Lifestyle

Food is medicine, but it doesn’t work in isolation. Lifestyle choices matter just as much! Below you’ll find multiple ways to choose an anti-inflammatory lifestyle. You can also quickly browse by resource type: articles and podcasts. Not sure where to begin? Start here.

31 Days of Holiday Self-Care

Some people love the holiday season; others approach it with a sense of dread. Either way, it tends to be a busy time with extra stress, obligations, food temptations, and travel. This can be a recipe for an autoimmune flare, but it doesn’t have to be! I’ve made a list of one simple thing to do each day throughout the month of December. At the bottom of the post, there’s a printable PDF that you can post on your fridge. Happy Holidays!

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Episode 213: Holiday Boundaries & Autoimmune Disease with Dr. Ellen Vora

We tend to notice boundaries most when they’re getting crossed – by other people, or by ourselves. We also notice when we struggle to set them at all. Today, we’re focusing on the holiday season. If you have autoimmune disease, there’s a powerful intersection between your ability to set boundaries and your ability to protect your health. So, we are here to help! In this podcast, we share tips for setting healthy boundaries around food, time, energy, and money. My guest is Dr. Ellen Vora. She is a psychiatrist who takes a functional medicine approach to mental health. I love the way she educates around boundaries, which is why I asked her to be my guest today. She is also the author of the book, Anatomy of Anxiety.

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Episode 212: Morning & Bedtime Routines with Dr. Sybil Cooper

Morning and bedtime routines are a wonderful way to bookend your day, starting and ending it with some joy and self-care. They can also make a big difference in the quality of your sleep. So in today’s podcast, we do a deep dive into the science of circadian rhythms and learn how to create morning and bedtime routines that support autoimmune health. My guest is Dr. Sybil Cooper. She is both an autoimmune warrior and an immunologist. She has a deep understanding of the immune system both personally and professionally. She’s also a health and nutrition coach who helps people create new habits to thrive.

Gentle Detoxifying Baths

More than 80,000 new chemicals have been released since the industrial revolution 150 years ago, and most have never been fully tested for their effects on our health. We are asking our bodies to detoxify far more than they were designed to handle. Yet that doesn’t mean we should start doing aggressive detox cleanses that leave us feeling like we have the flu. It’s easy to overwhelm our detoxification systems when we try to speed them up and push them too hard. In this article, I share simple, effective, detoxifying baths that also make you feel good at the same time. Win-win!

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Episode 209: Preventing Autoimmune Flares

With autoimmune disease, flares are part of the experience, and we cannot prevent every single one. However, that doesn’t mean we’re powerless. Discovering our own flare triggers is a powerful piece of self-knowledge. It can help minimize how often we flare and how severe those flares are. That’s the focus of our discussion today. I’ve invited two other autoimmune warriors to join me. We’ll be sharing our personal flare triggers and how we manage them to live our healthiest lives.

Woman lying in bed with hands over face, clock says 3:41am

Advanced Sleep Troubleshooting for Autoimmune Disease

Autoimmune disease often causes insomnia, and then poor sleep increases autoimmune flares, creating a vicious cycle. In this article, I tackle some of the biggest sleep challenges: pain, anxiety, restless legs syndrome, snoring, hormones, blood sugar imbalances, new parenthood, and more. I also review sleep trackers, sleep supplements, and a special form of therapy that’s more effective than sleeping pills in resolving insomnia.

101 Ways to Treat Yourself That Have Nothing to Do with Food

Most often, if you say the word “treat” people immediately think of sweets. It’s how we reward ourselves for our achievements, and it’s how we soothe ourselves when life is hard. There’s nothing wrong with the occasional sweet treat. They’re delicious! However, if sweets are the only way we treat ourselves, the excess sugar can increase inflammation and even kick off an autoimmune flare. So, I’ve come up with 101 alternate ways to treat ourselves. Thanks to the mind-body connection, these treats can actually decrease inflammation while simultaneously bringing more joy to our lives. That’s my kind of to-do list! I even included a PDF you can print and put on your fridge, for ongoing inspiration!

plugin air freshener with green liquid inside

Do Air Fresheners Pollute the Air?

