So I figured since it’s Valentine’s Day this weekend and all that I would spread a little love around here. Because you guys are the best! But instead of spreading that love in ooey-gooey chocolate valentine’s day-ish recipe on here, I thought we could talk about something different: self love. Enter: The Loving Diet: Going Beyond Paleo into the Heart of What Ails You, by Jessica Flanigan
Real talk: figuring out you have an autoimmune disease? not fun. Trying to live with an autoimmune disease? Also not fun. Trying to heal from an autoimmune disease on your own? Definitely not fun. And it can be really lonely, confusing, and frustrating sometimes, if you don’t have someone to guide you through it.
In the fall of 2013 when I finally
got my shit together realized that “paleo-ing” or “AIP-ing” harder wasn’t going to solve all my problems (or any of them, really), I started looking around for more answers. Sure, I had the elimination diet dialed in. But between celiac, leaky gut, thyroid issues, amenorrhea, they were all still kicking my butt, and I wasn’t seeing much improvement. Even worse, I was actually borderline depressed, because my sticking elimination diet stressed me out to a degree where I could barely go out and be social, aside for training for a half marathon with one of my best friends. Yep, you read that right. In retrospect, awful idea, right? Obviously. At the time, nope. It seemed like a great way to “get back in shape”.
As I’ve talked about before with my own story, when it comes to real healing, it only starts with food. You can do the paleo autoimmune protocol all day (okay, for a couple months) and still not see remission or even a vast improvement in your symptoms if you don’t address the other aspects of your life. And sometimes, you can even make yourself worse, if you neglect everything else in your life like high stress levels, over-exercising, relationships, not sleeping enough, etc., thinking that doing the next big elimination diet will be the cure-all to your problems.
What you need is a guide to how to really heal, from the inside out – including everything from the physical, to the mental and emotional aspects of autoimmune disease. And that’s where the Loving Diet comes in.
With the Loving Diet, you learn to reframe your relationship to your illness from a negative one, to a positive one. You learn to heal beyond diet, beyond sleep, beyond stress management, beyond exercise. Instead of: why me? why now? And continuously blaming your body for rejecting and attacking itself (which is what happens in autoimmune disease), Jessica guides you through how to begin the healing process on a mental and emotional level, which then translates to physical healing through self-love, patience, and forgiveness.
The great thing is, the amazing advice and guidance in The Loving Diet isn’t just for those who have an autoimmune disease. It can be helpful for anyone who has just ended a bad relationship (like Jessica’s story in the book), if you’ve suffered the loss of someone you loved, if you’re going through any kind of really tough time in your life, or you know someone who is.
For me, being diagnosed with all these health conditions forced me to overhaul my stressed-out, perfectionist ways and sh*tty relationship with food and my body. I only wish I could’ve had a tool like the Loving Diet when I had hit rock bottom and was going through the worst of my struggles and flare-ups. Once finally I realized it was because of these health problems that I had set out on a new path to become a health coach and nutritionist, so I could help others avoid going through the same hell I did, I totally changed my relationship to my disease. I stopped blaming myself for getting sick, stopped blaming my body for “not being strong enough” to fight off the illness, and stopped feeling the guilt that I couldn’t do everything I used to. Heck, I was even grateful for my diagnosis. Without getting sick, I never would have come down this path to where I am now (healthier and so much happier!).
“Your heart holds the healing”. – Jessica Flanigan
With The Loving Diet, Jessica shares her years of clinical experience working with patients, showing how they found success in treatment once they stopped blaming themselves and fighting their illnesses. Once they were finally able to accept and love their disease, and realized they could actually learn something from it, the real healing began. At the end of the book, Jessica also walks you through the nourishing diet protocol she has used with the most success with her clients. By combining these strategies, and not just focusing on the food as so many of us do, lifelong healing becomes possible.
Jessica Flanigan is the author of the Loving Diet, a Clinical Nutritionist and Autoimmune Protocol Diet Expert. She blogs at AIP Lifestyle and hosts the Love & Heal podcast. Ready for some real healing, go check out the Loving Diet.