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And I actually use to buy Diet Dr.Pepper on a grocery run {5 months of detox}

Toxin detox that is.

Really, it’s no wonder this mom got Lyme disease AND auto immune disorders. Seriously. I am–or WAS rather–your normal American mom. Wake up to coffee and a bagel. Rush out the door. Grab a Diet Dr.Pepper later with lunch…often something through the drive through (Chick-fil-a sandwiches are healthy…right?) and then a good old Southern casserole for dinner…with some veggie…a roll–and an occasional dessert.

Honestly, I thought I was healthy as long as I was eating because being a mom of 4 little ones–it wasn’t out of the ordinary to skip a meal and grabbing a filler snack later to hold me off until dinner.

Really, I’m kind of surprised I didn’t develop an auto-immune disease earlier or some other crazy illness. After getting Lyme and doing extensive research, I learned quite a bit. While some doctors aren’t up to date on the disease, the ones who are will tell you that you can actually contract Lyme from mosquitos and most everyone has been exposed. Unfortunately–it’s those of us with weaker immune systems that can’t fight it off ourselves and are eventually diagnosed with auto-immune diseases. The disease is rampant–ya think it’s a coincidence that 2 of my mom’s 3 children have Lymes? OR that out of my 3 roommates after college that 2 of us have been diagnosed? Nope. Not a crazy coincidence at all now that I’ve done the research. The overload of toxins in our bodies make it impossible to fight these things off leading to fatigue, fibromyalgia symptoms (muscle and body aches), joint problems, headaches, vision problems, muscle twitches/tingling and fog brain.

When my rheumatologist diagnosed me with Sjogren’s syndrome, I did my own research and finally proved to him that what was going on was more (or maybe less–however you want to look at it) than Sjogren’s. I asked “the best rheumatologist” in Hotlanta where these auto-immune problems start from–and WHY in the heck more and more of my generation is diagnosed than any other, and all he could say was that was a great question and no one knew. Nice. He sent me out the door with prescription to my pharmacy for this and that which I ripped into pieces before I made it to the parking lot…something just wasn’t sitting right with me. Our bodies are fearfully and wonderfully made.(Psalm 139:14)

I went BACK to the homeopathic doctor who was the only doc to hit the nail on the head for what was really going on inside me–and he even sent me for blood work to amazingly prove it. I did NOT really have any auto-immune disorders…and praise the Lord that I didn’t start on the road of daily taking prescriptions to cover up the problems–many that weren’t caused by Lyme at all, but rather toxin overload.

I had my toxicity level measured–and this poor mom measured in at 12. Not so great. Five months later…I’m down to 5 with a goal of reaching optimal 4. The lower it gets, the better I feel–and all of this STILL has nothing to do with Lyme EXCEPT the lower my toxin level is the better by immune system is able to work and the closer I get to getting back to helping my body work the way that God created it to.

Our bodies were NOT made for sodas, refined sugar, artificial sugars/flavors/colors…or ANYTHING artificial for that matter. They were not created for processed foods, hormone containing meats/dairy, and certainly not for preservatives. And avoiding these things and many others that can lead to weakened immune systems, auto-immune disorders or other illnesses is NOT being extreme in the least–but you are caring for the body that the Lord gave you so you will not be the one determining how well it functions or how long it lasts but rather caring for it as it is a precious gift. Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own. 1 Corinthians 6:19

I love the heart behind the book The Maker’s Diet and Rubin’s story of how he was able to totally be cured of his Crohn’s disease by changing his diet and clearing out toxins. It’s really an AMAZING story!

I was just reading last night in my Lifetime magazine that it’s estimated 80% of Americans have severe Candida overgrowth in their systems leading to fatigue. Our homeopathic doctor found Candida in two of my children (some how I didn’t have it!) and I saw HUGE changes in both when it was cleared. In children it can lead to skin problems, ADD/ADHD symptoms, being thirsty a lot, craving sweets, etc.

Five months ago, this mom ate and functioned radically different. And more than anything it’s been clearing the toxins out of my body and not intentionally allowing more toxins in that has helped so much. (OF COURSE we live in SUCH a toxic world–you are bombarded DAILY with environmental toxins. It’s impossible to avoid toxins altogether, and that is why it is so important to avoid toxins in your food.)

As you research how to get rid of toxins, it can be VERY overwhelming. I started little by little. I was reading a lot of labels and doing a lot of research at first–which was often difficult with the fog brain problem I was having because I was a toxic landfill!

