The Power Of Food

Carla Coulson Loc Boyle small

Me at Bondi in Sydney by Loc Boyle

I promised myself I wouldn’t turn this blog into a food/health/auto-immune blog but couldn’t resist sharing a little update with you.

You may remember from this post that I was diagnosed with Graves Disease (which is an auto-immune disease) in December and at the same time found a bald spot  (Alopecia Areata) in the back of my hair. Oh and there is another one at the other end of my body called Lichen Sclerosus that begs you too scratch all day!!

The doctors wanted to kick this under the carpet as ‘hereditary’. My mum and all her sisters have vitiligo, my uncle had Psoriasis another Uncle has Sarcoidosis,  my sister has vitiligo and my cousin has had Alopecia since she was in her 20′s.

Well, it is almost 2 months now that I have been on a Paleo Diet, no grains, legumes, milk products, no sugar or processed food. No coffee, alcohol or stimulants.. Just good old veges, fruit, nuts and seeds and protein..

A couple of weeks ago I checked in with my French doctor (always an interesting experience). There was a lot of head shaking (you need to take drugs), whipping out of the prescription pad and ‘non non non’ this natural thing is no good.

But I don’t have any symptions I insisted. My acupuncturist had been working on my gut and my head (think of woody the woodpecker and his beak knocking on my bald spot) and my hair is starting to sprout and the itchiness in my nether regions has subsided.

I begged her to let me take another blood test and then we would talk about it.

Begrudgingly she  agreed.

On weigh in day (cause that’s what it felt like) I was doing  ‘Oh what a feeling’ Toyota jumps (the Aussie’s will know what this is)  all the way down Rue du Rivoli hugging my results to my chest.

Fruit-and-vegetables-for-sale-_MG_5203_Carla-Coulson

Fruit for sale in Puglia by Carla Coulson

Not only had 2 out of 3 Thyroid values entered the ‘normal range’ but they were buried right down there in the middle smug as can be no longer teetering on the outside. But the big news was my auto-immune antibodies had almost halved.

Reading blood results are like reading the deep sea scrolls for the uninitiated but in French they are extra tricky so I thought I better check with my doctor.

More head shaking, she couldn’t believe the results. I secretly think she thinks I am taking medication and not telling her. She has given me another months ‘leave of absence’ before she threatens to bring out the prescription pad.

I walked out of that doctor’s office feeling Round 1 to the organic farmers..

As well as changing my diet I am changing the way I do things. No instagramming, Facebooking in bed! Nothing happens before my morning walk and 20 mins of meditation and yes Carla you can actually take a lunch break.

I have dragged my sore and sorry body to Yoga for the past 2 months and enjoyed the experience of going slow and realised how broken my body is after all these year of carrying camera gear on my back for hours and days at a time.

But most of all ‘hail’ to the human body that after decades of battering responds to kindess so quickly.

Some links you may like:

My favourite books Practical Paleo and Nourishing Traditions Natural Treatment Solutions for Hyperthyroidism and Graves Disease

Websites I enjoy Mr Paleo himself Loren Cordain at The Paleo Diet  Rob Wolf Sarah Wilson Paleo Mom Dr Amy Myers

Sending my deepest love and thanks for all your well wishes each and every day.

Stay tuned for more photography..

“If we could give every individual the right amount of nourishment and exercise, not too little and not too much, we would have found the safest way to health.” Hippocrates

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Please feel free to share with anyone this may help. xx

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62 Responses to The Power Of Food

  1. Ah Carla that’s so good to hear. And inspirational too. I’ve being dragging my sore and sorry body to yoga for the past 7 weeks and feel completely different for it. Same with the sugar. Haven’t been as hard core as you but I feel so better for cutting it back. Wine is the big hurdle for me. For a moment I thought you had a cousin called Alopecia. Giggling on this end. Take care. xx

    • Carla says:

      HI Margaret, it’s a challenge for sure.. There are days I am dreaming about coffee it seems to be the only thing i really miss.. I corrected my cousins’ name .. ha ha..
      I think Gluten is the key for the auto-immune gang.. my husband’s eczema after a lifetime of trouble is going.. loving gluten free life. xx

  2. Sally says:

    Wow.Carla you really are an inspiration. You are truly amazing. Both as a strong well healthy woman and as a photographer. You really can be everything you want to be. Such emotional and physical strength. Well done Girl. You need a pat on the back. xx

