Guest Post: How Love Became Part Of Her Treatment Plan

Auto Immune Paleo, Blog




Many of you AIP’ers may know Christa Gowen from her Instagram page _bunchofbeets_  or her website Inside Out Healing.

I was incredibly touched by her story of how she used Love as part of her healing. As you read her story, you may notice how Christa speaks of the decrease in her symptoms. She did not abandon diet, supplements or practitioners, she just added Loving to what she was already doing.  Form follows thought. When we change how we feel about our life and circumstances, we have the power then to change what our bodies are doing. I consider Love the fastest way to do this, although we have many ways of loving like mindfulness, gratitude and appreciation.

When we decide life is not against us, we change. Our bodies change, our hearts change, our reality changes. When we decide to use everything in our life to lift, we heal. Autoimmune Disease is here to help you uncover what works and does not work in your life. There is work in that process however. We must tap into the vulnerability inside ourselves to do this. We must be willing to consider there have been positions in life we have taken for survival that are now ready to be laid to rest. When we become curious about the options of cooperation, peace, loving, wholeness…then they are drawn to us as tools of transformation that will carry us toward wholeness.

Illness is asking of you: How loving can I be to my circumstances and myself?

I love Christa’s story below because she beautifully shares how she decided to become more loving to herself. For many it is an ah-ha moment to decide loving can be an option. Or a sudden realization. What I love about Loving; it is very straightforward. No gimmicks, no false pretenses. It is a real deal choice we can make every moment of our lives. And when we do, when we invest in loving ourselves, it brings us directly into alignment. Alignment is the best place for health. And, I propose we can trust that place and whatever shows in that loving place. Deep bow of thanks to Christa for her willingness and vulnerability to share her story.

Christa’s Story:

Jessica asked me to write my story for her blog after I posted this: instagram a few weeks ago.  My first thought was a resounding YES!  I knew immediately I wanted to share my story and the healing journey I’ve been on with others.  I knew that others could relate to where I’ve been and how miserably hard it can be when you are in the midst of a health crisis and you can’t even count yourself as an ally.  I thought it would be easy to sit down start writing and let it all pour out.

No sooner did I think that than the universe laughed at my plans.  Every time I sat down to write I stared at a blank computer screen.  I tried over and over, but the words wouldn’t come.  And then one day it hit me;  I was trying to write a story that wasn’t mine anymore.  I had let it go.  I wasn’t the same person that those thing had happened to.  I was different, changed.  I couldn’t relate to feeling how I did before because it was no longer me.

Let me back track….

Sometimes my husband is smarter than I am.  He is the one that first started to notice that the occasional nights I would spend hours in the bathroom from “eating something that didn’t sit well” were no longer happening occasionally.  In fact, by the spring of 2013 these “occasional” nights of crippling stomach pains and constant trips to the bathroom became the norm.  

From the time I was twelve years old, I can remember having a feeling at night where my ‘stomach’ would hurt in a flutter of knotted pain.  It was never in my physical stomach organ, more in my upper abdominal area and was a distinct feeling from a physical pain.  I would eventually attribute it to stress and mental pain manifesting in my physical body.  It got to the point where upon complaining that my stomach hurt my husband would say “from your head or from your stomach?”  

I had been under an immense amount of stress that spring in all aspects of my life and I could feel that stress mounting in my stomach.  It got so bad that the pain I was feeling could not longer be distinguished as being from my head or my stomach – it was all merging together gripping me in constant agony.  Looking back I can see even more clearly how much my body was crying out for help.

And yet, despite the fact that my body and mind were begging for my attention, I never stopped and listened.  I ate what I thought was a solid well-balanced vegetarian diet.  I thought I  managed my stress effectively.  I couldn’t for the life of me figure out what was happening and why I felt so terrible.

Over the course of the next few months I would end up losing 15 pounds off my already thin frame.  At 5’ 4” tall my weight would plummet to 115 pounds, the lowest adult weight I’ve ever been.  I got so thin I even remember lying in bed one night, arms wrapped around my chest, feeling something hard under the blankets.  Patting around trying to figure out what was under there, I began to realize I was feeling my own protruding ribs.  That was the first time it really scared me that something more than stress might be wrong.

I finally dragged myself to the doctor in the fall of 2013 at the point when I knew I could no longer live in denial of needing help.  My Naturopath ran a few different tests including a food sensitivity blood panel.  The results showed I had a severe intolerance to gluten, dairy, coffee and almonds – foods I was eating on a daily basis -as well as a handful of other milder intolerances.  I began an elimination diet that night.  

Over the course of the next few months I followed the elimination diet strictly.  My acute symptoms subsided, but I was still far from healthy.  By March of 2014 after more testing and failed gluten reintroductions I was formally diagnosed with Celiac disease.  I thought knowing what was “wrong with me” would make me feel better.  Instead it had the opposite effect, and in fact confused me even further because I had been strictly gluten and dairy free at that point for six months.  Why wasn’t I feeling better?

Flash forwards through 2014: I had assembled a health care team – I found a new therapist and went back to counseling, I visited my acupuncturist for weekly treatments, I had regular Naturopathic and massage appointments and I completely changed my eating habits to adopt a paleo/primal diet.  I also started learning as much as I could about not only celiac disease, but autoimmune conditions in general.  But no matter what I did  I still wasn’t feeling better, and I was starting to get frustratedReally, really frustrated.  

