Blog Archives

The Language of Inflammation

When something is not going right with your body it is usually due to inflammation. Pain, stiffness, rashes, swelling and heat are all signs. With Sjogren’s syndrome, I notice inflammation in the form of a “flare”. The dry eyes and mouth become more dry, my joints ache, and I become very tired. When your body communicates with you in the language of inflammation, what symptoms do you notice?

Do you take a pill to “quash” the inflammation, or do you try to figure out what caused it? I never just experience inflammation just “out of the blue”. There is always a reason. Perhaps I didn’t sleep well, or there was a lot of stress the day before in my life. Maybe I didn’t hydrate properly or eat very well.

I look at my signs of inflammation as a language now. It’s sort of a loud shout from my body saying, “Hey, wake up and pay attention! I have needs!” Too often people just try to subdue the inflammation and carry on as normal.

This is a mistake. If you allow the inflammation to continue, you can cause further damage to the body. Catch it early on, and it is usually modifiable. Wait too long, and the only way to relieve it may be through those strong anti-inflammatories and pain killers, which do not work towards healing the inflammation, only suppressing it.

I’ve written up a quick infographic for you, if you are interested in subscribing to the freebies I send out to my caregiving group. Send me a message here, and I will add you. You can unsubscribe any time, and I do not use your email for nefarious purposes like selling it or driving you crazy with sales pitches. May you understand the language of your body and figure out how to answer it too.

AIP in 2023

2022 was certainly a shake up of a year for me regarding my health. I had always, (perhaps bit smugly), considered myself to be a healthy person. After all, I was trained as a naturopathic doctor and I knew the ins and outs of optimizing wellness. I had a good diet and I exercised. I didn’t use excesses of anything harmful to the body. Sure, I had lots of symptoms like fatigue and dry eyes and dry mouth and joint pain, but wasn’t that part of getting older? Oh, and I had trouble sleeping, and I was anxious, and my brain didn’t seem to work right anymore, but it could all be explained away… post menopause, everyday stress, caregiving, etc. except when it all came to a head in November of 2021 when I couldn’t stand it any longer. I think the expression is that I was a “hot mess”.

I felt like I was falling apart. I sat in my optometrists office and poured it all out, the dry eyes, the dry mouth, the profound fatigue. She wrote a referral to my medical doctor and that got the ball rolling for me. A few referrals and consults later, I had a CPAP machine to treat my diagnosed sleep apnea, and after that I had a confirmed diagnosis of Sjogren’s Syndrome. I found trying to integrate all the new self care around these two conditions, as well as continue my main job as an essential caregiver for my parents, and work on my coaching business, to be quite a challenge.

The rheumatologist mentioned medication as an option, but also that it could mean major side effects but I had a plan I wanted to put in place first. I am not opposed to medication, should the time come when I need more help controlling my symptoms. There are some autoimmune diseases such as diabetes and Hashimoto’s where medication is critical. I felt my healing journey, at this point, could be self-hacked. My professional experience with autoimmune conditions had taught me the importance of figuring any co-existing health conditions. Autoimmune can’t be cured, but other health issues causing stress to the body can be helped, which maximizes healing. Dietary irritants can be removed. Infections can be healed. Nutrition can be optimized.

In mid-April I started on the Autoimmune Protocol (AIP). This is a brilliant healing protocol first popularized by Sarah Ballantyne, PhD. In her book, “The Paleo Approach”, she provides an evidence based method for removing foods that are potential roadblocks to healing, and at the same time integrates foods with the most healing potential. That is half of the protocol. The other half is about optimizing lifestyle. I also started seeing a naturopathic doctor, and asked her to optimize my gut microbiome. We found a bacterial infection and started treating it with herbs and supplements.

I began with the elimination phase of the AIP diet. I was already gluten free and 95% dairy free. There were a lot of foods to remove, but also new foods to explore, some of which have become my favourites. After a time, I followed the reintroduction protocol and was able to add a number of foods back into my diet without aggravating my symptoms. I will say that this was a darn hard diet to implement. I have a lot of past experience with different diets, including elimination diets, and I still found it really hard. Healthy foods like eggs and nuts and tomatoes were no longer on the plan, and I had to get very creative in the kitchen to prevent boredom. I lost weight because the inflammation in my body was improving.

So what happened? First I noticed the joint pain getting better. Much better. I no longer lay awake with an aching back or hips at night. I found my knees rarely bothered me climbing stairs. Next, the dryness in my mouth improved. I had saliva and my enlarged tongue shrank. Finally, the dry eyes had some tears again and were less gritty at night. Energy was the last thing to improve and took a number of months, but finally I started feeling better than I had in two or three years. I could read and retain what I read. I could write. My mind also became sharper and my memory improved. Some of my blood work markers have also improved, which is an exciting “objective” finding.

