Hello! My name is Natascha and I’m an avid traveler, folk-art connoisseur, foodie, yogi and cook/baker. I also love the ocean and can frequently be found ranting about the problems of plastic pollution and climate change. I studied anthropology in college and secretly dream of working for the National Geographic (or Anthony Bourdain!) one day.
For now though I’m working on a doctoral degree in educational technology at a top-ranked California research university. Before starting my PhD, I worked in various fields, including art and fashion publishing, journalism, international development, marketing consulting, teaching and art management. Some people say I’m all over the place, but I prefer to think of myself as endlessly curious!
Much of my free time is spent researching autoimmune health, herbalism and alternative medicine. I have a number of autoimmune (and other) ailments and I’m looking to minimize the amount of pharmaceuticals I consume, find more balance in my life and, ultimately, find healing from within. I understand that some people think alternative medicine is bogus and prefer to take a pill for every ache and pain they have. I respect their choice but I’ve done my own research and come to the conclusion that traditional and alternative medicine can complement each other. I also believe that food can contribute to healing, although I haven’t found it to be the magic bullet that other autoimmune bloggers proclaim it to be.
That’s why this isn’t just a food blog, although I love food and spend most of my time either experimenting in my kitchen, trying out new restaurants/food trucks and watching food shows on Netflix. I’m actually kind of addicted to Netflix. And green juice. And kimchi.
About this blog
I started this blog to document my journey toward autoimmune recovery and, hopefully, help people like myself, be it offering advice, making someone smile or just letting them know that they aren’t alone in their struggle.
I wanted, first and foremost, to create a space for people with myasthenia gravis, a rare neuromuscular disorder, to come together and share experiences, tips and encouragement. While there’s a wealth of resources on autoimmunity online, including Facebook support groups, discussion fora and Meetups, there’s very little specifically for people with myasthenia gravis. I will be talking about things like specific treatments (failed and successful) I’ve tried and their side effects, as well as the mental and physical toll that chronic illness takes.
Moreover, because I follow an autoimmune diet, and because food is a big part of my life, I will be sharing my own recipes, as well as restaurant reviews and foodie adventures. The plan that I am currently following is somewhere in between the Wahls Protocol Level 3 and Maria Emmerich’s keto adapted diet and, so far, it’s working for me. I initially followed the autoimmune protocol (AIP) but it didn’t really give me the relief I was hoping for, although it did drastically improve my digestive symptoms (gas, bloating, acid reflux etc.) and my skin health. But I didn’t see an improvement in my neurological symptoms and only a minor improvement in my debilitating brain fog by doing AIP.
I am luckier that other autoimmune patients in that I don’t have extreme reactions to certain foods (such as nightshades and quality dairy) and can divert from the plan occasionally, without fear of feeling like hell afterwards. However, I save “cheating” for travel and the rare fine dining experience and never, ever bring non-compliant foods home. I have also come to realize that I am highly sensitive to starches and sugars, and try to avoid them as much as possible.
The recipes you will find here are all Wahls Paleo, keto and/or AIP approved. I know that many people have mixed feelings about “cheating” but I’m feeling better with some space to breath compared to when I was strict AIP. You just have to figure out what works for you.
Because I travel a lot (like, A LOT) for business and pleasure, the blog will also feature travel suggestions and hotel reviews, although less frequently. I will also be sharing tips about traveling with autoimmunity, which, depending on the diagnosis and severity of symptoms, can be overwhelming for many with autoimmune illness.
Finally, I will be sharing my experiences with various non-autoimmune ailments that I have been fighting for years (and that often come hand-in-hand with autoimmune disease), such as skin rashes, yeast infections, and insomnia, in the hopes of helping the newly-diagnosed and/or hopeless. By sharing what has and hasn’t worked for me, perhaps other can find something that can be useful in their own journeys.
Thanks for stopping by!