This is my 1000th blog. Strewth.

Posted on March 18th, 2014

I wrote my first blog post June 28, 2009. I had no idea what I was doing. I still don’t. I was filming Masterchef at the time and needed something or someone a little more cerebral to engage with. So I chose, um, you lot!

Image via A Well Travelled Child Tumblr.

Image via A Well Travelled Child Tumblr.

Like many things that I try, if it feels right, I keep going and going. I questioned why I blogged every single day. I still do. But something compelled me to keep writing.

Mostly the comments fueled me from post to post. So did the people I e-met a long the way, some of whom I started up pen pal-like relationships with (I’m talking about you Shauna and Aran). My blog forced me to get real about what matters to me. And called me to account on slippery issues like cash for comment (you can see my policy on advertising here). It also encouraged me to be more generous and less precious about myself. The online world needs to operate that way and I learned that nothing I shared was new or “mine”.

And then it became my livelihood and I started employing People I Wanted To Be Around, starting with Jo.

And here we are today, 999 posts later. I don’t like fuss. But I thought I might celebrate a little and hand over 10 x ebook packs (each pack includes a copy of all of my ebooks) to 10 commenters on my site. Some from right back in the early days and some who’ve contributed a lot of their time and thoughts along the way. Thank you Ian Acheson, Mia Watson, Anthony Porter, Laura Valerie, Jo at Living Savvy, Mike Wilde, Sassi Sam, Liz Wiggins, Jules Eyre and Sarah at Inner Beam (you’ll be receiving an email from us shortly).

I’m also giving away an additional 10 packs to new friends…see below.

Also, since I get asked this a bit…

Some of my pivotal posts:

1. My first I Quit Sugar post. It all started here, as a gentle experiment (and mostly because I was short of a topic for my Sunday Life newspaper column).

2. The post where I first shared about my autoimmune disease. Read more

Does quitting sugar heal autoimmune disease?

Posted on January 15th, 2014

This is actually a post I’ve been busting to write for a while. And I really rather like that I’m finally writing it in Thyroid Awareness Month. As many of you know, I first quit sugar because of my autoimmune (AI) disease. I have Hashimotos. And a big part of why I’ve stuck to the sugar-free program is that it’s made such a damn big difference.

Image via inspirationlush.com

Image via inspirationlush.com

So the simple answer is this: Quitting sugar has had the biggest impact on my AI, more so than my medication or any other medical fix (and, trust me, I’ve tried everything). In the past three years, I’ve been able to better manage my AI, but also – yes – heal and reverse the damage.

  • I have zero thyroid antibodies now.
  • I’m on the most minimal dosage of thyroxin.
  • My hormone levels have fallen back into the right range (more on this soon!).

It’s taken years to get to this point. I put it down to the massive change to my diet that quitting sugar precipitated. And to breaking the clusterf*ck cycle that autoimmune disease invariably locks you into.

But why? And how? Let me explain…

Warning: Like most of my AI and thyroid posts this is a long one. And as I always remind people, even if you don’t have an AI, you’ll probably find it helpful because the advice I share relates to all of us. Or you probably have a loved one who has an AI…please share this with them.

Sugar mucks up your gut

Blood sugar imbalances inflame the digestive tract, causing leaky gut (literally, a perforated gut lining). In turn, leaky gut triggers the development of AI. Toxins are able to pass through the perforations into the bloodstream triggering an autoimmune reaction as our antibodies head out to attack the foreign invaders. These little antibody soldiers can then get confused and head off to attack parts of our bodies, such as the thyroid.  Gluten, for instance, has a very similar molecular structure to the thyroid gland.

Sugar causes inflammation

The process above obviously creates inflammation, which compromises immune function. In addition, sugar compromises the ability of our white Read more

How to heal autoimmune disease: the most insightful cure I’ve found (so far)

Posted on October 22nd, 2013

Last week I shared some bits I found interesting in writer Meghan O’Rourke’s essay “What’s Wrong With Me” in New Yorker magazine. She has the same disease as me: hashimotos, with a side order of several other (possibly) related vague autoimmune (AI) conditions. And her insights touched me – and you guys – big time.

Photo by Edun

Photo by Edun

But I saved the bit that REALLY grabbed me in the guts for this post.

Have you ever thought you knew Everything about Something, but then you read something that really stopped you in your tracks? It stops you so abruptly because it’s so blindingly obvious. How could I have missed this? A total A-ha! Moment.

In her essay, O’Rourke shares her frustrations about how no one really knows what causes AI, nor what will fix it. It’s “shadowy”, she says. For some it can be a matter of taking the drugs, and off they go to live normal lives. I know lots of folk like this. I’m happy for them. But if, like me and O’Rourke, you let the disease tangle for too long before getting help your clusterf*ck of symptoms  won’t be unraveled with one pill. And, so, like me and O’Rourke, you can develop a domino-ed set of other AI conditions.

And so the “morass of uncertainties” twists tighter.

Like me, O’Rourke reaches a point where she’s largely able to manage her disease through diet – no gluten, no sugar, meditation, kefir, avoiding nightshades, etc. etc. I’ve tried it all. And it’s all required to maintain something resembling a normal life when you have a tricky AI.

But, and this is the two points of note:

  1. She hasn’t been cured as such. The “flares” and cycles continue.
  2. Her focus on trying to find a cure, and on controlling the AI, has seen her AI control her.

Her A-ha moment comes, however, when her endo delivers blunt news after a  “lapse”. Despite her best efforts to control things with her lifestyle habits, she seems to go backwards, causing her to lament, again, that no one knows what the hell is going on. Says the endo Read more