For me, the hardest part of having an autoimmune disease is feeling like a strong gust of wind could take me out. I wish I was joking but I am so unstable on my feet, that the wind could knock me over. You can read more about this in My Autoimmune Journey.
I have always prided myself on being a tenacious person, so this new sense of vulnerability is disturbing to me.
While I am happy with my progress in getting my flare under control, I am not happy feeling like another trigger could come along and set my inflammation spinning out of control again. When I started considering my next steps to build resilience, I thought “Hard to Kill” was a great way to explain my intentions in a catchy phrase.
As it turns out, this phrase is already in use.
So, while I do hope these actions make me harder to kill, I see this as my fight for a better quality of life. Fight or Die? Is that what we are calling it? I am a carnivore, so maybe it is about stepping into my lionessiness? Live Like a Carnivore?
Ultimately, I realize that what I call it is the least interesting or helpful part of the following content.
My goal with this is not to add an overwhelming number of “todos” into my life. Instead, the point is to start paying more attention to the details, the tiny daily habits, to make “better” choices targeted toward regaining my health and resilience.
Also, disclaimer here - I am not suggesting anyone else do any of these things. These are things that I have researched and feel are applicable to my health history, lifestyle, and goals. This content is not meant to be a guide for anyone else’s health journey. Instead, it is meant to inspire you to do your own research and create your own plan to live your best life.
Step One: Gut reset
Step Two: Building Resilience
I plan to use a three-pronged approach - reduce inflammation, reduce toxic load, and increase mitochondrial activity. My goal is to create a series of posts exploring these topics in more depth - why I chose them, why I think they will work, and how I plan to incorporate them.
Inflammation is a broad term used to describe the mobilization of white blood cells meant to protect you from outside threats like bacteria and viruses. For those of us with autoimmune diseases, this mobilization goes haywire and friendly fire incidents ensue. (I have been watching a lot of Youtube videos about tanks recently, I am not sure why, but I apologize for the military references).
Once these inflammatory systems are triggered, it can be difficult to stop the cascade of side effects and self-harm it can cause. Reducing overall inflammation levels allows our bodies to focus on the real baddies and is a great way to support recovery from an autoimmune flare.
Inflammation Reduction Strategies:
Weekly 24 hour fast
Feet on the wall
Reduce Toxic Load
We are ancient creatures living in a modern world. Beyond the chemical toxins we are exposed to every day, our bodies and minds are barraged by toxins in the media we consume, the people we surround ourselves with, and the stress that we carry. Whether a toxin is chemical, physical, mental, or emotional, every nasty thing we consume contributes to our bodies' toxic load.
If our bodies are splitting focus between fighting intruders and clearing out toxins, one way we can support healing is by reducing the number of toxins our bodies have to process on a daily basis.
Toxin Reduction Strategies:
Increase Mitochondrial Activity
"Mitochondrial activity" is a hot topic right now. Mitochondria are the powerhouses of our cells and improving their function through targeted stress and recovery can improve the holistic function of your body.
In the same way that exercise is a moment of stress that improves our physical conditioning, placing stress on our mitochondria can improve their resilience and production. Similarly to exercise, you can overdo it. Finding the balance between appropriate stress and appropriate recovery is essential to the long-term health of our mitochondria.
Mitochondrial Activity Strategies:
Eat at maintenance
Eat cold-water fish 2x per week
Walk 30 minutes per day
Step Three: Planning
Put all of this info into a consumable, daily plan, making it easy to incorporate these tasks into my daily schedule.
Some of these things have already been incorporated into my daily routine, while others I am excited to see if/how they impact my overall health. There are definitely more things I want to pursue longer-term as my health continues to improve that are not necessarily appropriate for me at this stage of my journey.
In my next post, I will share my “movement” plan, or how I will incorporate daily exercise to become more resilient to any potential triggers that come my way.