Autoimmune Holiday Gift Guide

Autoimmune Holiday Gift Guide

Do you ever wonder how you can support a family member or friend living with an autoimmune disease? The holidays are a great time to show you are intentional in the way you care for them. Consider these autoimmune friendly gifts for your holiday shopping.

  1. Port-and-Polish pill holder. This is a great gift for anyone that has to take medicine at multiple times a day or usually has several different pill bottles in their purse or bag. The Port-and-Polish pill holder is sleek and fashionable and even has a mirror!

  2. Healing in Motion Personal Training or Health Coaching Package. This is a great option for anyone living with an autoimmune disease that is looking to make lifestyle changes to supplement medical treatment and improve their quality of life. It’s a gift that keeps on giving!

  3. Simple Bliss Spa Massage Gift Certificate. You can’t go wrong with a massage for someone with an autoimmune disease. For most autoimmuners, their body is usually in a state of hyperactivity. A massage is a great way to provide a sense of grounding and relaxation. Plus Simple Bless Spa in Raleigh, NC is just amazing!

  4. Autoimmune Paleo Cook Book by Mickey Trescott. This cookbook is a winner for sure! It helped me get start on the Autoimmune Paleo Protocol, which helped me to learn a great deal about healing in my body. I high recommend this book to anyone that is living with an autoimmune disease. It is evidence that food can help heal your body without sacrificing the taste of good food!

*Please note: None of these gifts were a paid sponsorship.

Holiday Flair without the Flares

Holiday Flair without the Flares

I know you are probably already getting a lot of emails about thriving during the holidays and ways to detox after your holiday food binge. While I don’t want to give you the same information everyone else is sending you, I do want to encourage each of you to be strategic in your self-care during the holiday season.

Thanksgiving may be over but the holiday parties are just beginning. And trust me, autoimmune disease, multiple holiday parties, late nights, and sugary treats all make for a terrible holiday recipe. But you can still experience the holiday flair without the autoimmune flares this season.

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First identify what causes you stress during the holiday period. Is it the travel, the over consumption of food, or the lack of time to attend every party invite? Once you have identify your source of stress, plan how you can address that stress. Maybe it is scheduling an extra day of rest after your travel or prioritizing which holiday parties to attend instead of going to every single one. And lastly, act on those plans. Plan ahead and know how you will execute your plans for rest and self-care.

Below are my 5 strategies for experiencing the most and giving of the most yourself this holiday season. After all, what are the holidays if we can’t truly experience them while feeling like a whole person.

  1. Stay on budget. The financial stress of the holidays is more trouble than its worth. I know it is easy to feel obligated to buy everyone a special gift but going into debt during the holidays is not the best way to start your new year. I have personally experienced times where I was left without money to buy my medication in January. Instead, look for alternative and budget friendly ways to make loved one’s feel special.

    If you are looking for additional help to plan your holiday budget and make better financial decisions in 2019, contact Melissa Joy, financial advisor at Gidley, Grooms, and Associates.

  2. Practice mindfulness. Taking 5-10 minutes each day to yourself for meditation, breathing exercises, or self-reflection can add a significant amount of enjoyment back to your holiday season. I practice guided meditation with HeadSpace. I aim for 10 minutes daily but even on busy days I aim for 5 minutes of meditation. Taking a few moments to myself helps me feel centered and more present around my family and friends.

  3. Move your body. Getting a workout in amidst the hustle and bustle of shopping, planning, traveling, and hosting can seem impossible. And after a long day of being social, the last thing you want to do is get up early the next day to workout. But moving your body 10-15 minutes each day will enable your body to get through each day. Even if you are breaking a sweat, take a few minutes to mobilize and energize your body! Click HERE for a simple, body-weight exercise routine that can be done anywhere!

  4. Turmeric Ginger Tea. After any eventful day I like unwind with a cup of Turmeric Ginger Tea in coconut milk (AIP compliant) or almond milk (non-AIP compliant). Turmeric has anti-inflammatory properties and ginger helps calm my stomach if I had too many treats at a holiday party, oops! Sometimes I like to add a spoonful of cacao powder and it’s instantly a cup of autoimmune friendly hot-chocolate without the added sugars!

