I Have an Autoimmune Disease

Allergies are often a precursor to autoimmunity. I have flirted with it all my life thanks to lifelong undiagnosed food allergies, chronic fatigue, food addictions, and constant inflammation.

But those symptoms were all disappearing. All the hard work was paying off.

And then I got pregnant.

Pregnancy is rough on a mama’s body, y’all. When you have chronic nutrient deficiencies, it can throw you into a tailspin.

The fatigue was back in full force, I was always short of breath, and I gained a lot of weight from the food I couldn’t stop shoving into my gullet. A lot.

I Have an Autoimmune Disease

About those foods…there is never a time when food tastes better than during pregnancy.


Dunkin Donuts, baked goods by the truckload, raw milk by the gallon, hot ham and cheese sandwiches on onion rolls, messy burgers loaded up with toppings and hugged by a brioche bun. It was glorious.

My addictions had me by the proverbial bollocks and bulldozed any attempt at self-restraint.

And then it happened…

A couple of weeks ago, at four months postpartum, I had my required yearly physical. I have a set of amazing integrated health doctors who automatically do a comprehensive blood test that covers everything imaginable including Celiac Disease.

I tested positive for the first time ever. Drat.

While breastfeeding another wee bairn who showed immediate sensitivities, I went back to Autoimmune Paleo + white rice. I’m so grateful I knew about AIP and had loosely been following it.

Though I don’t have a lifestyle overhaul to worry about now, there’s still a whole mental shift requiring a support system, resources, and a change in thinking.

A detox bath and some activated charcoal won’t erase the oopsy of that random scone anymore.

A Mind Shift

It has only been a couple of days, but I think this diagnosis will be good for me. I can fully step out of old habits and finish shaking off any lingering health issues.

It will be hard. It will hurt. I will probably, or definitely, throw tantrums on occasion but I’ll be healthier because of it.

I have to be. I have two children to guide on their healing journeys.

I Have an Autoimmune Disease

I’ll be talking more about the tools I’m using to get back into balance and share resources that can help you on your healing journey. 


Jennifer Nervo is a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner, Reiki Master Practitioner & teacher, and Aromatherapist. Her focus is on digestive, nervous, and immune system dysfunction and the fields of functional nutrition & psychoneuroimmunology. She works with all conditions and diseases including environmental and food allergies, autoimmune diseases, multiple chemical sensitivity, diabetes, eczema, anxiety, weight loss as a symptom of dis-ease, and gut-brain disorders like autism.

When she’s not herding her small troupe of monkeys or seeing clients, her free time is packed with researching and perfecting new wellness techniques (her not-so-secret passion). Jennifer is currently a group leader for the newest class of Nutritional Therapy Practitioners out of Ann Arbor, MI, studying for the national board exam in holistic nutrition, and running a combined distance and brick and mortar practice in metro Detroit. She’s also a homeschooling suburbanite, foodie, and mama to two littles and a schnoodle.

7 thoughts on “I Have an Autoimmune Disease”

  • What blood test did you have that determined celiac? I thought you had to have a biopsy to get that diagnosis. I have been through a lot of testing, too, and wondered if I have missed something?

  • Jennifer,
    Thank you for sharing your diagnosis. I had thought celiac was genetic and didn’t realize it could be acquired. I’ve had food allergies and health issues since moving into a home with hidden mold 15 years ago and have ebbed and flowed with how strictly I eat. I will definitely need to work harder to avoid the foods that cause reactions.

    Good luck in your journey!

    • Celiac disease is genetic. However, it also has to get turned on which usually happens through stress events (pregnancy, surgery, extreme or prolonged emotional distress, etc). That’s why it can manifest at any age. You can get genetic testing to see if you carry either of the genes, but not having them is not a 100% guarantee of being free and clear for life. Basically if something dramatic has happened and then in the months following, you start to have symptoms of celiac disease, get yourself tested to see if the switch was flipped.

  • This is where I am at. I have military docs though that roll their eyes at me. Hoping to one day afford better functional medicine. As for now I can’t get tested- they won’t do it. I have developed chronic hives and had IBS. I also have ADHD and fibromyalgia so they pieces are stacking up and starting to make a clear pic in my opinion. I teetered on cutting out gluten “being good for a week or two” and taking a treat as reward. That showed me that gluten was definitely a big problem. so sad because I think gluten was my favorite thing ever basically. I’ve been gluten free for about 3.5 months and the difference is amazing. Enough that I am not constantly furious about giving it up anymore. I think you’ll get there, especially sooner if you see great results. I thought giving up gluten would be the worst thing ever… But I think it was worse living the way I was. I was just used to it enough that it was my normal. My biggest annoyance with it now is that I can’t get my family gluten free. A test confirming it would help, if I could get a doc to order it! Although I have imagined having to go back on gluten for it and I honestly don’t even want to- it’s a frustrating thought!

  • I have Hashimoto’s and recent blood work revealed low cortisol below the range…4.7. Tests will be done but already had saliva tests which read normal. Also have no symptoms of any Addison’s disease but I do have extreme fatigue. Seeing a naturopath but that cortisol level was also reported to my endocrinologist. Now for the tests. Any thoughts?

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