I began by tossing out anything that I put ON my body that was not organic and toxin free. Unfortunately, that meant for me tossing out all my shampoos, toothpastes, lotions and make-up. Although I wasn’t going to be EATING these things, because they were touching my skin–they were being absorbed in my body. All of my make-up unfortunately had things like talc, ethylacrylate, formaldehyde, etc. BEFORE, I just didn’t know–or I thought it wouldn’t really effect me. I started buying my make-up at Whole Foods or online OR on most days not even wearing it at all. I started using coconut oil for lotion (I now use coconut oil which is SO GOOD for you for just about anything! On a day I feel sluggish or suspect a parasite…then I eat it by the spoonful. PARASITES you ask? Um of COURSE! If you are eating healthy, it is some times impossible to get parasites off all your greens but as long as you are aware of your body and on a healthy probiotic you are most likely good to go!) I bought natural hair and skin care products–and honestly, I will never go back.

Yes, I did the hair, skin and make-up FIRST…I was dreading a toxin free diet;).

I drank my last diet soda in October 2011–which by the way…causes all kinds of problems. For goodness sake, have a large glass of sweet tea before you drink that stuff. It’ll take you down I tell you.

And then came everything else. I used to use FOOD COLORING for my fun little food crafts–and I’ve learned natural ways to color and keep my kids healthy in the process. Many children have a very hard time getting rid of toxins and these are the precious ones that usually struggle with attention problems (I used to have one of them). I bought water purification systems–I can’t BELIEVE I used to drink out of the faucet. I can actually SMELL the chlorine now when I turn the water on…which unfortunately kills all the healthy bacteria we NEED to fight off harmful bacteria in our systems–leading to immune problems (Have a child who seems to always get sick and you give him water from the faucet containing things like chlorine??? I think I might give mine my old diet soda before I gave him that…for real–at least it won’t kill the healthy bacteria.) KUDOS to Good Housekeeping who recently published an article HOW to keep your water safe–and THANK YOU Grandmother for giving me another year’s prescription to Good Housekeeping for Christmas this year;)

Getting RID of toxins I allow into my body was the first step–and the second was learning what I needed to get my immune system BACK on track to begin fighting for me again. I’ve never understood or really seen the depth of Psalm 139:14 until now. It’s AMAZING to watch how my energy, fatigue, etc is changing as I start to are for my body that He wonderfully and fearfully made for me to care for.

Now…I’m a Stevia fan (YES–I still have my coffee…but just 1 cup of java for me in the am). I have my quiet time in my FAR infrared sauna–that helps extract toxins from the body. I start my day with a protein shake and eggs…and of course my supplements that I need until momma makes a full recovery. I eat an avocado sandwich on gluten free bread almost every day…MY FAVORITE (not because I’m allergic to gluten but it’s harder for your digestive track to process and if you have inflammation or you are trying to get over something–you can take the stress off your gut and let your body apply it’s energy else where…helping you beat that afternoon fatigue!) And while veggies were not filling my frig a year ago–we eat them for snacks and at almost every meal now…it’s absolutely CRAZY how the Lord provided foods that can actually heal! The worst thing my kids now get in to now are my gluten-free pancakes with honey drizzled on top (I used to be faithful to old Aunt Jemima…but she’s gotta get these out: CORN SYRUP, HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP, WATER, CELLULOSE GUM, CARAMEL COLOR, SALT, SODIUM BENZOATE AND SORBIC ACID (PRESERVATIVES), ARTIFICIAL AND NATURAL FLAVORS, SODIUM HEXAMETAPHOSPHATE for this mom to go back:). Seriously–THOSE are the ingredients in what I USED to give my kids!

In the end–I know I’m going to be SO THANKFUL that an auto-immune, Lyme or this or that came up in my mid-thirties. I really believe as I continue to wellness and trust in the Lord’s truths, power and strength–AND that He made my body fearfully and wonderfully that all of this will just be a thing of the past, and our family will be healthier, happier and more full of energy and life through it!

Blessings to you all!!!


missy - March 9, 2012 - 2:58 pm

i am eyeing the diet coke sitting next to the computer screen right now. i have known that we have a lot of bad habits for a long time, but i needed to have it put in the perspective of stewardship. thanks for sharing this with us. i needed to hear it. now i need to DO something about it. i am so happy you are feeling better!

