NMP #35: Autoimmune Disease and Plant-Based Diets

Have you had a diagnosis recently that’s left you baffled about how to eat? If so, you’ll want to listen in and learn about Autoimmune Disease and Plant-Based Diets with Rachael Hutchins. We talk about her Lupis diagnosis and how that led her to a plant-based diet.  If you’re considering a vegan diet and looking for more resources, check out my Vegan Resources.

Rachael Hutchings is on the Namely Marly podcast talking about Autoimmune Disease and Plant-Based Diets

Rachael Hutchings was experiencing serious health problems and went to see several doctors before she was finally diagnosed with lupus, an autoimmune disease. She sought out ways to make changes to her diet rather than only taking medications. Eventually, this led her to a plant-based diet, providing dramatic improvements to her symptoms.

Here are some of my favorite quotes from today’s interview with Rachael:

She [her doctor] was saying your body is unique, and we have to figure out what is going to work for it. And that really made sense to me.

Rachael Hutchings

We got home, and I went right back on the strict, whole foods, plant-based eating approach and within a week, every single one of those symptoms had cleared up. And I thought, I am never going back.

Rachael Hutchings

Our goal at Namely Marly is to provide you with inspiring resources to take on a vegetarian, vegan, plant-based, and inspired, energetic life. We hope today’s interview about Autoimmune Disease and Plant-Based Diets with Rachael Hutchings has been helpful and informative.

Go be your best you!

Tips for Plant-Based Eating Autoimmune Diet

Rachael began her journey toward feeling better through an elimination diet. That means eliminating all problematic foods. She said at that point, her diet resembled a Paleo Diet. She felt much better as a result. But then her doctor said she saw new studies that showed some positive results being completely plant-based.

She said that blood work indicating inflammation showed almost no inflammation when she switched to a whole-food, plant-based diet. Rachael used to be able to eat anything she wanted, but knowing that her choices make her feel better has made a big difference.

Rachael talks about the foods she avoids in addition to her plant-based diet:

  • Peanuts. These are common allergens for people who eat them (She can eat almond butter and Sun Butter)
  • Gluten. This is another inflammation marker for people with autoimmune diseases
  • Dairy. One of the most common inflammatories
  • Sugar. Processed, refine sugars are another common source of inflammation and good to avoid
  • Animal Proteins. Avoiding meat and eating plant-based is a great recommendation for people trying to reduce inflammation.

Rachael describes how there are times when this diet can feel too restrictive, but she reminds herself how much better she feels. She also looks to the science behind why these foods are eliminated from her diet and she seeks replacements, such as Almond Butter instead of Peanut Butter.

Also, Rachael uses Dr. Greger’s Daily Dozen app (see link below) to help her stay on track with her plant-based diet. I use that app as well and have found it be really helpful in making sure you’re getting those daily dozen items that Dr. Greger’s research has shown to be beneficial. The nice thing about the Daily Dozen app is that you’re focusing on the foods you’re trying to add to your diet, not the ones you’re excluding.

That’s important when you’re changing your diet — to focus on the positive changes and the things that you CAN eat. You’ll be eliminating all those processed foods, and as a result, you’ll feel much better.

Also, this type of diet carries a lot few side effects than many of the drugs. I mention how my doctor prescribed a drug (Zelnorm) for my IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome which is also an autoimmune disease). I did take some of that medicine, but not too many. I naturally gravitated toward changing my diet to feel better rather than taking medicine.

For example, once I learned I was dairy intolerant, people would ask my why I didn’t just take lactaid. My response? Because if my body is sending me a signal, I don’t want to take a pill that helps me ignore that signal.

A year or so after going plant-based I heard that Zelnorm was pulled from the market because it was causing heart attack or strokes. I can’t tell you how relieved I was that I only took a few of those pills. I still had the bottle and I went and threw them away immediately.

I am in no way advocating against modern medicine. I love science and the advances its made for our health. I think there’s something to be said for a multi-pronged approach to our health, however. In fact, I really like Rachael’s story, how she worked with her doctors to find an approach that worked best for her.

Here are some of the highlights of my discussion with Rachael, where we discuss:

  • Rachael  talks about how she started her blog La Fuji Mama
  • We talk about the symptoms she was experiencing
  • Rachael shares about her journey seeking the right doctor for her mysterious symptoms
  • Once she finally received the diagnosis of lupus, Rachael talks about the recommendations she received from doctors
  • Rachael talks about her journey leading to a plant-based diet and the impacts it has had on her health and condition
  • We discuss autoimmune diseases and how healthy eating and living impacts them

This Accessible Approachable Vegan Diet episode includes references to some resources you might find interesting. Here they are:


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That’s it for today’s podcast. As always, thanks so much for joining in the discussion!

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