10 Mistakes I’ve Made in My Autoimmune Health Journey

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Today’s post is a roundup of lessons I’ve learned and mistakes I’ve made on my health journey over the last decade. In the last ten or so years I’ve learned how to cook, started cooking food from scratch, birthed three babies, developed an autoimmune thyroid disease, and am continually learning more about how to heal my body from the inside out.

Below I’ll share how I slipped into the mistake, what I know now that I didn’t know then, and what I changed after recognizing the mistake (and what you can do, too). I hope this is helpful to you as you navigate your own health journey.

1. Postpartum care

After my second daughter was born, life was stressful.

So very stressful.

My first two kids were 26 months apart, and those first few months of life with two kids was trying on the whole family.

Between a newborn who wouldn’t let me set her down much, a clingy 2 year old who cried when I went upstairs to put the baby down, and a husband who only was able to take a week off of his full time job, it was a lot to handle.

Like most new moms, I assumed I just had to “power through”, didn’t focus much on postpartum nutrition, and *tried* not to wish away those first sweet moments as a family of four.

Lesson learned #1:

I believe this postpartum period was what pushed my body over the edge to develop an autoimmune disease (diagnosed when my second daughter was about a year old). With baby number three (a few years later), my husband and I were extremely intentional about allowing my body ample body to heal and boosting my nutrition with healing and nourishing foods.

Here’s the plant-powders I started eating shortly after baby number three was born to boost my nutrition (hindsight I should have started these YEARS ago).

Learn More Here >>

Sign up for my FREE 3 Day Email Course to learn more about the Juice Plus+ products and what made my family finally say “yes” after over a year of saying “no”.

2. Assuming I couldn’t cook without a recipe

I was such a picky eater growing up that I never learned how to cook (other than boxed mac and cheese and boxed brownie mixes). So, when I moved in with roommates, it was no surprise that I was intimidated to even step in the kitchen.

Following a recipe felt hard and stressful, and “winging it” without a recipe never even crossed my mind. How would I even know where to begin?

After years of learning how to cook by working through cookbooks one recipe at a time, there came a point where I realized I had specific taste preferences and liked modifying the recipes after they were done to make them taste better. That’s about when I started this blog to help people move past stress and intimidation over cooking at home.

Lesson learned #2:

Like they say in Ratatouille, “Anyone can cook!”. You can, too! Pick a cookbook and work through it one recipe at a time to get experience in the kitchen.

Related Post: Get My FREE Collection of 20 Meal Planning Templates Here

3. Assuming my air & water were clean

It wasn’t until I got some shocking test results that I started to pay attention to the cleanliness of the air I was breathing and the water I was drinking. I had surprisingly high amounts of a few toxins in my body that I didn’t know where they came from. After all, we ate *mostly* Organic, we lived in the country with wide open spaces to breathe fresh air, and we weren’t even on city water at the time (now we are though).

Lesson learned #3:

Toxins can be in your water and air without you realizing it. Check the clean water database here.

We use the Berkey water filter and can tell a HUGE difference, even from the filtered fridge water.

We use this air filter in our home and have seen a decrease in allergies with the whole family since keeping it running in the house. For the frugal shoppers out there…we found ours on Craigslist.

4. Assuming there wasn’t icky stuff in my lotions

I grew up using the fragrance-laden lotions at Bath and Body Works, or grabbing a moisturizer or shampoo off the shelf without glancing at the ingredient label.

Not anymore, friends.

I have since learned that the personal care industry is very poorly regulated, and there’s a LOT of icky stuff that can still be put in your lotions, shampoos and makeup that has cancerous properties, or is an endocrine disruptor, or is potentially harmful in some other way.

When I first started learning about parabens, phtalates, and the fragrance loophole, I got scared and intimidated and decided I didn’t need to take care of my skin at all (or I just used homemade coconut oil based stuff).

Lesson learned #4:

There IS a way to care for your body and be mindful of the ingredients in your personal care and makeup products. I recommend finding a company you trust that has stuff you like. Personally, I’ve been using Beautycounter for several years and really love their stuff. Learn more about why I became a Beautycounter consultant here. Not only are their products free of over 1,800 potentially harmful ingredients, but their products work really well to hydrate and get you results.

You can get 30% off your first order at Beautycounter by clicking here and using the code CLEANFORALL30.

