—Izabella Wentz, PharmD, FASCP and #1 New York Times bestselling author of Hashimoto's Protocol
Palmer Kippola is on a mission to make autoimmune disease history. When she was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis at age 19, she began a journey toward healing that resulted in a complete reversal of her symptoms. Now, with the help of leading medical experts, including renowned specialists in immunology and longevity from UCLA and Stanford medical schools, as well as leading practitioners in the field of autoimmunity and functional medicine, Kippola wants to help you find freedom from disease too.
This comprehensive book is the first to explore all six of the critical lifestyle factors that are the root causes of autoimmune conditions—and the sources of regaining health:
* Discover the foods that can trigger disease as well as healthy solutions to fit your personal nutritional profile
*Explore the impact of common, often-undiagnosed infections and ways to optimize your immunity naturally
*Learn how gut health is the key to recovery
*Gain insight on how hormone imbalances can disrupt healing and how to assess your hormone levels
*Eliminate environmental toxins in your home and body, and learn how to live a detox lifestyle
*Reduce stress and build resilience
Drawing on her own inspiring return to resilient health, as well as the healing stories of a dozen medical doctors and practitioners, plus years of research with autoimmune experts, Palmer Kippola gives readers the tools to beat autoimmune disease—and the hope that relief and healing are possible.
“An excellent resource for those who want to use an integrative and functional medicine approach to support their healing journey!”
—Terry Wahls, MD, author of The Wahls Protocol: A Radical New Way to Treat All Chronic Autoimmune Conditions Using Paleo Principles
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About the Author
Palmer has studied with the Institute for Functional Medicine (IFM), Apex Energetics™ and the HeartMath® Institute. In addition, she has completed 100+ hours of neurofeedback brain training, and studied under leading experts in nutrition, holistic, energy and Functional Medicine.
Today Palmer collaborates with Functional Medicine practitioners and consults with people who seek to transcend autoimmune conditions. She also provides guidance to Documenting Hope, a scientific initiative to study and record the recovery of children with chronic illness.
When she’s not learning, writing, collaborating or speaking about finding freedom from autoimmune conditions, she might be found hiking in the hills, doing yoga or HIIT workouts, cooking healthy meals, connecting with friends and family, and laughing as much as possible.
Read an Excerpt
Start with Food
Food is how we get terribly sick; or it's how we can restore our health.
— TERRY WAHLS, MD
The importance of food in autoimmune diseases cannot be overstated and yet is often hard for people to understand. How could something so ordinary, so ubiquitous, so simple and so basic be a cause or remedy for such drastic and debilitating conditions? If this seems counterintuitive to you, you are not alone. I had no idea that my "pretty healthy" diet, low in fat and high in whole grains, could have been a major contributing factor in my developing MS. But our daily bread, so to speak, can be the cause of our debilitating autoimmune conditions — and, conversely, the very remedy our bodies need to heal. It was fortunate that I found out I had non-celiac gluten sensitivity, and crazy to me that by removing that one culprit I was able to turn the tide on a twenty-six-year course of relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis, largely by changing what I ate.
Can it be so simple? That complex, chronic, and often debilitating autoimmune conditions can be reversed or significantly healed by removing a few foods? The short answer is yes, for many people. What I've learned from dozens of practitioners and by observing my own clients is that people with autoimmune issues often heal 60 percent to 100 percent just by changing what they eat. For some, like me, it can be 100 percent.
You may be thinking that giving up your favorite foods sounds too daunting to even attempt. But taken one step at a time, any journey, no matter how steep, is surmountable. That's where the Healing Foods Toolkit comes in handy. My step-by-step guide will help you to approach the process one manageable bite at a time — with me by your side. Need more convincing? Let's examine food's essential role in our health.
What's Wrong with What We Eat?
Answering this seemingly simple question requires a quick review of human evolution and the advent of chronic disease. For the vast majority of our time on planet Earth, we humans were hunter-gatherers, eating fresh, whole foods harvested or hunted in the wild. There were few grains, no pesticides, no herbicides, few processed foods, and no genetically modified foods. The topsoil teemed with beneficial organisms, plants grew at a natural pace, and trace minerals were recycled back into the soils for next year's season; plants and animals provided nourishing, nutrient-dense food; and chronic disease was virtually nonexistent.