    • Carla says:

      Hi Sally, I saw an amazing Ted talk the other day by a Dr Wahls who had MS.. She said a vital phrase which is ‘we all have a choice’. I guess I would prefer to choose the natural way always if I can. After all its only food! Thanks for your kind words and encouragement. Carla xx

  3. Maria Gilmore says:

    WOW !!!! Well done and congratulations !!! You have inspired me more than you could know :-) Thank you so much for sharing XX

  4. Sally says:

    Hi Carla, I so wanted to write to you when I saw your post about Graves Disease; it was on my list. Unfortunately since I saw you on that beautiful summer evening last year, I’v had a little fight of my own:). Alopecia Areata became a very unwanted friend. I lost 75% of my hair!, which is not a good look especially when your a woman. Like you an auto-immune problem. The good news for me, my hair is finally recovering; after some dark days:). You have found the key Carla! The Paleo diet is excellent. I have been doing nutritional studies for a while now; especially helpful are green veg and fruit juices, 75% veg and 25% fruit. I’m so happy you are on the mend. Eating a clean diet like this will have so many positives for the future. My undoing came about by stress. Losing my father last year and taking care of my elderly mum, was obviously too much for me last year:). Long story! So I have become a serious meditator; and I think this is why things are improving. Your yoga sounds wonderful and is weaving its magic. Meditation is also there should you need it. You look super fabulous in your photo! Very healthy indeed. So happy your feeling better. Love and hugs. Sally

    • Carla says:

      HI Sally, thanks for taking the time to write. I can only imagine how dark those days were. What a wonderful idea to study nutrition. A fascinating subject and world.. I had promised myself for so long that I would meditate, do yoga, stop working so much but I never got there. This gave me a great reason to stop and I can feel everyone around is reaping the benefits too including hubby and kitty. YOu might like this Ted talk.. I loved it. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KLjgBLwH3Wc

      Look after yourself..much love Carla xx

      • Sally says:

        Thank you Carla I loved the talk, how truly inspiring. Keep well and strong, your new lifestyle sound wonderful. Love from Sydney. Sally xxxxx

  5. Susan says:

    Dear Carla
    i love your photo, you look amazing, as always your smile seals the deal :-) wonderful news regarding your health, it is amazing what it takes for us to take stock on how we treat ourselves. Only moments ago I sent this link to a dear friend how is 39 and diagnosed with lymphoma, very different I know to you however it is from a Brissy girl who is inspiring even me to make some changes http://lifestyletransformationguide.com/ I thought you may enjoy it for the read it nothing else. Congratulations and warm wishes

  6. Sarah says:

    Carla you post things just at the right time – my friendly guardian angel from afar! I was diagnosed the same time as you ( hyperthyroidism, not Graves thankfully) but I haven’t slowed down. I keep meaning too but aways find a reason to keep pushing on – my business, my husbands cancer, my husbands special birthday, my children, my friend with cancer, my Dad with cancer…. and I feel like I’ve been running a marathon lately. I love life with a passion but I don’t want it to run out before I’ve done all I want to do so tomorrow I’m going to take a leaf out of your book and start by going for a walk and then meditating/relaxing before getting stuck into my day. I’ve been taking natural supplements and reducing sugar and stimulants but I haven’t gone far enough with it. You know I think you’re amazing and I am so, so happy that you are feeling so well and happy. Thank you SO much for your post. PS You look incredible! xx

    • Carla says:

      Dearest Sarah, thanks for your lovely note. I think it is a problem of the female race to put everyone before themselves. I know my downtime before was washing up, preparing dinner, cleaning up (ie no true downtime) just more work.. Look after yourself.. Your body will respond if you are kind to it.. You are such a giver you need to keep something for yourself and look after your health.. Much love Carla xx

  7. Barb Smith says:

    Hi Carla,
    So thrilled… to your health !!!
    Your lifestyle has undergone another change…
    Motivate us all… with a different book…food, less stress, feeling fantastic… a little bit of soul nourishment.. ????
    I had to give up wheat & lactose over 20 yrs ago…I know the power of “ordinary plain food” it makes me well
    Barb

    • Carla says:

      HI Barb, now there’s an idea!!

