Many of you know the story of how a crazy autoimmune disease I was diagnosed with was just the result of a gluten intolerance. I found out this monumental piece of information with the help of an herbalist when I was 21.
No one I knew had ever seen an herbalist and I’m not sure why I felt driven to find one. Maybe it was because I was facing a life of chemo. Maybe because I was in chronic pain. Or maybe it was just something bigger telling me that this wasn’t the end of my journey.
I’ve worked with two herbalists since the one I originally saw moved away. Here’s how these women have immensely helped me improve my health and quality of life with some simple suggestions!
Note: I am not a doctor. Please take the following information from my experience only. This information is not intended to provide medical guidance.
Discovering the Cause of My Autoimmune Disease (Hint: It was Gluten)
When I was 21, I was told by a well-known doctor in a city near me that I would most likely be on chemotherapy for the rest of my life. Although I felt like I wanted to give up hope at that time, I ended up pursuing another option—finding a natural treatment for my autoimmune disease, dermatomyositis.
Through an herb shop about an hour away from me, I located an herbalist who agreed to see me. During my second visit with her, she told me that she thought gluten was causing my illness. I thought she was crazy. I hardly knew what gluten was.
She turned out to be right. A protein named gluten was causing my immune system to attack all my muscles and my skin. Within a week of going gluten-free, all my autoimmune symptoms disappeared and I was able to stop taking all of my medication. That was seven years ago.
The fact that I spent over four years on detrimental pharmaceutical medications, gained 30 pounds, and felt sick all the time was all undone by a woman who knew that food could make us sick. Her simple but profound knowledge dramatically changed my life for the better.
Without discovering that root cause of my illness, I would likely still be on all those medications today and still feel terrible. My quality of life would have been compromised all because doctors are still grasping the idea that food can cause such severe illnesses.
Saying Goodbye to My Crazy-Bad Menstrual Cramps
I have more or less always had bad menstrual cramps. They aren’t consistent, though. Some months are absolutely terrible. Other months aren’t bad at all. Trust me, I’ve yet to find a pattern (although I have a few theories after trying to figure it out for the last 16 years).
When I began working with an herbalist to learn more about the Fertility Awareness Method, we also worked on addressing the cause of my crazy bad cramps. The solutions she suggested have helped me to remain mostly pain-free during my period today.
Through drinking a ginger infusion, taking magnesium glycinate, and taking omega-3 supplements, my menstrual cramps have majorly improved. In the last seven months, I have only had one episode of bad pain thanks to her suggestions.
Since, unfortunately, I’ll be having a period for a long time, her help has enabled me to not feel like I want to die just because I am a woman.
Helping Me Realize Fats Are Not Bad
I have yet to have an herbalist not recommend fat to me (except, of course, the horrible kinds like trans fats).
Saturated fat such as animal fat and coconut oil as well as monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats such as avocados and olive oil are all part of a healthy body. Yes, people will argue against this. I’m not getting involved in that discussion here. I’m here to say that my herbalists helped me realize that fats are not bad—in fact, they’re pretty essential.
Through their help, I’ve been getting more fats from all types of sources (except for Twinkies) and have more energy and better skin!
Implementing a Natural Method of Birth Control
The Fertility Awareness Method has been an enriching experience for me and my husband. I would have never been able to learn the method as intimately as I have without my herbalist.
The method enables my husband and I to forgo conventional methods of birth control, many of them toxic, and simply track my cycle via taking my basal body temperature (BBT) and monitoring my cervical fluid to know when I’m fertile and avoid intercourse on those days.
Implementing a natural method of birth control has allowed me to honor my body and also choose a conscious form of contraception that doesn’t rely on toxic pharmaceuticals. This is a huge benefit for someone who doesn’t want kids (cough, that’s me).
Allowing Me to Realize Food Is Medicine
Before I began working with herbalists, I didn’t understand how much food impacts our health. Food is everything to our health. What you put in your body, the supplements you take, whether you choose to smoke and drink, all have huge effects on our systems.
Perhaps this is the most important gift herbalists have given me, being able to realize that I have so many chances to put either medicine or poison into my body. By choosing the foods that I feel are best for me, I choose medicine (by medicine obviously meaning plants and grass-fed, free-range meat).
Whether it’s probiotics or herbs, food and supplements are a powerful form of medicine, one that I feel grateful to have tapped into with the help of a professional.
Working with an Herbalist
I would absolutely recommend working with an herbalist if you’re facing any health issues that do not yet have an identified root cause. In many instances, conventional doctors are only trained to treat our symptoms, not the cause of our illnesses.
Even for people who believe they have discovered the root cause of their illness or symptoms, an herbalist can help you better manage your health. I’m so grateful to have worked with my herbalists to be as healthy as I am today!