You will only get better if you do exactly what I tell you to do! (A damaging easy to fall into state of mind).

You will only get better if you do exactly what I tell you to do! (A damaging easy to fall into state of mind).

The chronically ill are usually desperate people. They would do anything to get better, and many times will go on extreme diets, and pull every unhealthy vice from their life. I know this, because I am describing myself.

When we find our answers, and make progress in our health journey- its easy to start thinking our way is the only way!

Out of the goodness of our hearts we connect to others with health issues and start preaching what we did to improve. We want to help, we know how hard it is to be ill- and we believe we can save the life of whomever we are talking to.

This seems like a great thing right? A community of people supporting each other. Overall yes, this is a great thing! But within it comes some problems.

Maybe 6 months ago, my dear friend and co-author was feeling like crap day in and day out. Iris and I share the same autoimmune disease. I had recently made some progress in my journey thanks to starting a prescription of Armour Thyroid. So what did I do? I badgered her telling her she HAD to get a script and that if she didn't she would never make progress. Meanwhile her doctors were telling she she didn't need it. But I was on a mission to save her, make her better. So, I forced my opinions on her and got mad when she wouldn't agree with me. I felt perfectly justified. I was trying to save her life!! How dare she not listen to me.

Turns out Iris didn't need the medication I was suggesting, and she improved her health by doing things her own way.

I was wrong.

In my journey over the last few years I have had several close friends do to me exactly as I did to Iris. Being on the receptor side it made me furious. How dare these people tell me what I had to do, and then get mad if I didn't embrace it? Last weekend I went to a family wedding, and for the first time in years I chose to allow myself some alcohol. I didn't get sick and I had a wonderful time. It was a major personal victory in my path to good health. I posted about this on my Facebook page and I was scolded by one individual. First she told me of the evils of alcohol in preventing healing and then ended the comment with " Guess you just have to want your health back more than anything else...".

This person implied that I didn't care about my health. In their eyes, caring about my health meant following the lifestyle they have chosen. Under that comment I think the bottom line is that this person wanted to help me. But helpfulness, done wrong can be hurtful and problematic.

The best thing you can do for your health is to learn what works for YOU! Figure out what diet makes you feel best and go with it. Who cares if it is paleo, or if it includes grains and beans. There is no one diet that will save everyone. I have vegan friends that choose to be so because meat makes them sick! I have paleo friends that eat that way because grains/starches make them sick. There is no one RIGHT way. The only right way, is your way. By investing the time and energy into searching and working hard to find your answers- you are doing yourself a huge service and in turn you will heal.

Be kind to your friends, share with them your discoveries!

But, most importantly do not cross the line into forcefulness and pushiness.

The biggest gift you can give is loving support, an open ear and lots of celebrating with your friend when they do make progress!


Brittany Angell

36 comments | Leave your own

  1. Amber Shea @Almost Vegan

    Amen, Brittany. I too am dead-sick of getting pushy advice, however well-meaning. It’s one reason I’ve sort of fallen off the blogging radar recently…it’s just too frustrating. I’m the only one who lives in my body, so at the end of the day, I’m the only one who knows how certain foods/drinks/lifestyle practices make me feel!

  2. Stephanie

    My husband and I were just talking about this this weekend after I read a blog post by the Paleo Mom. It was about putting autoimmune disease in remission by eating organ meat and bone broth. I had been cooking a pig heart for my dogs thinking there is no way I can eat that EVER. I finally came to realize that what works for her may not work for me even though scientifically her argument made sense. I love your honesty in your posts. It’s refreshing.

  3. jason betancourt

    Good post. I guess I can be pushy sometimes. But my goal is just to spread the word. Its the choice of others to embrace it.

  4. Sybil

    Thanks Brittany. It’s a good reminder to not be pushy (which I can be sometimes) and also to not get too hung up on what others are trying to teach (or push upon) me. I get caught up in my own ideas and want to “share” them but also run in circles sometimes listening to everyone else! I do wish there was just one right way because it would be so much easier!