While our ancestors may not have lived long lives (due to infectious illness and trauma), they were mostly free of inflammatory and degenerative diseases. This phenomenon has been chronicled by anthropologists like Weston A. Price, a Canadian dentist who sought to understand how traditional cultures avoided both tooth decay and chronic disease. Turns out that people of traditional cultures who ate local food were naturally healthy and fit. Had they not succumbed to tuberculosis or the elements, they might have lived to seventy or beyond.
Modern Foods and Human Biology: An Evolutionary Mismatch
Fast forward to the Industrial Revolution, which eventually ushered in mass agriculture and machinery for large-scale production to feed a growing American population after World War II. Vast quantities of processed cereal grains like wheat, corn, rice, and soy provided a cheap and easy source of calories. Procuring fast, frozen and packaged foods, after all, is way more efficient than foraging for sustenance.
But convenience has come at a cost.
As we've become great mass-producers of grains, oils, and animals, we've also gotten really sick. Today, chronic illnesses afflict nearly half of all adults, cause the most deaths and disability in the United States, and are a leading driver of health care costs. Most tragically, these diseases, once rare or associated with old age, now affect children and especially women in their prime. Food sensitivities, mysterious and frequently debilitating symptoms, insulin resistance, obesity, and chronic illnesses are becoming the norm.
It turns out that our modern lifestyle is at the root of autoimmune conditions; and modern foods are one of the biggest culprits. As people have shifted from eating a diverse diet of foraged foods to eating only a few staple crops, the population has experienced an overall decline in health and longevity. We have also shifted from intermittent food availability to constant food availability (packaged, processed foods), and from seasonal eating to year-round obtainability (imported or greenhouse- grown) foods. The shortcuts provided by fast and cheap packaged foods are not a good match for human biology. Our bodies are rebelling against these unnatural foods, and we're developing modern, chronic diseases that were extremely rare or absent prior to the agricultural era. Some call these modern, chronic illnesses "mismatch disorders" for that reason. In other words, the standard American diet (SAD) — a.k.a. Western diet — loaded with sugars and chemically produced products, is a fast track to insulin resistance, obesity, cancer and autoimmunity.
The Return to Health
The great news is that a return to health and vitality usually follows a return to more traditional ways of eating. Often in a short time, too.
We know that people from traditional cultures who adopt Western diets suffer the same health consequences as people who grow up eating a Western diet. Even a temporary SAD diet can lead to diabetes, obesity, and heart disease — each risk factors for autoimmune conditions. Nutrition researcher Kerin O'Dea studied Australian aboriginals who had left their native home in the bush for the more Westernized town of Derby, Australia. With access to refined carbohydrates and a more sedentary lifestyle, it wasn't long before they became obese and diabetic. O'Dea conducted a seven-week study to see what would happen if the aboriginals returned to their bush habitat and their customary diet of fish, shellfish, birds, kangaroo, tubers, and bush honey. Sure enough, as the aboriginals returned to eating their native foods, they lost weight and experienced remarkable health improvements. Markers of inflammation and diabetes all improved or resolved, in just seven weeks!
Does this mean you're going to have to sharpen your spear and roam the wild to find your own food? Metaphorically speaking, that's the right direction. Practically speaking, you'll just need to become a savvy, modern-day huntress-gatherer to find the most evolutionarily appropriate foods for you. As you align your food choices to those better suited to your biology, remarkable things happen: signs and symptoms of chronic disease begin to fade, replaced by shoots and blooms of vibrant health and well- being. The more you heal, the easier it becomes to make the right food choices, until one day it's simply second nature.
