Did you miss me? I’ve been thinking about YOU.
With the website name, My Allergy Advocate, you might be wondering why I didn’t name this website, “My Autoimmune and Allergy Disease Advocate”, especially if I knew that I would be helping people with diagnosed Autoimmune Disease and related conditions.
It was actually a consideration in the early days of the start of this website as a project blog. Let me take you on a brief tour of where we’ve been and where we’re going.
Why Allergy Instead of Autoimmune?
Back in 2013, I was reading an article about Celiac Disease when I became suspicious of symptoms that appeared to be undiagnosed gluten enteropathy. The author was none other than Dr. Alessio Fasano, a well-known pediatric physician and head of the Center for Celiac Disease at Mass General. I was struck by his own admission that he has encouraged people with Celiac Disease to refer to the severity of symptoms after a gluten exposure as an allergic reaction. Dr. Fasano stated when one is trying to get someone to understand why food must be made gluten-free on an uncontaminated surface, it is easier to call it a food allergy because more people understand that means.
Yet I felt caught. By 2015 when it was time to launch the name of what was then a passion project, I had been diagnosed with asthma, food allergies, and autoimmune disease. So which one should be in the title?
I took a page from Dr. Fasano’s playbook, and started with the word allergy. And, it turns out, the world of immunity agrees.
From Benaroya’s research arm regarding the differences and similarities between allergies and autoimmune disease:
“With allergies, on the other hand, the “villains” conjure images of something entirely more familiar and every day, like…..peanuts. Pollen. Shell fish. Cat dander. In other words, your body flagging harmless environmental allergens, or substances, as dangerous and then going on the offense. But both are responses generated by the immune system, and that is where their similarities begin.”https://www.benaroyaresearch.org/blog/post/connecting-dots-between-allergies-and-autoimmune-disease#
I have come to understand that a way of thinking about all three conditions of asthma, allergy, and autoimmune disease is to pair asthma and allergy together, and to see autoimmune disease on a related continuum.
To position myself as an advocate in that continuum, it made sense to enter it where the average person could understand more about an immune system response. That lands more squarely with allergic reactions and how common they are in the population.
And now what?
My Autoimmune Disease Advocate, Your Certified AIP Health Coach
Since 2014, I began a health journey to stop the damage of Celiac Disease, heal, and strengthen my immune system. One of the ways I did that was to become familiar with and implement the Autoimmune Protocol (aka AIP) as a temporary diet to identify foods that were potentially making me sick and eliminate them, and when signs of healing occurred, begin to systematically reintroduce foods in phases. Combined with a low FODMAPs diet to help troubleshoot some concerns, I saw steady progress.
This August, I decided it was time to join other health practitioners in an eight-week health coach certification course from the founders of the Autoimmune Wellness program, Mickey Trescott and Angie Alt (The Autoimmune Wellness Handbook), in conjunction with the foundational work Sarah Ballantyne, PhD (The Paleo Approach).
Along with nearly 100 practitioners from around the world, we studied together in a learning community. On November 14, I finished the last of the course requirements including a final examination. I am now a certified Health Coach from this program.
What this means is that the vision I had in 2015 to start with one end of the continuum has come to the second point on My Allergy Advocate’s adventure tour: Autoimmune Disease advocacy.
While it’s already baked in (no pun intended) the 2018 launch of the website, I have a credible foundation of learning and community of whom to continue growing . It means that I can call myself a Certified Health Coach in this specific area of immune disorders and partner with a client’s health team members in a more seamless and respected manner.
And it means that clients seeking my services have further proof that I can help make their health journey easier than mine.
In addition, I have a heart-felt focus on helping members of the BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and Persons of Color) with Autoimmune Disease get the help they need to manage their medical conditions. The U.S. medical system is in need of educating their members in providing unbiased, racially sensitive care. In a time where we are learning that BIPOCs are negatively impacted by COVID-19 at a much higher rate than non-BIPOC peoples in the same communities, it also casts a glaring light on how these same communities of people often do not get the resourcing and support for autoimmune disease care.
More information about my Health Coaching services will be offered on the website, and you can always ask for specifics by reaching out to me via my contact page (or by email imei at myallergyadvocate dot com).