Natural Lifestyle Changes for Autoimmune Disease

I was diagnosed several years ago with autoimmune disease that mainly affects my thyroid, joints and occasionally, my skin. I have a wonderful doctor, who tested me for food sensitivities,  which gave me the knowledge of what foods I should be avoiding and which supplements I should be taking. Sticking to the prescribed protocol helped quite a bit, but after several years, of following the diet and supplement protocol, I was still having more pain and low energy than I thought I would at that point.

Ok, sometimes, I “fell off the wagon” and indulged in some the “bad” (for me) foods.Pilates Pie and lattes But, no guilt for me; I’d get right back to my healthy eating, and still, I wasn’t feeling as good as I thought I would.

I had almost resigned myself to feeling just a little bit better, but never feeling really good, when I came across a super-food I had never heard of called Micronized Purple Rice. And THAT was the turning point for me!

I added it to my daily routine, three times a day with lots of water. I was actually surprised to find my pain diminished down to almost zero and my energy increased, even on days when I “fell off the wagon” of good-for-me foods!  stumbleBecause I was feeling so much better, I was inspired to start exercising more, and stay “on the wagon” of good-for-me foods, because, I thought, “My health could be improve even more!” And I was right. When I stick to the good-for-me foods and avoid the “bad”, and increase my physical activity, I feel encouraged and actually…pretty great.

So now, no matter what I do, or what I add to my health and fitness protocol,paulas-purple-rice-hidden-pxp-label   Paula’s Micronized Purple Rice will always be the FOUNDATION I build on.  It infuses the heart of my cells with it’s own super-food nutrients, lighting up the mitochondria. Plus it acts as a “transport system” for any other supplements I might take, increasing their effectiveness, and helps in pushing out toxins. 


Without Micronized Purple Rice                           WITH Micronized Purple Rice


Paula’s Micronized Purple Rice will always be a part of my daily routine, 2 or 3 times a day with lots of water and lots of HOPE for a healthier and more active lifestyle! 

That being said, here is a re-blog of a very informative article by Dr. Myers that grabbed my attention, edited a bit to make it more “bite-sized” :

Autoimmune diseases have become a huge health burden. They’re now estimated to impact over 24 million Americans, or between five to eight percent of the population. In fact, more than 80 diseases have been classified as autoimmune, and the list continues to grow. That includes conditions like rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, multiple sclerosis, psoriasis, Celiac disease, and thyroid disease. They often involve hard-to-classify syndromes like inflammation, pain, swelling, and misery. 100autoimmune

Autoimmunity occurs when your immune system—your body’s defense against invaders—becomes confused. In other words, your body is fighting something, whether that’s infections, toxins, allergens, or a stress response. But somehow, that immune army can’t distinguish friend from foe. Your own tissue gets caught in friendly crossfire, and your joints, brain, skin, and sometimes your whole body become casualties.

Typically, drugs are used to address autoimmune diseases. In many cases, they are lifesaving and help people get their lives back. Still, they can also come with adverse effects.

I believe there’s a better way to deal with autoimmune conditions. The problem with conventional medicine is we don’t ask one simple questions: Why is the body out of balance and how do we help it regain balance?

Conventional medicine often addresses autoimmune disease with powerful immune-suppressing medication rather than searching for the cause. That’s like taking a lot of aspirin while we stand on a tack. The treatment is not more aspirin or a strong immune suppressant, but removing the tack.

Instead, I look for underlying causes. This approach, called functional medicine, is a fundamentally different way of solving medical problems, one that allows us to decipher the origins of illness and identify the disturbances in biology that lead to symptoms.

I believe that when you identify the underlying sources of inflammation, you can heal the body. These might include stress, hidden infections, food allergies or sensitivities, toxic exposure, genetic predisposition, nutrient deficiencies, and leaky gut.

Finding and eliminating the root cause of autoimmune diseases requires detective work, trial and error, and patience—but the results are worth it.

Here are nine strategies I typically implement with my patients looking to find the root of their problem:

  1. Eat a whole food, anti-inflammatory diet.

Focus on anti-inflammatory foods like omega-3 wild fish, leafy greens and turmeric, and avoid inflammatory foods, such as gluten, sugar and corn oils.

  1. Look for hidden infections.

These include yeast, viruses, bacteria, and Lyme. A functional-medicine practitioner can help you identify and eliminate these infections.

  1. Get tested for celiac disease and hidden food allergies.

Your doctor can use a blood test to help diagnose celiac disease, which occurs when your body has an immune reaction to eating gluten. 

A functional-medicine practitioner can also look for hidden food allergies, like soy or dairy, with IgG food testing.

  1. Get checked for heavy metal toxicity.

Mercury and other metals can be a risk factor for autoimmunity. 

  1. Fix the gut.

About 60 to 70 percent of your immune system lies right under the one-cell-layer-thick lining of our gut. If this surface breaks down, your immune system will get activated and start reacting to foods, toxins, and bugs in your gut.

