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Finding Root Causes of Inflammation when Chronically Ill

Most people with chronic illness have inflammation, whether it is as visible as mine is or not. For me, the inflammation creates a lot of my health issues. Wishing inflammation gone does not work. Throwing supplements at it can help but is not the complete answer. Finding out why the inflammation keeps coming back with a vengeance will lead me to the root cause that I can then work on. Time to troubleshoot this one again.

Inflammation in the Past

I have had Lyme Disease since early childhood. It has gone untreated because it was not diagnosed until a few years ago when a doctor ran a blood test revealing this nasty bothersome disease.

In the past, I have been extremely thin. People and doctors usually don’t care if we are too thin so it never became the medical issue that it should have.

Yet, when I became pregnant the last two times, the inflammation set in. The stress on my body created stress of the pregnancy and those two kids and I went through our share of pre-term labor issues. Both were born a bit early because my body could not deal with all of the stress.

At the time, I had not one clue that Lyme disease was part of the problem. After the pregnancies, it was fairly easy to over-exercise and regain a reasonable weight. Little did I know that there would come a time when exercise and diet no longer work.

Inflammation in the Present

This health crash came with inflammation gone-amuck. 6 years ago I moved into an apartment that had black mold in it. I immediately got sick. I lived there for a full year getting sicker and sicker by the day.

The picture I use on my websites and social media was taken during this year in the black mold apartment. I thought that was the worse it could get and had issues with that picture. Surprise… it got wayyyyyyy worse.

During the last 5 years, I have had several rounds of the inflammation backing off and giving me some relief, then coming back even worse than the prior round. Three times I lost 20 pounds of it in a 2 month period. It just fell off of me and I felt SO much better.

Six months ago was the last round of at least 20 pounds of inflammation falling off of me very quickly. I was able to even see some “bubbly” in my looks. Then I started a new protocol that stirred things up, AGAIN.

Just a month ago I had a round of it again when at least 10 pounds of it came off suddenly and I felt better than I had in years. Then a week ago it decided to suddenly rear its ugly head again.

So, why does this keep happening? How can there be this many hills and valleys to inflammation? Why can’t I have any control over it?

Troubleshooting My Inflammation

Diet and exercise are societies first concerns. There is some validity to if the basics are not matched with how our bodies truly work. Down the road, we will discuss this further.

For now, simply look at it like diet does not have to be torture or legalistic, there needs to be some pleasure in food. Exercise also does not have to be so hard on our bodies, movement that we enjoy can be equally as beneficial to our bodies.

BASICS: If one is still on a SAD (standard American diet) that easily can be the cause of many health issues. Same with exercise. If one is not moving at all, there is logic that they need to move more. These basics are worth exploring. So let’s start there…


I covered adrenal burnout basics yesterday. When our bodies are overly stressed with physical and/or emotional issues, we can overtax our adrenal system and it shuts us down. I have fought this fact for years during this 6-year health crash, only to make it far worse.

Another barrier to exercise for me, in particular, is my heart/vascular condition and my collapsed colon. My vascular system is still struggling so it creates additional stress on my heart, keeping me from exerting myself. I have felt heart failure too many times this last 6 years. I know when enough is enough. And a collapsed colon does not fair well with exercise.

Conclusion — rule out exercise because there is no choice in the matter for the moment. My body, for the moment, will not let me safely even take a walk around the block.


Through examining our diet, we can control some of the inflammation in our bodies. Eating the SAD (standard American diet) can easily create inflammation-gone-amuck. I have been on a health kick for 23 years refining my diet as I go. When this health crash kicked in 6 years ago, I refined it more. When I was diagnosed with Lyme from a positive blood test, I dug in deeper.

Gluten-free: for me, I decided to explore the depths of this and not just the stylish new “gluten-free” products that are still filled other grains. I removed all grain, including the beloved corn products. I lost 20 pounds of this crazy inflammation quickly. Then it all quickly came back, while still on the serious gluten-free diet. I remain gluten-free so I do not make my inflammation worse than it needs to be.

Conclusion — rule out gluten as the source of the inflammation. I remain on a gluten-free diet. I even chose not to eat any meat from animals that eat gluten or corn products. Taking it farther than that, I do my very best to only eat organic grass-fed animal products, and not doing it daily.

Sugar: I have removed all refined sugar out of my diet a few years ago. This year I played around with healthy sweeteners like stevia, honey, and maple syrup, making sure they were from pure organic sources. My pure stevia works fine but the honey I have to limit. The maple syrup has to be highly limited.

