Updated: Mar 20
This is the story of how I healed my lupus, fibromyalgia, acne, ulcers, asthma, depression, and autoimmune reactivity to over 30 different foods, through only the power of mindfulness used in a targeted and specific way. It's a long read, but I hope you will find what you're looking for within it.
I used to have severe reactions to these and many other foods. Now I can eat them with no problems.
Autoimmune problems run deep on my mom's side of the family. On my dad's side, my family members have crazy-powerful immune systems. In me, these genes collided to create crazy-powerful autoimmune problems.
Although my mom later told me that these problems started while I was still a baby, I didn't become aware of them until I almost died of asthma at the age of four. For several years thereafter, I took immune-suppressing drugs daily to stay ahead of the asthma attacks. Eventually, my body switched from breathing problems to digestive problems, to skin problems, and back to digestive problems, and then again to skin problems as I chased my symptoms around my body with one medication or another.
In 2007, I was 31 years old. My skin was a wreck. I felt terrible all the time. I was tired of taking medication that wasn't solving the real problem. I was ready for a new approach.
At that point, a dear friend convinced me to see a naturopath. The person I saw had been a medical doctor in her home country, but upon arriving in the U.S., she decided to pursue an N.D. instead of redoing her entire medical school training. She had a lot of medical knowledge in her brain.
I told her the above health history, and she immediately said, "Food allergies!" To which I replied, "Food allergies? I don't have any food allergies." She explained her reasoning and convinced me to take a test of IgG food reactivity, which was quite expensive at the time in comparison to my financial resources, but I took the test because I was desperate for a real solution. When the results came back, she told me that it was the worst result she'd ever seen. It was 95% of the foods I was eating. It was combinations of things that I'd never think to pull out of my diet at the same time. But, armed with my test results as a guide, I did.
Labor Day weekend of 2007, I went cold turkey, cutting out all of the "high" and "medium" reactivity foods on my test results. It was a lot of things.
Two weeks later, I was back on the indoor soccer field after the start of a new session. I was running around, warming up, and I stopped cold in the middle of the field. Something in my body was different. The warm up felt different. It took me a few seconds to figure out why, and I nearly cried when I realized: I wasn't in pain. I had been in pain my entire life to that point, and I'd had no idea. I'd never not been in pain. Muscle pain, joint pain, just pain everywhere. Fibromyalgia, I suppose is what it was. And it was gone. Totally gone. I finally realized why everyone always seemed so energetic and chipper while they were prancing around the soccer field: they weren't in pain. And I never had to be in pain like that again, as long as I didn't eat those foods I loved. It was quite a liberating realization, and a sad one.
My skin cleared up so quickly that my colleagues at work commented on it. "I don't know what you're doing," they said, "but keep doing it!" My skin tone even changed from the ashy mess that it was to being rosy and bright. I was convinced to keep going with the elimination diet. With that, we arrive at step one.
Step One: Stop eating the problem foods.
For me, the foods the test identified were just the beginning. The test, which was like this one, measured reactivity against some 160-something foods, but we eat thousands of different foods in our modern diet. Foods that our DNA didn't evolve alongside. Foods that are completely artificial. Foods that are so modified from their original form that our bellies don't know what to do with them. Foods that are processed in ways our bodies aren't evolved to deal with.
After I pulled the first set of foods out of my diet, my body's immune system stopped being overloaded, which allowed it to start reacting ferociously to foods that weren't on the test. Eventually, my list of banned foods ballooned to over 30 different things, including gluten, dairy, eggs, coconut, coffee, cane sugar, pretty much anything that only grows in the tropics, all of India, and a whole bunch more. My symptoms if I ate these foods were different for different foods, but taken as a whole, the symptoms were a checklist for lupus: fevers of 102, body aches, super-gross gastrointestinal symptoms, edema (swelling due to improper kidney function), impaired breathing, and so on. My mom's sister had died of lupus in her 20s, so I was not surprised that my symptom pattern was sort of similar.
Step Two: Get good at meditation and mindfulness.
Meanwhile, I started training my intuitive abilities in January of 2006. By September of 2007, when I first pulled these activating foods from my diet, my meditation and mindfulness skills were okay. They weren't amazing, but they were there. On a scale of one to ten, I'd say I was at maybe a three or four, but it was good enough to notice when my body was having even a subtle reaction to a food, and that was helpful.
The skill of mindfulness takes time to develop properly. It requires a level of focus that our society has trained us away from in recent years, and growing that level of focus requires discipline and regular practice. While I don't know that everyone needs as much time as I took, I started training mindfulness in 2006 and applied that mindfulness to the process of healing my autoimmune problems in 2022, after over 16 years of practice.
Step Three: Learn how to move energy.