  5. Lavender Essential Oil. Quality sleep is the best thing you can do for yourself during the holidays. It is the foundation for a peaceful and enjoyable holiday season. Good sleep promotions feelings of well being, better food choices, better time management, and reduces your chances of an autoimmune flare. For my best sleep, I like to use DoTerra Lavendar Essential Oil. I add a few drops to my diffuser each night and it helps me have a sound and restful sleep. I wake up feeling refreshed and ready to take on a new day!

I hope these strategies help you as much as they help me during the winter months and during the holidays. I am able to enjoy more time with friends and family instead of trying to feel better.

Let me know in the commets which strategies work best for you or if you tried any of my suggestions. Show me your autoimmune holiday strategies on social media; tag @healing_in_motion and use #thrivewithHIM.

*Please note that none of these products or services are a paid sponsorship, I simply support them and use them in my self-care.

Cinnamon Spiced Apple Cookies

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Cinnamon Spiced Apple Cookies

I made these delicious Cinnamon Spiced Apple Cookies for Thanksgiving, they are totally AIP friendly! I wanted a simple, yet delicious dessert option that I knew I could have. Even if you are not on an elimination protocol, these cookies are super simple to make and have just the right amount of sweetness and taste of fall. Try them out for your next holiday cookie swap or holiday party. 

*This recipe was inspired by Mickey Trescott's, NTP recipe in the AutoImmune Paleo Cookbook. 

Serves 10-12 Cookies


2 honey crisp apples (peeled and cored)

1 cup shredded coconut

3 Tbsp. coconut flour

¼ cup raisins

2 Tbsp. coconut oil

1 Tbsp. cinnamon


1.       Preheat oven to 325

2.       Place all ingredients in food processor, until thick paste forms

3.       Form into 10-12 round cookies

4.       Place on baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes

The Creation Story

I have to be honest; it’s taken me some time to gather the courage to write this post or to even start my blog about Healing in Motion.  If any of you are like me, you want to wait for the perfect time to do things.

So I've waited months trying to find the perfect time to start my blog but never actually got around to it, even though it was constantly on my mind. And my business, Healing in Motion, started out the same way.

I knew it was something God called me to do but I kept putting it off because I never quite felt prepared to own a business. But if there is one thing I have learned in this process is that God doesn't call the equipped, but He equips the called.


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If you're reading this, then you are probably wondering how God calls us to do the things He has purposed for us to do. You may be wondering, What is my calling in life? Which way should I go? What am I called to do?

I felt much the same way in 2015. It had been a year since I graduated college in 2014 and since then, I had been rejected from every job I had applied to. I had been turned away from graduate school, and I had exactly $0.48 in my bank account.

And to add to that, I was having liver issues that were potentially related to Lupus. I literally felt as if I was incapable of getting anything right in life. I was empty inside. 


In October of 2015, I was invited by a friend to a women's conference in Charlotte, NC. I didn't ask any questions about the conference, I just went. The conference was focused around the topic of the value of women, which was ironic because at the moment my net worth was about $0.48 and that's exactly how I felt inside.

I remember praying so hard for God to give me a clear answer as to what I was called to do for His kingdom. I was tired of feeling worthless, purposeless, and inadequate. I wanted to know why God created me. And He answered me. Very clearly.


You see, in 2008, I was diagnosed with Lupus. I was still in high school at the time, competing in gymnastics, playing soccer, having fun in theater club, but having a chronic illness was not even close to being on my bucket list.

I'll save the detailed diagnosis story for another post but I'll fast forward to say that while at the time Lupus was probably the most consuming and exhausting thing I had ever experienced, it was the foundation for what I would eventually be doing. 

By nature, I have always been an ambitious person and that was especially true in both school and in sports. Of course, at the age of 16, I wasn't exactly questioning what I was supposed to be doing with my life but the principle is just the same.

