If you are living with autoimmune disease, you’re probably absolutely sick of it. I totally understand. It’s in my family, I’ve had thousands of clients with autoimmune, and I know it can be tiring, frustrating, confusing, and, (of course) so painful.
I want to let you know straight up that you can dramatically improve, if not completely reverse autoimmune disease with diet.
I have seen it in practice with so many of my students, with autoimmune conditions ranging from IBS, to arthritis, Graves’, lupus, Hashimoto’s and more.
Following my autoimmune disease diet WORKS. Diet can absolutely reverse autoimmune disease, but of course, you have to do it right.
And while there can always be a place for modern medicine, and you should always seek the advice of your physician…there are challenges to the approach of modern medicine when it comes to autoimmune, and this has probably left you frustrated.
Why Modern Medicine Has Got it WRONG When it Comes to Autoimmune Disease…
If you have ever been to see a doctor or specialist about your autoimmune, you will likely have experienced one of the following scenarios:
- You were told it was just stress, or ‘in your head’
- You were sent to several individual and unrelated specialists for each symptom of the autoimmune
- You were told there is nothing you can do about it
- You were told the only option was either strong steroids, organ removal (in the case of thyroid autoimmune), or strong painkillers for the rest of your life
The problem with how modern medicine treats autoimmune disease is this:
Modern medicine sees each symptom of autoimmune (thyroiditis, lupus, arthritis etc.) as a disease of THAT SPECIFIC ORGAN. They treat JUST the thyroid, or JUST the adrenals, or JUST the digestive system, or JUST the arthritic joint.
This is completely backwards!
Autoimmune disease is a disease of imbalance – it is an imbalanced immune system! Only by repairing and rebalancing the immune system holistically can we reverse autoimmune.
PLUS, the medical model makes another HUGE mistake…
In many cases, the medical treatment for autoimmune also involves SUPPRESSING the immune system, not helping it to heal.
This will only lead to a vicious cycle of the autoimmune getting worse and worse, and so the medication having to get stronger and stronger. And there are a LOT of negative outcomes that will arise from a chronically suppressed immune system, believe me.
It’s similar to the medical treatment for acid reflux – they simply medicate to stop the body producing acid…which makes the body want to produce MORE acid, so the medication gets stronger and stronger to be able to keep up.
You don’t want this.
The ONLY Sustainable, Long-Term Way To Heal is to Give the Body What It Needs to REBALANCE
This is not just with autoimmune disease. This is the CORE principle across ALL of my coaching – the body is constantly aiming to maintain balance across your Five Master Systems (the pH balancing system, digestive system, endocrine system, detoxification system, and of course your immune system).
When balance is lost, your body will do everything it takes to restore that balance, no matter what the long-term cost.
This is what my Alkaline Reset Cleanse is 100% focused on – seven days to massively nourish the body to restore your natural balance – you are simply giving your body the tools it needs, and your body knows what to do from there!
In fact, going through my Alkaline Cleanse is probably the fastest and most powerful thing you can do for autoimmune disease – and I will be running my free, annual workshop to teach you exactly how to do it in the next few weeks.
It will all start on June 4th – and you can click here to sign up.
Today, to get you started right away, we are going to explore the basics of what autoimmune disease is, what the four most common causes of autoimmune are, and then get into my Autoimmune Disease Diet.
Let’s get started.
What is Autoimmune Disease?
An autoimmune disease occurs whenyour immune system mistakenly attacks your body. In normal functioning, the immune system guards against germs like bacteria and viruses, and when it recognises these invaders in your system, it will send out cells to attack and remove them.
However, with an autoimmune condition, the immune system mistakes part of your body, like your joints or skin, as one of these foreign invaders and releases autoantibodies that then attack your healthy cells.
In many cases, the autoimmune disease will only affect a single organ, such as your thyroid, however, in other cases it can affect the whole body (such as palindromic arthritis or lupus).
And many people, once one autoimmune condition emerges, can develop further conditions. So it is essential we get on top of it as soon as any signs begin to emerge.
Women Are Twice as Likely to be Affected by Autoimmune
Autoimmune diseases are twice as likely to affect women than men, and many are hereditary. However, the fact that they run in families does not mean you have been confined to a life sentence of an autoimmune condition, rather, it means that the steps I will detail below are just that bit more important for you.
