurveda, one does not need to forsake modern medicine. It is not an invitation to throw all your medicines or doctor’s advice out the window. Rather, it is an extremely useful treasure trove of wisdom that can complement your current beliefs, while deepening your health.

Ayurveda was born in India thousands of years ago. It is the ‘Science of Life’ derived by sages who devoted their lives to discovering this way of viewing the natural world and our relationship to it. It is timeless wisdom, as the basic human needs, such as nutrition and rest, are the same as they were five thousand years ago.

Maya Tiwari, a contemporary author and practitioner of Ayurveda, was able to heal herself from cancer utilizing a combination of western medicine and Ayurveda. She writes, “Our vital tissues are created from the same five elements that created the seasons and their rhythms; we share a symbiotic nature with the earth, created as we are from the same cosmic blueprint of memory, energy and rhythm.”

And so, we as human beings have been created from the same elements that we see all around us in the natural world. 75% of our body is water. Our enzymes are like fire, metabolizing matter into usable ash. Our lungs draw in air, and the motion of air circulates throughout us. Much of our body is simply empty space; in each atom is a bit of matter, and a lot of space. Our flesh and bones are like the rocky earth of the body. The five elements in nature are earth, water, fire, air and space; according to Ayurveda, we are made of these same elements, and they comprise our bodies in unique combinations.

How does all of this relate to joy? In future posts, I will refer back to this concept as I offer practices and foods that contribute to well-being and the capacity to live joyfully.

For now, if we allow the concept  of the five elements to sink in, we realize that we are totally connected to the environment around us. When we live life from this connected place, the world begins to open up in a new and exciting way. The change of the seasons is a wonder to witness, especially when we understand that our bodies also morph and change seasonally. As we harness the natural rhythms, we access greater health and joy.

Like the energetic pull of the moon affecting the ocean tides,  the rhythms of nature affect the elements within our own bodies. As we learn to live in balance, we attain a state of wholeness. When we are whole, we see the world clearly and joy is right at our fingertips.

Although there is much suffering in this world, there is also much beauty. When our vantage point shifts into one of true health, we not only see this beauty, we add to it.

Autumn: The Season of Soup and Spice

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I love this time of year in the Northern hemisphere: as the wind grows cooler and the leaves become tinged with the colors of warmth, the Crock pot reappears on my counter, diffusing the scent of spice and delight into the air.

One year ago I was in the middle of my elimination cleanse. After a lifetime of eating a gluten and sugar-rich diet, I constructed my cleanse over the course of a year. Gentle makes sense to me, when dealing with an issue as sensitive as what we eat. Everything we ingest goes through the process by which our cells are built – they regenerate, on average, every seven years. This regeneration process is constant, and the very fabric of our bodies – the cells- are fed by the nutrients extracted from what we eat.

And so, changing our diet, means we are changing ourselves. This metamorphosis requires much support.

In September of 2014 I eliminated practically everything from my diet, including: gluten, sugar, processed foods of any kind- only whole foods were allowed, meaning only ingredient lists of one ingredient.  Recipes such as the one offered here, were allowed, because they were homemade using whole ingredients -no store bought sauces or spice blends.

Soups felt like life-savers.  The healing properties in this soup fortified my weakened small intestine and made me stronger than I have been in many, many years. Allergies, autoimmune conditions, fatigue and thyroid disorders will all be pacified when the gut is strong. Thus, this soup is a powerhouse of healing.

Using homemade bone broth for the stock is where you get the deepest healing value. Slow cooking animal bones extracts minerals that are rejuvenating for our digestive system, cells, and connective tissue. The collagen in the broth literally heals us, from the inside out.

Turmeric is a natural anti-inflammatory. Cooking it on low heat with the ghee releases the healing properties of this amazing spice. Cinnamon, while adding flavor perfect for this season, also has the power to bust through candida, and kill it. (Candida is out-of-control sugar in the gut- a problem many of us in today’s world face.)

So, put your music on, light your scented candle and savor the Autumn season with this healing soup.

Bone Broth

Ingredients:

4 or 5 beef neck bones – make sure the beef is grass fed

9 cups filtered water

1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar

1 tablespoon salt

Directions:

Heat oven to 350. Place bones on a glass baking dish and bake them for 30 minutes to extract flavor. Place roasted bones into a large soup pot. Pour water over the bones. Add the apple cider vinegar – this helps extract the minerals from the bones. Bring pot to a boil. After five minutes of boiling, turn the heat to low and add salt. Allow the bones to cook on low for around 20 hours. You can also use a Crock pot for this process.