If you’re someone who unplugs air fresheners anytime you see them, this article will resonate with you. If you’re someone who loves air fresheners and didn’t realize they might be harming your health, this article may surprise you. “Fragrance” isn’t a single ingredient. It’s a chemical formula that can contain up to 100 different chemicals. Many of them are harmful to health, and there is no regulation of this industry. In fact, since fragrance is considered a “trade secret”, the chemicals aren’t listed on the ingredient labels. In this article, I dive deeply into the science and share tips for naturally freshening indoor air instead.

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Episode 197: Parenting with Chronic Illness

Autoimmune disease brings a lot of changes to our lives, and as we all know, it doesn’t just impact us alone. It also impacts those we love – friends, family, and children. Today, I’ve invited three parents with autoimmune disease onto the podcast to talk about their experiences. What has been the most challenging part? How have they adapted as parents? How do they talk to their children about their health? And how have their children grown in response? This is a deeply personal conversation, and I’m so grateful to the guests for sharing. I hope it resonates with every parent listening, and helps you know you’re not alone.

Footprints of a Woman and a Dog on Sand

Can Pets Support Autoimmune Health?

I asked this question of my fellow autoimmune warriors, and their answer was a resounding yes! In this post, I share beautiful photos of people with their pets, alongside their testimonials. I also dive into the research and share what science says about the potential health benefits. In balance, I also honor that there are times when pets aren’t the right choice and I share those circumstances, too.

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Episode 195: Detoxify Your Home with Dr. Aly Cohen

When we think of pollution, the first images that come to mind are things like smokestacks, oil spills, smog, and greenhouse gases. But you may not realize that your home can contain pollution as well – in your water supply, in the air you breathe, and in the products you purchase. More than 80,000 new chemicals have been released into the world since the industrial revolution 150 years ago, and most of them within the past 50 years. These chemicals have never been fully tested for their effects on our bodies or the environment. And a lot of them are inside our homes. On top of that, people with autoimmune disease are often more sensitive to chemicals, and toxins can be an autoimmune trigger. I don’t say this to scare anyone. This podcast is about empowerment. So, today we’re going to share tips for reducing the toxins in our homes. Every step we take is a positive one. My guest is Dr. Aly Cohen, an integrative rheumatologist and an expert on non-toxic living.

Episode 193: Accessible Yoga with Jivana Heyman

Before autoimmune disease, did you have a yoga practice that you loved but can no longer do? Do you struggle to find a way to adapt your practice to your ever-changing autoimmune body? Do you miss yoga and want to make it part of your life again? Or maybe you have never practiced yoga, but would love to try and don’t know where to begin. This podcast is for you! My guest is Jivana Heyman, founder and director of the Accessible Yoga Association and co-founder of the Accessible Yoga Training School. He has over 25 years of experience teaching yoga to people of diverse abilities. In this episode, we’re going to troubleshoot a wide variety of autoimmune symptoms and talk about how to develop a personalized yoga practice.

3 Ways to Move Your Lymph

Lymph is essential to our body’s ability to detoxify, reduce inflammation, and fight infection. Supporting the lymphatic system can benefit anyone’s health, but it’s especially important for those of us with autoimmune disease. Chronic inflammation puts an extra burden on this system and can even damage it long-term, reducing its efficiency. In a prior career, I was a lymph drainage therapist for 15 years. Most of my clients were people with chronic illness. As someone with rheumatoid arthritis myself, it’s one of my favorite self-care techniques.