In January of this year I began the autoimmune protocol hoping that the symptoms that were still pervasive would finally be under control.  I still felt tired and worn out and never felt rested no matter how much I slept.  My hormones were out of whack, my blood sugar was a constant roller coaster and I was so burned out I walked away from a good paying job to take time and rest.  But even after months of AIP my symptoms weren’t where I wanted them to be.  I knew in my gut that I could and should feel better than I did.

Enter the story from instagram.  The realization I had when standing in the bathroom contemplating what it really means at it’s core to have an ‘autoimmune’ condition.  The idea that the self is being attacked by itself.  It was then that I realized I could only love my way to health.  That no matter what stimulus I was inputting into my system from the outside – acupuncture, massage, bone broth, fat or vegetables, it didn’t matter.  Until I started on the inside and worked my way out would I ever really be able to get better.  To heal.  To live my life the way I knew it could be lived.  It meant that I need inside out healing.  And to do that I needed to love myself.

That awakening to love feels like a turning point not only in my healing story, but in the story of my life.  Since it happened I have come to think of events in my life as being “before loving” or “after loving.”  My heart continues to crack further and wider open on a daily basis.  Each time there is just more and more love that pours out.  

On a physical level I’m still on the journey towards health but my conditions have improved more in the last two months than in the last two years.  My digestion is better, my energy is better.  I feel lighter and stronger and more completely aligned with my whole self, my true self, the self I always knew was there waiting for me.  The journey is not over, but for the first time I feel like I’m traveling on the right path, the one and only path – the path of love.

Link to Christa’s blog:


  1. Kelsi

    I’m so sorry to hear about your struggles, but so happy to hear of your triumphs and look forward to you feeling better and better each day. I felt so much resonance with your story, as I’ve had a very similar struggle the last year, even down to the pain , or more of a fluttering just below my rib cages that no doctor could explain. My accupunturist finally explained its a muscle spasms when I eat foods I couldn’t tolerate (most foods :().
    I thought I was just celiac for months but also started getting worse, getting down to 110 lbs on my 5″8 body, when my amazing gastro finally connected the dots and tested me for SIBO. I was positive, and have been treating it since. PLEASE get tested for it if you haven’t already, it’s a simple breath test. Something tells me that’s the missing puzzle piece to your problems. There’s really no way to truly heal until you treat that. And you can contact me for any additional discussion, I can tell you what’s worked for me and what hasn’t.
    Good luck !

    • Patrice Fischer

      Do you have a facebook account or an email address I could contact you at? I have a very similar story and I was just diagnosed with SIBO. My email address is or you can find me on facebook under Patrice Fischer.

    • Christa

      Thanks Kelsi – I’m so glad that my story resonated with you. I knew I wasn’t alone while I was going through it all and connecting with others who had been in my place was the one thing that continued to help. When your health starts going it is scary! Especially when it goes without you noticing it until your body gets so desperate it screams for your attention!

      My naturopath did suspect that I had SIBO and while I didn’t actually do the testing….not a good test center near me at the time…..I did rounds of herbal antibiotics / diet modifications (on top of AIP) for a while this spring and that all seemed to help my symptoms improve.

      One of the biggest changes I’ve made was to stop snacking in between meals. I don’t remember if it was Dr. Siebecker or somewhere else that I learned snacking in between larger meals makes it harder for your small intestines to fully flush out what you’ve eaten. Which actually makes so much sense.

      It still amazes me how far I’ve come and how much there still is to learn about feeling the way I want to. I just keep trying to learn as much as I can, everywhere I can and incorporate parts and pieces into my self-care practices. Every little bit is like another piece to the puzzle!



  2. Jennette Turner

    Thank you for sharing your story. It would be helpful to know more about the “how” of your loving. What did that look like? Did you start doing affirmations? Did you just suddenly feel love for yourself in a way that you hadn’t before?

    It seems like a shifting the way you feel about yourself in a way that is so profound as to have dramatic impacts on your health doesn’t just happen without some kind of effort – but maybe it does? Is there a way other people can make the same shift?

    • Christa

      Hi Jennette – Thanks for reading and responding.

      Unfortunately the answer is not one that you’ll probably like. It’s definitely not one that I would have liked before it happened to me…and that’s that it just happened. It really was like an awakening that just happened without me intentionally doing things like affirmations, etc. to instigate it.

      What I can say is that I think I was ready for it to happen. I think that’s what made the difference. I had to get to the bottom of feeling like there was no hope before I could accept that there was a way through. And that’s something critical to note, also – that it was ‘through’ and not ‘out’.

      I realized that trying to hate my way out of being sick was doing me no good and when I started thinking about it, that’s when it hit me that I was making things worse not better. I read “Quantum Healing” by Deepak Chopra earlier this year and in it he talks a lot about how your state of mind affects your state of being. That really resonated with me and really got me thinking about what my actual state of mind was, when I really dug deep and examined it.

      So I don’t know what I did that my be reproducible for you. For me it had to get worse before it could get better and even though I felt like giving up, I didn’t. If it was possible for me, than it’s definitely possible for other people!

      I know how frustrating that answer can sound – it used to drive me nuts when I would read stories of people that had gotten better – thinking that I never could, and yet I was drawn to them over and over. And then it did get better.

      Hopefully it can get better for you too!


  3. Terri

    This was a great post and story. I’m so happy it provided further relief for you. Thank you SO much for sharing!

    • Christa

      Thanks for reading, Terri. Glad you enjoyed!



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