Autumn Healing Soup

Ingredients:

1 large butternut squash

2 organic sweet onions

3 tablespoons organic ghee

1 tablespoon organic turmeric

2 cups homemade beef broth

1 can organic coconut milk

2 tablespoons and 1 teaspoon organic cinammon

1 tablespoon sea salt

Directions:

Peel and cube the squash. Steam the squash until easily pierced with a fork. Meanwhile, cut onions into long slices. Warm ghee in a frying pan (cast iron is the best) and add the turmeric. Warm the ghee and turmeric over a low heat, stirring. When they are blended into a paste, add the onions. Cook onions on low until they are translucent and soft. Place the softened squash, the onions and the broth into a food processor or high-powered blender and puree until smooth. Place this puree into a Crock pot. Add coconut milk, cinnamon and salt and mix well. Simmer the soup on low for three or four hours.

Enjoy, and be healed!

To Calm Inflammation and Relieve Stress

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I just listened to a talk by Dr. Datis Kharrazian. Have you heard of him? He is a genius, and he seems to genuinely care about helping people with autoimmune disorders. He researches extensively, as well as maintaining a private practice.

Today he said that “Stress is a powerful immune triggering event.” This is an extremely important statement. He talked about environment, relationships and thoughts, as potential stress inducers. And he kept reiterating how real the stress/autoimmune connection is, and that it is now proven scientifically. That’s right, it is proven that stress causes a chemical reaction in the body that turns on, and turns up, autoimmunity. When we consider how much stress people are under in today’s world, that becomes a big wow statement.

I believe that lifestyle choices are the most important aspect in treating inflammatory issues, including autoimmunity.

And so, even though I still take my thyroid hormone prescribed by my doctor, because my thyroid gland is sluggish and I need that extra boost, I feel 100% better now than I did one year ago, even though I had been on this prescription for nine months at that time. This is because the factor that makes us feel the worst is the actual autoimmune mechanism itself, which is in no way affected by the hormone replacement. We can take that little pill, and get a boost in our thyroid hormone, which will definitely help us to feel better – provided we are converting and absorbing said pill, which is a subject for another post. However, it is impossible to achieve true healing and wellness unless we calm the autoimmune reaction and the inflammation.

This is where lifestyle comes in. The human body is so amazing; it is delicate, yet strong and resilient. When we are sick, we feel it; we are tired, in pain, irritable, joyless. And when we are well, the good feeling extends into every layer of our being. Our cells seem to dance with life, we have passion. We are more aware, more conscious, and even more spiritual. Taking care of our bodies is paramount – we only get one. I love the saying by Mae West, “You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough.” In order to ‘do it right’, we must be well!

Dr. K. talked about how when there is inflammation in the body, the most vulnerable tissue is that of the brain. Let that sink in for a moment, and then ask yourself, “is it important to calm the inflammation in my body?”

When asked for tips to keep our brains healthy, he again referred to stress management. He talked about ‘facing the problems in your head.’ That is also a subject for another post, as Ayurveda has excellent remedies for anxiety. Exercise, Dr. K. recommended. But, If you are really tired and worn out, this can be easier said than done.

One key vitamin that people with autoimmunity consistently lack enough of, is Vitamin D. Supplementing with a good vitamin D3 is very helpful. But, the best source of vitamin D comes to us in the form of sunlight. On the next sunny day, I invite you to go outside, and take a walk. Just walk right out your door and go around the block or down the road. Feel the light on your face, and know that the full spectrum of light is reaching into your very cells and healing them. Walk far enough that your heart gets pumping a little. This simple activity can change our lives!

If you are already a walker, hiker, biker or runner, that is fabulous. If you have autoimmunity, though, be careful not to over do it, as too much exercise can tax the adrenals, which in turn affects the thyroid. Allow your exercise to be nurturing.

A good walk or hike in the sun is some of the best medicine out there! If we can walk in nature, all the better, as the fresh air is wonderful for us. It is the simple things that bring about deep and lasting healing.

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When the Light Shines

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After I was diagnosed with the autoimmune disorder, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, I went through a dark time. It was depressing to try to accept that the lack of energy and brain fog I had been experiencing for almost a year would never go away. Not to mention the horrible hives that covered my skin every morning and evening that had not abated, even after being treated for this condition.

As a person who loves yoga, and understands the value of accepting things as they are, I was frustrated because something within my spirit refused to allow me to accept THIS.