  5. Karen Rogina

    You are so right Brittany. We can offer information, but the person receiving the information may or may not want or use it. We then need to leave it at that.
    Because we are each INDIVIDUALLY fearfully and wonderfully made. The answer for one person is not necessarily what the next person needs.
    For instance my MD insisted that I start back on cheese and yoghurt because the Calcium supplements were causing some kidney pain. But when I capitulated and tried yoghurt and cheese my environmental allergies worsened severely leaving me with earaches and sinus pain. After 4 days I stopped. For some dairy is Ok, but I’ve reconfirmed it’s not for me. So tons of green leafy vegetables etc are my calcium answer. I’ve also been able to resume soy products since my TSH & T4 levels are balanced, again good for me but maybe not for others.
    Each of us have a personal and individual health story and we need to respect that for others.

  6. Suzanne Nemec

    Great post Brittany. I think a lot of us can do the same thing without meaning any harm all in the name of eductation to help mankind. I will keep this in mind in the future as well to only offer what I have learned to others in case it is what they need.
    I do have to thank you for posting the information on taking the thyroid medication. Due to your post recently when my thyroid symtoms became worse I changed over to different doctor and discovered I did need to be on thyorid medication and was put onto Armour. In addtion discovered that my body is reacting to other allergies. Excited to continue my health journey and thankful that as I sat here day after day craving potato chips no one judged me only tried to help me. Come to find out I was craving those icky chips because I was extremely low on salt and potassium. Funny now looking back on those cravings and why I was doing them.
    Glad we all keep on learning and sharing:)

  7. Jenn S Yost

    Thank you for that. Its such difficult territory because I think all any of us wants is to be healthy and feel good. It’s so true that what works for one person amy not work for another, best to keep that in mind when I am speaking:)

  8. Gretchen Tripp

    This is a great post Brittany! I haven’t really thought of it this way and it’s a great point. Everyone is different and what works for me may not work for you. I am gluten free and try to push everyone else to do it! I’m not forceful but I do get frustrated that no one takes me seriously and tries it for themselves. One time my niece just flat out told me she’d rather medicate her pain than change her diet. That made me sad but I let it go because I knew I couldn’t change her. Thanks for sharing this!!

  9. Linda Pecone

    This was such a timely post. Thank you so much Brittany. My thoughts were headed in the directions of your final paragraph, but my fears were telling me otherwise. You are so very right. Its important that we find what works for us.

  10. Kate @ eatrecyclerepeat

    I struggled for a long time with looking for answers from other people because I was terrified of trusting myself and my body. I went through many emotional rollercoasters when I was eating gluten, dairy, soy, and sugar as my body reacted violently with an auto-immune condition. Once I got off those foods, I still had some emotional scars, and so every time I read another person’s story and what worked for them (vegan, anti-candida, paleo, what have you), I began to doubt myself all over again. It’s a balance of listening to your own body and seeking support from a knowledgeable community.

  11. Janice

    I can completely relate to this post! Thanks!

  12. Barbara

    Well said. I’ve been on both ends of the stick. And, yes, I do feel convicted. In a very good way, though. πŸ™‚ Thank you. We do need to extend grace to others and remember that we are all uniquely created. One size does not and will not fit all. Thank you. πŸ™‚

  13. Lauren-Lucille Vasser

    Bravo- well written, love your honesty and transparency. Thank you for a wonderful post!

  14. Robin

    Great post, Brittany. Well written … and so relatable!

  15. Margaret

    Very well said! I do my best to share my story with friends who are dealing with chronic problems, but I always preface that with the statement that we’re all different, so it may help or it may not if they choose to try changing their diet – and that if they choose to go that route I’ll happily provide all the resources I’ve found helpful (including this blog).

    We’re also human, and to be human is to indulge once in a while. We all know there may be consequences if we indulge in something that may make us sick – but that’s also the choice you make, do you want to risk feeling like crap and just have a fun time, or turn down the food/drink so that you are guaranteed to be fine? And the fun time wins sometimes. I’m glad you had a great weekend and were able to tolerate alcohol without any trouble. πŸ™‚

  16. cheryl

    Loved your post…wonderful message. We all preach from time to time, and it takes maturity and wisdom to realize there isn’t just one way.