5. Assuming you have to get rid of ALL toxins

On the flip side of worrying about toxins all around you is the realization that it’s not possible to eliminate ALL toxins. And that’s okay. Because when your body is functioning properly, it has built in detoxification systems to help filter out all the icky stuff that gets into it.

It’s easy to get overwhelmed if you start digging into toxins. I’ve been there, and it wasn’t a good place to be.

Lesson learned #5:

Don’t let the idea of detoxing your environment stress you out. Your job is to reduce your main exposure to toxins, and provide your body what it needs to filter out the rest.

Related Post: Truth About Toxin Free Living – Interview with an Expert

6. Elimination vs Addition

There was a period when I was first diagnosed with Hashimoto’s (autoimmune thyroid disease) that I was very focused on eliminating foods from my diet.

I cut gluten, dairy, grains, legumes, sugar, potatoes, rice, … and the list goes on.

I still believe that short term elimination diets can help you diagnose potentially problematic foods, but now I’m a much bigger advocate for focusing on how much good stuff you can add (not just what you can take away).

Lesson learned #6:

Adding in nutrients is absolutely necessary if you’re cutting food groups out on an elimination diet. Your body needs nutrients to heal itself, so give it what it needs!

We eat these plant powders from Juice Plus every day (the whole family does) and I recommend them to everyone I meet.

Learn More Here >>

Sign up for my FREE 3 Day Email Course to learn more about the Juice Plus+ products and what made my family finally say “yes” after over a year of saying “no”.

In addition to those plant powders, work with your doctor or a nutritionist to ensure you’re flooding your body with nutrients in the easiest way possible.

7. Mindset: Believing stories I’ve been told

We all have stories that play in our head. Some are helpful, some are not. One of the mistakes I’ve made was thinking I have to believe these stories, when they aren’t serving me.

Thinking that “I’m lazy” if my body needs rest is not actually helping me at all.

Thinking that “I’m controlling” because someone told me that when I was a kid isn’t helpful either.

Health is a mindset game as much as anything else, so if your mindset isn’t serving your health goals, make a plan to change that…pronto!

Lesson learned #7:

I’ve done a lot of mindset work (and continue to do the work) to reframe these identities and stories in my mind to thoughts that are better serving. For me, thinking “I honor my body when it needs rest” and “I am in control of my life and today I choose X” are much better serving to my health goals.

8. Paying too much attention to the wrong label

Early on in my adult life, I remember purchasing items based on the front-of-the-box label. Seeing things like “heart healthy”, “healthy”, or “natural” were pretty persuasive to my ignorant self.

Later, I began flipping the box over and peeking at the most important labels – nutrition label and the ingredient label. Those two labels are now the first thing I look at when deciding whether or not to buy something.

Related Post: What’s Wrong With Processed Food & How to Avoid It

Lesson learned #8:

Put less emphasis on the front of the box and take a peek at the back of the box. Don’t be swayed by the front-of-the-box marketing stuff.

If one product is priced higher but has fewer (and simpler) ingredients, I’ll buy it 9 times out of 10. Even if it says “healthy” on the front of the label.

Related Post: Tips To Read (and Understand) Food Labels

9. No time for me

This is one I’m still learning, but I’ve made a lot of progress over the last few years. Health is not limited to just the food you eat and the exercise you choose to do. It’s holistic. And self care has to be part of the equation.

For many years I didn’t take great care of myself. The voice in my head that said “I need a break” was ignored time and time again.

Lesson learned #9:

Listen to the voice that says “I need a break” and take the break! One of the things that’s going to help my autoimmune disease go fully into remission is to honor my body and its energy cycles. I’m learning how to FULLY rest (hint: it’s not going grocery shopping without my kids – although that’s great, too).

Related Post: 32 Simple Self Care Ideas For Busy Moms

10. Health is a journey, not a destination

I used to think that eventually I’d just BE healthy. That I’d reach this destination of “health”. Which led to a little disappointment when there’s always more to work on. I heard someone say the other day that there’s no ceiling on your health. You can always learn more and do more.

Lesson learned #10:

Don’t give up if you don’t see the results you want right away. It’s a journey, and every step you take is getting you healthier and healthier. There’s always going to be more you can do, and there will always be new things you want to try to live your best, healthiest, most energized life.

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Mistakes I've made on my health journey

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