10 Answers to the Question: Why Do You Eat That Way?

The Paleo Autoimmune Protocol (AIP) has the potential to make a big difference in your health, which is why so many people with autoimmune disease try this healing diet. But that doesn’t mean it’s easy, and one of the challenges is how other people respond. Friends, family, coworkers, even strangers are likely to notice you’re suddenly eating differently than everyone around you. You turn down the birthday cake at the office or family birthday party. You show up with your own food to a holiday dinner. You ask the waiter extra questions when eating in a restaurant. You serve food in your own home that’s delicious but doesn’t come from a box. Healthy eating stands out, because we live in a world where unhealthy eating is the norm. It’s natural for people to have questions, and it’s helpful to have some quick answers ready. Here are ten answers for a wide variety of situations.

Episode 183: Detoxifying Foods with Andrea Nakayama

Our bodies naturally have the ability to detoxify and do it every single day. However, problems can develop, and that’s not uncommon with autoimmune disease. The answer isn’t an aggressive “cleanse” where we try to force our bodies to do a year’s worth of detox in 30 days. Instead, we need to support our bodies year-round. There are foods that support our detox pathways, and foods that can interfere with them. That’s what today’s podcast is all about. My guest is Andrea Nakayama, a world-renowned functional nutritionist and educator, whose mission is to change the way we do healthcare by empowering patients to reclaim ownership over their own health.

Episode 182: Big Decisions – Big Results

When it comes to a healing lifestyle, our daily choices matter. Small steps and habits add up over time, and many of my podcasts teach those skills. Today, we’re going in a different direction. There are times when the big picture is overwhelming everything else. It might be a toxic job, a toxic relationship, or a toxic home. Change is rarely easy, even in difficult situations. Sometimes you need to wait for the right time and opportunity. Sometimes it’s a matter of courage. Other times it’s a matter of resources. Usually, it’s a combination of these things. Today, I’m sharing three inspiring stories of people who made big changes for their health. Lucia moved to a new country. Stephanie left a toxic job. And Irene left an abusive relationship.

Episode 174: Health Benefits of Nature with Dr. Austin Perlmutter

Have you ever been under a huge amount of stress and then stepped outside for a minute, and almost immediately felt your heart rate slow down, your breath deepen, and your mind start to calm? If you answered yes, you’re not alone. There is a growing body of research into nature’s impact on the human body. One of the problems of modern life is that it’s possible to spend our entire day and night indoors, with no exposure to nature at all. What are the benefits of nature? Can regular time in nature improve our autoimmune health? If we live in the city, can we still access those benefits? What about people who are homebound? We’ll be discussing all possibilities in today’s episode. My guest is Dr. Austin Perlmutter, an internal medicine physician with a passion for holistic health. He’s also the co-author of the bestselling book, Brain Wash.

Episode 169: Primal Play with Darryl Edwards

There are health benefits to play and health benefits to exercise, and there’s a special power in the combination. Children know this naturally, but adults rarely combine the two. How can we incorporate more playful movement into our lives? With autoimmune disease, a playful spirit can be hard to find sometimes, and when we’re in pain, movement may feel impossible. Yet play and movement are still available even in those moments, and may potentially reduce our pain and autoimmune symptoms. My guest is Darryl Edwards, founder of the Primal Play method.

5 Tips for Non-Toxic Dental Care

Is there Teflon in your dental floss? Toxins in your toothpaste? When it comes to toothbrushes, what’s the best choice? How about oil pulling – does it work? How does nutrition affect oral health? I dive into the research to answer these questions!

5 Quick Stress Relievers

5 Quick Stress Relievers

Have you ever had a stress-induced autoimmune flare? You’re not alone. Research shows that stress increases the risk of developing autoimmune disease, exacerbates symptoms, and slows recovery. Thankfully, there are things we can do to interrupt this effect. It’s not about eliminating stress altogether – that would be impossible. It’s about managing our stress response. Quick interventions have power when applied regularly. Here are five of my favorites.

