Navigating the Ups and Downs of Life

Navigating the Ups and Downs of Life

I love taking time to slow down during the holidays as everything around me speeds up. This is the time of year when the days grow short, the nights long. A period when we are designed to hibernate, sleep, and rest. As the year draws to a close, I reach for my inner stillness, go inside in the midst of all the holiday hoopla, and reflect on what has been.

This year, I hit a couple of bumps that were frightening. In March, upon my return from a trip out of the country, I wound up with a stomach bug that turned into a severe MS attack. For the first time since my MS Diagnosis in 2006 I found myself hospitalized, and on top of that, suffering from a nasty case of transverse myelitis. All of my doctors, conventional to alternative, hypothesized that my immune system went into overdrive in fighting off the stomach bug and ended up attacking my myelin sheaths. This created total numbness from my diaphragm down. I had some other symptoms, which I will not go into here, which were also terrifying. I was stunned, and in a complete state of shock.

On the bright side, once I realize I am in shock, my response is generally a good one. I go inside, dig deep and find the healing spaces in my life. I simply focus as much as I can on a positive outcome. This means going into a conscious state of denial and putting myself in a very forward looking place.

In order to do this, I hunker down with my nuclear family, which consists of my incredible husband, and our two amazing boys, who as of this writing are, 17 and almost 16. We have an incredible understanding whereby they intuitively know that I don’t want to share or elaborate upon the details of what’s going on in my body. This synchronicity and intuitive connection are a lifeline for me during challenging times. It is the external counterpart to my inward diet of faith, reflection, and prayer, during good times and otherwise.

In order to dive deep, I further support myself by going on a restricted social media diet. I can’t effectively implement my healing plan if I’m focusing on what to post on Instagram. So, if you were wondering why I shared so little this past spring, on all channels, including this site, well, now you know. For me, healing is internal, as opposed to a play-by-play reality show where my emotions unravel in the universe of social media.

I’m not one to dwell. I like to focus, fix, and move ahead. However, I do like to keep you, my faithful readers, in the loop. That is my intention with this year end update. Moreover, I’d like to share some of my discoveries with you. Below you will find my game plan for moving ahead during the challenging times of life.

Navigating the Ups and Downs of Life

  1. Conscious Compartmentalization
  2. Connect Only with People Who Nourish Me
  3. Social Media Diet
  4. Research Bio-Medical Therapies
  5. Spend Time in Nature

You may notice that in addition to the above, I also refrained from answering comments here, which can take hours each day. For those of you that were frustrated, it may help to remember that there are 25,000 of you every day on this website, and there is only one of me. I simply cannot spread myself too thin, whether healthy or ill.

As the new year emerges, I look forward to sharing more with you. Not about the trauma I went through last year. The world has enough of that. I plan to divulge my healing secrets and the resources that have resulted from my research. You will find out how I survive the ups and downs of my mundane, yet incredible life. You will learn how I get my body, mind, and soul, into a place of balance. For a sneak peak at some of the strategies that I deployed during the past year click on the links below. And stay tuned, because there is much, much more to come!

Thanks for being my dear online family and have a blessed 2016!



  1. Debra Yates says

    Just wanted to say how much I appreciate your recipes. My granddaughter (13) is allergic to so many things – gluten, refined sugar, dairy, potatoes, bananas, red apples, peanuts, grains, processed foods – that it has been hard to find anything but meat and vegetables and some fruits. I tried your Simple White Bread and made some homemade strawberry jam. One day she was over I suggested bread and jam for breakfast. She gave me a hurt look and told me she couldn’t have them. Imagine her surprise when I produced them for her. Such enjoyment! She just celebrated her birthday today with a real cake – your chocolate cake with agave marshmallow frosting. It felt so good making a cake that the whole family could enjoy, and it was all “Curly Approved”. I am trying to find foods that make her feel more like a normal teen, so she doesn’t resent her diet so much. Your website had been a godsend for foods she probably thought she could never have again. Thank you SOOO much!