I was so tired. I remember looking at the clock to see that it was 9 am, after getting my little girl off to school, and being totally overwhelmed. 9 am? But, I’m ready for bedtime NOW. You mean I have to make it through at least twelve more hours? The thought was daunting.

It was impossible to explain this to the people in my life. As they had nothing to relate it to in their own experience, I held my tongue, not interested in coming off as lazy on top of everything else. I knew I wasn’t lazy – just TIRED. There is a profound difference.

When I decided that I was not going to accept this state of being – NO WAY – I began researching and learning. As I empowered myself with understanding, it became clear what I had to do. I developed a year-long program to heal myself, because the more I learned about autoimmunity, the more I realized that it would take a year to heal. That the layers of complexity involved would take time to unravel, was clear. The body is remarkable and intricate, a puzzle to solve.

As I gained momentum in my year to heal, the darkness parted and the light shined through. It is amazing how when the light shines into a dark place in our lives, it is more beautiful than we have ever seen it: the brightness in such contrast to the denseness that it pierces, its triumph is invigorating.

As I emerged from the cloud of fatigue I was transformed. As I embraced a year to heal – even though it was hard work – my entire being was renewed. And so, the sickness becomes the catalyst for the greatest growth. If you are tired or sick or sorrowful, know this:

“Out of suffering have emerged the strongest souls.

The most massive characters are seared with scars.”

   ~Khalil Gabrin

Once I was well past the overwhelming fatigue, the hives and the despair, and the light had shined into my life, I began to realize: this light has come from a place beyond the ordinary. There is more to it than can be understood with the intellect, or comprehended with the brain. This beautiful mystery is captivating, and gives life a feeling of underlying excitement. To discover the nature of this light is motivating, and engages us beyond our usual senses, carrying us into a state of wonder and aliveness.

“Sunlight fell upon the wall; the wall received a borrowed splendor.

Why set your heart on a piece of earth, O simple one?

Seek out the Source which shines forever.”

    ~Rumi

“Let thy Food be thy Medicine”

In Ayurvedic thought, the root of all disease lies in the digestive tract; faulty digestion leads to the buildup of a toxic sludge in the intestines, that eventually leaks into the blood and other bodily systems. Interestingly, this was the same line of thought taken by the father of modern western medicine, Hippocrates. Hippocrates was born in 460 BC on the Greek isle of Cos. Being among the first physicians to contend that disease was not in fact inflicted directly by God, but rather was the result of natural causes, beginning with poor digestion, Hippocrates was a thought pioneer. Thus, his famous quote “Let thy food be thy medicine.”

Ayurveda offers the same advice.

In order to practice this form of medicine, a person must bring awareness to the process of cooking. The recipe I created for this article includes steps beyond the usual chopping and cooking. At first glance this may seem a lengthy process – but the process is part of the medicine. As we use cooking as a time to relax and unwind, the time taken for oneself becomes a healing practice.

The first step in this recipe is obtaining the food. I went to my local Farmer’s Market last Saturday. Ambling through the white tents, letting my eyes feast on the abundance of fresh fruits and vegetables, inhaling the scents, was a healing experience in and of itself. My kids also enjoyed it!

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We bought fat nectarines and sat on chairs, listening to live music – a quartet playing traditional Scottish, folk music – as juice from the fruits ran down our chins and the sun shined on our faces. I took home a basket of vegetables that was comforting just to look at.

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This experience was medicine. If you have access to a Farmer’s Market – use it. Otherwise, finding a place to buy organic vegetables and spices is crucial. At first you may feel as if you’re spending a bit more money on food, but you will save that cash in co-pays for doctor’s visits down the road.

When you are home and ready to begin cooking, take a moment to prepare your space. Turn on some of your favorite music that is both soothing and energizing to you. Perhaps light a scented candle. Lay out all the ingredients on the list, so that everything is at your fingertips. Work with a nice, sharp knife. If you don’t have a decent chef’s knife, buying one is a good investment. It is important that the preparation of your food is pleasurable.

As you chop vegetables, take this opportunity to find the rhythm of your breath. In our hectic modern lives, this practice is easily forgotten. Cooking is the perfect time to cultivate a breath of ease: deep and smooth. Chop and slice with awareness. Rein in your wondering mind; the bills can wait, as can the to-do lists. This is YOUR time. Hold your attention steady. Notice the amazing purple of the beets as you slice into them. Inhale the scent of the simmering spices as you stir. Allow time to slow down as you notice ONLY this moment.

