Even the best of the best don’t have the time nor the resources to provide all the steps and info you need. It’s just not possible. Now, of course, there are some exceptions, and I really hope to see the future of medicine include more patient-centered practices that include services like health coaching. But, until then, the majority of information gathering and implementation falls on us – the patients.
It’s not easy, nor straightforward, but a solid way to get there is by reading.
Now, I know reading books isn’t everyone’s thing. It’s not mine. But, speaking from personal experience here… the internet is great and all, but the convenience of having all the information you need in one book (rather than pages and pages strewn across the worldwide web), is really helpful and streamlines the process.
We’ve read a lot of books in our house to help us achieve our goal of reversing our autoimmune diseases and found that there are 4 specific types of books. These 4 types provide a broad range of information and the necessary concepts that led to our recovery. I will, of course, point out some of our favorite books along the way.
4 Types of Books Everyone with Autoimmune Disease Should Read
1. A Book About Autoimmune Disease
Yep. Seems obvious. If you have an autoimmune disease, then a book about autoimmune disease is certainly helpful.
But the reason (I point this out with extra emphasis!!) is because a solid book about HOW autoimmune diseases work and come to be, one that outlines the root causes and how to overcome them, is the first ticket to beating your disease. It gives you the knowledge and foundation you need all in one place.
Some of these books are lengthy, but not usually difficult to understand. After reading them though, you’ll realize why it’s so difficult for doctors to give you all the info in a such a short amount of time… that is, assuming they even know it.
Our favorite books (for general Autoimmune Disease) are:
And if you are looking for more options, or books about a specific autoimmune disease (such as Hashimoto’s, for example), then check out our members-only toolkit. Gain access by subscribing below.
2. An Anti-Inflammatory Cookbook
Are you a world-renowned master chef? Or just a weekend-ramen-pro? Regardless of where you fall on the cooking spectrum, a cookbook in this situation is a must. Here’s why…
One of the biggest components for reversing or effectively managing autoimmune disease is diet. The food you put in your body can either work for, or against you, and when it works for you – magic happens.
I’m talkin’ Tinker Bell pixie dust… magic.
There are so many types of diets out there, many of which you will learn about in your autoimmune disease books, and I’ll bet they don’t include gluten and dairy (at the minimum), and require eliminating all processed/junk food. So that means there is no butter, milk, cheese, copious amounts of sugar, or flour to be had.
But these diets don’t just take things away, they also ADD things (an important detail to remember). You get to add new and sometimes exotic foods like cassava flour, liver, bone broth, gelatin, and lots and lots of different vegetables. That’s where the cookbook comes in.
An AUTOIMMUNE cookbook does more than just give you recipes. It gives you tips on sourcing your food and making it budget-friendly, saving time in the kitchen, meal planning, shopping lists, useful kitchen tools, how to cook with these new/different ingredients, and more.
Additionally, many authors acknowledge that common anti-inflammatory ingredients aren’t very common for the general population and give plenty of cooking techniques and guidance along the way.
If you want to really make a connection with your food and actually enjoy it rather than see it as an overwhelming chore, then a good cookbook is a hopeful ally, and reliable companion. Just like any friend, you can never have too many (hint hint), well… 15 cookbooks would probably be too many, but you get the point.
Some of our favorites are:
Cookbooks for the Paleo Diet:
The Wahls Protocol Cookbook by Dr. Terry Wahls – I personally LOVE this cookbook. There are little autoimmune-related info nuggets scattered throughout, too.
My Paleo Patisserie by Jenni Hulet – for those who like to bake delicious things
Cookbooks for the Autoimmune Protocol (AIP) Diet:
The Healing Kitchen by Alaena Haber and Sarah Ballantyne PhD – We’ve used this one so much that the pages are now falling out.
The Autoimmune Paleo Cookbook by Mickey Trescott – great for beginners
(I am still looking for a good plant-based, raw vegan type of cookbook so if you have any recommendations, please let me know in the comments below.)
3. A Book About Habits or Making a Change
Our next stop takes us out of the autoimmune realm for a bit. I hear your sigh of relief. The two types of books we’ve discussed so far, definitely give you information. That information IS needed.
But what good is information when it’s not put to use? It just sits there, on the shelf, collecting dust… like an unused book. Don’t let your autoimmune books fall subject to the same fate!