      • Ella says

        Dear Elana,
        I am writing to you from Germany, so please excuse my English..
        I would like to thank you for your wonderful page. Your stories touch me so much (and your recipes too…), it is love in it, I can feel it when I read and try them!
        I’d like to know from you if you already went grain free during your pregnancies?
        I am a breastfeeding mummy who just discovered grain freedom a couple of weeks ago.
        Feeling simply great like this (not only physically, but as well emotionally), I wonder how it must be to eat Paleo (more or less strict, but definitely grain free) during pregnancy.
        I’d be very happy to hear from you and wish you all the best, blessings and love.
        By the way, I think that your are so beautiful!
        Gratefully from Germany,

        • Elana says

          Dear Ella,

          Thanks for your lovely comment! I wish my German was half as good as your English! I was diagnosed with celiac disease during my first pregnancy in 1998, and have been 100% gluten-free ever since that diagnosis, so both of my pregnancies were gluten-free. I went grain-free after my second son was born in 2001. I wish though, that I had known about the grain-free diet when I was pregnant as I would have gone grain-free earlier (even during the pregnancies). The grain-free diet is the one that works for my body, but remember, everyone is different, and it’s great to do what works best for you :-)


  2. Irina G Rosenblum says

    Elana, You are a great inspiration to all especially those of us who do our best to live normal lives while dealing with serious chronic health concerns. Be well. Have a healthy 2016.

  3. Lisa says

    I am so sorry to hear about all your troubles. Your site and your books are a huge inspiration to so many people, me included. I am usually just a lurker, but I wanted to let you know how much your site and recipes mean to me and my family! Thank you for sharing your experiences with all of us.
    Happy New Year!

      • Ilana Goldberg says

        Hello Dear Elana; I know you must get overwhelmed by all the comments, but I wanted also to say thank you. My name is also Ilana, and I was diagnosed with MS in 2006 as well. Like you, I have controlled it largely with diet, holistic therapies ( I am a functional medicine practitioner), LDN, and stress management. Like you, I also had a severe MS relapse in 2015, triggered when I took my neurologist’s recommendation to finally start an MS pharmaceutical medication. I have been putting myself back together (We just bought an HBOT chamber last month!). But it has been so wonderful to watch your journey which has mirrored my own in so many ways. I recommend your website to all of my patients.
        Thank you for sharing your wonderful recipes, but even more for sharing your experience and your expertise.
        Wishing you continued healing!
        Dr. Ilana Goldberg, D.C.

        • Elana says

          Hi Dr. Ilana, there are certainly many comments here (over 60,000 in fact), and I read them all. Yours is very special for all of the reasons you state above regarding the similarity of our journeys! I’m very glad to hear that you bought an HBOT chamber, that is amazing. HBOT has helped me tremendously. So glad to hear from you and I really appreciate your taking the time to connect with me :-)

  4. Lacy says

    Hi Elana,

    I think I sent you an email a while back, but this caught my attention again. There are natural ways to help MS. Here is a link for a study that discusses the benefits of increasing Nrf2. I know BG12 (tecfidera) has unwanted side effects. Protandim, is all natural and gas been quoted to be a superior product with an affordable price tag.

    Please look into this and contact me if you want additional information. Stay well, Lacy

  5. Fiona says

    Thank you for sharing, i’m excited about the new beginnings 2016 has to offer for all of us! Missed your posts during 2015, but happy to hear you did what you needed to recuperate. Love your great attitude, you’re an inspiration!

  6. Patricia Espinoza says

    I understand how your process the ups and downs, and you express it so well in your writing. Consider writing more – it will benefit everyone so much, and perhaps be another career source in your journey. You have touched my heart, and I thank you for sharing. Blessings, health, peace and prosperity to you and your family in this new year.

  7. Laura says

    Dear Elana,

    Thank you, thank you, thank you for this blog! I discovered it in the past year or so and have been following your posts with interest and appreciation. My friend’s father has MS so when I saw your posts become infrequent, I figured it was due to your health. I too am going on a social media diet– day one is down and I hope there will be many more productive days to come.

    Happy New Year, and I look forward to hearing more from you as you heal! Best wishes!

  8. Jeanne says

    Dear Elana,
    You are so inspiring and helpful to so many people. To be able to do what you do is amazing and so uplifting! God Bless you and your loved ones and may the best year yet be 2016.

  9. Shirley @ gluten free easily (gfe) says

    I’m so glad you have used your bag of health tricks and bounced back, dear! I don’t mean to trivialize in any way, but your ability to focus and heal is always amazing and inspiring!

    Sending you love and hugs for a healthy and wonderful 2016!

  10. Anne says

    Thank you so much for sharing your journey to healing – I too have just been side swiped with a medical issue (HCV) and I’m trying to do as much research as possible – both naturally and traditional, although I am not traditional but am finding out the only cure is the traditional route. I need to slow down and focus on the positive even though all I see is a dark hole at the end of the tunnel. I cannot wait to read more about your journey to healing – I can’t thank you enough.