Kim - March 9, 2012 - 3:03 pm

Andrea, have you tried “Juice Plus”, for your family? (No, I’m not selling it!) I just started this a month ago, and feel so much more energetic. I had just been so run down this winter and was always getting sick. A friend of mine talked me into trying this whole food based nutritional product from 17 different fruits, veggies and grains. Comes in a capsule. The kids love it too (they have chewables). I loved all the research behind the product. We try to eat healthy here, but every little bit helps. You should check it out!- Kim

admin - March 9, 2012 - 3:13 pm

YES!!! We did Juice Plus for YEARS…but stopped taking them last year when we found a kids supplement that also contains Vitamin D! Juice Plus didn’t have the recommended Vit. D dosage for our kids–and this crazy momma needed to kill as many birds as she could with 1 stone:)

Naomi - March 9, 2012 - 3:38 pm


I am so blessed and encouraged reading this! I feel like we have been leading parallel lives although my auto immune disease had been Hashimotos and thyroid issues which I really believe was the cause for ovarian cancer which I had when I was only 30! It was left untreated for years and can cause higher levels of estrogen in your body which causes cancer. Anyway, I am so with you and the toxic free diet. I have only just recently switched to organic face cream (love Pristine Beauty) and plan to throw out everything eventually for organic. I have been using aluminum free deodorants for 6 years but know I need to go whole hog. And even though I have been health freak junkie for the last 20 years, I know there are areas that I have compromised in. I have just switched to gluten free not because I am intolerant but because I have heard the benefits of this is you have an Auto-immune disease. I have been making gluten free cakes just with dates pureed for the sweetness for many years and love them! I am a real cake addict. Have you heard of Food Matters? They are really promoting healthy eating and have a movie you can sign up to watch for free which will be shown this month. It is very insightful for those who have no idea about the food they eat and what they are putting into their bodies.

Anyway, thanks for sharing and I look forward to meeting you in two weeks at C4C!!!

Liz - March 9, 2012 - 3:50 pm

So glad to hear you are feeling better! I think about and pray for you often. Would you do a post sometime telling which brands you like of products (like your water system, makeup, stevia,etc). I am always trying to find the best natural brands and I hate to waste money by trying products that end up being duds. Would love your suggestions!

Julie Bennett - March 9, 2012 - 3:51 pm

Good post! So glad to hear that you’re feeling so much better. Thought of you yesterday as my younger ones were pushing their cart around Trader Joes…helping mom! I travel about 25 minutes to our nearest TJ. Hoping to get one closer soon. Andrea, what kid’s supplement do you give your kiddos?

Lauren - March 9, 2012 - 3:53 pm

you inspire me. and i love you. 🙂

admin - March 9, 2012 - 3:55 pm

OF COURSE LIZ!!! I’ll do a follow up post full of our favorite replacements and also supplements for both us and for the kids for sure!

Brittany - March 9, 2012 - 7:27 pm

Great info! Thanks so much for sharing all this! I also would love the product info for make up and anything else you have time to share.

Amy - March 9, 2012 - 8:10 pm

Oh, I have to thank you for this post. I too have been on a path to natural living. And, let me tell you, in rural GA it’s hard. However, after having an episode today where my vision became very blurred and reading your post tonight, I am resolved to do better. Could you send me links to some of your research?

Amy - March 10, 2012 - 2:31 pm

I would love for you to do more posts just like this! I have an autoimmune disease-ulcerative colitis-which I’ve had for 10 years. I have times with no problems at all and then other times when every morning is spent in the bathroom. In the good times, I slack off on eating well and then wish I hadn’t when it returns. I would love to know exactly what products you are using and more specifics on the baby steps to take on a budget.

Tara - March 12, 2012 - 1:42 pm

Loved this post! We’ve been on a gluten free, sugar free diet since September, and it is changing our lives (we eat paleo)

Thanks for posting this – it’s so easy in this culture to poison yourself, and not even know it.

Hoping things continue to improve for you.

marci - March 12, 2012 - 6:58 pm

Yahooo ! SO glad you have been helped. DIet DOES matter. Throwing away all that you have done so far is a gift to you and your children. I am very involved in LIVING FOODS and Food Matters. Margaret at Briarcliff Whole Foods has THE BEST recipes…free…chocolate pudding made from avacado’s ….YUUUMMM. Good for you . You may want to save for a vita MIx…. SO happy for you. Pax and hugs,Marci