Paleo AIP Recipe Roundtable #122

Paleo AIP Recipe Roundtable #122 | Phoenix Helix

“Pull up a chair. Take a taste. Come join us. Life is so endlessly delicious.” ~ Ruth Reichl

Welcome to the Paleo AIP Recipe Roundtable!

If you’re not familiar with the paleo autoimmune protocol (AIP), check out my series of articles. In a nutshell, it’s an elimination diet, designed to help people with autoimmune disease identify food intolerances. When you’re on the protocol, it can be hard to find recipes, because so many food groups are excluded. This recipe roundtable is here to help! Continue reading

Episode 45: Social Lives on the Paleo Autoimmune Protocol

Episode 45 of the Phoenix Helix Podcast: Social Lives on the AIP

Adapting Your Social Life to Your Healing Diet

In cultures around the world, we gather together over food: we have dinner dates, drinks with friends, favorite festivals, and big family meals at our grandparents’ house. What happens when we can’t eat that food any more? Some people make the mistake of giving up their social life altogether because they simply don’t know how to manage it. Today, I have 3 experienced AIP-ers on the podcast to share their experience and advice for having a full and fun social life while still staying true to your healing diet. It can be done!

Episode 45 of the Phoenix Helix Podcast: Social Lives on the AIP Continue reading

Where Do Natural Sugars Fit on a Healing Diet?

Where Do Natural Sugars Fit on a Healing Diet | Phoenix Helix

“There is no food neutral; there is no food Switzerland—every single thing you put in your mouth is either making you more healthy or less healthy.” ~ Melissa Hartwig

Paleo Cupcakes, Cookies and Pies, Oh My!

Treats are a point of controversy in the paleo community. Some people point out that our ancestors never baked and had limited access to sugar, natural or otherwise. Others say that if paleo is designed to be a diet for life, we need it to be sustainable in modern life, and some days we just want a cookie. So, who is right? In the autoimmune community, this is an even more important question. We aren’t following paleo to simply optimize good health; we’re trying to reverse autoimmune disease, which is infinitely harder. The truth is, our bodies behave very differently than those without autoimmune disease, and sugar can have a bigger impact on our system than the general population. So, let’s look at all aspects of this question. Continue reading

Episode 44: The Art of Stress Management with Evan Brand

Episode 44 of the Phoenix Helix Podcast: The Art of Stress Management with Evan Brand

When You Can’t Avoid Stress, How Well Do You Manage It?

Stress is intimately connected to autoimmune expression. Many of you have experienced this yourself, when a high-stress situation kicked off an autoimmune flare – or even an autoimmune diagnosis. While we can take steps to strive for a lower-stress life, the truth is that part of life is experiencing tough times. Whether it’s aging parents, troubled teens, the loss of a job, the loss of a relationship, the death of someone we love, or our own autoimmune struggles, we can’t avoid stress altogether. So, that means we need to have tools to manage that stress so that it doesn’t negatively impact our health. That’s what today’s show is all about.

Evan Brand is a functional medicine practitioner and the author of the book, Stress Solutions. Here’s here to teach us how to take care of ourselves through the ups and downs of living.

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How to Find a Good Functional Medicine Practitioner

How to Find a Good Functional Medicine Practitioner | Phoenix Helix

“Of several remedies, the physician should choose the least sensational.” ~ Hippocrates

Not Every Practitioner Is Helpful

When it comes to reversing autoimmune disease, diet and lifestyle are the foundation, but when you hit a plateau it makes sense to seek help. The problem is that not all practitioners are created equal. So how do you find a good one? When you’re about to make a large investment of your money and time in trying to heal, you want to find a guide who can truly help. In this article, I share my best advice for finding the right person to add to your healthcare team. Disclaimer: I am not a healthcare practitioner myself. I’m just a woman with autoimmune disease on a healing journey similar to your own. My advice comes from my personal experience, interviews with excellent practitioners, and also speaking with hundreds of people with autoimmune disease and seeing what has and hasn’t worked for the community at large. Continue reading

Episode 43: Never Too Late! Healing Diets Over Age 60

Episode 43 of the Phoenix Helix Podcast: Never Too Late! Healing Diets Over Age 60

Reclaiming Health At Any Age

One of the tragedies of modern life is the belief that health is meant to decline as we age, and there’s nothing we can do about it. On today’s show, I have 3 guests proving otherwise. They all transitioned to a healing diet after the age of 60 and saw a dramatic improvement in their health. They hope to inspire others in their age group (or any age) to do the same!

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Is Massage Therapy Beneficial for People with Autoimmune Disease?

Is Massage Therapy Beneficial for People with Autoimmune Disease? | Phoenix Helix

“Massage has had a positive effect on every medical condition we’ve looked at.” ~ Dr. Tiffany Field, Director of the Touch Research Institute

What Does the Research Say?

