Welcome to my site. As you probably know my name is Leanne. I have lived my entire life in the south eastern part of the United States. I was raised on the white sandy beaches of the Florida panhandle. I am a southern girl through and through and the gulf coast is my sanctuary. Right now, I live with my husband, two children, a dog and a cat in the north Atlanta suburbs. I have accomplished many things in my life. After graduating from Mississippi State University I married. I began my career as a correspondent for outTVatlanta. I taught yoga for ten years and I developed a video for children’s yoga called A Child’s Way to Yoga . Right now, I work from home volunteering in numerous ways and being the number one person for my children and husband. That is why, when several years ago I began having trouble with my health it became not only a struggle for me but for my family. I have tried to maintain a healthy lifestyle for a number of years. I began to cook and ferment my own food and got away from processed food years ago. Now, I grow an organic garden and for years I was a strict vegetarian. However, that all came to a screaming halt when I was diagnosed with Interstitial Lung disease by my Rheumatologist in late August 2015. They believed this lung inflammation was a result of my autoimmune disease. I had been fighting an autoimmune condition for many years, but this brought the intensity of the disease to a whole new level. They prescribed Imuran, a low dose chemo pill, to treat the lung disease and the autoimmune disease in general.
After that diagnosis, my Aunt sent me Dr. Amy Myers book, The Autoimmune solution. One of the four pillars of Dr. Myer’s protocol is diet. At that time, I had been vegetarian for 7 years and gluten free for 3 years. Immediately I thought that I would work towards starting the protocol in February after my cousin’s wedding in New York. When I went to see a Pulmonologist in early September, he said that I would be taking the chemo medication the rest of my life. This declaration made me decide that I needed to start the protocol as soon as possible. I started slowly working in meat by way of chicken broth and slowly cutting out foods. First to go was legumes/beans and gluten free grains. I could start to tell a difference right away. I was waiting to cut out nuts and seeds until I had some meat in my diet. I started the process of weening down off coffee. By September, I was ready to start the Myer’s Way. This is a commitment of 30 days on a strict diet and then you could add some things back into your diet in a slow process. My goal was that if I started September 21st, then I would be able to enjoy a glass of wine by my husband’s birthday on October 22nd. Two days after I started the Myer’s Way, I went to my Rheumatologist with bad side effects from Imuran. He gave me a three-week medication holiday. This break was the key to me healing with the protocol alone! Three months later I would get a clear lung CT, something the doctors had not thought possible.
Next, I started reading The Autoimmune Protocol by Sarah Ballantyne. This book allowed me to expand on my diet in important ways. I started to eat three square meals a day rather than grazing with several small meals a day. When you have autoimmune disease, your body needs to make certain hormones that signal when you’re hungry and full. Plus, I needed all the nutrient dense food that I could get, as I continued to lose more weight than I wanted. My biggest change was breakfast. When I stopped making smoothies for breakfast and started to have my most nutritious full meal to start the day, I started to feel way more energy. With The Paleo Protocol, I learned the importance of having offal and fish several times a week. I also decided to exclude seed based spices, such as cumin and nutmeg. These have the same inflammatory property that as seeds and nuts.
The third book that I read that added important diet and life changes for me was The Wahl’s Protocol by Dr. Terry Wahls. Dr. Wahls emphasizes having 9 cups of different vegetables and fruit in a rainbow of colors. I always have a rainbow of colorful produce with each meat at every meal. I shoot for at least two cups per plate. As a petite female, it is hard to eat more than this most of the time.
All these books also teach us how to remove toxins from our lives. I had already been using many natural products, but cut out a couple toxic cleaner that had slipped in to our home. I found recipes for homemade cleaner from Dr.Oz. I also like the free and clear line from Seventh Generation. We tossed our Teflon pans and found environmentally safe cookware. We bought glass Tupperware. We got filters for our air and shower. We already had one on our drinking water and ice. I try to buy as many organic fruits and vegetables that I can find and afford. Finally, I eat only grass fed, pasture raised or wild caught animals and fish if possible.
I and all people, also need to get lots of sleep and reset our circadian rhythms. I believe quitting coffee is the first step. I started supplements such as melatonin, Calm magnesium and 5-HTP as suggested by Dr. Myer’s. For many years we had confined our TV to the basement and hadn’t had cable. I had long realized that watching TV at night will impact your sleep. I also instinctually kept lights dim after dark. After reading how important those things are for circadian rhythms, I make sure all lights are dimmed the last couple hours before I plan to sleep. During the day it is important to be in the sun or spend a little time outside. Gardening is a great way to work that in and to also grow your own organic produce. I meditate 10 minutes a day in the sun, in front of a sunny window or in front of a SAD light. I set a timer for 10 minutes then try to clear my mind or practice pranayama. I try to get a little exercise each day! I carve out a short time before for my shower every day to keep my strength up. I do standing Pilates, reformer Pilates or some days a short duration of step and squats for cardio. I only do up to 30 minutes total exercise 5 times a week. After years of training and exercise like an athlete, I discovered in these books that too much exercise is counterproductive for autoimmune. I believe in only doing enough to keep me strong enough for life.
Knowledge is power! I keep searching for more information on how to heal naturally. I keep experimenting with foods and keep a journal to keep track of my progress. Recently I started learning about genetics and how supplements and diet can help with your physical symptoms of genetic mutations. I had my genes tested and started researching my genes. I am still in the R& D phase of this endeavor, but I’ll let you know how it goes.