And while some will argue that there is ‘no cure’ for certain autoimmune diseases, this is a mute point if you can make all of the symptoms disappear through diet and lifestyle changes.
Common Autoimmune Conditions
There are many more than listed here, but these are some of the most common:
- Type 1 diabetes
- Rheumatoid arthritis (RA)
- Psoriasis/psoriatic arthritis
- Multiple sclerosis
- Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE)
- Inflammatory bowel disease
- Addison’s disease
- Graves’ disease
- Sjögren’s syndrome
- Hashimoto’s thyroiditis
- Myasthenia gravis
- Autoimmune vasculitis
- Pernicious anemia
- Celiac disease
- Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS)
Each of these has their own symptoms, but their root cause and the way to treat them is remarkably similar: we need to nourish and rebalance our immune system. First, we have to stop the source of the imbalance (part 1 below), and then we have to rebuild, repair and rebalance our immunity (part 2).
Part One: The Four Causes of Autoimmune Disease
As we’ve mentioned, there is a genetic influence. However, in my experience, regardless of your predisposition to autoimmune, two or more of these causes is ALWAYS there. Remove these and you dramatically reduce your risk, and speed your recovery:
Autoimmune is about the immune system, right? So why are we starting with the digestive system? Because, over 80% of your immune system is located in your gut! If your digestion is out of balance, your immune system will be too.
And on top of this, so many autoimmune conditions relate to your encodrine system…and a huge part of your endocrine system is in your gut too!
To recover from autoimmune, you need to fix your gut. Your digestive system has to be in balance. However, the standard American diet (standard MODERN diet, it’s not just in America!) is almost like it’s been custom-designed to cause digestive imbalance. Processed foods, chemicals, sweeteners, sugars, gluten, additives – all of these massively disrupt the balance of the gut.
We could go into a LOT of detail here and spend weeks JUST on the digestive process and the modern diet, but I am sure you can imagine these foods are NOT conducive to digestive balance.
There are three areas of imbalance that dramatically increase the risk of autoimmune disease taking hold:
1) poor pH balance
2) gut dysbiosis
3) leaky gut
Let’s start by looking at the pH side of things.
The Role of Alkalinity, pH and Digestion
This is a question I know a lot of people have, and maybe you do to:
“The stomach is so acidic, what is the point in eating alkaline foods?”
It’s a very logical question to ask, because indeed if everything is dropping into this big pool of acid and turning to a sludge (it’s actually called chyme) then what difference does it make if a food is alkaline or acidic in the first place.
Well, actually, a lot.
Firstly let’s take a step back. There are a couple of points to consider before we get into the mechanics of this early stage of digestion and the role of hydrochloric acid (HCl).
1) we’re not talking strictly alkaline or acidic in the natural state of the food. We’re talking acid or alkaline-forming. This is a key distinction with a few foods. Lemons, tomatoes, grapefruits – these are all acidic in their natural state but have an alkaline-forming effect on the body. I won’t go into the finer details of why now – but it’s basically to do with their mineral content, which overrides their citric acid content.
2) we have to look at this with common sense before we get into the science (and I promise not to be to science-y) – the alkaline-forming foods are ALL of the foods we know are good for us: plant-based, leafy greens, salads, healthy fats, nuts, seeds, herbs, spices, things like spinach, cucumber, kale, avocado, tomatoes, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant-rich foods, fresh foods. The acid-forming foods are all processed, man-made, sugary, grain-based, trans-fats, processed-fats, foods like cakes, biscuits, pizza, chips, alcohol, processed meats, fast food, convenience food, microwave meals, etc.
This isn’t an ‘out there’ way of looking at diet – it just makes sense.
So with that being said – let’s look at the science of digestion so we can fully understand exactly why pH matters at the point the food enters your mouth.
As the food you eat enters the digestive process, it begins to be prepared for digestion immediately by saliva and mucous and a handful of other enzymes in the mouth, throat, and esophagus. As the food hits the esophagus, this triggers the release of gastrin in the stomach, which ultimately begins the release of hydrochloric acid (HCl) in the stomach to take the pH from the stomach’s holding level of pH 5-6 down to pH 4.
At this pH 4 level, the food can be broken down and any bacterias destroyed.