After a decade of working with meditation, mindfulness, psychic abilities, and shamanistic practices, I was introduced by a friend to ayahuasca. I worked with her, ayahuasca, several times a year after that. What I learned from ayahuasca that was helpful to the healing process I'm relating here is two-fold:
How to work with plant medicine. Ayahuasca is a master plant medicine teacher. In my experience, she shows the body and mind how to properly engage with ALL plant medicines, not just her own. This point was key, as I'll discuss later.
How to move unhelpful energy out of my body. While I knew how to perceive and move energy out of my body via meditation-driven shamanic practices prior to meeting ayahuasca, she embedded in my system a way of purging energy that was body-driven, instead of mind-driven. My body eventually learned how to purge energy on its own, without my needing to think about it. This was important to my process, as I'll talk about in Step Five.
There are certainly other ways to learn to move energy. Meditation, breathwork, yoga, and other somatic practices work also. I know of one Zero Balancing practitioner that achieved significant healing of her IgE peanut allergy (i.e. the type of allergy that can kill you) using Zero Balancing principles, so I know that ayahuasca isn't the only road to the desired result. If you have healed your autoimmune problems with a non-plant-medicine practice, please let me know how you did it! I'd love to add that information here for others to benefit from.
Step Four: Get safe. Really safe.
You can't heal PTSD until you get the soldier off of the battlefield.
What follows in this paragraph is my opinion (and possibly Dr. Gabor Mate's opinion as well). I do not have any medical training, and what I'm saying should not be relied upon in place of proper medical treatment. That disclaimer out of the way, it's my belief that autoimmune problems are caused by an unwillingness to feel our emotions. Certain foods interact with our bodies in ways that provoke certain energies, which give rise to certain emotions. When those emotions are not safe to feel, we repress them. We shove them down into our bodies. Our subconscious mind tells our immune system to kill the food that is dangerous to our survival, and our bodies' tissues are collateral damage in the fight to put down the emotional uprising that the food causes.
I mentioned earlier that my food sensitivities started when I was a baby. Specifically, the food involved at that time was pineapple. I later discovered (during Step Five, below) that for me, the medicine of pineapple is, "It's okay to be happy." If our bodies are really trying to keep us safe from the emotions provoked by certain foods, I had therefore learned very early on that my happiness was dangerous to my survival. Which, of course, it was.
For me, getting safe happened both slowly and all at once. For years, I worked with various modalities to heal the damage from my childhood. I worked hard on my career in banking and slowly edited my life in ways that helped me to feel safer. From that foundation, the critical piece was a heroic dose of psychedelic mushrooms.
The "Getting Safe" Mushroom Journey
I had been getting sicker again, and couldn't figure out why. In search of answers, I visited a medical intuitive. Applying her "scan" technique, she said that she saw a lot of mom and grandmother energy curled around my spine, where I had an injury that wasn't healing. I previously had a feeling that my mom was involved in the situation, but I was at a loss to figure out what to do. I made another appointment with the intuitive for a few weeks later to try out her recommended remedy of soul retrieval.
In the meantime, I decided to take a large dose of psychedelic mushrooms to see if I could get some clarity that way. I hadn't taken a dose like that in over 25 years, and never for the direct purpose of healing. My intention for the journey was to feel safe in my body and to heal my autoimmune problems.
(Note for those who might want to follow in my footsteps here: The journey was very hard. I had been a bit cavalier about psilocybin facilitation to that point, believing that psilocybin holds its own space, and that "babysitting" isn't really necessary, especially for people who have a lot of psychedelic experience. I was so wrong. I needed help, and didn't have it. As always, I make mistakes so you don't have to!)
What I found in the journey is hard for me to talk about, because it veers into a realm of mysticism that is frightening and therefore difficult to accept, even for someone as steeped in mysticism as I am. Essentially, what I discovered is that my mother's hate and rage at me was trying to tear my cells apart from the inside. She wasn't just trying to kill me, she was trying to destroy me, to wipe me from existence entirely. I'm certain that she wasn't doing this consciously, but it was still happening. I also found during my journey that my will to live wasn't as strong as her will to see me utterly destroyed. Despite my deceased grandmother's energy in my body fighting with me against my mother's, I was unable to save myself.
After a few hours of crying and screaming and failing to get my mother's energy out of my body, I returned to a more-or-less normal conscious awareness. My mind was blown. I was deeply shaken. I sat with my new understanding for a few hours before taking action.
My mother may not know that she's a witch, I thought, but I know I'm a witch, and I have technique that I can apply to this.
For whatever reason, my mother had given me a ponytail of her hair many years previously, and this sprang to my mind in that moment and became the foundation of a binding spell. The spell's purpose was to ensure that my mother wasn't able to hurt anyone ever again, including herself.