Food and the Three Invisible but Powerful Forces Inside You
To understand the significance of your food choices, it helps to have an appreciation for what's happening in your body. Your moment-to-moment daily decisions — what you eat, drink, think, and do — directly affect whether you are moving toward health or toward disease. Three of the biggest impacts on health or disease exist at a microscopic level inside each of us and exert their influence multiple times a day. These three invisible yet powerful forces are epigenetics, the microbiome, and mitochondria. Each of these forces responds in real time to the foods you eat daily. Awareness of their significance is a huge first step. Let's consider each separately before we look at the bigger picture.
You know the cliché "You are what you eat." The latest science proves that this old refrain is absolutely true. The foods we eat not only become the building blocks of new cells, they also write our personal health stories, bite by bite. To understand the epigenetics of food, imagine it's lunchtime and you're eating a burger with one hand. Envision your other hand on a light switch. If your burger is made with typical GMO-produced, corn-fed, antibiotic-laden meat cooked at high heat in industrial oils and comes with a bun, flip the switch up. You've just turned on your disease-promoting genes. What if you decide instead to have a 100 percent grass-fed burger cooked in ghee (clarified butter) on medium heat and wrapped in organic lettuce? Your hand on that light switch just flipped the switch down. Congratulations! You've just turned off disease- promoting genes — and turned on health-promoting genes.
What you choose to eat directly determines the composition and function of your microbiome. Sugar and processed foods feed non-beneficial fungi that produce mycotoxins and yeast infections (Candida), whereas probiotic-rich foods like fermented vegetables feed health-promoting bacteria, which help maintain beneficial microbial balance. With each food decision, you choose what instructions get directly delivered to your genes — harm or heal — and you choose the balance of microbes you feed — disease-promoting or health-promoting.
KEY CONCEPT:With each meal, you control whether harmful or healing genes get expressed.
You've heard that food is fuel, well, here's how: Mitochondria are the tiny but mighty factories in each of your cells that turn the food you eat into energy. They produce 90 percent of your cellular energy, so they are definitely mighty! The number and efficiency of your mitochondria reflect a microcosm of your health and well-being. When your mitochondria function well, you'll feel better and have more energy. The opposite is also true: when your mitochondria experience harm inflicted by stress, infections, toxins, and SAD foods, your energy producers are given reasons to go on strike.
Mitochondrial expert and neurologist Bruce H. Cohen, MD, says that one of the biggest reasons our mitochondria deteriorate is that we eat too many poor-quality foods and not enough healthy ones. He warns that unless we eat plenty of phytonutrients, antioxidants, healthy fats, proteins, and fiber, our bodies don't get the basic tools they need to heal and generate life.
Now that you understand the significant invisible forces within you, you may have a greater appreciation for how consequential your food choices are. You're literally eating for trillions — microbes, that is. For some, the prospect of exerting such direct control over their health outcomes will come as a huge relief, while for others, the impact of everyday choices might feel more like unwanted pressure. If you fall into the latter category, remember that you don't have to start from scratch or go it alone. The foods described in the Healing Foods Toolkit will be your map and I'll be your guide on the path to wellness, one step at a time. Right now, what's most important is your willingness to examine and, eventually, optimize your food choices.
The Recipe for Healing with Food
So, where do you start? How do you determine what foods to avoid and what to eat to optimize your health? Fortunately for me, a Functional Medicine nutritionist helped guide me on my journey back to health. She educated me about toxic foods, assisted me in uncovering my personal food sensitivities, and led me through a gut-healing protocol. Within thirty days, I had identified and removed my personal food triggers, I had added in nourishing foods that would help heal my gut, and I was free of digestive and autoimmune symptoms.
The same straightforward process I used to go from decades of autoimmune symptoms to vibrant health is the one I use with my coaching clients and the one I'll guide you through now. First, I'll help you understand the connection between food and autoimmune conditions. We'll look at specific examples of how food can trigger and perpetuate autoimmunity for years or even decades, and also how food can serve as the greatest healer, even if it's not your primary trigger. (We'll address other common triggers in the following chapters.) Many people have succeeded in healing with food. If I can do it, so can you.
Before we jump to solutions, let's first look at how food can trigger autoimmune conditions. After you see the connection, you'll likely feel even more motivated to remove the culprits that may be causing you harm.
