My Journey To Better Health – Goodbye Auto-Immunes

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Photo of me by Loc Boyle


Dear Friends,

This has nothing to do with photography but if you are interested in health then you might enjoy reading on.

I have been meaning to share this news with you for a little while and many of you have written to me since I first posted about discovering I had 3 auto-immune conditions in 2014.

I know it probably feels odd to talk about such a personal subject but what I realized is how many people are afflicted with this stuff. Once I wrote my first blogpost it felt like a pandemic. Wonderful peeps shared their stories with me and I realized I wasn’t Robinson Crusoe!

After 3 years on a natural diet, all three auto-immunes have been kicked to the kerb! No thyroid, no alopecia and no lichen sclerosus (and I promise you no-one wants this) and no auto-immune antibodies. If you were in Paris last week and you saw a gal cha cha chaing down Rue du Rivoli, that was me.

auto immune, alopecia, thyroid, graves disease, lichen sclerosus, Black and white photography, photography workshop, italian photography workshop, travel photography workshop, travel photography workshop italy, portraiture, fashion portrait, movement, carla coulson, creative coach, creative entrepreneur, photographer, photographers life, italy, photography workshop puglia, beginners travel photography workshop, photography

Photo of me by Loc Boyle (you too would be laughing like a manic if you were trying to balance

on a moving boat on the Amalfi Coast LOL)

Many of you may recall or have read one of my other posts where I posted my thyroid values as the months and years passed, they continued to improve as my body started to heal but almost 14 months ago they started to swing in the opposite direction (yikes). It was everything I had read and almost expected but I had to admit I was a little bit disappointed that this wasn’t finishing quicker.

There were moments where it got really hard and not only was I on a Paleo diet (with very little meat) but then I took it to new and exciting levels and went on a low oxalate diet, which meant green juices for me were like poison. The diet wasn’t the only thing I had to change, I had to change the way I did things. I had to let go of trying to be superwoman and start building breaks, time out and time off into my life and schedule and asking for help when I needed it.

This has been a great challenge for me but the secret sauce in getting well. Your nervous system can’t heal if you are constantly on overdrive and pumping truckloads of cortisol into your body daily.

So for the past 3 years I have been gluten free, I eat industrial quantities of vegetables and fruit, eat little processed foods such as bread, pasta, snacks etc (even gluten free ones). Gave up coffee for a year but started having one or two a day, have the occasional glass of wine and never went back to using any products in the home that are toxic. Oh and I laugh, dance and ride my bike as often as I can.

I have learnt to meditate (a work in progress) and made exercise a non-negotiable!

What this journey has taught me:

1. If you can find a naturopath and a doctor to work together with you it’s the best way forward

2. What works for me mightn’t work for you. All of us are different (that’s the good bit) and our own unique chemistry requires our own unique recipe

3. We are responsible for our health (not a doctor) and we should ask questions and do our own research and find someone we trust to help us improve it.

4. Fun, laughter, joy is the best cure! There was a moment when I was miserable, when I was scared of food. I was frustrated when I would find another bald spot on my head and eating such a reduced diet. One day I realized I wasn’t having any fun, so I booked a massage and made sure I did some fun stuff each week and started taking it a little less seriously.

5. The human body is the most amazing organism on the planet and if we treat it with love and respect, it can respond.

6. Exercise is better than Advil! I always thought the statement about ‘listening to your body’ was a bunch of BS but hey if you are willing to listen to your body, it will tell you everything you need to know. I learnt that walking, biking or doing aerobic exercise would get rid of scratchy ‘acid battery’ knees and it does reduce inflammation.

7. I realized how little I knew about food. About what it does to us and it has been the best 3 years of my life reading, watching and learning about how powerful food is.

8. I thought ‘how unlucky I was’ when I was sitting in the doctor’s office 3 years ago and what I realized instead is ‘how lucky I was’. How lucky I had this little cosmic slap in the face before things really got out of hand. How lucky I was that I could pull up this speeding train wreck that was heading into a deeper darker place.

9. Controlling your breath by slowing it down, calms your nervous system. I realised there are so many situations where I literally stop breathing,  like when I am taking a photo or even when I am working at the computer. I take time out of the day to retrain this habit.