The Touch Research Institute (TRI) at the University of Miami School of Medicine, has been studying the benefits of massage therapy since 1992 on a variety of health conditions. The most common benefits they have found are a reduction in pain, tension, anxiety, depression, blood pressure and cortisol levels (our stress hormone). Massage therapy also increases dopamine (the pleasure hormone). That’s a pretty impressive list. Already you can see how massage might alleviate symptoms common across many autoimmune diagnoses. But TRI also did some studies specific to certain health conditions:

  • For children with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, massage decreased anxiety, pain and cortisol levels.
  • For adults with rheumatoid arthritis, massage decreased pain, improved grip strength and increased joint range of motion.
  • For people with multiple sclerosis, massage lowered anxiety, depression and pain, while improving balance, walking speed, body image, and function.
  • For people with fibromyalgia, massage lowered depression, anxiety, pain, stiffness, fatigue and cortisol levels, while simultaneously improving sleep.
  • TRI also conducted a study into the effect of massage therapy on the inflammatory cytokines interleukin-6 (IL-6) and tumor necrosis factor-a (TNF-a). If that suddenly sounded like a foreign language to you, all you need to know is that both IL-6 and TNF-a are often involved in autoimmune disease. They increase inflammation and overstimulate our immune system. In fact, many immunosuppressant drugs target these pathways as a way to treat autoimmune disease. For example, Remicade suppresses TNF-a, and Actemra suppresses IL-6. It turns out massage therapy also has a suppressive effect on TNF-a and IL-6.
  • You can find all of these studies on TRI’s website.

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Episode 42: Infections and Autoimmunity with Dr. Michael Ruscio

Episode 42 of the Phoenix Helix Podcast: Infections and Autoimmunity with Dr. Michael Ruscio

Infections as Roadblocks to Healing

If you have been doing the paleo autoimmune protocol for at least a few months and are NOT seeing results, the first questions I would ask you are whether you are focusing on lifestyle in addition to diet –  Are you getting enough sleep? Are you managing your stress? And when it comes to food, are you committed 100% to the protocol without cheats, and are you making nutrient dense food choices as well?

If you answered yes to all of those questions and you are doing the protocol to the best of your ability yet it doesn’t seem to be working for you, then it’s time to troubleshoot further, and infections can be obstacles to autoimmune healing. So, that’s the topic of our show today. We’ll be talking about which infections are common, which are rare, and how they are each tested and treated.

Dr. Michael Ruscio is a well-respected practitioner in the paleo community. He is a clinician, educator and researcher, specializing in autoimmune disease and digestive health.

Episode 42 of the Phoenix Helix Podcast: Infections and Autoimmunity with Dr. Michael Ruscio Continue reading

Go To Bed Sleep Challenge Review and Giveaway

Go To Be Sleep Challenge Review & Giveaway! | Phoenix Helix

“Sleep is that input to health that we so willingly give up for any other priority, yet it can be the one thing that holds everything else together.” ~ Sarah Ballantyne

Update ~ the Giveaway has Ended

The winner was chosen with a random number generator on 4/15/2016. Congratulations to May! If you didn’t win, don’t despair. You can purchase your own copy of the ebook as well as the amber glasses I’m modeling in the photo below.

How Important Is Sleep?

When it comes to reversing autoimmune disease, most of us focus on diet first and lifestyle second. Sometimes we’re just pacing ourselves, and we can only handle one change at a time. Sometimes our autoimmune symptoms interfere with our ability to sleep, and we need to start feeling better before we are capable of sleeping more. But at some point in our healing journey, sleep needs to become our focus. It is directly connected to inflammation, autoimmune expression, hormone balance, brain function, mental health, cardiovascular health, and weight management. Autoimmune disease often involves problems in all of these areas. If we want to heal, sleep is absolutely essential. This makes sense if you think about. Our body repairs and rebuilds while we sleep. If we don’t give it the time it needs to do this, how can we possibly reclaim our health? Continue reading

Episode 41: EFT with Dr. Anne Merkel

Episode 41 of the Phoenix Helix Podcast: EFT with Dr. Anne Merkel

What Is EFT?

Emotional Freedom Technique, otherwise known as EFT, is a simple technique designed to release emotional blocks to healing. What does that mean? The idea is that no matter what challenges we are experiencing, including chronic illness like autoimmune disease, there is always an emotional component. Long-held blocked emotions make us more vulnerable to disease, and they also make it more difficult for us to heal. In fact, in Episode 21 of this podcast, Dr. Datis Kharrazian said that if we aren’t willing to address our emotions and personal demons, there’s no point changing our diet, because it won’t be enough.

EFT is a psychological acupressure energy technique – it combines tuning into your body with meridian tapping and a verbal set-up statement. I’ll be honest with you – it looks and feels a little silly at first – but it’s very effective and easy to learn.

Today, we have EFT expert, Dr. Anne Merkel, on the podcast to teach us all about it. She has been practicing EFT and other forms of energy psychology for the past 25 years, and her specialty is autoimmune disease.

Episode 41 of the Phoenix Helix Podcast: EFT with Dr. Anne Merkel
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