We are more than our genes! Epigenetics is a field of science that studies what influences our genetic expression. These are the things that turn our genes on and off. Our body is dynamic and it’s changing all the time in response to our environment and daily choices. Epinutrients are the nutritional compounds that alter genetic expression in a positive direction. My guest, Dr. Kara Fitzgerald, is a naturopathic doctor and clinical researcher, whose research focuses on the epigenetics of diet and lifestyle. Her book, Younger You, is a deep dive into the science of Epinutrients.
Food as Medicine
When it comes to maximizing autoimmune health, food is the foundation. Below you’ll find multiple ways to personalize your own healing diet. You can also quickly browse by resource type: articles, podcasts, and recipes. Not sure where to begin? Start here.
With autoimmune disease, many of us choose healing diets to reduce inflammation and live healthier lives. When we first make this change, we’re very focused on the foods we’re no longer eating, and it’s common to say “I can’t eat that” when those foods are offered. Have you ever heard the saying: “Be careful what you say because your body is listening?” It’s true! And our hearts and minds are listening too. Words matter – whether we say them out loud or in our thoughts – and there’s a big difference between the phrase “I can’t” and “I choose”. One is negative and one is positive. That may seem like a small thing, but it can actually have a big impact. I dive into the details in this article.
When it comes to autoimmune disease, inflammation plays a big role. The higher our inflammation, the higher our symptoms and disease activity. Doctors know this, which is why bloodwork for autoimmune patients usually includes inflammation markers. When it comes to self-care and living well with autoimmune disease, learning how to reduce our inflammation naturally can be very helpful, and our food choices are a big part of that. Which foods have the greatest anti-inflammatory properties? That’s the focus of our discussion today. My guest is VJ Hamilton. She’s a nutritionist who has also studied immunology, and she has autoimmune disease herself. Her specialty is helping people with autoimmune disease thrive.
If you’re a regular listener of my podcast, you know that I start every year with a Healing Stories episode. It features back-to-back interviews with autoimmune warriors just like you! I ask them to share their journey from rock bottom to reclaiming a vital life. In this episode, we talk about Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, Hidradenitis Suppurativa, Ankylosing Spondylitis, Susac Syndrome. and also autoimmunity in general. Everyone’s story is unique, but we also have so much in common. Whatever your diagnosis, I hope these stories resonate and inspire.
Life with chronic illness can inspire strong emotions that trigger emotional eating. If the foods chosen are inflammatory, autoimmune flares may follow, turning short-term comfort into longer-lasting pain. This often leads to feelings of shame, guilt, and self-judgment, which can drive more emotional eating, creating a vicious cycle. If you find yourself caught in this pattern, you aren’t alone. Today’s podcast is designed to help. My guest is Tomesha Campbell. She is a fellow autoimmune warrior, as well as an AIP certified coach who specializes in Intuitive Eating. She’ll be sharing her personal experience and professional advice.
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!
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.
10 years is a long time! Are you curious where I started and what my diet looks like today? In this blog post, I share my whole journey, including how I ate before getting RA, the diets I tried immediately afterward, the diets that minimized my symptoms the most, and the food freedom I enjoy now. Our bodies change over time, and our diets are meant to change too.
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.
When we develop autoimmune disease, our body becomes more sensitive and that often includes food sensitivity. Many of us turn to healing diets in an effort to eliminate inflammatory foods and embrace the foods that support healing instead. One risk, however, is paying too much attention to the foods we remove and not enough to the foods we add. Another risk is sticking to a dietary template without personalizing it for our body’s unique needs. There are lots of healing diets out there. We often talk about the Paleo Autoimmune Protocol and Wahls Protocol on this podcast. But other diets you may be familiar with include the Specific Carbohydrate Diet or GAPS Diet, the Low-FODMAP diet, a vegetarian or vegan diet, a ketogenic diet, or a carnivore diet. Today, we discuss which nutrient deficiencies are most common on which healing diets, and how we can make sure we’re getting the nutrition we need. My guest is Dr. Sarah Ballantyne. She’s a best-selling author, speaker, educator, and former research scientist, fascinated with the healing power of food.
I listen to a lot of podcasts myself and some of my favorite episodes are Listener Q&A’s. It allows a lot of topics to be covered in a short period of time, and everyone learns something new. I asked you to send in your questions, and you delivered! Here are some we’ll be answering in today’s episode: How do you react to people who don’t believe your autoimmune disease is real? What is a good way to explain why I cannot have “cheat” days to someone who tries to pressure me into eating things I shouldn’t? What foods have you successfully reintroduced? Have you ever befriended a listener and ended up enjoying a long-term friendship? Why can some people seem to put their autoimmune disease into remission, and others who have diet and lifestyle “dialed in” still need immunotherapy? What has been the most powerful growth and learning for you through doing this podcast? With my friend Joanna’s help, I answer these questions and more in today’s podcast!
Do you remember how it felt to relax in a restaurant? No fear of getting “glutened”? Lots of delicious menu items to choose from, each one packed with flavor? After countless hours searching the internet and double-checking menus, I offer you this list of paleo-friendly restaurants! From Texas to Malaysia, people are operating restaurants based on the belief that food is medicine. If you’re lucky, one of these restaurants is near you. If not, get ready to plan some fun trips!
When you see the power of food as medicine for yourself, it’s natural to want your children to benefit as well. It doesn’t mean they need to eat just like you, but fostering a love of real food is an understandable goal. However, children often go through picky eating phases and have a deep love for packaged foods, fast food, and as many sweets as you’re willing to provide. One way to get kids interested in healthier eating is to welcome them into the kitchen, teach them how to cook, and allow them to select recipes to try. So, today we’re sharing tips for all ages: babies, toddlers, grade school, and teens. My guest is Ginny Mahar, a fellow parent and autoimmune warrior who is also a professional chef and cooking instructor.
