No matter how dire the circumstances may be, it’s not always easy doing what’s right for you. Ten years ago, I woke up with an autoimmune disease called Alopecia Universalis. A crescent-shaped bald spot appeared behind each of my ears literally over night. Within a year, I lost every hair on my entire body and it’s been pretty much gone ever since.
I've also been searching for a cure ever since. I've gone to several doctors, tried homeopathy, and experimented with my diet. The only thing that showed any progress was when I changed my diet.
Initially, I went vegan for about six months and I experienced the only regrowth I had ever experienced since losing my hair in 2005. But I gained weight and found it difficult to follow strictly with my work schedule so I stopped doing it. (Again, it’s not always easy to do the right things for your well-being.) Within six months, all my hair fell out again and now I wasn't losing the added weight like I always had in the past.
But I didn't let it stop me. I made a new commitment – a lofty goal! – to find a solution within a year. I wrote out a new affirmation card with the following: I am enjoying perfect health and the perfect haircut by November 11, 2015 or sooner. I read my affirmation cards directly after my meditation first thing in the morning and at night when I didn't fall asleep reading to my son at night.
I didn't really know what my solution would ultimately be but I had a hunch to look for clues around my diet. The newest thing I’d been hearing was that everyone with an autoimmune disorder should be gluten free. My favorite food being pizza, I was very resistant to making the commitment. After all, I have tried so many different things throughout the last decade – all without success.
Then about two months after I made my new commitment to healing, my sister Diana texted me a link about some doctor she had found on the MindBodyGreen website talking about having “the autoimmune solution.” Again, you would think I would jump on watching this video - I’ve only been bald for ten years! But it was a classic case of resistance. I forgot about it instead.
But Diana wouldn't let me forget about it and started to share that she had early symptoms of an autoimmune disease herself. Since both our parents have two autoimmune diseases a piece and I have a big one myself, she was smart to be concerned. But she was confused because she was so much more health conscious than the rest of our meat-eating, pizza-loving family members - having been a vegan for about five years. But then she shared what Dr. Amy Myers had to say about the link between autoimmunity and diet.
After our discussion, watching several of Dr. Myers’ videos, and reading her website, Diana and I ordered her upcoming book (released January 27, 2015). We read it within a few days and it outlines her four-pillar approach: 1) eliminating toxic foods, 2) introducing restorative ingredients and supplements, 3) identifying environmental toxins, and 4) healing autoimmune-related infections.
She details a strict diet - Your Thirty-Day Protocol - and the closest thing to it is the Paleo Diet. Coming from a former vegetarian, I decided to keep an open mind. It cuts out all inflammatory food including: corn and anything made from corn, dairy, eggs, gluten, gluten-free grains and pseudo-grains, legumes, nightshade vegetables (i.e., eggplant, tomatoes, peppers, and potatoes), nuts and nut butters, peanuts, seeds, soy and sweetened fruit juices.
I have to admit this long list of forbidden foods wasn't exactly good news. I’m Italian American and have I mentioned my favorite food is pizza?
Now I’m being told I can’t ever eat bread, cheese and even tomatoes (although there is a possibility that tomatoes can be reintroduced once my symptoms are gone for at least three months). But how am I going to live without pizza?!
As I read the book, I began to understand exactly how and why these seemingly wonderful ingredients were clogging my system, causing off the charts internal inflammation and had to be removed from my diet - forever.
Yet, I still wondered. How am I going to live without pizza?! And then, it occurred to me. What if pizza were a man in my life?
He would be the type of guy that would give me a moment’s pleasure, which does count for something, don’t get me wrong. But he would also be the type that would bring me harm – literally making me sick, upset and angry. I know I wouldn't be in a relationship with a man that did that to me so why am I willing to continue this relationship with pizza?
So I decided to kick out pizza and I made the commitment to follow this diet for one year. I should be able to see a reversal of my symptoms much sooner than that but it took about a year to lose all my hair and I’ve been told it should take about the same amount to heal. We shall see!
I've been following the diet for about 12 days now and the food is actually delicious! Dr. Myers’ recipes have made the transition much easier although I've had to get used to the extra work and time involved in cooking all your meals from scratch. But I know that this will save me time and money in the long run - nothing is more expensive that not having your health!
Plus, I've already lost two pounds and any cravings subsided within the first few days. I even had pizza in the house without touching a slice! (I must admit that I smelled it though.)
So I’ll be posting my progress so be sure to follow me for the updates. If you are interested in partaking in this grand experiment with me, here’s a link. I don’t get anything for the referral. Just want to spread the love and build my community of pizza-free eaters. Original Huffington Post Blog Here