A common misconception here is that the stomach is a big pouch of acidity waiting for the food to drop in where it will fizz and sizzle and burn down to nothing.
This isn’t the case. The stomach is very mildly acidic until we eat something, and then the volume of HCl produced will vary depending on what we eat.
And an acidic diet of sugar, grains, processed foods, excessive caffeine, animal protein, dairy, processed fats, junk foods, and so on can cause your stomach to become wildly imbalanced and produce way too much acid, or way too little! And both are a big problem.
Wait, how can an eating acidic diet cause low stomach acid?!
The stomach creates HCl on demand, and the more alkaline a food is, the more stomach acid is produced – because the stomach needs to keep the pH at a strongly acidic pH 4 – so if you eat alkaline-forming foods the stomach will produce slightly more HCl to maintain that pH and not let it get too high.
Is this what we want? The stomach to make more acidity? YES!
Whenever the stomach produces HCl it also produces a corresponding amount of highly alkaline sodium bicarbonate (NaCOH3).
So, the more acid your stomach produces the more alkalinity it produces in the form of sodium bicarbonate, which is then passed into the bloodstream to help prepare the body for the next phase of digestion in the duodenum and small intestine (among other things).
In other words, eating alkaline foods ensures the stomach produces the necessary amount of alkalinity (in the form of sodium bicarbonate, as a result of increased hydrochloric acid production).
So having an acidic stomach is critical for health, critical for alkaline balance, critical for digestion – but it has to be delicately balanced, which eating alkaline-forming foods ensures.
Eating an acidic diet disrupts this process significantly – and all of the problems start in the stomach phase of digestion:
There are two possible scenarios here that we’ve already touched on:
1) too much stomach acid: consumption of sugars, processed foods, chemical-laden foods (additives, MSG, ‘natural’ and artificial colourings and flavourings, stabilisers etc), gluten containing grains, processed fats (trans-fats, hydrogenated fats, margarine etc) and so on more than doubles the production of stomach acid. The body cannot manufacture enough NaCOH3 quickly enough to balance this out, and the result is the food passes into the duodenum in a far too acidic state for proper digestion, damaging the duodenum, and more critically – damaging the microvilli in the Jejunum and Ileum.
Over time too much stomach acid will exhaust your body’s capacity to produce HCl – especially as you get older – and you will start to massively underproduce HCl leading to too little stomach acid.
2) too little stomach acid: can be a chronic condition if there is an overconsumption of high-acid load foods such as excessive animal protein and dairy and/or the situation described above. When the stomach produces too little acid – two problems occur which are the foundation of many other problems:
3) there is not enough stomach acid to properly digest the food and the food passes, half digested into the duodenum and is a direct cause of leaky gut leading to autoimmune conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, Hashimoto’s, Raynaud’s disease, Crohn’s, Type 1 Diabetes, Grave’s disease, Guillain-Barre syndrome, hepatitis and more.
4) there is not enough NaCOH3 produced to neutralise the toxic acidity of these undigested acid forming foods and a low-level of chronic acidosis can quickly occur within the body that has been implicated in research to be at the root of many cancers, depression, elevated cortisol-based hormonal imbalances, insulin resistance, hypertension, Alzheimer’s and more.
And of course, an acidic imbalance in the stomach is going to have a very detrimental effect on those 100,000,000,000,000 (100 trillion) microorganisms (good and bad bacteria) in our gut that we want to be in the correct balance.
Leaky gut & the autoimmune disease diet
As we’ve just touched upon, leaky gut is directly caused by eating and acidic, pro-inflammatory diet, and it has a huge impact on the immune system. When these foods pass back into the bloodstream this literally causes the immune system to fire up, and if this occurs repeatedly, this will result in autoimmune.
Those acidic foods above contribute significantly to this, but none more so than gluten. When gluten is digested it creates a protein, as a by-product called zonulin. Zonulin causes tiny holes to appear and widen in the small intestine, allowing undigested foods to pass back into the bloodstream.
To fix autoimmune, you have to heal leaky gut.
This is another name for ‘too much bad bacteria in the gut’, and it is also a cause of autoimmune. According to this study published in the journal Immunology – we know that gut dysbiosis is a huge influence in the development of autoimmune disease, however, we still don’t know exactly how.
