Recently I had the pleasure of previewing an advanced copy of Mickey Trescott and Angie Alt’s new book, The Autoimmune Wellness Handbook. Not only does this book leverage gorgeous photography and book layout design to help address critical lifestyle elements as well as the AIP diet, but it truly lives up to its subtitle of being “a DIY guide to living well with chronic illness.” In other words, it’s basically a manual on how you can change your life and habits to help orient yourself for healing SUCCESS.
So today I wanted to pull out 5 of my favorite tidbits (mainly just wanted an excuse to use the word ‘tidbits’) from the book so that you can learn right along with me and help take your healing to the next level. Here are 5 points that resonated deeply with me:
- Autoimmune disease isn’t always black or white; it can, and often does, occur somewhere along a spectrum of symptoms of varying intensity. In the book, Mickey & Angie have combined their knowledge to provide readers with an “Autoimmune Status Self-Test” (aka a quiz) that can help you determine where you are in the progression of your AI condition, and give you a starting point for treatment and making healthy changes. I love this idea of autoimmunity occurring on a spectrum, because I think so many of us consider ourselves “sick” or “well” and there isn’t a lot of grey area in-between. The reality though, is that wellness always occurs on a continuum, and understanding where we stand can often be the first step in moving towards healthier times.
- There are way more practitioners available to help with AI conditions than we think. Most of the time, I think when we go to diagnose or treat our illnesses, we either turn to an MD (otherwise known as “the doctors who actually takes insurance” ;)), or we go to naturopathy, or functional medicine. But what we might overlook are some of the other amazing people who can help make up a vital part of our personal healthcare team. Amongst those often overlooked – in my opinion – are “complementary care practitioners” that Mickey & Angie outline, such as massage therapists, therapists/counselors, nutritional therapists, acupuncturists, Ayurvedic practitioners, yoga teachers, and more. In my experience, these are the practitioners who help support my healing efforts and oftentimes are the ones who lift me up to the next level of healing without supplements or more tests, but just with their positive vibes, energy, and mind-body-spirit perspective.
- Medication isn’t always evil. This is a personal challenge for me to wrap my head around because for so many years I felt like crap, and the only solution doctors tried to offer me were various pills and drugs (and antidepressants) that only frightened and frustrated me. In the book, Mickey shares her experience with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis and shares how when she combined medication (in the right dosage, of course) with natural therapies and dietary and lifestyle changes, she felt her ultimate best. She re-frames the “little pill I take every morning” as just another tool in her toolbox, which she is grateful for. I’m not currently on medication and I don’t believe it’s the right path for everyone, but I like this perspective and can definitely get on-board with the fact that sometimes we do need some additional support to help us feel our best.
- There is no one-size-fits-all approach to diet. WHAAAAT?! You mean AIP isn’t the only way?? Really though, I think that this is a very important point and one that I’m glad made its way into the book. You see, even AIP – the holy grail of low-inflammatory diets – is just a template. Mickey & Angie actually advocate for finding the “least-restricted diet that is most likely to produce long-term health.” I think this is really cool because it acknowledges that everybody is different. So while there may be some consistent things that are probably a good idea for everyone to follow if they struggle with autoimmunity (like avoiding gluten, processed foods and overly processed dairy products), the rest is up to us to listen to our bodies and find what truly works for us to maximize our own health. For some, that may mean upping their carb levels; for others, it may mean avoiding our beloved sweet potatoes. In the words of this blog – it’s up to us to ‘follow our instincts’ and figure out what works for us as individuals.
- Connection – to people and nature – is a huge part of healing and wellness. In the book, Mickey & Angie review two types of important connections that we should try to cultivate in our lives: connection with people and to nature. I absolutely love this point, because I think that sometimes in the midst of feeling dazed and confused (and misunderstood) regarding our autoimmunity, we begin to to distance ourselves from the people who care about us the most. Now, one thing I’ll say is that sometimes this distancing is necessary; oftentimes I believe that autoimmunity is a sign that something is out of balance and that we need to take more time to ourselves to heal and discover who we truly are, and sometimes that means re-evaluating our current relationships and the people we choose to surround ourselves with, as well. However, at the end of the day, having people who love and support us, and who can make us laugh and who can “get us,” makes all the difference in our healing journeys.
Lest we not forget about the important connection we share with Mother Nature, too! Autoimmunity often invites us to go deep within, which means reconnecting to our truest selves and getting back to the basics. With this comes a cry to reconnect with nature and all of its tranquility, which is what Mickey & Angie explore in their book.
So there you have it – a taste of this beautiful new gift to the autoimmune community. I could really go on and on about the inspiring messages that Mickey & Angie provide to us, but then this post would be like 8 pages long and you would fall asleep reading it, and the dog would poop on the floor because you were asleep and not taking him out, and your toddler would step in it, and then she would come lay on top of you, and then you’d have poop on your new outfit and your laptop, and then you couldn’t order this book on Amazon because your laptop would be covered in poo and ruined! So, you’re welcome for keeping this to just 5 things I love about this book, because I could have come up with about 100.
Again, if you want to pre-order for yourself (or, if you’re reading this after November 1st, just order it), you can find The Autoimmune Wellness Handbook on Amazon.