The recipe calls for making your own spice paste, something I will continue to offer in articles on this site. While it is easier to purchase already mixed spices pastes, it is well worth making your own, whenever you feel in the mood to do so. Thus, you are ensure that no added yucky-ness or fillers are in you paste. In addition, it is a healing experience to stir your spices, inhaling the aroma as you go. The herbs and spices we use in the recipes on A Year To Heal, are truly medicinal.

For example, coriander seeds are a powerhouse of nutrition. The oils within these little seeds are FULL of minerals including iron, magnesium, selenium and zinc. Minerals are sorely lacking in the standard, modern diet. This may seem insignificant, but allow me to assure you, it IS NOT. Hashimoto’s is associated with mineral deficiency. The body needs minerals such as selenium and zinc to produce thyroid hormone, which affects every cell in the body. Minerals are essential to good health. Coriander seeds also provide oil that aids in smooth functioning of the liver and the bowels. They also contain anti-histamine properties, staving off the dreaded anaphylaxis, as well as hives. Yes, these little seeds are medicine. As are the leaves of their plant, which is cilantro. Cilantro is a true super food, with the ability to bind to heavy metals in our bodies (in today’s world, we have no shortage of those) and usher them out. Thank you, cilantro!

I will discuss other spices and their healing properties in future articles.

For now, let’s get cooking. And once you are sitting to eat, remember to enjoy your food, chewing thoroughly. As you dine, save discussions about worrisome subjects for another time. Ingesting this meal is a time to relax and enjoy. Sink into the moment, relish the food, and the sensation of nourishing yourself. You are alive, and life is good!

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INGREDIENTS

4 Tablespoons ghee (clarified butter – can be found at a health food store or ordered online)

1 Tablespoon coriander seeds

1/2 Tablespoon cumin powder

1/2 Tablespoon turmeric powder

1/2 Tablespoon sea salt

1 Tablespoon finely chopped, fresh, ginger root

1 clove garlic chopped

1 can of pure coconut milk

2 or 3 beets, chopped into cubes

2 or 3 carrots, chopped into wheels

2 large yams, chopped into cubes

1 sweet onion, sliced along the natural lines of the onion, so that they are long and slightly curved

Half a cup of fresh cilantro leaf

1 cup cooked Basmati rice (soaking the rice for 4 to 6 hours prior to cooking it makes it easier to digest. Drain the water                    you soaked it in before cooking. If you are on autoimmune paleo diet, skip the rice of course)

To Prepare:

Chop all your vegetables. Place the potatoes and beets in a steamer, and begin steaming. After about five minutes of active steaming, add the carrots. Prepare your rice, and put it on to cook. In a cast iron frying pan (or whatever you use – Teflon not recommended), heat the ghee on low heat. Add the coriander seeds and stir. When the seeds begin to pop, add the cumin and turmeric and continue stirring. When the paste has blended (you will still see the seeds, but the spices will look blended), add the onions, ginger and garlic. Continue to stir. When the onions look translucent, add the coconut milk and salt, and stir well. Now, add the steamed veggie mix. Stir everything together. Let this simmer on a medium-low heat for around fifteen minutes. You will know it is done when the beets are easily pierced with a fork, and the coconut milk and potatoes have taken on a vibrant color. Place the rice in the center of your plate, and pour your creation over the top, adding the fresh cilantro at the last moment.

Enjoy, and allow your food to be your medicine!

Conventional medicine and Ayurveda work together

As I study to earn my certificate in Ayurveda lifestyle consulting, I am continually amazed at the vastness of this ancient science. There is so much to learn and share from Ayurveda. This wisdom comes to us from at least five thousand years ago in India – one of the cradles of humanity. When earning my bachelor’s degree in Anthropology, I studied ancient India and have been fascinated with this culture ever since. Modern India is much different than the time when Ayurveda was born. Thousand of years ago in India a mystical and fascinating culture existed – it seems as if the people had a direct line to divine wisdom. We are lucky that we still have access to some of this wisdom, as it has been handed down through the centuries, despite various periods of suppression.

The principles of the system of healing that is Ayurveda are gentle and non-invasive. A lot of the practices are lifestyle oriented, and can be used preventively, before any disease takes root in the body. However, Ayurveda also offers support if you are currently dealing with a disease.