BUT, what we do know is how to maintain a healthy environment, and it starts with cutting the food supply to the bad bacteria, namely gluten, sugar and other pro-inflammatory foods. So let’s get into that.
Gluten, Sugar & Inflammation
Gluten, and sugar, are THE most acid-forming, imbalancing, pro-inflammatory foods on Earth. They offer nothing but trouble. In addition to the leaky gut issue above with the zonulin and gut dysbiosis, they also cause huge amounts of inflammation in practically every organ and gland in the body.
Sugar and gluten are implicated in causing imbalance with our gut, thyroid, adrenals, pancreas, liver, kidneys, pituitary, and more.
Gluten containing grains are like petrol to the fire when it comes to immune imbalance. These grains including wheat, rye, spelt, barley, durum and kamut – so foods such as pasta, cous cous, bread, wraps, cakes, cookies, breakfast cereals and so on, contain gluten and within that gluten this is disastrous to the immune, and digestive systems.
When you consume grains and they reach your intestines, the gluten in the grains is broken down into it’s two proteins, gliadin and glutenin by an enzyme called transglutaminase (tTG).
As these proteins make their way through your digestive system your gut identifies gliadin as a dangerous substance and produces antibodies to attack it – creating the stage for autoimmune.
And then there is ‘molecular mimicry’.
Molecular mimicry basically means that two molecules or substances look alike–one mimics the other. It’s believed this is a key mechanism for triggering autoimmunity in the body. It works like this. Something foreign to our body — like a virus, bacteria, or food particle — shares a similar molecular structure to a part of our body — like thyroid tissue.
When a foreign particles gets into your bloodstream (often because of your leaky gut!) the body creates antibodies to that particle. It tells the immune system to “destroy” or get rid it. The problem occurs when your own body tissue resembles the same molecular structure as that foreign particle.
The body gets confused and may create antibodies to your own body tissue. And antibodies to your own body leads to autoimmune disease. Gluten and autoimmunity don’t mix because of this potential interaction.
Studies have found that antibodies to gliadin (a protein in gluten) react with several different body tissues. This is also known as “food autoimmune reactivity” and has been seen when antibodies to gluten react with tissues of the thyroid, brain, nervous system and joints.
In other words, if your body is sensitive to gluten you’re making antibodies to parts of the gluten molecule, like gliadin. These same anti-gliadin antibodies may attach to tissues in your body flagging them for destruction.
And sugar? Sugar is hugely inflammatory, causes insulin spikes that terrorize the thyroid, sugar destroys good bacteria in the gut…and so much more.
To follow my autoimmune disease diet, both of these foods have to be seriously reduced and/or removed in order to get rid of the autoimmune.
Having excess adipose tissue (fat) is a very clear precursor to autoimmune, and it exacerbates the issue too. The primary reason is that the presence of excess fat cells triggers the body to create more inflammatory signals called “adipokines”.
Research published in the journal Current Allergy and Asthma Reports shows a link between excess adipose tissue and colitis, arthritis, encephalomyelitis and irritable bowel disease.
Again, inflammation is the common thread running through this.
In our modern lifestyle, we are surrounded by toxins. In our home cleaning products, body and skin care, makeup, laundry, as well as our drinking water.
Many of these toxins are known as endocrine-disruptors, and highly carcinogenic, and all of them lead to yet more inflammation and stress to the body.
It is essential that you start to get as many chemicals out of your life as possible. And this is a LOT easier now than it was even ten years ago. Natural cleaning products and beauty products are far more prevalent and affordable. And they do a good job now too! Chemical-free laundry and dishwashing products are as good as their inflammatory counterparts. And natural skincare, toothpaste, moisturizers, shampoos, and conditioners are fantastic too.
Just swapping these products will go a long way to reducing your toxic load.
And it’s a must. When you consider just a handful of these toxins that are in most home and body-care products:
- SLS and SLES irritate eyes, skin, and lungs, and can also be contaminated with a substance called 1,4-dioxane, which is known to cause cancer
- Phthalates: known endocrine disruptors.