      Carla love Food?? Wow you are way ahead of the rest of us and you have been lucky to have felt the benefits for so long.. Much love Carla x

  8. Janine Vasta says:

    Oh Carla, that’s fabulous. You write about the whole experience with such energy and lightness, you can just tell you’re in great shape inside and out. Brava, cara Carla! Un abbraccio, J

    • Carla says:

      HI Janine, thanks for the note.. REally appreciate your comment and having you in my world.. Love to you in Umbria.. Carla x

  9. Kathy says:

    That is so incredible to hear, Carla! My husband went through his own medical metamorphosis–he was given a dozen prescriptions to keep fixing symptoms that the other medications were causing! He juiced for 60 days almost 3 years ago and has been a vegan since and now NO medications! Good for you for taking back your health!

    • Carla says:

      HI Kathy, good on your husband. That is one commitment juicing for 60 days. He must have had a huge turn-around. I think life sends us these things so we can wake up out of our trance and do something before it’s too late.. wishing you light and love Carla x

  10. Liz says:

    Carla, I was on your site/blog last night drilling down all your tips for changing life and following one’s career dreams, and now you’re on another mission sharing your inner self with us in other ways, just as inspirational.

    I have no specific illness, but have been trying to edge myself to a purer diet and off grains and milk. Today, I was at my local farmers’ market in Malta which brims with amazing veg! But now I won’t be making a risotto or pasta with them!

    I do know deep down that the old prescription pad is a [I don't really know what she has] doc’s way out of things. I had a bout of sciatica all Feb, quite disabling. And while I persevered with Pilates, walking etc, my doc(s) were keen to dish out fairly strong anti-inflammatories, which just made me feel very ill! So, you’re right, spot on, and an inspiration to even those of us with no serious health issues. We are what we eat, we all know the mantra, but hopefully with your strength to guide us – given so generously – more of us can put that into practice and avoid untold number of ills and ailments in our lives.

    • Carla says:

      HI Liz,

      Thanks for the note.. Hopefully you found some posts that help changing your life. It’s not easy but so rewarding doing what you love ..Hope your path is as rewarding as mine. Carla x

    • Carla says:

      HI Liz, So lovely to receive your note.. Lucky you living in Malta.. Have a swim for me. Hoping your path is paved in happiness and reward. CArla x

  11. Thank you so much for sharing your progress! I have been gluten and dairy free for several months and have seen huge changes in my body. I rarely drink wine because it affects me so adversely and go from no coffee for several months to having coffee trying to determine if I feel better without or not…jury is still out on that one. I’ve been thinking about dragging myself to yoga as a new studio opened close to my house… so it sounds like from you and others that yoga creates magic. That’s lovely. All the best to you! xo

    • Carla says:

      HI Tamara, Lovely to hear from you. Weird for me to say but loving Yoga now. When I was in my gym phase Yoga seemed so slow but now feels like a balm. I have seen so many benefits from doing Yoga but have noticed even joint pain from auto-immune disappear in the class..

      Wishing you light and love Carla x

  12. Liz says:

    Carla,
    I forgot to say two things: 1. please don’t apologise for using your photoblog space for health and food! Without you in health, there is no blog, on whatever inspirational path. So please mix and match – it’s all food for thought! …and
    2. a useful dotorg URL – non-profit and open source – an initiative called DIY Health Revolution, spearheaded by Peter Gabriel, among others. It might prove useful for your readers. https://www.diyhealth.org/

    • I want to second Liz – I am so grateful for your posts on this, Carla. After your first writing, I went gluten-free and cut my sugar way back. I definitely feel the difference. All of the information that you provide about your experience and then the responses in the comments is truly helpful.

      Your beautiful photo is proof that this is working for you. Congratulations and Best Wishes as you continue trusting your instincts.

  13. Va………voom! You look fabulous Carla and so happy to hear how well you are feeling. I took a few weeks off Paleo and then symptoms started creeping back so I am with you on this, it simply works. It is the perfect time of year too for anyone looking to try Paleo, all this sunshine is so invigorating! Much love xx

  14. chillcat says:

    Dear Carla, so happy to see this turnaround. It’s true we females put everybody before ourselves and I realised a while back I’d been doing it for twenty years. Now stop. I’ve been on a good diet and energy path for a long time now and I think that’s saved me. But there have been times when I have really hit bottom mentally and physically. Such hard work to pull oneself up by the bootstraps afterwards..
    I’d add that we need love too. Bon courage!
    Xcat

  15. carla, so glad to hear you are taking care of yourself + a shinning light for all of us + good eating + good yoga xxpeggybraswelldesign.com PS that is a wonderful photo.