Episode 160: Insomnia & CBT-I with Dr. Jade Wu

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia is more effective than sleeping pills, and doesn’t come with side effects. How compelling is that? We talk a lot about the importance of sleep on this podcast. Lack of sleep can lead to autoimmune flares, which in turn can interfere with sleep, creating a vicious cycle. This happens to everyone once in a while, and there are some basic interventions we can do to support our ability to sleep well. But what if you’ve tried all the basics, and nothing seems to work? That’s called chronic insomnia, and that’s the focus of our podcast today. CBT-I is specifically designed to help you overcome chronic insomnia. My guest is Dr. Jade Wu, a clinical psychologist and behavioral sleep medicine researcher. The focus of her research is treating sleep disorders in people with chronic illness. 

Nutritious Movement with Katy Bowman

Episode 155: Nutritious Movement with Katy Bowman

We talk a lot about nutrient density and diversity on this podcast. Every food has a unique nutrient profile, and when we get in food ruts and eat the same thing every day, our nutrition suffers. The same thing happens with movement. Modern life limits the way we move our bodies, but then chronic illness can limit it even more. This creates a vicious cycle. How do we break free and expand our ability to move, enhancing our health at the same time? My guest is Katy Bowman, a biomechanist, teacher, speaker, and author. She’s written 8 books, including the bestselling Move Your DNA, which has been translated into more than a dozen languages.

10 Ways to Improve Your Sleep Right Now

Sleep has a direct connection to autoimmune health. Lack of sleep increases inflammation, increases our susceptibility to infection, and stimulates the immune cells that become overactive with autoimmune disease. It’s one of the reasons poor sleep is such a common trigger of autoimmune flares. Yet sleep isn’t always as simple as just going to bed. What if you have trouble falling asleep and staying asleep? There are things you can do! Here are my top ten tips.

Self-Soothing vs. Self-Care with Dr. Lili Wagner

Episode 148: Self-Soothing vs. Self-Care with Dr. Lili Wagner

Self-soothing behaviors are the things we do to comfort ourselves in the moment, especially under stress. Sometimes those behaviors are healthy and double as self-care. Other times, they are the opposite of healthy. Most of us have impulses in both directions. What drives those impulses? How can we get in the habit of soothing ourselves in ways that both comfort us and support our health? My guest is Dr. Lili Wagner, a psychologist with over 20 years of experience treating patients. She’s also trained in nutrition, has 3 autoimmune diseases herself, and understands this topic both personally and professionally.

Breathing Techniques for Anxiety, Insomnia, and Fatigue | Phoenix Helix

Breathing Techniques for Anxiety, Insomnia, and Fatigue

Have you noticed that if you pause and take a slow, deep breath, you feel a little bit calmer? Deep breathing taps the relaxation response. For people with autoimmune disease, this is an amazing power at our fingertips, since stress is a common trigger of autoimmune flares. In this blog post, I share four of my favorite deep breathing techniques. You can use them as “medicine in the moment” to alleviate your anxiety, give you an energy boost during the day, or help you fall asleep at night. You can also make deep breathing a daily practice. Just a few minutes can make a big difference.

How to Survive an Autoimmune Flare | Phoenix Helix Podcast

Episode 143: How to Survive an Autoimmune Flare

Flares are one of the scariest parts of autoimmune disease. They’re unpredictable, often very painful, sometimes disabling, and always disruptive to our plans. In this episode, three autoimmune warriors share their best tips for making it through autoimmune flares with strength and self-compassion. We talk about favorite foods, lifestyle hacks, mindset techniques, and more.

Episode 138: Best Of – Exercise and Autoimmune Disease

This is one of the most popular podcast episodes! The right exercise has the potential to improve our health, but the wrong exercise can cause an autoimmune flare. Our needs will often change from month to month, maybe even from day to day. In this podcast, I share my own experience of how my exercise needs have changed since being diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis. I also interview 3 other people about their exercise experiences as well. One guest has multiple sclerosis, one has Crohn’s disease, and the other has Hashimoto’s.

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