- Perchloroethylene or “PERC” a neurotoxin, and carcinogen”
- Quarternary Ammonium Compounds, or “QUATS”: helps breed antibiotic-resistant bacteria and is a skin and lung irritant; increases asthma risk significantly
- 2-Butoxyethanol: lung damage, and severe liver and kidney damage. 6. Ammonia: damages respiratory tract
- Chlorine: horrible for the thyroid – there is not much worse.
This is just in cleaning products! Then think about deodorants, toothpaste, face wash, makeup, makeup remover, shampoo, conditioner, body wash, bath salts…
This is not to make you scared, but to make you (hopefully) realize just how much of an opportunity it is to make a very easy change that can remove a TON of chemicals, and therefore acidity, from your life.
Just switch to chemical-free!
And then we get to water…
There is a whole guide on my site when it comes to the toxicity of tap water, and I recommend you read it. But for now, it is essential that you simply filter your water. The conversation around alkaline water, ionizers, and so on can come another day – for now, just make sure you filter.
Tap Water Contains 316 Known Contaminants and Is Proven to Increase Cancer Risk
A 3-year study by the Environmental Working Group (EWG) assembled an unprecedented database of 20 million drinking water quality tests performed by water utilities since 2004 and found…get this…316 contaminants in US tap water.
And among the unregulated contaminants detected 168 have been linked to cancer, 54 to reproductive toxicity, 67 to developmental toxicity, and 35 to immune system toxicity!
And most scary…Among the contaminants were 202 chemicals that are not subject to any government regulation or safety standards for drinking water. They can just exist in our water at any level without needing to be tested for, screened for or filtered out.
These toxins, including fluoride, chlorine, chloramines, DBPs, pesticides and heavy metals are all direct contributors to immune system stress and imbalance. But they CAN be filtered out, and I recommend you do.
Finally – this one isn’t food, but it’s just as influential. Stress is hugely impactful on our immune, digestive, and endocrine systems. This study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found a direct link between stress and autoimmune diseases.
The study found that individuals diagnosed with a stress-related disorder were more likely to be diagnosed with an autoimmune disease, were more likely to develop multiple autoimmune diseases, and had a higher rate of autoimmune disease if younger.
Now, it is important to point out that nobody can control stressful events from happening in life…but what we can have some degree of control over is our response to them.
And for this, I hugely recommend using a simple mindfulness app such as Headspace or Calm for just 10-15 minutes on a daily (or almost daily) basis. It is a complete game-changer and will do wonders for your health.
Trying to recover from autoimmune while still being in chronic stress will be very difficult.
These 4-5 factors are essential to be aware of…
This is the cause, the nature of the beast. If we can stop the risk from increasing, and also manage these factors, we can much more easily start to reverse the autoimmune condition.
So let’s get into part two.
NOTE: before we get into the solution, I want to point you to a few of my guides in case you have these concerns: My Guide to Anti-Nutrients (Lectins etc.), and My Guide to Goitrogens / Cruciferous (esp. if you have thyroid issues).
Part Two: The Autoimmune Disease Diet
While you can never promise or guarantee a result, what I can assure you is that the steps below WILL help support your immune system and its journey back into balance.
There are specific nutrients that are included here (broccoli & its sulforaphane…avocado & its glutathione), that have been researched and studies considerably for their immune-supportive effects. Similarly, we know how certain foods cause the inflammation behind a huge percentage of autoimmune diseases.
My autoimmune disease diet approach is all evidence-based. And I can’t wait to get stuck in with you.
Again – if you want to fast forward your results considerably, join my free Alkaline Cleanse Workshop here. I will be teaching you how to do my Alkaline Reset Cleanse over four actionable lessons, and you can get MONTHS of progress in a matter of days.
Can Diet Cure Autoimmune Disease?
Yes. I can say this with confidence because I’ve seen it in my own family, and I’ve seen it with thousands of my students on the Alkaline Reset Cleanse.
I want to share the story of Denise and Juanita with you quickly now. The videos are short but powerful.
Denise had a sudden onset of autoimmune in the shape of psoriatic arthritis. It came on so suddenly it was scary. She joined me on my Alkaline Reset Cleanse Coaching Program and within days the symptoms were disappearing. In a very short period of time after finishing the Cleanse, she had lost all of the weight she wanted to lose AND her doctor had stopped her medication and declared her autoimmune-free:
Juanita came to me and joined the Alkaline Reset Cleanse Coaching Program after suffering incredible and debilitating pain with the autoimmune condition lupus. She regularly had to be admitted to the hospital to help her cope with the pain and was told she was going to have to live with a lifetime of steroid medication.
