How a change of diet saved my life
IN 1998 I was diagnosed with Hashimoto's Disease and later with chronic anaemia and Addison's disease.
After 17 years, mismanagement in my treatment by mainstream GPs resulted in my being extremely unwell and barely functioning.
I was so sick and tired I literally couldn't function. I was at times incapacitated and could not even get out of bed.
I had severe pain in my legs and body, I could hardly sleep at all and it was all taking its toll on me. Mentally, emotionally and physically I was a mess and falling apart.
It was so bad at times I really thought my husband and son would be better off if I just left one way or another - I was that bad!
All this pain and grief came at a very high cost. It affected my husband's career as he had to be absent from work sometimes to look after us.
Eventually, it so impacted on his job that he was forced to quit his wonderful career to stay home and look after our son and me.
This left me absolutely devastated, as the financial burden was just the straw that broke the camel's back.
At that stage, I was seriously considering some desperate things.
In 2013 I was going through one of the worst flares of my illness. I believe major changes and stressors in my life brought this on.
I relentlessly researched trying to find the key to what I was missing to help me regain some normalcy and enjoyment in my life. I researched for thousands of hours, spent thousands of dollars trying numerous supplements and treatments.
Changing to natural hormone replacement therapy in 2009 made a small difference; however, I still remained chronically unwell.
One day as I researching I came across Dr Terry Wahls TED talk about minding your mitochondria. That was my light bulb moment!
It clicked; this could be the key I had spent so many years searching for!
I was obsessed. I read everything I could about the Autoimmune Protocol and Paleo and I figured, in my haze of brain fog, I had nothing to change but the way I ate.
I decided, with what I was dealing with that it was better for me to go full AIP straight out of the gate.
Even with wonderful US recipes and inspiring posts, going full AIP alone with no home ground support was probably one of the hardest things I have had to do.
All the recipes, information, products etc were more for a US reader.
The first few weeks were gruelling, to say the least. I already had a very clean diet and lifestyle so it wasn't too much of a leap.
Once I found my rhythm and got my head around the do's and don'ts, it got progressively easier.
I had an advantage as I am quite an experienced cook and for the most part could adapt and substitute recipes to Australian produce and the available products, and convert lots of my recipes to the AIP.
I have been cooking since I was eight years old and have over 10 years experience in working in one of Brisbane's top fine dining restaurants. I was about to go full-time in the kitchen, then I found out I was pregnant.
So I am a full-on foodie and love cooking. I am definitely one to read many recipes and create my own interpretations.
The hard work and perseverance eventually paid off. After only four weeks, I had the best blood work results in 17 years!
My doctor, who had been practising functional medicine for 30 years, was astounded. He said he'd never seen such an improvement in such a short time period from just changing diet alone.
After 14 months I was contacted by my doctor to arrange an appointment after some blood tests. I was scared stiff as I was so used to receiving bad news from tests.
But let me tell you what the doctor told me left me in tears and I cried and cried.
He said the words that I thought I would never hear - "it looks like all your autoimmune diseases are in remission".
I said to him "OMG, the AIP has really worked" and he looked at me and winked and said "it might have helped".
Another amazing recovery happened with my husband. He was 117kg and in 20013 been diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes and diverticulitis.
He was prescribed 2000mg of Metformin a day for diabetes and became really scared and didn't know what to do.
Sitting in an office all day in front of a computer was not a healthy way to live. After watching me working so hard to prepare all my meals for the AIP, he suggested that he would eat what I ate so as not to purchase and prepare different meals for him.
Within six months on the AIP, he had reversed his Type 2 Diabetes and diverticulitis and stopped taking his medication. He has lost over 30kg and looks 10 to 15 years younger.
His energy is amazing. He says he feels like a new man and he even looks like one too!
I still continue to have some ups and downs as I have a lot of healing to do, however now I have some hope I will not give up.
We have now helped so many family members and friends with their eating and lifestyle choices.
So many of them when trying my food asked me to write down the recipe and or show them how to cook the meals I made.
Lots of them suggested I write a cookbook and I was so encouraged that I decided to do it and we set about helping other people change their lives using food as medicine.
We decided this is what we should do to help others overcome and have victory in their lives.
After being on this AIP journey for nearly two years, we decided to create a cookbook, website and blog to help people find holistic healing through food and lifestyle, using Autoimmune Protocol Principles.
I want to able to share all the knowledge, tips, recipes and products that have helped me on my journey to help people achieve wellness.
I also want to be honest and not give anyone false hopes.
Everyone is walking their own journey and if I can share my story and knowledge to help smooth their way, it would give me great joy.
We placed the remaining financial resources we had into our new life of helping others, our cookbook and website.
We are now hoping that we can change our life by helping others find health and harmony.
We just launched our website www.harmony-hunter.com and my new cookbook "Food Is Life" - the first Australian Autoimmune Protocol cookbook.
This means so much to us as it has cost us everything to place all our resources into this and for Stephen leaving his career for me.
But if we can help people transform their lives from the sickness industry to the wellness lifestyle, it is all worth it.