The spell worked perfectly. The next morning, the pain and fatigue that had settled deep in the center of my being were gone. I had cut off contact with my mother several years previously, but my brother's reports of her unusual behavior in the days and weeks following the spell confirmed for me that it was working.
I visited the medical intuitive again, who luckily didn't remember me from the previous time. Before I reminded her who I was and what she had said the previous time, she did her "scan" technique and didn't find any mom energy in my body. After I told her the story of my previous visit and the subsequent mushroom journey, she psychically confirmed some things about my mom's hate causing mortal harm to other people that I won't repeat here and which were frightening for both of us. I later learned that the harm hate can cause has been well-known throughout history, but to be honest, it's still quite mind-boggling to me as a resident of the 3rd millennium ACE.
In the days after my mushroom journey, I also broke up with my boyfriend. While I was still madly in love with him, I knew that my heart was not safe with him. The process that I had set in motion with my "I want to feel safe" mushroom journey intention required that we part ways. I lived alone, and a couple of months earlier, I'd escaped my toxic narcissist boss and started a new job where I felt safe and valued, so my emotional safety in ALL of the areas of my life was finally in place for the first time in my life.
Step Five: Commune with the problem foods mindfully.
With my mom's hate now blocked from my body, I started to wonder if I could safely eat the triggering foods again. I started with the least activating foods, with surprising results. During the time of day that I would normally be having an autoimmune reaction, what happened instead was that my body started spontaneously purging energy in the way that ayahuasca had taught me, with no participation from my conscious mind whatsoever. After this happened exactly the same way a few times, I caught on to what my body was doing and wondered if I could purposely trigger this type of purging reaction by eating the triggering food mindfully and consciously participating in helping the energy move out.
My first experiment of this type was with coffee. I found myself at a Starbucks while running an errand in a distant town, and instead of ordering tea or chocolate as I usually would, I was possessed by the thought that I should see if I can drink coffee now. I drank coffee only from ages 16 to 30, and I felt confident that I could handle the emotions that might be tied to that food in my body's memory.
(In hindsight, I can see that for me, confidence and arrogance are sometimes difficult to tell apart. As this a trait that I've noticed in many other shamanic practitioners as well, and I sometimes wonder if a certain irrational bravery is a necessary condition of the work?)
I ordered an oat milk cappuccino and settled in my car to drink it. "I am safe," I repeated to myself, breathing deeply and calmly. I sank my awareness into my body and witnessed its reaction. I followed the energy of the coffee as it spread throughout my body. I noticed as it opened my heart chakra. I appreciated as it connected me to the planet's energy and anchored the energy of my surroundings into my cells. It struck me that no one that's in a stressful environment should be drinking coffee, and that I would always limit my coffee intake to situations in which anchoring my surroundings into my body was 100% healthy for me. I noticed the arising of difficult memories and feelings that the coffee was tied to, and honored them as they moved through me. I cried in my car until my energy had settled into a new configuration. From then on, I could drink coffee without a reaction.
With this success giving me confidence, my second experiment was with coconut. Unlike with coffee, my body's normal reaction to coconut was severe. It developed at a very specific time in my life, and I had a good idea of what it was possibly tied to: a date rape I'd experienced at the age of 19. Specifically, I was pretty sure that it had somehow tied itself to the coconut milk soup from a local Thai restaurant that I used to love at that time. Naturally, because thank-you-Universe, I'd recently met the daughter of the owner of that now-closed Thai restaurant, and was able to find nearly the exact same soup at their new restaurant on the other side of town. I ordered the soup for takeout, and took it home where I felt safe to have whatever reaction might happen. I asked the spirit of coconut that I'd like to be able to commune with it again in a way that was safe and healthy for me, and the experiment began.
The memories that arose after eating a good portion of the soup were ones that I'd expected, and ones that I'd completely forgotten about but which my body remembered perfectly. The energetic movement this time was much more active. I sobbed. My body purged energy in the burpy way ayahuasca had taught me. The entire process was probably two hours total. I'm still not certain that I can articulate what exactly the medicine of coconut is, but my heart and gut now know the soft yet firm assistance it provides in arriving at deep truths and loves it.
The third experiment was eggs. I wasn't sure what to expect because I'd eaten eggs for my entire life. I wasn't as certain what memories it was tied to. This was helpful, because I spent more of my focus during the session on what the medicine of eggs was generally, instead of looking for specific memories that I was expecting to find. For me, the medicine of eggs was "nourishment". What arrived in my mind about eggs was that they are little gifts from the goddess, from Mother Earth, and they are given by her to nourish our bodies.
