January 28, 2013 in Living with Autoimmune Disease
Angie Alt is wife, mother, world traveler & blogger. She’s also a warrior in the autoimmunity war. Angie confronts three autoimmune disorders each day, including Celiac Disease, with powerful management techniques like AIPaleo & the Paleolithic lifestyle. She blogs regularly about the emotional side of tackling autoimmunity, adopting Paleo, and how it impacts her, her family, & their way of life. You can read more by Angela Alt at her blog and connect with her on Facebook.
Nine months ago I decided to start my own personal health revolution. I was very, very sick and tired of being very, very sick and tired. I had tried everything, been to every kind of doctor. Through an intensely difficult process (that often literally involved me begging physicians to help me) I had finally been accurately diagnosed, but there did not seem to be any hope for healing. In my last ditch effort, I adopted the Autoimmune Protocol and immediately felt the sweet relief of healing beginning.
AIP is not easy. It is a very restrictive version of Paleo and figuring out how to prepare tasty meals with so much limitation makes it a tough transition for many. Surprisingly, it was not a very difficult shift for me. I attribute this to my desperation. I was absolutely committed to regaining my health . . . basically, I felt the other choice was probably a slow, painful decline to an early end.
I happily rid my self and my kitchen of the poisons. As the months have flown by and my energy and strength have gradually returned, I’ve begun to think more carefully about the other places that toxins lurk. I’ve put an incredible amount of effort into changing my diet for optimal health . . . I don’t want anything to threaten that hard-won ground. The more I learned about it, the more I realized that most of the poison left in my life is coming from so-called “beauty” products. Managing multiple autoimmune diseases is a delicate task; even the chemicals in my beauty routine could be detrimental.
Sooo, a few months ago I began the process of switching to a natural beauty plan. I started with my body soap, then I changed my body lotion and then how I approach shaving. Next I changed how I handle facial care and recently I started experimenting with my hair care. Guess what? I am finding it much, much harder than switching my diet. Why is that?
I think it is fear. Changing the way I ate was a huge adjustment and it did affect my social life (I almost never eat out and I bring all my own food to social gatherings), but I wasn’t really worried about what people would think of me. BUT what if people think I look bad? Changing my beauty routine might mean that I don’t look as good (at least during the switch, while I’m trying to work out the kinks). How can I face that possibility? We have a powerful, multi-billion dollar beauty industry that tells us everyday that we need to achieve unrealistic standards, all of course, with the help of their products.
It has been humbling for me to realize over the course of this journey how focused I’ve always been on some of the superficial aspects of life. I first noticed this about myself when I began taking stock of the impact that autoimmunity had made on my outward appearance (especially in the time since 2009 when I was most intensely ill). I found myself actually grieving the effects on my skin, my shape, and even my hair. I decided to tackle that part of me, the one so focused on outward appearance, by being open about it on my own blog.
I still have a long way to go in both tweaking my new natural approach to self-care and silencing the insecurity demons. As I write this, I’m adjusting to the No ‘Poo Method and the oil slick I call my hair is calling out, “You look terrible. Give in to the beauty industry ads. Go back to shampoo.” (Absurdly, in my mind, my oily hair is a nemesis being paid by the beauty industry to taunt me. LOL!) I’m sticking to it though. The more my health is restored, the more I prove to myself that I am not beholden to the messages of Big Food, Big Medicine, and Big Beauty, the more confidence I gain. And really, what is more attractive than a person glowing with health and confidence? It is totally worth giving up all the poisons.
(As a little motivator for ladies considering the switch themselves . . . my husband has loved my transition to a natural beauty routine. He thinks my hair is softer & nicer to the touch and is glad to be rid of the harsh smells of alcohol-based products. It sure helps to have such an adoring fan.)