  11. Debbie says

    Dear Elana,
    This post will be helpful to many readers! I’ve worked with children recovering from transverse myeoltis and it can be brutal. I’m inspired by your strength for recovery.
    Wishing you health and happiness to you and your family in 2016!

  12. Connie says

    God Bless you………wishing you the best for 2016…….love your site and recipes…….have you read Dr. Terry Wahls? She is a dr. with ms if you don’t know her……….

  13. Carole Miller says

    Again..thank you, beautiful lady for sharing the goodness. are more than generous. You are a loving soul.
    My warmest thoughts for you in 2016..
    You are STRONG! ?

  14. Sheila says

    You are a blessing to so many people. Thank you for all that you do, and your refreshing honesty. God bless you in 2016.

  15. susan mead says

    thank you for sharing yourself with us, and through your example giving us courage to press on! you are an amazing woman Elana. i look forward to hearing about all the wonderful things you have discovered on your journey. Shalom Aleichem.

  16. Nancy says

    Elena, I cannot remember whether I learned about LDN from you or someone else.
    Either way, here is the link:

    He has a yahoo group with a lot of information.

    I do not do Instragram or Twitter. I hope you keep this blog up for those of us that are technically challenged! ?
    Then there is always canna oil which has helped me tremendously!
    Thank you for this blog and your books!

  17. Betsy says

    Elena, thank you for sharing. I started following your site a few years ago after a severe inflammatory attack on my joints. I am 69 years young and was diagnosed with RA. After researching and reading about my immune system and the leaky gut syndrome, I chose to do an overhaul on my life and my body. I was fortunate enough to find a rheumatologist who listened to me and is supportive. I participate in step aerobic, Pilates, and yoga which help with mobility and mindfulness. I dropped 26 pounds after giving up gluten and immediately felt a difference being gluten-free. Again, thank you for sharing your journey. You shared some wonderful life lessons. Life is a roller coaster ride. You and your family are in my thought and prayers.

  18. Kimberly says

    Thanks for this update Elana! I look forward to hearing more about how you are able to come back and stay healthy. Happy New Year to you!

  19. Sarah says

    Thank you for sharing. You are a class act. I also took a break this year from social media centered around Lyme disease, a condition I contended with, but was unable for a long while to stop reading about/ staying immersed in daily/and let go. Well, I did, and I found a fun music outlet instead!
    Very much relate to going quiet inside, keeping with positive close nuclear family, daily outside exercise to my best ability, and learning to say no. No without guilt.
    Good thoughts continue—

  20. Ruth Hirsch says

    Dear Elana,

    Again, a big thank You for your generosity of spirit.
    and for modeling going inward and allowing a healing,
    for caring for yourself with wisdom and compassion.

    wishing you, your family and friends, and your readers Moments of Joy, Delight and Peace in the months ahead,
    Ruth Hirsch, Hudson Valley

  21. Bruna Tamai says

    Hi Elana
    I have only been following your blog and recipes for just less than a year, but I find your attitude to life very inspiring , and of course also your recipes very good :)
    wishing you well in this 2016 and wishing for more people to search more on our inside rather than looking for outside temporary fixes.
    thank you :)

  22. esther says

    Elana- Writing is also therapeutic. And you do it so well. We all have challenges in life- some greater than others, all according to one”s so called ‘ability’ to cope with whatever is thrown our way.
    Keep up tbe good work. You are an inspiration to all of your readers.
    Refuah shlema. Good health and get better.
    Sending lots of hugs.

  23. Penny says

    I have been living with MS since 2002/203, and thankfully has been in remission since 2005-2006. I also have Epstein Barr(Not Mono but the chronic) and have been dealing with a sudden attack over a month ago. I can’t even go to our church cause being around people right now I seem to be sensitive to catching whatever is going around. Yes, sick over the Holidays sadly, but it has given me more time for writing, reading, and reflecting. It started out with horrible fatigue to where I couldn’t even lift my pinky without being in pain and exhaustion. I went to the doctor and found out I had also an attack of Intersitital cystosis , (Ms Flare possibly doing that). I was given 4 antibiotic shots four days in a row, when I broke out in the worst rash on my arms and hands. I was having a severe allergic reaction to the shots, so then I was put on Medrol Pack with Vestril which weekend my immune system. I am slowly recovering. I have at least 7 or 8 other auto-immune diseases and now adrenal fatigue and possible thyroid. I am so sorry for what you went through. I do hope you are feeling better. Hang in there soul sister and feel free to read my blog where i share about this as well as my coaching.
    Ps…the rash is slowly healing as well. Still, I have kept the faith and remained positive. Hasn’t been easy for me when I am hurting and no doctor understands me here.