The Harmful Side of Food
As previously mentioned, the standard American diet (SAD), or Western diet, is a massive factor in creating the autoimmune epidemic today. Processed foods, refined sugars, gluten, grains, conventionally grown And factory-farmed animal products, and unhealthy fats like hydrogenated (chemically altered) oils and most vegetable oils are the primary inflammatory culprits in launching and perpetuating autoimmune disorders. Here's how:
About 75 percent of your immune system resides in your gut — specifically inside the lining of your small intestines — and autoimmunity is an immune system problem. We'll look at inflammation more closely in the Gut chapter, but for now, what's most important to know is that anything that inflames or harms your gut harms your immune system. Inflammatory SAD foods create imbalances in gut bacteria (microbiome dysbiosis or gut imbalance), nutritional deficiencies, and intestinal hyperpermeability (a.k.a. "leaky gut"), which is the gateway to autoimmunity.
Leaky Gut and Food Sensitivities
A leaky gut — literally large openings in the lining of your intestines (think rips in a fishing net) — allows large, undigested food particles to cross into the bloodstream. Once in the bloodstream, large protein molecules like gluten, casein (a dairy protein), or egg whites may be tagged and targeted as dangerous invaders by the immune system, which creates antibodies (missiles) to attack these "dangerous" food particles. Once food particles have been tagged for attack, every time you eat those foods, as long as your gut is permeable, your immune system will continue to attack the foods, resulting in multiple food sensitivities and worse. Eventually, in susceptible people, the immune system will turn its attack on tissues in your body that resemble the food protein molecules the immune system is attempting to destroy.
Research shows that many things can lead to a leaky gut: foods including gluten, dairy, and sugar; infections like Candida and Lyme disease and coinfections; toxins including pesticides and medications like antibiotics; and ongoing or traumatic stress. But consider the case of gluten. At a cellular level, the gluten molecule happens to look like a thyroid molecule. Continue eating gluten, and if you're predisposed, you may wind up with Hashimoto's thyroiditis. That's the autoimmune cascade: environmental factor (s) including food, infections, toxins, and stress lead to a leaky gut, which leads to immune system reactions like food sensitivities, autoimmune expression, and finally, full-blown autoimmune disease.
You may currently experience delayed allergic reactions to many of the foods you eat and not even know it. If you assume, like many do and like I did, that these symptoms are just a normal part of life, you won't make the connection between the foods you eat and the discomfort you experience. When you can't tell cause and effect between the foods you eat and body aches or brain fog, it may take years, if ever, for you to make the connection. If you keep eating foods that cause your gut to be inflamed and your immune system to overreact, the symptoms you experience will likely worsen in an attempt to grab your attention.
Autoimmune conditions don't develop overnight. It's a gradual and typically stealthy process that builds over five, ten, or more years, often simmering below conscious awareness until minor symptoms express as unmistakable signs of autoimmune disease.
What You Don't Know Can Harm You
I know lots about silent but harmful food toxins and resulting autoimmunity. Throughout my childhood, daily breakfasts of cereal with milk and school lunches of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches on whole wheat bread were, unbeknownst to me, steadily inflaming my gut, disrupting the balance of my microbiome, harming my mitochondrial function, and damaging my metabolism.
Looking back, it's hardly surprising that an undiagnosed gluten sensitivity led to immune system imbalances, a leaky gut, and, ultimately, a diagnosis of MS at age nineteen. Because I continued to eat gluten- containing grains until I was forty-five, I unknowingly perpetuated the autoimmune response and the MS persisted.
What we consume can be an autoimmune trigger, but it's an equally powerful healer. In fact, according to multiple experts, food offers the highest healing potential of any solution yet identified. Many who have addressed this root cause head-on — by removing the most harmful foodstuffs like sugar, processed foods, gluten, and dairy, and replacing them with nourishing foods like organic leafy greens, healthy fats, and moderate amounts of protein — have found that numerous autoimmune symptoms fade and never return.(Continues…)
Excerpted from "Beat Autoimmune"
Copyright © 2019 Palmer Kippola.