  16. nichole says:

    Inspiring! So, very inspiring. ;)

  17. La Contessa says:

    HOW GREAT IS THAT!I wanted to ask you how it was going on FB the other day then thought no………..NO WONDER we have been getting these awesome photos early in the AM from Paris on Instagram…….
    Kudos to YOU!
    BRAVA!keep up the good work and don’t let the DOC’s BUT IN!!!!
    XOXOXO
    PS> You look GREAT!You have gorgeous legs!!

    • Carla says:

      Hi Contessa, yeah the morning photos are for you!! Thinking of you and your chickens on my walk.. thanks for the comment about my legs..always have been a sore point.. xx ha ha us girls

  18. Such wonderful news, Carla!! I have thought of you often, wondering how you are doing with your new lifestyle. Obviously exceptionally well! I admire your dedication to your own well being …and yes, we most often put ourselves last in order to first nuture those we love. Funny how turning that on its head can actually benefit those very same loved ones. Health and happiness to both of you…and you look gorgeous!! Xx Katie

    • Carla says:

      HI Katie, thanks for your lovely comment. Yes amazing sensation putting yourself before a long list of other things.. I am starting to like it.. xx

  19. Joyce says:

    I’m so glad to hear you’re doing well Carla. I was diagnosed with celiac disease two years ago and recently went paleo when other autoimmune problems started popping up. Going gluten free was helpful, but paleo seems to be what my body needs. I’d love to hear how you’re managing to eat out in France and Italy — best of luck with this new way of eating and living :)

    • Carla says:

      Hi Joyce, yes the body seems to love and respond quickly to Paleo.. Interesting…. I will add an update to the blog post about eating out.. Carla x

  20. Parisbreakfast says:

    Brilliant Carla!
    So glad you found your own cure.
    What do they know?
    Listiening to Cat all weekend ;))
    Tanks et Bravo

  21. Bea says:

    Hi Carla!
    Yesterday I discovered your blog, and today I read this post!!!
    I’m soooo happy for you!!!
    Just take care of yourself!
    I keep my finger crossed for you, with the hope that everything will go on in this way!!!

  22. Sher says:

    Just stumbled upon your blog, but wow! What an inspiring story. Great to hear that the natural remedies and a lifestyle shift can be a big help.

    I do wonder though, how you managed to give up instagram/fb in bed. definitely a hard habit to kick ;)

    -Sher
    http://www.shershegoes.com

    • Carla says:

      That was tough!! No I just decided to set some boundaries that were interfering with my life and iphone in bed was one of them.. Carla xx

  23. Dear Carla, what a wonderful result! I have been praying for you and am so pleased you are feeling better and getting good results. Drs just don’t always know! We put so much faith in them but they just don’t always know. My battle with my little boy with excema,asthma, food allergies/reactions etc etc. Drs still roll their eyes when I say he doesn’t eat gluten/dairy/some fruits. How dare I not give a growing boy milk!!! They wouldn’t even do a bowel biopsy on him a few years ago when he ticked all the boxes for coeliacs disease because it is ‘invasive’ and the blood test for it came back negative. However, a girlfriend of mine is coeliac and had 2 negative results before getting a positive one! The results when he eats those things are terrible so I just treat him as if he is coeliac. My naturopath put him on gut flora as well and some other products and he started to grow and not have bags under his eyes. His skin has basically gone from unbearable to clear after being gluten free ( so not surprised about Francesco!) he has probably been overloaded being Italian and coming from the land of bread and pasta!!! He may want to try the gut flora stuff too- you can get it as a tablet once a day- easy. I am so glad you posted this- had been thinking a lot of you lately and wondering how you are. I also love the cutting back on social media and doing yoga to slow down. I started a pilates class a month ago which she also inc-operates yoga and my back, muscles etc feel so much better- even to slow down your breathing. I heard a great talk by a clinical psychologist and he was saying going for a walk at the time of day (late arvo) as the sun is starting to go down, and having those rays of sun go into your iris (ladies- take off your sunnies) causes the feel good chemical to increase in your body and helps stave off depression and a whole lot of other things. So that is another thing we can do. Love you anad will continue to pray- even for the Dr to see the light! xx Corrina.

