Living With An Auto Immune Disease

People ask me all the time, “You eat SO healthy! Why are you always sick?” It is really hard for me to answer this question because it isn’t really a black and white, yes or no type answer. As I mentioned on my About Me page, I got diagnosed with hypothyroidism when I was in third grade. I was so young to be going through something like this, and I didn’t understand why it was happening to me. However, as I have gotten older, I have grown to understand that we need to give thanks for these times of trials, because if we don’t understand pain, we wouldn’t understand victory. To put it simply, when you have an autoimmune disease (hypothyroidism, IBS, lupus, psoriasis,  etc.) it means your immune system is weakened and you can’t fight off certain diseases, viruses, or the bad bacteria that enters your body. Your body has to work that much harder to function, metabolize, fight off infections, and more, that people with auto immune diseases are often more tired, sluggish, weak, and sick. Growing up, I constantly had ear infections, sinus infections, and fevers, so like most of us, I resorted to taking antibiotics. By doing this I didn’t realize I was just harming my body even more. Antibiotics just put a band-aid over the root problem, and have so many negative side-effects such as riding the good bacteria from your gut and accumulating the bad, weakening your immune system even more, and they cause your body to become immune to the antibiotics so that over time, they don’t even work anymore. Unfortunately I don’t remember a time growing up that I wasn’t on antibiotics, and that just ignited the health issues I would experience.

As I said, I have grown to be thankful for my health issues because it has caused me to educate myself on what my body truly needs: whole foods. When I was feeling sick and tired, I would crave carbs and sugars to get me going through the day. I was giving my body short-term vises to curb my cravings and “boost my energy”, but then that energy would later fall and I would feel worse. I wasn’t giving  my body any natural sources of vitamins, minerals, good proteins, or good fats; my body was burning off the carbohydrates and artificial sweeteners to stay afloat. The day I learned to give up dairy, gluten and sugar is the day my entire world changed. I am the first to admit that this is not an easy thing to do. Foods that I had eaten every day were no longer allowed, and I had to try to explain to my friends why I couldn’t go get ice cream or share the donut at brunch; but how do you say that without sounding extremely high maintenance? It used to be hard for me to say no to staying out late in college, eating the greasy pizza before a football game, or not being able to participate in an all-day activity because those are the memories everyone wants to share with their friends. As I have gotten older (this is year 6 of being gluten and dairy free) it has truly become a lifestyle change and one I don’t think twice about. I have had to choose a different lifestyle than that of my friends, and I will admit I do feel out of the loop or not as much fun at times, but I have learned to know my body and understand that I have to take care of it.

Going back to the question, “Why are you always sick?” Well, like I said, it isn’t an easy response. My body is still weak at times, but that is because I have had to work to mend and repair years and years of damage caused by antibiotics and poor health choices. I still have hypothyroidism which has actually turned into hoshimotos because I have had it for so long, so my body is still fragile and still has a long way to go. I won’t lie and say I don’t get frustrated with it at times. Sometimes I feel like my mind is the energizer bunny but my body is one of an 80 year old! But this is the body God gave me and I want to take care of it the best way I know how. I continue to educate myself and continue to learn new things every day, which is why I started this blog and my Instagram account so I can share the amazing knowledge and insight others have taught me throughout the years. Every day is a gift. We only have one body, one mind, and one spirit, so why not take care of it the best we can? I hope to continue to learn from you as well so please share your thoughts, knowledge and feedback. So, for the love of your gut, let’s take care of it 🙂

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