I have been given this product as part of a product review through the Chronic Illness Bloggers network. Although the product was a gift, all opinions in this review remain my own and I was in no way influenced by the company. I only review products that I absolutely love!
The Whole Health Life book is fantastic for anyone living with a chronic illness. Particularly those of you with autoimmune diseases or ‘mysterious illnesses’ (ie. You have a whole lot of symptoms but no consistent diagnosis).
Shannon, the author of the whole health life book and producer of the documentary, ‘The Connection’, is diagnosed with an autoimmune disease at 24. She is first told she has Lupus, but over the course of her illness receives many alternate diagnoses. Basically, she is in a ton of pain, overburdened with fatigue, and no one really knows what’s wrong. The Whole Health Life book covers her story from illness to health, and how she was able to lead herself to recovery through research and making big lifestyle changes.
The whole health life book book is easy to read and filled with stories, so even though it’s research heavy it never feels boring or hard to read.
I noticed a lot of similarities between Shannon’s story and my own. There were also a lot of similarities between other people I’ve talked to who have gotten ill with a chronic illness and later recovered. What really makes this book unique is all the research that went into it.
Most people who have recovered from illness on their own only have personal anecdotes, or ancient wisdom from other schools of health (i.e. Traditional Chinese Medicine or Ayurveda which is the sister science to yoga). I’ve talked on this blog about the challenges of not having a lot of research in the field of yoga as therapy. Though we have some promising studies and a lot of inspiring anecdotes, it can be hard to draw anything conclusive. However, Shannon has really gone the extra mile and pulled research on a variety of topics, as well as interviewing experts in the field to really get to the bottom of how lifestyle changes and our environments can affect us (more interviews are in the documentary).
It was a great feeling to read the book, see so much of what I had done, and see it backed up by scientific research. I know some people who have recovered who have been attacked in chronic illness communities for their recovery. Others may claim that if they were able to recover with these changes they must not have really been ill in the first place. The research Shannon has done (and more research that continues to come out in these fields) is important in providing a clear path for people diagnosed with chronic illness. It also makes clear that making lifestyle changes doesn’t mean it was ‘your fault’ or ‘all in your head’. As she says in the book, stress, environment, and diet affect all illnesses from a cold to more serious illnesses like heart disease or cancer.
The book covers everything from food, movement, and environment (my fav chapters) to go beyond what we would think of when reading a health book such as personal relationships and finding your purpose in life. The topics covered reminded me of the book I read a few years ago, The Elements of Wellbeing, except written for people with a chronic illness.
There is a lot of emphasis on practical steps you can take to make change in your life. And to make changes that you can actually keep (raise your hand if you’ve ever signed up for a 30-day challenge only to lose momentum right after because it wasn’t sustainable for your life). Each chapter ends with a summary and a list of action steps to take. This is perfect for anyone reading with brain fog, there’s no stress around trying to remember everything or trying to figure out how to apply it to your own life. Shannon has done the work for you.
If you want to know what YOU (not your doctor) can do to help you recover from your illness, I highly recommend reading this book or watching the documentary (or both!). I’m glad I discovered Shannon’s work, hers will definitely be a blog I follow closely!