  24. Joanna says

    Elana, I’m so sorry to hear of your illness and difficulties, and now that I know about them, I’m inspired by you. I love your recipes (the ones I’ve tried so far) and your attitude.

    Sh-yehiya lach rak briute v-dvarim tovim b’2016,


  25. Joan says

    Hi Elana,
    I’ve had MS since 1965 & agree that sleep is crucial to healing. Restless legs & spasticity have challenged my sleep, so I mix holistic & allopathic approaches: melatonin, 5-HTP, baclofen, gabapentin, clonazapam. In April, I added medical marijuana, which gives me deep sleep several nights a week. I’m working to cut back on allopathics.
    Thanks for your suggestions + your delicious recipes.
    May 2016 bring you complete recovery.
    Much warmth,

  26. Tamara says

    I thought of you several times this year, Elana, noticing you were much more “quiet” than in previous years and hoping all was well with you. Thank you for sharing what you were comfortable with. Sending you healing thoughts and wishing you a healthy new year.

  27. Hélène says

    I just had to leave a comment and say what a refreshing and honest post! I love your healthy approach and wonderful recipes. I am happier and better fed because of you! I thrive on “real” content in this oh so virtual world. Thank you for sharing, Elana, and keeping it real. I wish you swift and better/best health and a fantastic 2016!

  28. Dena says

    I love reading your posts. My sister has cerebral palsy and suffered from transverse myelitis. She never regained her mobility in her body. I hope your healing is going well. Thank you for sharing your personal stories.

  29. Cynthia says

    Sending love and prayers your way for 2016! I appreciate your honesty and helpful information and am so glad I stumbled upon your site long ago. You have helped me in ways I never expected, but am very grateful for. Take Care.

  30. Debbie says

    I’m so sorry to hear what you have been through. You are an amazingly strong woman and I admire your strength. May the new year bring you good health and natural cures to help you. ?

  31. Terri King says

    Thank you for sharing your struggles, fears, and the strength it took to press forward. How wonderful to have a husband and children who stand by you and support your determination to overcome the challenges you have had to face. May 2016 be a year of blessings for you and your family.


  32. Marlana says

    I am sorry that you went through that this year. I hope that 2016 is better for you. I look forward to reading about your healing journey.

  33. Katrina says

    Love to you and thank you for sharing your fight. (I have MS, too.) Can’t wait to hear more from you as the new year begins and continues!

  34. Melissa Love says

    Elana, Lovee! I too have had six months of unexpected and unusual health issues that have given me the opportunity to look deep inside for guidance. In light of that, I find your post encouraging and refreshing. And just like you; all expressed in a positive light.
    Thank you for sharing this part of your journey.
    Wishing abundant good health and happiness in 2016 and beyond, to you, Rob, and the boys.
    Much Love,

  35. Gina says

    Hi Elana,
    Thank you for sharing your story. I too suffer from long term chronic illness. At this point I have multiple auto-immune diseases. I mention this only because, Your words really resonate with me and how I have to live life.
    You may have heard of this already, but two great books you may want to think about referencing are “The Wahls Protocol” by Dr. Terri Wahls, (who got her own MS in remission through a dense nutrition program, and “brain Maker” by Dr. David Perlmuter. Some of their remedies, while not officially “appoved” have proven to work on many people.
    I look forward to checking in on your page regularly. Cheers, and good luck! Gina

  36. Alisa says

    Your willingness to share is so amazing Elana. I’m so sorry for what you went through, but am not surprised at all that you have emerged healthfully! Sending you big hugs and healing wishes for the year ahead.

  37. Laurey Jaros says

    Blessings to you, Elena. I do understand –while not about MS directly, certainly about living with chronic illness. Mine is COPD. I have learned that if you become your “illness”, you’ll go downhill quickly; yet, if you don’t pay attention to its everyday demands, well, you’ll go downhill quickly. It can be a tightrope walk. I do, however, know that I am incredibly blessed. Life is not merely good, it is great.

    Happy New Year to you and your family. Thanks for sharing, thanks for all you do.

    Laurey Jaros
    Tucson, Arizona

  38. Karen says

    I met you in Denver at johnson&Wales when was first diagnosed with celiac. I used your cookbooks then and now. I have 7 family members with MS and know what they go through. I wish you a wonderful 2016 and a return to excellent health. Karen

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