Retiring from Phoenix Helix: How to Say Goodbye

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Eileen on a mountaintop, the sunset behind her

“How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.”
~ Winnie the Pooh

Where It All Began

I published my very first blog post on January 12, 2013. Now, eleven years later, I’m writing my final blog post coincidentally on the same day: January 12, 2024. Life is full of magical mysteries, and my time at Phoenix Helix has been one of the most magical times of my life. It still amazes me that something so beautiful was born from something so painful.

In 2012 (one year before starting this blog), I experienced what the doctors call “severe and rapid onset” of rheumatoid arthritis. It introduced me to a level of pain I didn’t think was possible and disabled me within six months. The life I knew before was shattered, and I didn’t recognize myself anymore. I desperately needed a symbol of hope. That’s when I found the phoenix. The inflammation raging through my body felt like I was burning from within. The phoenix is the mythical bird that rises from its own ashes. Could I do the same?

I started researching anti-inflammatory health practices – things I could do myself to reduce inflammation and support healing. I looked into healing diets, mind-body techniques, and lifestyle interventions. When life knocks you down, it can also crack you open. Habit changes I wouldn’t have considered before, suddenly felt easy compared to the life I was living. And guess what? It made a difference! I wasn’t cured, but for the first time, my inflammation stopped skyrocketing and started to reduce instead. It was incredibly empowering and lit a flame of hope that sustains me to this day.

I started this blog to share what I was learning and connect with others on a similar path. Too often in autoimmune communities, the focus is on everything that can go wrong. It’s a terrifying and disempowering vision of the future. I wanted to connect with people focusing on what might go right. While we can’t control everything, our daily choices do matter. The question I wanted to answer was this: How can we live well with autoimmune disease? For the past 11 years, I’ve been sharing resources to help us all do just that.

11 Years of Phoenix Helix

This website started as a passionate hobby – an outlet for all I was learning. I never expected it to become my career, but I’m so grateful it did. Not only did it let me meet all of you (which is the greatest gift), but I’m in awe over what’s happened in the past 11 years! Here’s a quick snapshot:

  • I wrote 5 books, selling over 50,000 copies.
  • I recorded 243 podcasts with over 2 million downloads, featuring 349 guests.
  • I wrote 172 articles, and many are now featured at the top of Google search results.
  • I created 63 original recipes. When I started the paleo autoimmune protocol, there were no cookbooks available. I was one of the first people to share AIP recipes online. Now there are over 40 cookbooks!
  • While food is medicine, I’ve always embraced a holistic approach. Health is about so much more than just food. That’s why my website is rich in resources related to lifestyle, mindset, and integrative medicine. They all work together to help us live our healthiest lives.
  • Over the past decade, this website has reached millions of people worldwide. The internet has its faults, but this is one of its amazing gifts.
  • When I started this website, I felt very alone. You became my community. Thank you!

The Website Will Continue

While I’ll no longer be adding new content to the website, all the resources I’ve created will remain available. Phoenix Helix has been a labor of love, and I’m so glad it can live on without me. Here’s how to find what you need:

My Reason for Moving On

Phoenix Helix allowed me to transform one of the greatest challenges I’ve ever faced (rheumatoid arthritis) into a career that was both fulfilling and meaningful. My passion for health led me to create this website. Now, a new passion is leading me in a new direction.

One reason this was such a difficult decision is that Phoenix Helix is closely entwined with my identity. I am Phoenix Helix. Letting it go feels like letting part of myself go, and that’s actually why I need to do it. For the past 11 years, autoimmune disease hasn’t just been part of my personal life, it’s been the focus of my career. I’m ready to focus on something else.

What’s Next for Me?

Novel writing has been my dream since childhood, but I’ve always kept it on the back burner, prioritizing more “practical” jobs instead. I’ve had a wide variety of careers since then, and I always found a way to make writing part of the job – even if it wasn’t in the original job description. My first love, however, has always been fiction. They’re my favorite books to read, and the most fun to write.

On Christmas Eve, I turned 55 years old. It’s an age that excites me! I have more years behind me than ahead of me, and that’s very clarifying. It’s time to take my dream off the back burner. In 2023, I wrote the first draft of a new novel, and I’m about to do the next step: revisions! If you want to follow me as I pursue my novelist dream, I’ve started a special newsletter list. You can sign up here.

