Healing from the Inside Out: Repairing My Immune System
(If you haven’t already read the blog posts “The Smorgasbord of Symptoms and the Prescription Cornucopia”, start here)
Where to Start When the House Is on Fire?
Once I’d made the decision to replace the prescription drugs with natural therapies, I began my research. With the few pieces of the puzzle that I could recognize, I understood that my immune system had been compromised, suppressed for years; I had avoided seasonal colds and flu most of my life, but I was now contracting nasty respiratory infections at least twice a year. My immune system was out of fuel. I hadn’t yet made the connection to my digestive system, so my primary concerns were:
- To rebuild my immunity/decrease inflammation
- To manage the painful itchy skin eruptions
Rebuilding My Inner Immunity Army
A battered army is not rebuilt overnight. The symptoms that had accelerated over a period of years would likewise require a period of time to be resolved. Healing required adding/increasing nutritional defenses as well as removing/decreasing the sources of damage. When it comes to healing/managing auto-immune disease, or creating health in general, one of the most important things to understand is that FOOD IS MEDICINE. The food we eat actually provides direct communication with our bodily cells, informing them how to perform. Here’s a summary of how I got started (I’ll share the rest of the missing pieces in later posts):
I have purposefully avoided specifying amounts of anything, because in order to improve your health, it’s important to evaluate how your body responds to the changes you make, and to adjust accordingly. And that’s good news for those of us who love french fries: you don’t have to be perfect, just keep moving in the right direction (fry them in grapeseed oil at home!)
Regardless, the results you get are going to reflect the nutritional value of what you consume. In my case, although the symptoms did not immediately go away, I did begin to feel marginally better within days of changing my diet.
You Can’t Go To the Grocery Store Slathered in Petroleum Jelly
During this period of time I was almost always at home, where I didn’t have to explain my appearance to strangers. But since I was no longer using the topical steroid clobetosol, I needed to find a way to control the skin eruptions, at least long enough to get to the grocery store and back without looking crazy. As long as no one could see me, I thought the best way to keep the open cracks in my skin covered was copious amounts of petroleum jelly (if I’d known better at the time, I would have found a toxic-free alternative). But you can’t go to the grocery store slathered in petroleum jelly! I’ve tried. People will notice....
And the petroleum jelly didn’t address the itchiness. I ended up stumbling upon a product online for both itchiness and cracked skin which included aloe, zinc, allantoin, and some other ingredients. Over the next several years I found a much more effective natural solution, but at the time it was better than nothing.
The other side of my epidermal defense happened in the bathtub. I started by learning about and using bentonite clay. Here’s something cool to know about how and why bentonite clay works (don’t check out on me here, I promise it will be brief!).
Bentonite clay has negatively charged ions:
And as it turns out, many toxins, viruses, bacteria, and other harmful microorganisms have a positive charge, and bentonite clay attracts them due to it’s negative charge as well as it’s porous nature, which easily absorbs toxins!
Along with the bentonite clay, I added the following to my bath water:
Raw apple cider vinegar
Essential oils known for boosting the immune system, including:
- Tea Tree
(stay tuned for more on essential oils)
How I figured out what to do next
I was headed in the right direction, but it was not enough. I had minimal control over the skin eruptions, and my gut was still protruding in front of me as if I were just a few months away from giving birth :/. Over the course of the next year, I began to understand that my body was basically in a cycle of auto-toxicity. Improving my diet was a great start, but I also needed to address all the extra waste I was carrying around.
Did you know that most of us, particularly in the United States (and other countries eating a typical western diet), carry up to 30 lbs of waste in our colons? Yeah, gross. But isn’t it better to know so you can do something about it? I believe so. I’ll tell you what I learned about internal cleansing, but before I do, I’m going to share some immune boosting recipes with you, coming soon!
Thanks for reading!
Blum, Susan M.D. (2013). The Immune System Recovery Plan. New York: Scribner, 41-59.
“The relationship between body ph and disease and other facts you’re not supposed to know.” Healthwyze. Online publication. http://healthwyze.org/reports/361-the-relationship-between-body-ph-and-disease-and-other-facts-youre-not-supposed-to-know. January 26 2016.
“PCB’s in farmed salmon: Factory methods, unnatural results.” Environmental Working Group. Online publication. http://www.ewg.org/research/pcbs-farmed-salmon. January 25 2016.
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- Dannelle LeBlanc