The easiest way to begin healing your gut involves eating a whole food, anti-inflammatory diet and removing gluten and other food sensitivities.

  1. Implement supplements.

Nutrients like fish oil, vitamin C, vitamin D, and probiotics can help calm your immune response naturally. Also consider anti-inflammatory nutrients like quercetin, grapeseed extract, and rutin.

PaulasPurpleRice cover photo

  1. Exercise regularly.

Consistent exercise is a natural anti-inflammatory. You don’t necessarily need to go to the gym, run on a treadmill, or pump iron to stay in shape. Just start moving around more, use your body more, and have fun.

  1. Practice deep relaxation.

Stress worsens your immune response. Calming techniques including yoga, deep breathing, and massage can reduce stress and anxiety to promote relaxation.

  1. Sleep eight hours every night.

Lack of sleep, or poor sleep, can damage your metabolism, cause cravings for sugar and carbs, make us eat more, and drive up our risk of numerous conditions from diabetes to autoimmune disease. Sleeping well is essential for vibrant health and reversing inflammation.

What should you do if you suspect you have an autoimmune disease?

If you suspect that you have an autoimmune disease, the most important steps to stopping and reversing your disease and symptoms are to identify and then to treat the underlying cause. Conventional doctors only treat the symptoms of autoimmune diseases; they don’t look to find the root cause. Often, they prescribe medications such as anti-inflammatory drugs, steroids, or immunosuppressants. All of these treatments fail to address the underlying cause of the autoimmune condition in the first place and, while they may be effective in the short term, they are not a long-term solution. Treatments involving immunosuppressant drugs increase the risk of severe infections and cancer when taken for long periods of time.

Identifying which autoimmune disease is affecting you can be a difficult process. Symptoms may be vague, and autoimmune diseases can present themselves in so many different ways, affecting the thyroid, the brain, the skin, or other organs. Working closely with a functional medicine physician to review your family medical history, understanding your risk factors for infections, food sensitivities and toxins, as well as listening to you closely to discover how all of your symptoms are related is an essential part of getting well. A functional medicine physician will help to narrow down which labs they recommend in order to help find the root cause of your condition.

What is my approach to treating and reversing autoimmune diseases?

My approach to a patient who has a known or suspected autoimmune disease is to immediately place them on a comprehensive elimination diet to remove the top twelve inflammatory foods. I also recommend that they remove all grain and legumes from their diet if they think they can. Lectins in grains and legumes have been implicated in autoimmune diseases.

I order comprehensive testing to look at levels of good bacteria, check for infections and leaky gut. I then apply a functional medicine approach to healing the gut. This is essential! More than 80% of your immune system is in your gut. If you have an autoimmune disease, then by definition you have a leaky gut that needs to be repaired, otherwise you won’t be able to reverse your condition.glutenfree food wordsI check blood levels for various antibodies and look for hidden or underlying infections.

After I’ve done all of this, if the symptoms have not completely resolved I look for hidden toxins like mercury and mycotoxins. If we find heavy metals, I often will place the patient on oral chelation treatment. If we find mycotoxins, I have the patient remediate their home.

I know from personal experience how overwhelming, confusing and scary a diagnosis of an autoimmune disease can be. I also know that conventional medicine only offers treatment of the symptoms, not a real solution to the disease.

I urge you to find a functional medicine physician in your area to help you get to the root cause of your illness and to help you reverse your disease. It can be done.

The incidence of autoimmune disease has skyrocketed over the past few decades: more than 700 million people around the world are now affected. Unfortunately, conventional treatment has little to offer in most cases. Find out how simple dietary changes could help prevent—and even reverse—these debilitating and life-changing conditions.veggies




In my work with patients, I use a three-pronged approach to treating autoimmune disease with a nutrient-dense, Paleo diet. This includes:

  1. Removing foods that may trigger or exacerbate an immune response. The best starting place for most patients is an autoimmune version of the Paleo diet, which follows the typical Paleo guidelines but also removes eggs and nightshade plants.
  2. Increasing intake of nutrients that promote optimal immune function. These include glutathione, selenium, zinc, vitamin D, vitamin A, and EPA and DHA, which are all well-represented in a Paleo-type diet.
  3. Increasing intake of foods that support a healthy gut microbiota. These include fermentable fibers that feed the beneficial bacteria, and fermented foods that contain the beneficial bacteria themselves
  4. Of course, lifestyle modification is also crucial for people with autoimmune disease. This includes exercise (the right kinds, and the right amount), sun exposure, stress management, sleep, and pleasure and social connection. snoopy

I’ve seen miraculous results using these methods in my practice, even with patients with very serious autoimmune conditions.




As always, check with your doctor before starting or stopping any new treatment plan—including what I’ve suggested in this article. This is not intended to be medical advice, and is not a substitute for being under the care of a physician.


This is the user’s individual experience.  It does not reflect any claims made by the product’s manufacturer and is not supported by any scientific studies.
These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. If you are pregnant, nursing, taking medication, or have a medical condition, consult your physician before using this product.

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