While novel writing is going to be central in my life going forward, I still have a deeply practical side, and it will be awhile before my novels produce income. In the meantime, I’ll be working part-time as a freelance editor and proofreader. These are skills I’ve gained over the past decade in my own writing, and also in proofreading and editing the writing of others. It satisfies the detail-oriented part of my brain that loves polishing text to help it flow more smoothly and clearly. If you know someone who needs this service, send them my way: [email protected]!

A Big Thank You

Without readers and podcast listeners, this website would have stayed a small hobby and disappeared within a year. You are the reason it was such a huge part of my life (and yours) for so long. And you are the reason it’s hard to say goodbye.

Some of my happiest moments over the past decade involved meeting Phoenix Helix followers. People have introduced themselves to me in grocery stores, gardening centers, restaurants, and even on a whale watching cruise in the Dominican Republic! While I know millions of people have visited this website, I do not feel famous. And indeed, it’s a micro version of fame – most people have no idea who I am. So, I’m always surprised when someone recognizes me. When they say my website helped them through their own darkest time, I feel like I’ve met a kindred spirit. It means more to me than words can say.

I’m also incredibly grateful for the friendships I’ve made online with people around the world. While some communities on the internet run shallow, the community I’ve met through this website is beautifully deep. Thank you for being on this journey with me.

Please continue to visit Phoenix Helix for resources and inspiration as you need it. I hope it will continue to help people for many years to come! This quote has been on my home page for the past decade, and it still resonates with me:

To anyone whose autoimmune disease knocked them down so hard, they wondered if they would ever rise again. Never underestimate your ability to rise. We all have a phoenix within us.

Line drawing of a phoenix - logo for website

Do You Have My Books?

18 comments on “Retiring from Phoenix Helix: How to Say Goodbye”

  1. I also developed autoimmune disease in mid-2013. You were one of the first resources I found and started making changes which helped me jumpstart my healing journey. Thank you for your encouraging words and recipes! All my best thoughts and wishes as you move forward on a new focus!

    1. Jenny, thanks for being part of the Phoenix Helix community for so long! Best wishes for you as well, both in health and in joy!

  2. I have a child thanks to your work. I had spent 8 years trying to get pregnant and found my way finally to AIP. Your words enabled me to successfully eat AIP day in day out. That healed my body enough that another being was able to incarnate in me and be born. A wonderful healthy 5 year old now.

    1. Kate, what a beautiful story! I’m so honored to have played a small part in that. Thank you so much for sharing. I wish you and your child a lifetime of love, laughter, and wellbeing.

  3. There are no words sufficient enough to express the value you and your blog have provided to those suffering from autoimmune issues. So I will just say a simple “Thank You,” but spoken in an empty room my two words to you would resonate with a depth of pleasant and grateful tones.

  4. Thanks Eileen. I didn’t know I’d found your site so soon after you started. Thank you for all the wonderful information and resource along with the delicious recipes.
    I’m looking forward to your new book! What an exciting adventure!
    Eternally grateful for all the time and attention to detail that you have poured into this blog. Thankful to be on the healthy side again thanks to you.

  5. I couldn’t have done half as well if I hadn’t discovered your site! Thanks from the bottom of my heart ❤️!

  6. Eileen–thank you for all your work. I found you when I first was very sick–I now know I have psoriatic arthritis and palmoplantar psoriasis, but it took years to figure that out. In the meantime, you were one of the people you sent me in the correct direction to begin healing (as much as is possible). And when you started an NSAID and share that information it freed me to do the same for my considerable pain. Thank you for your work, effort and love.

  7. What you have done for all of us is immeasurable. And you paved the way for companies like ours to even exist. Thank you for all of your work and dedication, particularly when you were so along at the beginning stages of your diagnoses. You rose above it all and we will be watching as you launch your novel! Best wishes, Kerry Brown, co-founder, eat GANGSTER

  8. This blog and your podcast were an essential part of my healing. I’m extremely grateful for the amazing service you did for us all. Thank you so muchhh! And I’m looking forward to reading your novels to come ☺️☺️

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