This is one of the most popular podcast episodes – for good reason! While not everyone has a sweet tooth, a lot of us do, and it’s often hard to break the sugar habit. Why is that so true? It turns out there are a lot of forces driving those cravings: emotional, psychological, and even biological. It’s no wonder they’re not easy to resist. In today’s episode, we dive into the details. My guest is holistic psychologist Dr. Vickie Bhatia. We discuss everything from the gut microbiome and brain chemistry, to the emotions surrounding food, to the psychology of habit change. Most importantly, we share practical tips for making empowered food choices, and breaking the sugar craving cycle.
This podcast is all about autoimmune empowerment! Making choices in our daily lives that minimize symptoms and maximize our joy in living. That said, it’s not always easy. Sometimes the habits are hard to start and hard to keep. Other times, you’re doing everything right but not seeing the results you hoped to achieve. So, today, we’re doing a troubleshooting episode with an expert guest and one of my favorite people: Dr. Terry Wahls. She is a functional medicine physician, a clinical researcher, a professor of medicine, and a fellow autoimmune warrior. In this episode, she shares her best advice for thriving with autoimmune disease and troubleshooting the obstacles we encounter along the way. We talk about motivation, family dynamics, digestion, supplements, physical therapy, personalized diets, and more!
A key component of a healing diet is nutrient-density and diversity. In the paleo AIP community, the list of foods to avoid often gets the most attention. But simultaneously, we need to expand the list of nourishing foods that we eat. One great way to do that is to look at the produce in our kitchens and see which edible parts we’re throwing away. Often, they are the most nutritious!
Did you know that digestion starts in the brain? When we don’t pay attention to our meals and instead multi-task at mealtime, or eat under stress, our digestion becomes suppressed. This can lead to uncomfortable gastroinstestinal symptoms and also increase food intolerance. In this article, I share simple ways to harness the mind-body connection to not only digest your meals better, but enjoy them more too!
If you’re new to the Paleo Autoimmune Protocol, a lot of your favorite foods are suddenly off the table and you may wonder what you can eat! In today’s podcast, we share AIP food swaps for the foods you miss the most. We also share some powerful superfood combinations. My guest is Annie Rubin. She is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and an AIP Certified Coach. She’s also a fellow autoimmune warrior living with rheumatoid arthritis herself.
If you’re a regular listener of my podcast, you know that I start every year with a Healing Stories episode. It features back-to-back interviews with autoimmune warriors just like you! I ask them to share their journey from rock bottom to reclaiming a vital life. In this episode, we talk about rheumatoid arthritis, alopecia, myasthenia gravis, and also autoimmunity in general. Everyone’s story is unique, but we also have so much in common. Whatever your diagnosis, I hope these stories resonate and inspire.
This is one of the most popular podcast episodes – for good reason! Autoimmune health depends on blood sugar balance. When our blood sugar gets too high, drops too low, or swings wildly between these extremes, it increases inflammation in our body. If this happens regularly, it leads to chronic inflammation. In today’s episode, we’ll be sharing diet, lifestyle, and functional medicine tips for achieving and maintaining blood sugar balance. My guest is Dr. Jeff Horacek, a functional medicine physician with over 20 years of experience. Blood sugar is one of his medical specialties.
When you first experience the connection between the food you eat and how you feel, that can be an empowering moment. But when certain foods cause you to flare, that can also inspire a fear of food. This is a natural reaction, but it also has consequences. The fear itself can cause autoimmune flares and also increase food sensitivity, creating a vicious cycle. Suddenly, all food feels dangerous, and we over-restrict our diets, which harms our health long-term. There is good news! We can overcome food fear, replacing it with a deep knowledge about our bodies and enjoy eating again. That’s our goal with our conversation today. My guests are fellow autoimmune warriors, Nitika Chopra and Alison Marras. We share our own experiences with food fear and tips for overcoming it.
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.
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.
The first genetically modified food hit the market in 1994. Now, nearly all the food included in a Standard American Diet contains GMO ingredients. The good news is that if you avoid processed foods and shop the perimeter of the store, you cut your GMO consumption dramatically. However, we can’t escape it altogether. The increased herbicide use becomes part of the environment in which we live. There’s cross-contamination of crops, so even farms that strive to be GMO-free often find GMO plants in their fields. And 95% of animal feed is GMO. What are the health risks associated with genetically modified foods? Is it the genetic engineering that’s the problem, or the chemicals that are sprayed on them? How can we make the healthiest choices when it comes to the food we eat? My guest is McKay Jenkins, a professor and journalist who has been writing and teaching about the environment for 30 years. He’s the author of the book, Food Fight: GMOs and the Future of the American Diet.
When you start the Paleo Autoimmune Protocol, it’s largely about restrictions. Removing inflammatory foods and habits and replacing them with healthier choices. When you see the positive impact on your autoimmune symptoms, it can be incredibly empowering. But this is just the first step. The long-term goal is learning to listen to your body. Where do you need to exercise self-control, and where can you have a little freedom? Finding this freedom is finding your wiggle room, and it’s key to making a long-term healing lifestyle sustainable.
Gut health and autoimmune health are intimately connected. So, focusing on foods that promote gut health makes sense. What qualifies as a gut health superfood? How can we incorporate more of these foods into our diet? Can a healthy food for one person be unhealthy for someone else? How do we determine the best “superfoods” for us? My guest is Dr. Sarah Ballantyne, bestselling author and leader in the paleo autoimmune community. She’s spent the last six years deeply researching gut health and shares her findings with us today.