After doing the Alkaline Reset Cleanse she is now medication-free, pain-free, has lost over 30lbs, and is thriving:
Again, I am running my annual free series to teach you how to do the Cleanse, starting 4th June.
The Six Steps to Help Reverse Autoimmune
While the Alkaline Reset Cleanse is the quickest and most powerful thing you can do – while you’re waiting for the free training to start, you should follow these steps of my Autoimmune Disease Diet. This will get the ball rolling, and give you quick results. And from results you’ll get both momentum and confidence!
Eat Alkaline and GREEN
Alkaline-forming foods are some of the most anti-inflammatory and healing foods there are. Think leafy greens (double points), cruciferous, salads, nuts, seeds, healthy fats, all veggies, low-sugar fruits…think foods like broccoli, avocado, kale, spinach, lemon, lettuce, carrots, beets, ginger, turmeric, garlic, and more.
If you can add more of these fresh, nutrient-dense foods IN, while limiting the acid-forming foods, you’re going a HUGE way to reversing autoimmune.
While we’re covering the most acid-forming foods to avoid in this guide, a quick reference list might be handy (and you can download my full alkaline food charts at the top of this page):
Quick Reference List: Alkaline-Forming Foods
Lettuce (all varieties)
Spring Onions (Scallions/Salad Onions)
Kale (all varieties)
Capsicum (Bell Pepper)
(and heaps more, the list could go on…)
Quick Reference List: Acidic-Forming Foods
All sugar (inc. syrups)
Gluten-containing grains (wheat, rye, barley etc.)
Processed Meats (esp. bacon)
Excessive Animal Protein
Baked Goods (muffins etc)
Essentially the most acid-forming foods are those that contain sugar, gluten, and chemicals/additives – so avoiding processed foods gets you a long way there!
To Make It Easy & Powerful, Focus on GREENS
The old advice from most Governments is ‘5-a-Day’ of fruits and vegetables. It’s crazy, because in their list of ‘five a day’ they include potatoes, cans of baked beans, packaged fruit juice (sugar-crazy), dried fruit (also sugar-hit), and more weird and wonderful goods that contribute nothing to your health, except a ridiculously high-carb and high-sugar diet. Brilliant.
Now, the next problem here is barely anyone even hits five a day even with these foods included!
My proposal for you is that you ditch the old guidelines and instead aim for at least five serves a day of GREENS. This is the cornerstone of my autoimmune disease diet.
And this isn’t just for autoimmune – doing this will change your life.
Think leafy greens, plus broccoli, basically. And try to find ways to sneak as many serves in as you can. Again, you don’t have to be perfect, and you don’t need to go from zero yesterday to five-plus today (ideally it’s seven serves, that’s my fave sweet spot).
Start small – between now and the Workshop, try to get 1-2 more per day as a minimum, and build up from there. Anything else is a bonus.
- Juices and smoothies – this is without question the best and easiest way. You can easily get 2-3 serves of greens in a single glass.
- Serving a side salad with each meal you have. Easily another 1-2 serves per day
- Wilting spinach into sauces, whether it’s pasta, curry, soups, stews…
- Shaving broccoli into salads, soups, stews
- Finely chopping broccoli stalks and enjoying with veggie pasta
- Making green dips and salad dressing (think coriander, parsley, spinach, kale)
There are tons of ideas, and we’ll cover this more in the Workshop.
Reduce Sugar & Gluten
As we’ve covered – if you have autoimmune, and you want to start an autoimmune disease diet – these HAVE to go! Getting these out is a core part of my Autoimmune Disease Diet Plan!
These are the two most acidic, inflammatory foods on Earth. They are just terrible. They cause imbalance everywhere, and in an ideal world, they would not exist.
Now, it’s a whole coaching program in itself to get you completely off these foods (and when I say ‘completely’ I don’t mean never, ever, anything again – perfection is never the goal, there is always time for a treat).
So for now, I just want to try and get you thinking about how you can reduce the consumption of these foods.