Excerpted by permission of KENSINGTON PUBLISHING CORP..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
FOREWORD: YOU HAVE THE KEYS TO YOUR HEALTH,
INTRODUCTION - My Story,
CHAPTER 1 - Start with Food,
CHAPTER 2 - Heal Your Gut,
CHAPTER 3 - Clear Infections,
CHAPTER 4 - Minimize Toxins,
CHAPTER 5 - Address Stress,
CHAPTER 6 - Balance Your Hormones,
CHAPTER 7 - Keep Moving Forward,
APPENDIX A - 30-Day Food Vacation Recipes,
APPENDIX B - Food Symptom Tracker,
APPENDIX C - What's Your ACE Score?,
APPENDIX D - Advanced Considerations and Practitioners,
APPENDIX E - Find a Practitioner and Become a Practitioner Yourself!,
APPENDIX F - Resources and Recommended Reading by Chapter,
ABOUT THE PRACTITIONERS PROFILED IN THE BOOK,
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I too have a form of MS and other autoimmune diseases. I have a friend who has done lots of research in this area and tells me similar information. I'm finding this to be an excellent resource and recommend it for anyone battling MS or other autoimmune conditions such as Lyme, Hashimoto's, fibromyalgia, etc. After doctors told her the only treatment was to take medicine and she would be confined to a wheelchair, Palmer searched for other answers. Was a good thing, too, because she reversed her MS through nutrition and lifestyle. ( I must profess this is where I struggle, the diet and nutrition aspect) The author has carefully put all the research into one place which is very helpful. . The "toolkit" approach contained in this book is full of actionable steps you can take to figure out your root cause triggers and start to heal. I highly recommend adding this to your arsenal against Autoimmune disorders. I requested and received a digital copy from Kensington Books via Netgalley, all opinions are my own.
When the foreword of any health book is written by Mark Hyman, MD. I sit up and listen because he is a highly accredited physician in the health and nutrition field. He trusts what Palmer Kippola is talking about and he recommends this book. HE trusts this book. So, I trusted it as I read it. Palmer was diagnosed with MS while in college and he was determined to keep “living”. He asked himself all of the questions…Did he cause this? Could he fix it? Could he change anything? This book is about answering all of these questions. He lays everything out in a very clear and direct manner. This is definitely my go to book for my autoimmune and inflammation repair and I highly recommend it. I would like to thank the publishers for sending me an ARC of this Novel via NetGalley.
I learned a lot about how to support my health and healing from reading this book. I’ve had chronic back pain and sciatica for 15 years, which isn’t necessarily an autoimmune condition, and yet I found this book insightful and empowering. It’s packed with practical information that Palmer has managed to communicate in an easily understandable and applicable way. The chapter about how to manage stress was worth the cost of the book ten times over. It has already helped me take better care of myself and begin redesigning my life and work to be more supportive of my deepest well-being. I also appreciate reading a book written by someone that is not only a clinical expert but also has direct personal experience of struggling with and overcoming a massive autoimmune condition.
Chances are you or someone you know suffers from chronic disease. This is an unfortunate reality of the 21st century. Beat Autoimmune is written in a conversational, easy to understand manner. It includes important discussions such as how the environment, microbiome, infections, food allergies, epigenetics and toxins play a role in autoimmune disorders. I admire the author's autoimmune plight and her dedicated crusade to help herself and others, I fundamentally disagree with the correlation she proposes between childhood stress and autoimmune diseases such as MS. While I agree stress plays a role in managing autoimmune diseases, I don't agree that it plays a causative role, or in the author's words, is one of the "root causes." Having said that, this book was still worth the read. I appreciated the informative research, anecdotal evidence and positive messages.
nonfiction, health, nutrition ***** This book is not trying to sell you anything except itself and a better awareness of your own body and how you can help yourself to improved health. Many respected resources relate similar info to help avoid things like heart disease, but the info here hopes that you will adopt the foods imperatives that could change your physical health and thereby improve your present as well as your future. Just reading the book will not change much, but if the info is applied you will indeed see changes. I requested and received a free ebook copy from Kensington Books via NetGalley. Thank you!