This was exciting! This was working! I had to be able to share this with my coaching clients! Now that I could think and function better, I enrolled in the certified AIP coach training and became a certified coach. I am set up to offer one and one AIP coaching to a few clients at present. It is a tool that people can use at the beginning of their autoimmune journey, or along the way. It works while you are waiting to confirm a diagnosis, and it works along with medications and treatments recommended by your health care team. I have so many resources to share with you to make the AIP journey easier, and I can’t wait for the day when you tell me, “Hey Wendy, I am feeling better!”. Is 2023 the year you start the AIP and start healing your autoimmune disease? If you are interested, I would love to chat with you about whether this could work. Can I give you a quick free call? Here’s a link to book the call, and I hope to meet you soon,

Caregiving and Autoimmune Disease

Both the role of caregiver and susceptibility to autoimmune disease happen predominately to females. In addition caregivers may find the stresses of caregiving trigger an autoimmune disease, and then they may then struggle to look after themselves well as trying to care for others. There are over 100 types of autoimmune disease, and there is no cure for them. There is good news, however. Healing the disease, and sending it into remission, where the signs and symptoms of the disease go away, or are at least are greatly improved, is possible. This is often the goal of medical treatment, where medications are used to suppress inflammatory processes in the body to help prevent damage. Most of these drugs also can also cause a range of side effects or adverse outcomes, and need to be carefully monitored. Other therapeutics can be useful as well, such as acupuncture, naturopathic, and chiropractic treatment. One of the best ways that a person with autoimmune disease can help heal their condition is by following the Autoimmune Protocol (AIP). By supporting the body nutritionally, and removing obstacles to healing, this gentle, effective approach can be used in addition to any other treatments. It is also something that a person with autoimmune disease can begin on their own while waiting for a specialist appointment, or even if there is just a suspicion of autoimmune disease. All autoimmune disease is associated with vitamin and mineral deficiencies, as well as a leaky gut. The Autoimmune Protocol teaches you which foods to eat, what to avoid, and the lifestyle measures that will help you to sleep better, reduce stress, correct deficiencies and help heal your gut. I have personal experience with the healing abilities of the Autoimmune Protocol, and I am currently training as an AIP coach. The training is going great, and I am collecting lots of nuggets to make the AIP transition much easier for my clients. In addition to my private coaching, which is available anytime, I am excited to offer a first ever, cost-effective virtual group class, starting soon to guide you through the autoimmune protocol. I will only be coaching 10 people in this group, so if you are interested in more information and getting on a waitlist, please send me a message, so that you will be one of the first to find out when it is available.

The Next adventure – Autoimmune Disease!

Life brings us many surprises. When I practiced as a naturopathic doctor, I often saw patients with autoimmune disease. After working with me for a time, their symptoms would inevitably improve. It was a special focus in my practice, and it felt good, helping people with conditions that were not always managed well by conventional medicine. Anyway the saying of “what goes around, comes around”, can come true. Earlier this year I was diagnosed with Sjögren’s Syndrome, an autoimmune disease characterized by dry eyes and mouth and fatigue. At this stage of my illness, there is no medical treatment. Coupled with newly diagnosed sleep apnea, I needed to draw on my background and pull out all the stops in getting a handle on my health! I am delighted to say that six months has made a huge difference. I am feeling better than I have in a long time. I have found the Autoimmune Protocol to be invaluable in this venture, and in fact, I am so impressed with it I will be training on how to help coach others using it! Stay tuned, I will be sharing more about this in the future. Meanwhile, if you have an autoimmune disease and might be interested in a supported group or individual coaching program to help you improve the symptoms you are experiencing, drop me a message and I will add you to my interest list. You will be the first to know when my new program is ready!

Inflammation – The villain at the heart of all chronic illness

Why do I call inflammation a villain? Isn’t it a normal and necessary body reaction? Yes – but only in acute situations such as a cut or an infection. In these situations you need the response of inflammation which is the rapid mobilization of the immune system to send white blood cells to the affected location. This fights the bacteria or virus off, and then prompts the injured site to swell to allow time to recover and heal. Without this process, we would never recover from the injury or infection.
However, inflammation’s evil twin, the villain, occurs in chronic conditions. Asthma, many cancers, obesity, Alzheimer’s, atherosclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, depression, irritable bowel disease, gout, and all autoimmune conditions have inflammation at the heart causing the various different signs and symptoms of each condition. Each of these illnesses begins from a failure to eliminate an insult to the body which may be some low level continuing irritation of the tissue or an autoimmune reaction to something which is usually supposed to considered normal by you.The body brings inflammation into play, and the symptoms just accelerate causing more inflammation and more symptoms. Then you see your medical doctor and complain of wheezing, forgetfulness, joint pain or digestive problems. Your blood work may show an elevated LDL cholesterol and triglycerides. A medical doctor will prescribe statins, Tylenol or steroid drugs, all designed to decrease your inflammation but not to actually remove what is causing these symptoms in the first place. The only true treatment here is achieved by discovering what is causing the inflammation. Is it a food allergy or sensitivity? Is it damage from lack of antioxidants or essential fats in the diet? Heavy metals? Too much or too little exercise? Hormone imbalance? Genetic factors?
Once the cause is determined, the true treatment can begin. The irritating agent can be removed, the nutritional deficiencies corrected, the food sensitivities detected, the lifestyle altered all to restore normal body function.
Did you know that if you are obese and lose weight that the inflammation in your body will improve? That curing your insomnia will also help? That if you regularly eat ginger, turmeric, fish, green tea and tart cherries you will naturally decrease your inflammation?
Did you know you can actually figure out what factors are causing inflammation in your body? Dr. Wendy Presant- Jahn has twenty years of experience as a “medical detective” and through a detailed case consultation and with access to a vast array of functional testing services can help you figure out what is contributing to your chronic illness. A schedule of the doctor’s appointment availabilities as well as fees can be accessed through the “book online” link below:

Dr. Wendy Presant-Jahn, ND, CFMP
Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine
(306) 543-4880
web site –
book online –