National Public Health Week: Autoimmune Specific

Cathy Health Guide
  • Unlike the flowers and leaves that have made an early presence this year in many locations, I am a little late in sharing about National Public Health Week which was the week of April 2-8.  But, as I often tell my adult students, “Better late than never.”   And as I strongly believe that preventative care is vital for our planet and overall health, I would rather be late in sharing my views on public health than to never share them. 


    National Public Health focuses on several themes of health which they believe are important steps towards preventing disease.  I agree with many of their ideas.  In fact, I also believe that many of these themes are important in healing or at least benefiting our bodies once disease has taken root.  Let’s explore a few of the themes in relation to how they affect us once disease has set in.

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    Active Living and Healthy Eating: 

    This theme is one that is central to how my family lives and a major component to how I treat my body for inflammation.  It is also a theme which I believe is woven into each of the following themes.  Shortly before my rheumatoid arthritis diagnosis I was moving my family away from a diet of processed foods to one of about 95 percent homemade meals and snacks. (We still enjoy frequenting our favorite restaurants and indulging in a few favorite gluten free desserts made by others).  Dealing with the consequences of disease for over eight years now has really hit home for me the importance of feeding and watering my family and myself in ways that nourish us so that we can have strong immune systems that are able to fight off disease. 


    For many years now my family has chosen to participate in CSA’s and farmer’s markets that have allowed my two children to grow up knowing the farmer(s) that is responsible for the food they see on their plates.  They have grown up tasting meat and eggs that come from animals that have seen sunlight each and every day and lived a life without hormones.  For many years we have put good fats in our bodies from unprocessed whole milk, avocados, coconuts, olive oil, and many others that have left us craving foods that heal rather than destroy our precious bodies.  Eating healing foods brings less inflammation to my body.   By eating foods that come from nature in their natural form, we have not only retrained our taste buds but learned to be kind to the earth while healing within.

    My husband and I have always promoted active living in our family.  We have enjoyed time outside together as a family since my kids were young.  We have played at playgrounds together, swam, taken bike rides, hikes, and more.  We have always incorporated movement into our daily lives.  We take stairs rather than elevators to keep our muscles strong for days that my disease may take over.  We walk daily.  Why is this important?  Of course it keeps a healthy body strong but it also keeps a diseased body capable.  On days when my joints are stiff and swollen, I depend on the muscles and balance I have developed during my good days. 

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    Many times I hear folks with disease say they can’t eat a healthy diet or exercise because they are too sore or don’t have the energy.  However, I have seen many in the same situation who have made healthy, whole food a priority with as little preparation as eating processed foods and are succeeding in getting their inflammation under control.  Don’t let one disease create a string of diseases in your body.  Commit to making more of your own homemade meals or asking for help in making meals in that nourish and prevent further health issues.  Move whenever you can!  Your body will thank you.

    Alcohol, Tobacco and Other Drugs

    Once disease has become a part of one’s body, we learn more about medications than we ever hoped to know.  We learn that for many of us alcohol is no longer an option as many of our medications are already damaging our livers.  We learn that we must always be cautious of drug interactions and allergies.   Be good to your body.  Know what drugs interact with others and whether alcohol will add to the damage in your body.


    Communicable Diseases: 

    For many with autoimmune disease, basic sanitary issues are of upmost important since the drugs we take often make our immune systems weak and vulnerable to viruses.  This can easily be remedied by washing hands often, staying home when sick, mandating healthier codes in restaurants and work places and most importantly to me, eating foods that nourish the body and immune system rather than processed foods that are often full of sugar that add to a weaker immune system.

    Reproductive and Sexual Health: 

    Once again, the drugs we take for autoimmune disease make reproduction an issue and one that needs to be carefully thought out and discussed with your rheumatologist.  Once the medication issue has been worked out, eat healthy foods that nourish your body and prepare for that of the new human being.  Nourishing with healthy foods and a positive outlook also keeps us active so that we can enjoy sexual experiences as our bodies allow.

     Mental and Emotional Well-Being: 

    This is an area I suspect will be a work in progress for me always.  It is also one that I often write about on my blog.  When living with an autoimmune disease that makes absolutely no sense, we learn that our emotions can take a beating.  Be kind to yourself.  Seek out friends and family that encourage you on your path to wellness as well as provide you with love and support.  Don’t be afraid to ask for help.  Eat well.  Our brains, hearts, joints…everything need to be fed and watered well to work effectively.

    How do you work towards preventing new medical issues in your body?


    Cathy can also be found writing at her personal blogs The Life and Adventures of Cateepoo and Naturally Happy Being Me.



Published On: April 23, 2012