One of the memories that arose for me was one that I'd been trying to get at for years, unsuccessfully: a relationship with an abusive partner that I'd been in when I was 15. He was a couple of years older than I was, and he abused me in all the ways. At 16, I was at least 75% sure that if I left him, he'd take one of his guns and kill me, and probably cause damage to my friends and family members as he had often threatened to do. But eventually, I had surrendered entirely to what the moment required of me. I arrived at a deep knowing that death was better than the way I'd been living. I put my friends' and family members' safety in God's hands and left him. While he verbally abused me in the hallways at school for a year after that, I think his friends must have talked him down, because he (of course) didn't kill me. I've considered every day since the day I left as extra, a bonus day, gravy, and that has contributed much to the irrational confidence I mentioned earlier.
I had blocked the specific memories of this abuser so well that I don't even remember his last name to this day, but the eggs presented me with a full replay of the intense despair I felt during that time, followed by every other way that my inner goddess had been disrespected and my body/mind/soul's nourishment had been blocked by others during my life. It was a rough ride - an hour of crying and a half hour of burpy purges - but I knew it would be because my reaction to eggs had been so severe. I became quite impressed at how my body had tied these buried memories to certain foods so that they'd be available for me to find and untangle later using the food as the guide.
A few other experiments later, it was time for pineapple, which was previously my most severe food reaction by far. As I mentioned earlier, for me, the medicine of pineapple is "it's okay to be happy". By this point, I'd done a lot of work on clearing the way for my own happiness to be okay, so the experiment was actually shockingly easy. I could feel the activation and energy movement happening mainly in my brain, as opposed to the full-body activation I'd been having with other foods. I wondered if perhaps the circuits that are activated in me by pineapple had been similar to those activated by other foods, such as coconut and eggs and several others that I'd worked through before feeling confident enough to try pineapple.
My food sensitivity list is now down to two: gluten and dairy. I've confirmed that these no longer trigger autoimmune symptoms in me. I can eat them in small quantities without problems, but my digestive system doesn't process them very well, and I've gotten used to them not being in my diet, so leaving them out doesn't feel like a huge sacrifice. Also, ayahuasca showed me that the energy of coffee doesn't align well with my body's energetic signature - sort of like the difference between electric guitar and the cello - and while I can drink it without having an autoimmune reaction, it does make my body feel like a guitar that has one string tuned noticeably on the sharp side, so I limit my intake and choose tea most of the time instead.
Step Six: Repeat step five, forever.
So now I'm feeling cavalier about eating whatever I want, and I'm having a great time (and putting on several pounds!) eating all the foods I've been staying away from for 15 years. Until one day, work was rough. I was having a lot of feelings about something that was going on, and instead of patiently sitting with my feelings and allowing them time and space to be held and noticed, I swallowed them. I repressed them. I treated them like they were bothering me and that I was in danger if I couldn't ignore them and just do the work that needed to get done.
I bet you know what happened after that. Yes, an autoimmune flare up! By the next morning, I was swollen and in pain. I felt ashamed for having gone back on my promise to myself to stay mindful with my feelings. I course-corrected right away and was able to stop the flare in its tracks, but it was a lesson that if I want to keep eating these highly-activating foods, I need to stay mindful with my feelings. If I want to be healthy, I can't ever be a person that shoves my feelings down and ignores them. I have to live my life in Step Five. I have to maintain my life in a way that provides physical and emotional safety, and I have to stay mindful with my emotions, always.
The energetic purging continued even after I successfully got through an initial session with each food on my list of food sensitivities. When I would eat an activating food after that, my body would sometimes purge energy afterward. As of this writing, I'm about six months out from that important mushroom journey. It's been about a month since the last food experiment I needed to do, and the purging has slowed a lot, but what I'm noticing now is that the purging is happening differently, and at deeper layers. Bigger and scarier emotions, emotions that are more at the foundation of my being, are starting to come up now to be witnessed and honored.
Along the way of my food experiments, I had one initial failure. There was one food - cocktail bitters - that brought up complex, deep, angry energy that I wasn't prepared to deal with at that time. I circled back to it after I'd gotten through the rest of the list, and am working with it now once a week. The work that the bitters is activating is happening deep in my subconscious and showing up in my dreams, after which I can pull the dream content into a shamanic meditation and do the needed clearing work. It sometimes feels like a very slow and difficult process, and sometimes like it's all happening way too quickly, and I've enlisted the help of a therapist to support me as I work through and integrate this strange journey I've been on during these last several months.
Thank you for making it to the end of this long story. I offer all of this in the hopes that it will spark your curiosity about what your own autoimmune problems might be trying to tell you!
For the benefit of other readers, I would love to hear from you in the comments about any similar process you've engaged in to successfully heal your autoimmune reactions without medication. If it makes you create an account before you may leave a comment, please know that the only thing I do with your login info is sometimes send out email newsletters. As an major introvert, I send these only a few times a year at most, but if you don't want that, there's an easy way to unsubscribe when one lands in your inbox.
Much love to you,