10. Meditation has been a godsend literally! I love to think it does more than one thing and one of the big bonuses is the direct line to the universe.. When you slow your mind down, get our of your head space and into your heart all sorts of amazing stuff comes to you. Great ideas, solutions, inspiration and your desires all happen to me after meditation and now I have the habit of looking skyward and saying thanks..

11. It’s all in your intestine! The way home to good health is repairing your tired, exhausted intestine. Bringing back the right flora to life so it can do its job.

You will find a lot of material about what I did and resources on this post HERE including many of the books I have read and the things I have tried. If you are starting your journey today take heart, there will be dark days but I can promise you there will be such a great sensation of taking care of you,  there will be so many bright, pain free days ahead of you, every cucumber and salad will be worth it.

These two books are two of my favourites

The Wahls Protocol by Dr. Terry Wahls
The Amazing Liver and Gallbladder Flush by Andreas Moritz

The past 3 years have been a gift in every sense. I have been pushed way out of my comfort zone, frustrated, desperate, sad, happy and elated.  The experience made me shape up and take a good look at how I was living. It started me on a road to greater places, deeper understanding of why I am here and the real power that lies within each of us and hell it took me sooooo long to to crack that open.

Instead of a meltdown it turned into a spiritual awakening, for which I will be forever grateful for. Not only did I get better health but it cleared the fog and allowed me to see my future and where I wanted to go so much more clearly.

Sending you love and wishes and good health always.

Carla x

PS. For the thyroid folk the first and the last test results

Latest tests 2017            Original Test Values in 2014

TSH – 1.79              <0.005
T4 – 16.7                 20.1
T3 – 4                      5.6
TRAB – 1.5              11.9

Related Post: Why Photography Is Good For Your Happiness

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7 years ago

You’re such an inspiration a joy to read about! I have been diagnosed with Hashimoto and for someone who loves bread and learned to bake my own sourdough giving up bread was like the end of the world. Switching to a new lifestyle opened my mind though to new horizons and made me realise that I had a chance to do something about it, my body was telling me to take care of myself!

Corrina Tough
7 years ago

My dear dear Carla- I am elated and so blessed by your story which is inextricably linked to my story- literally your story saved my life. I will be forever grateful for your journey and your ability to not give up, give in and take your own health by the horns instead of being lost in the slip stream. Those images say it perfectly! High kicks and a big glass of kombucha in a cheers to you xx sending big love xxx

Andrina Treadgold
Andrina Treadgold
7 years ago

Carla, This is fantastic news. You are the most inspirational woman on the planet, always finding a positive out of a negative.
I do not suffer from these ailments but have cut back on sugar and carbs and can definitely feel the difference.Thank you for sharing, this will make a difference to so many lives.
Andrina xx

Meg New
Meg New
7 years ago

Thank you, I am on this path as well. Each one is different but we all share the isolation and frustration of having an auto immune condition. It always seems to come back to stopping and really taking notice of how you are living and caring for yourself.. I really appreciate this information and am confident I am on the right path.

Karen Hunt
Karen Hunt
7 years ago

That’s awesome news for you.

Deborah O'Mullane
Deborah O'Mullane
7 years ago

Dear Carla – am so happy for you, and what an inspiration you are. I have recently started this journey and thank you for having the courage to share your story – it will be my companion and encouragement.


Kara Forsythe
7 years ago

I love this Carla. Thank you for sharing.

Liss Cook
Liss Cook
7 years ago

I too have several auto immune diseases and coming up ten years this August every aspect of my life has had to change in some way….
I am not in a wheelchair yet and thats what keeps me going everyday along with Husband, Children and Grandchildren…Must get out of bed
and indure the pain, no wheelchair for me is the chant.
Reading about your experience I take comfort that yours has improved and there is always hope, so happy for yo!. I totally agree as I approach
my 50th Birthday next month we, especially women can take life and all that fills it rather seriously.
Heres to more fun, laughter and love! Thank you for sharing 🙂

wayne chickerofsky
wayne chickerofsky
7 years ago

The best news Carla!!!!!!! Hooray!! And well done will the detective work..On top of feeling unwell, it can be so isolating to feel on the outer when everyone else seems to be eating and living without a care. I wish I’d faced these problems at a time when sourcing alternatives was not like moving to Mars! Alone! For this reason, telling your story I’m sure is a fantastically helpful for people with sensitivities and health challenges, even to the extent of not feeling important to getting well again! Love the pics! xx