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Robin Shirley, founder and director of the Take Back Your Health Conference

We are pleased to share Robin Shirley’s personal insights and global implications of her battle against autoimmune disease and how it has triggered a national conference that is taking place this weekend in Arlington, VA and features iconic farmer and author, Joel Salatin.

{{ image(3741, {“class”: “flor round”, “width”:288, “height”:288,”method”: “img”}) }}There were only two things on my mind from age 12 through 22: One, I wanted to be rid of the disabling symptoms of autoimmune disease, and two, I wanted to love my life and myself again.

I knew that one day I would have both. But I didn’t know that in order to get there my life would need to change so wildly; that I would have to develop an understanding of how food, agriculture and the environment had a direct relationship to my health.

My relationship with both my diet and the environment would need a complete makeover.

At age 11, I was diagnosed with Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis (and later, chronic Lyme disease), and by 20 years old I was too sick to continue my classes at Virginia Tech. I decided to “step out of the game” for a bit, and go home to live with my parents.

It wasn’t just me. Kids, teens and young adults all over the world were, and are, dealing with disabling symptoms of chronic illness. There are hundreds of thousands of us out there going through the emotional and physical trauma of a life-altering disease.

The day that I realized I couldn’t continue with school, was the day that I decided I would do whatever it took to overcome the disabling physical and mental symptoms of depression, arthritis and chronic Lyme disease.

I consumed literature on nutrition, sustainable technology, alternative therapies, human anatomy and organic agriculture. I watched documentaries, experimented with herbs and colonics and studied for a certification in Integrative Nutrition.

I pursued remedies for my food allergies, gut dysbiosis, heavy metal toxicity, lyme disease, candida overgrowth, nutrient deficiencies and more.

Eating differently had the most profound affect on my body than anything else I had tried. I had experienced what food could do to my physical and emotional symptoms, and there was no turning back.

When I was 23 years old I started hosting the Take Back Your Health Conference for my community in Washington, D.C. I wanted everyone in my life to learn from the same teachers that had taught me how to eat and how to live in a way that had the power to alleviate chronic pain, infection, inflammation and depression.

Five years after coming home, chronic illness rates have exploded. Over the same time period, we have become privy to some extremely disturbing truths about our food supply and agriculture system.

It’s becoming more evident with each passing day how profound of an effect our farming methods and the resulting food is having on our health.

Over the past few years, known carcinogens like glyphosate has increased in our food supply and genetically modified crops have become more prevalent. The nutrient density of foods has continued to drop as our soils become more and more depleted by the government subsidised conventional agriculture system. And it’s going to keep getting worse. Our U.S. Food and Drug Administration and its policy has been taken over by executives of the companies that are doing this to our land and our food.

Our food is decreasing in nutrition and becoming more poisonous to us with each passing growing season.

We can pump our veins full of immunosuppressants, anti-inflammatories and chemotherapy all we want, but we’re not going to have a chance of reversing the chronic disease epidemic if we don’t do something about our food supply.
Collectively, we have the power that it’s going to take to overcome these chronic health challenges. We just need to decide that our health, our environment and our dreams are worth changing the way we eat and live on this planet.

This hope for the future is why farmers like Joel Salatin are committed to more sustainable ways of growing food and raising animals – to provide for a healthier, stronger and more humane, human race.

This is why health coaches like Andrea Beaman are dedicating their lives to teaching a way of living and eating that has the power to reverse disease.

This is why I host the Take Back Your Health Conference. For families who are dealing with life-altering chronic illness and still have hopes that they can live out the life they dreamed they would have.

Everyone of us who wants to be disease-free should take the time to support those who are making a disease-free future a possibility for us.

  • Spend $15 a week on local food from the farmer’s markets in your area.
  • Learn how to cook simple meals for your family. Your health depends on it.
  • Boycott GMO soy, corn, sugar beets, squash, potatoes, apples, canola and cottonseed.
  • Choose organic over conventional produce.
  • Learn about the foods that are local and native to your region.
  • Enjoy real food dinners with your friends and family.
  • Go to events in your area like the Take Back Your Health Conference and meet others who are living this lifestyle.

Be responsible for your own health and the health of the planet, because we need you. We all need you to make that small bit of difference that it’s going to take to build a tidal wave strong enough to topple the conventional agriculture system.

Make more time to care for your body and the land that you live on. Take care of yourself and the land in the way that we so desperately need right now, for our health and for our dreams.

Robin Shirley is the founder and director of the Take Back Your Health Conference (D.C. and LA). She writes, speaks and consults on the healthy lifestyle habits she uses to reduce her symptoms of autoimmune arthritis and chronic Lyme disease. Learn more at www.clubTBYH.com and www.TakeBackYourHealthConference.com.