I remember feeling so defeated thinking that Lupus was going to prevent me from playing sports or being involved in other school activities. And it was at my third appointment of chemotherapy that I felt so incredibly fed up with feeling helpless. I thought to myself, "This can't be what God has for me. This can't be what the rest of my life will be like." I felt like there had to be more to life than being sick. 


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And that was the exact same thing that I was thinking at the conference in October of 2015. I was so fed up with scraping my bank account at the end of each pay period. I was tired of wondering aimlessly day to day about the direction of my life. I was fed up with the rejection emails and with Lupus consuming my life. I thought, "This can't be what God has for me. This can't be what the rest of my life will be like." 

At that moment, God took me back to the hospital room at 2:00 am when my mom was stroking my hair while I was crying because I was in so much pain. I remembered that moment so clearly and God reminded me that I had felt that way before.

He told me, you are not alone. Not alone in the sense that He had not abandoned me. Just like my mom had sat with me in the hospital room that night, God was right there in that moment stroking my hair.


What I also realized was that there are millions of other women struggling to find their place in this world under the burden of a disease or illness. And God very clearly gave me a verse. He reminded me of Romans 12:1, "Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship."

I asked, "But how can we live out our calling? How can we worship, how can we live sacrificially, when we are sick, God?" Healing in Motion. 

That was it. Healing in Motion. The very thing, I used way back in high school to overcome my struggle with Lupus was now what God was telling me to use to help others - movement. That is when Healing in Motion took on a new purpose: to help women live the way they were created to live so they can love the way they were created to love.


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Disease and illness shouldn't be a reason we miss out on all that God has for us. Instead, we can use those circumstances in our lives to change the world. But we can't do that when our bodies are hurting and sick.

There are a lot of ways, despite a chronic illness, that we can change the way we take care of our bodies and overall health in order to thrive. I believe it is our duties as Christian women to be good stewards of our health so that we are able to be abundant and pour into the lives of others.

We are called to offer our bodies as a living sacrifice for God's kingdom. And in order to do that, we have to be mindful of the way we treat our bodies; in the way we live, move, eat, it all impacts our life, our mission. 

The main point of me sharing this story is that I needed to do what God called me to do, what He had already placed inside of me long ago. He had already equipped me. He said I was prepared. He said I was capable. He said I was adequate. My Lupus diagnosis was not without purpose. 


If I can be honest here, I had known for a while that heath coaching was what I wanted to do. My time spent in the Miss America Organization confirmed that for me. But the thought of doing Healing in Motion full time as a business was too much for me to even consider. I pushed it away because I knew nothing about being an entrepreneur.

I tried applying for all other jobs. I applied for grad school. I even wanted to move to Los Angeles. But God literally closed all other doors in order for me to see that this is what I was truly meant to do.

All of the prior moments of rejection were actually moments that God was protecting me. Not protecting me from something but protecting me for something. God believed in the mission of Healing in Motion. He was just waiting for me to stop ignoring it. 

It still took a few months for me to get my act together, but I buckled down and studied to get my ACE Health Coach Certification and in May of 2016 Healing in Motion became an LLC.

So thus began my journey to help women live the lives they were created to live, to thrive beyond the diagnosis. And even though this is what I know God has called me to do, the journey hasn't been easy.

It’s stretched me incredibly far and pushed me out of my comfort zone. I've learned a lot about owning a business with the guidance of wonderful business coaches God has placed in my life. And I still have a lot more to learn. This wasn't the plan I had chosen for my life, but it was God’s plan, and I wouldn't want it any other way. 

I want to challenge you all to think of the difficult times you have faced or are facing right now and re-purpose your thought process.  Yes, your feelings of frustration, anxiety, loneliness are indeed valid. But consider what God may be trying to teach you in the process. When I was diagnosed with Lupus almost 10 years ago, I had no idea that it would be the foundation for what would later be my career. Spend time with God and ask God not “why” but “how.” How can God use your trials for a greater purpose? Comment below and let me know what you trials you are facing today that God can use for a greater purpose!

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