Kitchen cures for autoimmune disease

For the 23 million Americans who suffer from chronic autoimmune disease, finding foods that don’t irritate the body can be a daily struggle.

Dr. Manny Alvarez,’s senior managing health editor, recently sat down with Mee Tracy McCormick, author of “My Kitchen Cure,” who was able to overcome her nearly-fatal fight with Crohn’s disease by making dietary changes that helped eliminate her symptoms.

McCormick, 42, started experiencing digestive issues at just 25 years old. Within ten years, she was down to 89 pounds and had a large hole in her small intestine, which doctors told her could rupture at any time.

After realizing how much medication she was going to have to take to treat her symptoms, McCormick decided she needed to change what she was putting in her body.

“I was a processed food junkie, I shopped based on the pictures on the box,” she said. “And I thought if that’s the only thing touching the inside of my intestines, foods have got to affect it.”

McCormick threw herself into food research, talked to nutrition specialists and started experimenting in her kitchen.

“I became a mad scientist in my kitchen, I was not a cook, I was the worst cook, and my husband ate mush,” she said.

During her research, McCormick realized the majority of the country is in a “food rut” – eating the same seven or eight foods prepared different ways, over and over again.

McCormick adopted the practice of ‘eating seasonally’ to get the nutrients she needed.

“If we look at the way ancestral people ate, they didn’t eat mangos all year long, they ate them when they were in season,” she said. “The reason is because each fruit and vegetable has a different nutritional profile.”

By eating fresh foods, cooking her own meals from scratch, and adding variety to her diet, McCormick was able to gain weight and start leading a normal life.

“Within a week I was feeling better, within a month I was off the couch, within six months I was running behind my kids at the park,” she said. “If you change your plate you will change your fate.”

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