It’s just hair, right? Until you lose everything, you have no idea how much you take eyelashes and eyebrows for granted. Without them, dust falls in your eyes, water in the shower falls straight inside your eye, they define your face. They were the hardest to lose. I didn’t look or feel like the same person anymore. I felt lost and really ashamed that I had lost all my hair.
From the time my hair first started falling out, (in March 2015) it only took three months for it to disappear all over my entire body. It’s called Alopecia Universalis and is an autoimmune disease. Auto immune means, the body is attacking itself. Our immune system turns against us and attacks our cells, specifically my hair. Why was my body doing this to itself? Something must seriously wrong with my body to allow that to happen.
I began researching cures, thinking surely there would be a tonne, but I found none at that stage. It was extremely deflating. There were a few cases documented of hair growing back with prescription drugs but I knew that I didn’t want to rely on them to grow back my hair and lose it all again if I went off the medication.
I soon found www.thepaleomom.com and began reading Sarah Ballantyne’s articles with great interest. Sarah says the common link with all autoimmune conditions is a leaky gut. Yes, you must first have a genetic predisposition to it and be exposed to a trigger but leaky gut is also caused by poor diet and lifestyle factors. Also by addressing these factors, you can reverse your autoimmune disease.
Funny enough, a month before my hair began to fall out I got a severe vomiting and gastro bug which lasted a week and my gut never seemed to recover. I was also working very hard, not getting enough sleep, not eating very well and stressed out setting up a business. We also had our house pest sprayed at that same time which put more toxicity in my already stressed out body. Sarah explains the science behind a Paleo diet and then recommends the autoimmune protocol (AIP) diet for those with autoimmune diseases. The AIP diet is essentially eating meat, seafood, vegetables, fruit and healthy fats. Basically whole foods and nothing processed. The AIP diet is a step up from the paleo diet and eliminates the most common immune reacting foods for a period of time including nuts, seeds, eggs and nightshade foods.
At this time I also found a youtube video by a girl called Stella and her wellness blog called www.wholeearthlife.wordpress.com – Stella who grew all her hair back with the AIP diet. This gave me the boost I desperately needed.
In November 2015 , I decided to follow the AIP diet. I found it quite hard at first but as time went by, it became easier. I stuck to it 100% for a month and then re-introduced eggs, nuts, seeds, cacao, buckwheat, brown rice and quinoa slowly back in over the next six months. Even now, January 2017, I still do not eat gluten, dairy, processed sugar or processed foods or drink alcohol.
In July 2016 (16 months after my hair first fell out) my hair began slowly growing back in. It started with fine white tiny hairs that were so hard to see unless you were in bright light. My Mum would bring over her magnify glass to check out my growth and would run her hands over it just to feel it. I felt something was happening but at the same time, very nervous and wasn’t sure if it would stay. Here is a photo of how it looked in July. Close up there were lots of white hairs and a few starting to turn dark.
Over the last six months it’s getting thicker and filling in all the gaps. Each week my husband Roy takes a photo so I can see the changes. It really helps seeing the differences each week and highlights that my body is healing. It took three months of it growing for me to get excited and feel like it’s actually happening. For a while there, because I haven’t had any hair for so long, it was hard to believe it was growing and not falling out. I would even pull at each strand just to check it would stay in.
Recently I bought my first bottles of organic shampoo and conditioner. What am amazing feeling to actually wash MY HAIR, something that I wasn’t sure if I would ever do again. I definitely don’t take the little things for granted anymore.
As at the beginning of January 2017, it’s about 80% back, the back and top has filled in nicely but the sides are taking a little longer. I have some patchy white eyelashes but no eyebrows yet, but I am sure with time they will all come back.
I am so grateful it’s growing, but I’m not jumping off the couch like I thought I would be. Just very humbled and can’t wait to not have to wear a head scarf. I do feel that it will all come back 100%. I also don’t believe that I will lose my hair again as I have learnt to nourish my body with all the right foods and the right lifestyle.
There are also many other factors that have helped me grow my hair back in, not just the AIP diet, so I’ll be sharing these in other posts.
Love and healing, Jo xo
P.S. I’ll keep you updated on my growth over the next few months.