As I teach in my “Quit Sugar Success Coaching Program” most people’s sugar and gluten consumption is coming from just a small handful of foods or eating occasions/meals.
It’s usually 70-80% or more that is coming from just a handful of meals, snacks or foods – and they are usually things that we can easily swap or live without.
Just doing this will make a massive difference.
If you can think of those few times/places that sugar and gluten appear in your diet regularly, and find an easy swap, you’ll see a big difference, without really any hard work.
(Note: all of my coachings comes from this core principle – making the biggest difference to your life with the least hard work possible – sounds good, huh?)
Simple ideas include:
- Swapping regular pasta for gluten-free pasta
- Swapping soft drinks for chilled herbal tea
- Going for salads instead of sandwiches (or rather than the bread, get rice paper rolls, sushi, or lettuce wraps/tacos)
- Tapering off the sugar you put in tea/coffee
- Take nuts/seeds instead of snack bars for on-the-go snacks
- Making my ‘Keto Avo Mousse‘ or ‘Chia Pots’ for dessert instead of, well, dessert
- Instead of cous cous, use rice or ‘cauliflower rice’
- At breakfast, have oats, or quinoa porridge instead of gluten/sugar-containing cereals
If you do just one or two of these – wow – what a step in the right direction! You’re smashing it!
Caffeine is an interesting one because it seems to vary person-to-person, and even study-to-study! While there is irrefutable evidence that in some people caffeine consumption can seriously impact the immune system, this effect is not seen in everyone.
Studies have shown that moderate coffee consumption in healthy subjects correlated with increased markers of inflammation. They had higher levels of C-reactive protein (CRP), serum amyloid-A, and white blood cell counts. In people who drank high amounts of coffee (over 200 mL daily), they observed an increase in circulating white blood cells and inflammatory cytokines. But again, other studies have observed the opposite.
And as shown in this study published in the journal Clinical Immunology, caffeine consumption seriously disrupts one of the most important pathways (STAT1) of immune signaling, which can cause huge issues with autoimmune, but not in everyone!
The fact is, without going deep into genetics, we don’t know if you are in column A, or column B.
BUT, the bottom line is caffeine is an acid-forming substance so will still impact your immune system even if not directly.
For example, we can’t ignore the adrenal effect. For those with autoimmune disease, especially those related to endocrine system imbalance (ie. Hashimoto’s, Endometriosis, and especially Addison’s Disease), I recommend you reduce or remove caffeine from your diet due to the impact on the adrenals.
Caffeine stimulates cortisol secretion by elevating the production of adrenocorticotropic hormone by the pituitary gland. Excessive cortisol production drives your blood pH down, and also leads to an overactive immune system (inflammation & autoimmunity).
The good news is, all alkaline-forming foods are strong anti-inflammatories too. Greens, beets, garlic, lettuce, broccoli…these are all great anti-inflammatories.
But if you want to make a real impact, quickly, I recommend adding the two most powerful anti-inflammatory foods known to man: turmeric and ginger.
These are not foods that we normally add to our daily diet in the West, but you CAN add them so easily. They taste great, and I promise you – adding these in, once-a-day, will have a HUGE impact on your autoimmune condition.
And the easiest way? Starting the day with one of my turmeric teas!
Here are two of my favorite recipes to get you started. One is a creamier latte style, and the other is more of a refreshing tea. Both take under five minutes to make, and if you get one of these each day you’ll notice a big difference.
Here they are – Ross’ delicious anti-inflammatory turmeric teas.
Can I Use Powder Instead of Fresh Turmeric & Ginger
Yes, you definitely can. While fresh is best, you can use powder if you’re struggling to source the fresh root. 1cm of root per day is recommended, which is about the same as 1 level teaspoon of powder. Just PLEASE USE ORGANIC.
And Turmeric Supplements?
I’ll go into more detail on supplements below 🙂
This one is so important, and so few people are doing it. You HAVE to be properly hydrated if you want good health. If you have a health challenge right now – whether it’s excess weight, a skin condition, pain, fatigue – no matter what it is, and you are dehydrated…wow, you’re missing a trick.
Most people can get significant results from JUST fixing their hydration.
We will cover this in-depth in the Alkaline Cleanse Workshop – but for now, look to increase your hydration by an extra 20-30oz per day.