  17. Deanna

    Yep. Total agreement. I’ve been guilty of doing it and the victim of receiving it. Always a good reminder.

    I’m actually living “paleo lite” right now. I can’t bring myself to eat red meat. But, I’m eating non-starchy veggies, chicken, turkey, eggs, lemon, lime, alt sweeteners (stevia, carob, mesquite, yacon, lucuma), olive or sunflower oil and 5 seeds (sunflower, pumpkin, chia, flax, hemp). That’s it. I’m totally hesitant to blog any of the eggy/poultry things because I know that it would disappoint some people. I also know that this way of eating has helped me in some ways, despite the fact that it’s wicked restrictive.

    I feel like so much of what we know about eating and health is an individual journey. And, we all have to be our own N of 1 to figure out what works best for us. I try to remember that. And, I also try to remember that overall happiness might be more important than the occasional headache or stuffy nose or [insert your food intolerance symptom here].

  18. Iris

    What a great post! You know, I have to admit that when I was feeling pressured about food from you, it made me realize that I had done the exact same thing to one of my friends here! So it actually helped me… xoxo (for real)

  19. Cheerfully Vegan

    Isn’t it funny how sure we can be about other’s health? πŸ™‚ Wow, have I been there over and over again! (I have a bit of a reputation in my family as the health nut.) But even the ways that I thought were sure ways of health I am finding are not enough for me any more as my body changes. Each year it seems I’m led a little farther, a little deeper into different paths of simple eating. First I was a vegetarian 30 years ago. Then I was vegan 17 years ago. Then I learned gluten didn’t work for me any more a few months ago. Then I learned I felt better with green smoothies and chia seed in my life. What will come next? I’ve given up figuring that one out until I’m brought to that particular change.

    All of our bodies seem to respond in such different ways. I can only imagine how crazed the medical field must become as they realize this, too!! How can they heal people when we all react so randomly?

  20. Elizabeth

    This is a beautiful post, and I intend to share it. But what really blows my mind and KNOCKS MY SOCKS OFF is that un-be-lieve-ably incredible luscious photograph! Did you take that? I am in awe. Such a healing and appealing image. Thank you for that, so much, as well!! As a total amateur with a $50 camera, I deeply appreciate the power of such an image. And this ones speaks volumes about that intersection of passion to heal and gentle organic growth that you address. Perfect.

  21. joan

    Good post. This is what people mean when they say that food is the new religion. There is just no way us fallible humans can know the whole truth in its fullness wheter it be in religion, food, education, politics, whatever! Vive la diffΓ©rence! What we all need to do is take more time to listen to one another. The thing that really bothers me is when people are very closed-minded and you just can’t have a conversation.

  22. Heather @Gluten-Free Cat

    Beautiful post, Brittany! It’s so easy to preach when you’ve experienced drastic improvements in health, because you want everyone to feel such improvement! But this is such a great reminder that there is no one right way. In fact, the “right way” for a person may change throughout their lifetime. Our health is ever evolving. As bloggers, we also have to fight the urge to be all things to all people too. We have to just be true to ourselves.

  23. Judee @ Gluten Free A-Z

    When someone we know or love is hurting , we want to fix it.. but you are so right. Our desire to help can be bullyish and not right for them. Great honest post.

  24. Sheri

    WOW…this is sooo me! I didn’t really think about it, but I was being a health bully. Only because of how my health has been and knowing how it feels to fell like..well…really bad. In my sincere desire to help my clients feel better, I insisted on my way. And even though I know that changing our diet and nutrition is key, it is very hard for any of us to change dramatically overnight. I would get so frustrated at my clients blatant refusal to change…lol…when I am struggling with the same issues. I am really frustrated with myself. I think that I was inappropriately taking my frustration about my own failures out on others when I should have been more compassionate to them as well as myself.

  25. Carroll B. Merriman

    So very true….Thanks for blogging this….

  26. Hipolito M. Wiseman

    My sisiter and I were just discussing this same topic a few weeks ago…..

  27. Matthew C. Kriner

    My sisiter and I were just discussing this same topic a few weeks ago…..

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