Conclusion — sure I “should” remove even the honey and occasional maple syrup. I have made a choice to have the occasional pure sweeteners so that I do not touch the refined junk. That reduces my stress load. Remove the guilt and the legalism but do it responsibly.

I have spent one full year monitoring EVERY bite of EVERYTHING, making sure it met all of my standards for a pure nutrient dense diet. Gluten-free, grain-free, corn-free, dairy-free, sugar-free, caffeine-free, free of all animal products and the list goes on. Every single bite for one full year was calculated for nutrients and not pleasure. Every single bite was high-nutrient and organic and as fresh as I could get my hands on. Even had a garden that year to regulate the nutrients. Still no change in the inflammation. At the end of that year is when the inflammation actually took a turn for the worse and the heart failure ramped up.

Food Sensitivities: I have been tested a couple of different ways for food sensitivities.

The first time was a typical blood test and I worked with a registered dietician to sort it out. Following her instructions and fully understanding the value of working on this, I was able to again lose 20 pounds quickly. Then, AGAIN, it all quickly came back. It came back because we did not address the root cause of why I had so many food sensitivities, to begin with.

Food sensitivities can change from week to week. Unless we get at the root cause of why there are there in the first place, it does not get resolved.

Then I started seeing a Naturopathic Doctor who uses ZYTO and HeartMath. I love this approach. I would walk out of each appointment with pages and pages of information on everything from organs to energy to food sensitivities. We will talk more in-depth about this later.

Each doctor’s appointment, I was given the list of my current food sensitivities. I would completely remove them from my diet for at least 3-6 months straight, without cheating. After a couple years of this, my list shrunk to only 1-3 each time instead of the initial 100+.  No one can be 100% free of every single food sensitivity. I was finally declared clean of offending food sensitivities.

Conclusion — I did the work to rid myself of offending food sensitivities. That is not the source of my particular inflammation at this point in time.

Diet does not appear to be the source of my current inflammation. It contributed to it in the past but it is now ruled out.

Ruling out the obvious

Okay, so we have ruled out the obvious offenders of my inflammation. The normal first thoughts diet and exercise do not apply to my current situation.

Declaration made but I am having a thought. My lymph system is trashed, that has been declared by every doctor I have seen. Although I cannot technically “exercise,” I sure can be more disciplined with my rebounder.

I have worked on this during this last year it provides immediate relief IF I very gently bounce (no jumping) for less than a count of 50 once a day. That is pitiful, but that is something that I can work on again.

Getting my lymph to “flow” even a little better always brings me just a bit of relief which lowers my intense stress because I am so inflamed.

Ha, see what troubleshooting can do? I still have not figured out the root cause of the current inflammation but today I identified something I can immediately do to relieve the intensity.


Tomorrow we will continue working on the skill of troubleshooting, using me as an example. Since I am not a doctor, I cannot diagnose or treat any illness or disease. My goal is to use my own story to walk you through some possibilities for your own health journey. I am no smarter than you are, just like thinking out loud so we can all get a little farther down this path of healing.

Possible cause of inflammation from sleep issues and EMF’s will be our troubleshooting topics tomorrow.

Today’s Health Adventure

Yesterday I gave you a FREE PDF on Thanksgiving with Pumpkins. Here is the corresponding coloring book. You can look through it and print just one page to color or you can print the whole thing.

Brain Health – This activity contributes to a healthy-brain lifestyle. When our brains have to process information and have it come out of our hands, it activates things in the brain that strengthens brain-health.

Are YOU moving your body to the best of its ability without overly stressing it? Have you examined your diet to help you get closer to health?

AFFILIATE DISCLOSURE:  In order for me to support my blogging and social media activities, I may receive monetary compensation for links to products from this post. However, I only recommend products that I personally love and use myself. If it is not good enough for me, it certainly is not good enough for you!!

HEALTH COACH DISCLAIMER:  Health/Wellness coaching is not intended to diagnose, treat, prevent or cure any disease or condition. It is not intended to substitute for the advice, treatment and/or diagnosis of a qualified licensed professional. Trained and certified Health Coaches may not make any medical diagnoses, claims and/or substitute for your personal physician’s care. As your health/wellness coach I do not provide a second opinion or in any way attempt to alter the treatment plans or therapeutic goals/recommendations of your personal physician. It is my role to partner with you to provide ongoing support and accountability as you create an action plan to meet and maintain your health goals.

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