The ideal goal is 100-130oz – and here are some simple steps to start reaching that goal:
Tips for Remembering to Drink Enough / Making Hydration Delicious & Easy
Step One: Carry a Big Bottle
This is the best tip – because it makes sure you always have your water on you to sip. I personally like to have a big 1-liter (35oz) bottle at all times and when I do this I always drink my 4.2 liters! Really simple, but SO effective. How many times are you sat at your desk, thirsty as hell, thinking – when I finish this task I’ll go get water…and then 2 hours later you’re still sitting there thirsty?
Step Two: Set a Reminder
This isn’t something you will have to do forever, but I recommend you set an hourly reminder on your phone or watch to beep and remind you to have a big gulp or a glass of water every hour. It is amazing how often you suddenly realize it is lunchtime and you’ve not really had anything to drink!
Step Three: Substitute
For every other drink, you go to have, be it tea, coffee, or juice – substitute in water. You will be surprised at a) how good it makes you feel and b) how much of a pat on the back you can give yourself afterward. This simple tip can lead to some really good, positive reinforcement that yes, you can say no and it makes you even more healthy!
Step Four: Always Have Water At Your Desk
Building on Step One – simply having a bottle at your desk at all times means that when you do remember you can tuck straight into it, rather than thinking “oh yes, water, now let me just finish this email first”.
Step Five: The Power of Tea!
Herbal teas are alkaline! Mostly. You only really have to avoid green and white tea and the rest are caffeine-free and alkaline. I find this is a great way to beat the boredom of plain water and it gives me at least a liter of hydration per day. My favorites are peppermint, Rooibos, caffeine-free chai, ginger, and orange. Delicious hot or cold!
Step Six: Flavour!
Water is water and it’s pretty dull. That’s ok. Try to see hydration as a source of health and energy rather than a source of flavor. However, remember – you can add lemon, mint, lime, grapefruit…all manner of fresh stuff added in to make water more enjoyable. I’m personally loving lime and mint at the moment. Mint grows like nothing else in the garden too – so you can get it in abundance for free (or in a pot if you’re living in a unit). Genius.
Step Seven: Know your Outcome and Plan your Route to Success
Set goals. Write them down. Track your progress. Read your goals aloud day and night. Honestly, being hydrated is THE most important part of any health goal and will get you a long way towards where you want to be, whether that is weight loss, weight gain, muscle growth, more energy, better digestion, better skin…
Getting Started on the Autoimmune Disease Diet
Getting started is always the hardest part. Why? Because as humans, our natural tendency is to always try to do-it-all-at-once!
This is a recipe for giving up. Don’t do that.
My strongest suggestion is that you register for my Alkaline Cleanse Workshop – and then pick just ONE or TWO of the suggestions here to get started.
The workshop will teach you HOW to do the Cleanse, and that absolutely will get you huge results in a short space of time. It is fantastic.
And while you’re waiting for the workshop, and then planning in your cleanse AFTER the workshop – you can be preparing by starting to implement the steps here.
In summary they are to:
- Lower sugar intake
- Lower gluten intake
- Lower caffeine intake
- Increase hydration
- Increase anti-inflammatories
- Increase greens & other alkaline foods
- Work on handling stress
- Lower the toxins in your life
So pick JUST ONE THING. Add that one thing to your life. If it is one of the broader topics such as ‘lowering sugar intake’ pick just ONE of the suggestions I’ve given you.
ONLY ONCE YOU FEEL YOU HAVE MASTERED THIS ONE THING…can you move on to the next.
Maybe you will add a green juice each day…or you’ll add the turmeric tea to your morning routine…maybe you’ll pick one of the hydration tips…
You decide, and add that ONE THING.
Once it becomes a habit, add another.
Do this between now and the Cleanse Workshop…then learn how to do the Alkaline Reset CLeanse with me – and then DO THE CLEANSE, and you will be absolutely flying. You’ll rapidly be making autoimmune a thing of the past, just like Denise and Juanita and thousands of my other students, who have all said goodbye to autoimmune disease by doing the Alkaline Reset Cleanse with me.
Let’s do this. I am SO passionate about helping you, because like I mentioned up top, autoimmune has affected my family considerably, and I know how frustrating and debilitating it can be.
You got this. And I’m here for you.