Over the past year, we have been working with a patient Megan McGrane who was suffering from autoimmune disorders and inflammation. By changing her diet and adding in some key supplements, she was able to reduce the severity of her symptoms, see improvement in her bloodwork, and have her inflammatory markers return to normal values. Here is her story:
1. Please tell us what symptoms you were experiencing before you came to the Eleven Eleven Wellness Center?
I have been experiencing symptoms related to my autoimmune disorders for years. I have Reynaud’s Disease, Gluten Intolerance, Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, and Psoriasis. Over a 6 month period leading up to my visit to the wellness center in 2013, I had been experiencing worsening symptoms such as fatigue, frequent headaches, daily body aches, GI upset, bloating, and hand redness/pain related to Reynaud’s.
I was a Division I College Volleyball All-American and have a very active lifestyle as a Physician Assistant. I started to notice that these symptoms were finally getting to a point that they were really affecting my lifestyle and my ability to be active. I had seen a rheumatologist who found that my inflammatory blood markers were elevated beyond the normal range. She had advised me to return in 6 months for a follow-up check of my bloodwork but there was no mention of how to decrease the ongoing inflammation in my body. It was at that point that I realized I needed to make a big change in order to alter the course of my autoimmune disorders.
2. What had you previously done to relieve your symptoms?
I had been eating a vegetarian diet for about two years with very little animal products like eggs or dairy. I ate a lot of greens, fruits, vegetables, lentils and whole grains like quinoa, steel cut oats, and wild rice. I exercise daily, do hot vinyasa yoga, and have a regular meditation practice. My supplements at that time consisted of a daily multivitamin and fish oil. I thought I was on the right track, but my health was still suffering, and the proof was in my blood work as well.
3. What plan did you and Dr. Lipman come up with?
After I left my rheumatologist appointment, I ordered the Cleanse online and made an appointment with Dr. Lipman. I met with him and his team for about two hours at my first appointment and we reviewed my health and lifestyle in depth. I had started cleansing before my first appointment and was encouraged with the first few days of progress.
The plan he devised consisted of morning shakes plus daily probiotics, and supplements to support the gut, immune system and bring down inflammation. I also went grain-free and legume-free in addition to my gluten-free regimen. I did the Be Well Cleanse for about 3 weeks but kept up the regimen for months with daily shakes and Cleanse-approved foods.
4. Please share about your experience following this protocol.
I felt like going on a Cleanse was a daunting idea. The Be Well Cleanse made cleansing simple and straightforward without feeling like I was going hungry. The first day or two, I had a mild headache as I cut out coffee. My job is very active, I spend 12 hours on my feet, and I never felt weak or depleted on the Cleanse but saw my energy increase steadily as I followed program. The real key for me was removing inflammatory foods such as grain, legumes, and sugars that I had previously relied on in my diet, switching to a “paleo” diet. Although I was eating healthfully I was still inflaming my body with legumes and grains. When I removed those food groups, adding in protein was important for me to reach adequate protein and calorie intake, and also helped give me great energy.
I still follow the basic premise that Dr. Lipman and I worked on at that first appointment. We have tweaked it over the past few months as I have needed more support for inflammation but I have stuck to the grain-free, legume-free, sugar-free, nutrient dense diet religiously since my first cleanse.
5. How are you feeling now?
I owe my current state of health and dramatic improvement of my autoimmune symptoms to Dr. Lipman and the Be Well Team. I have seen such an improvement in my autoimmune symptoms. Within a week of the Cleanse, and starting a grain-free, legume-free diet, I had drastic improvement in my gut health and GI symptoms. The cleanse opened my eyes to the fact that these foods were very inflammatory for my system.
I have had a noticeable decrease in my fatigue and body aches. I rarely get headaches now. My hands have gone from red, irritated, painful and swollen to very ‘normal’ in color and texture, with little to no pain from my Reynaud’s Disease. I also have seen improvements in my blood work with my autoimmune and inflammatory markers (ANA, CRP, Sedimentation Rate) all returning to ‘normal’ values.
6. What are your next steps for going forward?
I continue to follow a grain, legume and sugar-free regimen with immune and gut support from supplements that is quite similar to the plan established at my first visits at Eleven Eleven. I have found that any time I vary too greatly from this plan, whether it is due to travel, lifestyle or forgetting to take my supplements, I start to feel more inflammatory symptoms. We have also included more healing foods like bone broth and grass-fed butter into my regimen for gut health and to support my hormones since the initial cleanse. I know that these steps keep the inflammation in my body in check and prevent worsening of my conditions.
7. Is there anything else you’d like to add?
The experience of having autoimmune disorders can be frustrating. Seeking help at the Eleven Eleven Wellness Center has been incredible for me. Often times, as patients with autoimmune disorders, we are told to cross our fingers and hope things do not get worse because treatments are usually focused on symptom relief. I was told that my diagnoses were all in a “watch and wait” phase, despite the fact that I continued to feel worse and worse. I felt lucky that I did not need medication but I was getting tired of watching and waiting, wondering if I would continue to feel worse—which led me to Dr. Lipman. He was the first person to help me take a hold of my symptoms and put me on the path to wellness. I am so grateful for the team at the Eleven Eleven Wellness Center!
*Image of “fruits and vegetables” via Shutterstock