    • Carla says:

      Good to hear from you Corinna and so thrilled you are taking it easy.. That sun is magic keep taking it !! Love Carla x

  24. The best doctors are the ones who ask questions and recommend food and lifestyle changes before reaching for the prescription.

    2013 was my year of hell when it came to my health. Two things happened – my immune system shut down and spinal subluxations that made me feel constant vertigo. Basically the connection between brain and body was severed. It is a work in progress but I have had to look at my diet, try cutting out physical and emotional stress, and for a time increase chiropractic adjustments. And very slowly everything in my body has been returning to normal. Better than normal in fact because I have more information about what happens to my body when it is filled with toxins. As for the eating it is still a work in progress finding the right things to eat, that will enhance the immune system.
    2014 is about listening to my body.

    • Carla says:

      Hi Melissa, what amazing news.. I agree with you on the better than normal.. I am streets ahead of where I have lived for years.. Amazing what cleaning up our acts does for the rest of the body.. Work in progress here too. Carla xx

  25. jeanette coulson says:

    Hi my darling have been looking after children back home now.
    Yes we do have to look after our bodies but I wish Drs would work with alternative medicines and then everyone could tell each other what is happening.
    Have I told you that I did yoga all the time I was having you children ( a bit of trivia It was the only time I could stand on my head in yoga , once I had you no more I fell over , stomach must have balanced my behind Love Mumxxxx

  26. Jacqueline says:

    Hi Carla
    What a fabulous story & I love the way you have so gracefully turned a negative into a positive. I have food intolerances & cannot get by without making healthy choice every day…if I want to really live !!
    I can’t give up my coffee though and a red wine every now & then….
    You continue to inspire me & remind me to believe in my dreams,
    bless you,
    Jacqueline

  27. jann says:

    Such a stunning photo of you Carla. So glad you’ve found ways to heal your body. Read somewhere recently that 60% of diseases are stress related, so meditating and not doing FB in bed anymore sound like very good ideas. I’m going to look into the Paleo diet right now! Thanks for sharing–the info is relevant to all of us in one way or another, I think. Tanti baci xxxx

    • Carla says:

      Hi Jann, my pleasure.. I think mind over matter is a big part of it all.. What we eat is also fundamental. Enjoy your explorations. Carla x

  28. The photo says it all, Carla. You are positively glowing with health – there’s a spring in your step – as an aside, I adore that foot and shadow on the wet sand.

    The way you have turned yourself around with diet, meditation and down-time for yourself is inspirational. I looked at the Paleo diet as I know I eat too much pasta and bread, but I truly know I couldn’t eat meat. I must look further into it and see if it would work without eating meat. I do know on days when I don’t eat bread and pasta, I do feel better. Anyway I haven’t had to battle your health problems but I get migraines, mouth ulcers – bumps on mats that come up and I suspect diet is the problem. Enough!

    Thankyou so much for sharing this with us and I’m so happy to read of your successful results from the lab. love Jilly xxx

  29. Josephine says:

    Beautiful shot Carla. You are so inspiring. It’s so true that the body will teach us if we go quiet enough to listen. xx

  30. Brad says:

    That is such fantastic news Carla!
    It’s amazing the difference diet can make isn’t it… we had food intolerance blood tests done a while ago and went onto a diet plan and just the day to day difference it makes to your body is amazing. We seemed to be eating all the wrong types of food which just don’t digest well and things like that, so once we changed the diet over the difference was clear to see. So happy to hear you are doing well. All the best, Brad xx

    • Carla says:

      HI Brad, gorgeous to hear from you. Yes seems we ALL have been told for far too long to eat the wrong things, low-fat etc..Hoping you are feeling better and shining with health. Carla x

  31. Clare says:

    Great post, Carla! I have been on a similar health path for the past 6 months and I cannot even begin to say how much it has changed not only my life but most definitely my husband’s. The best thing is that I started before I fell pregnant and my obstetrician & doctor were flabbergasted at my blood test results – in a good way! I love knowing I’m giving my bub the best start to life I possibly can :-)

    Clare x

    • Carla says:

      HI Clare, so thrilled for your news and new way of living.. How exciting being pregnant. .all my love from Paris x

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