This doesn’t mean that Conventional, American medicine has no place. I take a small dose of a thyroid hormone replacement, because my thyroid gland is sluggish due to Hashimoto’s. This pharmaceutical has greatly improved my quality of life as it offers support to my body. I have reduced my dosage, though, as I’ve embraced Ayurveda in my daily life. I also believe that the healing practices I am learning will save me from having to take more and more medicines down the line. As I care for each system in my body, I am preventing further breakdowns. This is possible for everyone to accomplish.

This doesn’t mean we need to throw all our meds out the window. Rather we can be grateful for them, and for the advances in medicine our culture has produced.

Ayurveda works beautifully in conjunction with conventional medicine, offering us an opportunity to feel truly well. It is all about balance. The most important thing is to empower ourselves with knowledge about how the body works, so that we can take our healing – or preventative – journey into our own hands. From there, we can tailor our lifestyle so that we feel as good, and clear as possible.

Healing is a journey. As we progress along the path, we may find we can reduce the dosages of our meds, as I have done with my thyroid hormone. I also have been able to eliminate Benadryl and anxiety reducing medicine through following a healing protocol, so that I now only take the one medication. Everyone can achieve similar results, over time. This does take work. And just like any good work, the rewards are satisfying and real.

Ayurveda recommends lifestyle modifications in every area. As I learn more and more, I will continue to share here. Healing, learning and sharing are my passion. Every person deserves wellness. As we heal individually, we elevate the state of humanity as a whole.

Swimming toward the light

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The past couple of years have been transformational.

In January of 2014 I was diagnosed with the autoimmune condition, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. This diagnosis came as quite a shock.

The frustrating part was that, even after following my doctor’s advice perfectly, by August of 2014, I was still dealing with the daily hives that had plagued my life for over a year. These red welts appeared all over my skin in the morning – every single day. This picture of my shoulder gives you an idea of what they looked like. They would pop up on different places on my skin. The worst was when they covered my neck, those grew the most inflamed and the feeling was most uncomfortable.

The hives would slowly subside after I took a Benadryl, only to make a comeback in the afternoon or evening. And no one had any answers aside from ‘take more Benadryl’. It was like an unsolvable mystery.

This was a very challenging experience. I felt like I had no understanding of my own body, like it was betraying me. Normally in life, if someone betrays us, we leave them. But how do you leave your own body? You don’t.

Prior to all this, I had been a very healthy and happy person. But, red welts all over your skin every day are a sure road to lack of energy (I’m positive the Benadryl was not helping in this department) and depression.

I refused to accept this life. Empowering myself with knowledge about how my body actually works has been a fascinating journey. I had to reach deep into myself to find the energy to continue learning, and believing that I could affect my own health. Even though I was exhausted from the hives, Benadryl and autoimmunity, and at times I felt like I was drowning, I just kept swimming up, toward the light. As I learned how the body works and how it can break down, I added layers of healing into my daily practice. After a year and a half of this swimming upward, I feel as though I have plunged through the surface and the sun shines on my face – finally.

I am not drowning. I am stronger than ever.

And the journey continues – my passion for learning about the body has only grown. Implementing my new knowledge has lead me to a place of true health and vitality. I feel better today, at forty-years old, than I have since I was in my mid-twenties.

It is amazing how life unfolds. I never expected that this would happen to me. This experience has deepened me, and I am grateful for it.

However, for the first eight months after the diagnosis, I did NOT feel grateful! During those months I felt lost and betrayed by my own body. Depression settled over me as I considered the fact that I may be declining into worse and worse health, since doctors say that one autoimmune disorder often leads to others.

But then, in September 2014, a miracle occurred. The culmination of the work I had been doing since I had been diagnosed was reached. I had been sugar and processed food-free for nine months, gluten-free for four, and dairy-free for three. I did a 30 day hiatus from red wine (something I typically drink a couple of times a week). I ate whole, organic foods and drank my bone broth (see previous post for recipe and description). I practiced meditation and positive affirmations.

Halfway through September, my hives disappeared. One morning I woke up with a feeling of freedom. No red welts. Over the next few weeks the feeling of freedom blossomed. The hives were totally gone. I felt healthy – for the first time in over a year.

With all the books and articles I have read, and online seminars on autoimmunity I have attended, I now have a clear understanding of how my healing occurred. The picture has grown clearer and clearer. I will continue to explain this phenomena, and others related to health, on this blog.

I am a pretty private person, and it is somewhat difficult for me to share all of this. It’s just that lately, I have been feeling that through sharing what I went through, I may somehow serve. In a world where many people are suffering, it is time to lift one another up in encouragement. It is time to share our stories and together, move toward healing.

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