The hardest part about designing an autoimmune-friendly lifestyle isn’t necessarily figuring out what you need to do. Rather, it’s actually DOING it and then sustaining it! That’s where people fall off or lose interest. We get it. We’ve experienced it firsthand. It’s the main reason Frank became a health coach.
So, a book about how to create new habits and install a change that lasts, is crucial. The more you learn about this process, the more successful you’ll be.
Our favorites books about habits so far:
4. A Book About How Your Mind/Stress/Anxiety Affects Your Health
The final type of book we recommend is one that emphasizes the link between our beliefs, stress, etc. and our body’s response to those things.
Speaking from personal experience, as well as through people I know and follow, a MAJOR component to healing from any chronic, inflammatory disease is mental health. Someone could be doing everything right – diet, movement, supplements, etc. but if there is still some emotional healing to be done, whether that be from past trauma, anxiety, etc., it can put a halt to any progress.
This is an area where we are still learning so we haven’t made it through the list of books we mention below, but they’ve all received stellar reviews. I should also note that many of the other books we recommended in this article touch on this subject, so you’re bound to come across it in some form. When you do, take note of it because it is something not stressed enough when working with doctors and other health professionals.
The books on our list are:
10 Tips for Absorbing & Processing Information When Battling Brain Fog & Other Autoimmune Symptoms
So, now, we get to the part where you’re like “That’s great and all… but how do I read when I literally can’t remember a single thing or barely string a sentence together because I’m so exhausted and full of brain fog?”
I remember when I first picked up Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis: Lifestyle Interventions for Finding and Treating the Root Cause to start learning about how to overcome my disease and I was met with a swift force of brain fog every time I tried to read. Somehow though, I did it AND learned a ton. Here are a few tips that really helped:
- Explore different formats. Use multiple if you have to. For example, if you find that you are able to follow along better by listening, then see if an Audible (audio book) version is available. Grab the print version too, so you can mark your pages if there is something you want to go back to. Frank and I always have the print version around because we reference them so often.
- Take it slow if you need to. If that means only 5 pages a day, then so be it. Move the ball forward, one day at a time.
- Schedule a time of day to read. Consider it self-care time, particularly if you have a time of day you are most clear. Remember that you are becoming a stronger advocate for yourself and your health by learning this information.
- Remove devices and distractions. Maybe even pair reading with a cup of tea or something else you enjoy so you look forward to reading. Positive reinforcement is something you’ll learn in your habit book!
- Diffuse essential oils to help wake you up or stay focused. Give this Brain Aid blend a try.
- Take notes. Mark up your book. Whatever you need to immerse yourself and engage with the information.
- If you know of friends or family battling the same issues, consider starting a study group where you read the book together. Frank and I are also thinking of offering autoimmune study groups to our readers so you can keep an eye out for those – comment down below or send us an e-mail if you’re interested!
- Explain to others (an interested spouse, child, etc.) what you’ve learned as you go along. Repeating that information will help it stick.
- Many of the books offer online resources and printables. Use them if it’s going to help you remember and learn.
- Give yourself grace. Remember that you won’t absorb it all on the first attempt, but that doesn’t mean you should get angry, frustrated, or get down on yourself. Remember WHY you’re taking these steps. Plus, you can always go back and re-read.
Answers and help do exist. They (in part) exist in books! Because the best help you can provide yourself is by removing the total and utter dependence on others , and become an advocate for your own health. Books have the sole focus of providing the information necessary to become your own advocate.
But I also understand the struggle. It’s real. Whether you’re suffering from chronic pain, disorienting and impenetrable brain fog, non-stop runs to and in the toilet, or you spend the large part of your day sleeping, you can still learn (slowly if you have to).
So, if you haven’t already, buy a book mentioned above. Rent it from your library if you can’t afford it. Soon enough, not only will you feel more knowledgeable about your autoimmune issues, but you’ll have a nice little collection of books in your autoimmune library to admire as you pick yourself up and rebuild your health.
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Hi! I’m Anna, co-founder of Healthy Habits Reset. After managing my own autoimmune diseases using lifestyle, habit, and mindset changes, I now work to teach others how to navigate the treacherous and confusing journey of chronic illness living. I firmly believe YOU hold the power to question, think critically, and become your own rock-solid advocate in a world full of unhealthy habits. Consider me, and my husband, Frank, your autoimmune disease health coaches. Are you ready?!