Native Sun News: Book offers hope to autoimmune sufferers

The following story was written and reported by Talli Nauman, Native Sun News Health & Environment Editor. All content © Native Sun News.

The authors of “Autoimmune: The Cause and the Cure” will give a free book presentation to celebrate the opening of Rapid City's first local-foods country store, operated by Black Hills Milk LLC.

RAPID CITY, SOUTH DAKOTA –– An energetic college cheerleader from Whitewood, South Dakota, Annesse Brockley unexpectedly paled to shadow of her former self when an autoimmune disorder got the upper hand with her.

She was healthy enough through her university years in Denver, where she met and married. But by the time she was back in South Dakota raising two children, her failing strength led to the diagnosis of lupus. Unwilling to succumb to the disease that claims many a young life, but unable to find an allopathic out, she began to study and experiment on herself. Her daughter Kristin Urdiales soon joined her in the search for alternatives.

Eventually they discovered a wealth of knowledge about the interactions of diet and body functions, which when put together, unlock good health. The result 30 years later: Brockley is still alive and raring to share her newfound understanding with Urdiales’ children and with readers of a book the mother-daughter team co-authored: Autoimmune, the Cause and the Cure.

The authors are scheduled to present the book at 2 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 18, to celebrate the opening of the first local-foods country store in Rapid City, located at the Heritage Nursery Building on 3500 West Chicago. They also will present it in Spearfish on Feb. 16, at the Red Barn Farmer’s Market. Both venues are operated by John and Dawn Habeck of Black Hills Milk LLC, a Belle Fourche dairy.

The book challenges readers to take control of their health by discarding commonly held pretenses about modern maladies and replacing them with good old, faithful nutritional wisdom. The authors identify the roots of -- and remedies for -- a number of diseases that our forebears rarely knew, namely chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, lupus, Sjogren’s, rheumatoid arthritis, Raynaud’s, rosacea, myasthenia gravis, Hashimoto’s, Type 2 diabetes, multiple sclerosis, and others.

Autoimmune, the Cause and the Cure is not just another self-help book. It is a godsend for patients with delicate immune systems as well as tough customers who just want to protect themselves from the everyday onslaught of synthetic chemicals and hormones in our environment and diet.

Given that the incidence of these autoimmune diseases has tripled in the last couple decades, with some 24 million Americans now affected, many people with loved ones experiencing impaired health will wish they could have read it sooner.

“Annesse Brockley and Kristin Urdiales have done a tremendous service to all who suffer from various ‘modern’ ailments,” says autoimmune sufferer Nancy Arey. “Brockley’s meticulous synthesis of published scientific data related to autoimmune and similar disorders shows conclusively that there is a very specific cause and a very simple cure,” she says. Arey calls the book “earth shattering”.

Brockley discovered the cause and cure in the process of saving herself, she told the Native Sun News. She recalls growing up in the Black Hills in the early 1970s, surviving on junk food and the American latch-key kid’s standard fare of burgers and fries.

“When we were married, I was mortified at what she wanted to eat,” her husband Mark Brockley said. “Her car was filled with Hostess Twinkies and candy wrappers.”

Now her staples are sauerkraut and kefir. In fact, she and Urdiales make some of the best in the world, and their techniques are part of an ongoing series of free workshops at the new country store.

Available from, Autoimmune, the Cause and the Cure explains why Brockley made the switch to immunity-boosting foods and how other people can repair damage done to their immune systems in order to recover good health.

Readers may come to the book prepared with the stock definition of what it means to be autoimmune: Having a body that mistakes a part of itself for a pathogenic enemy and attacks itself. But they will come away from the reading with an understanding that autoimmune disorders can be alleviated by treating their common denominator: pancreatic enzyme deficiency. The authors even propose to rename the category of autoimmune disease, calling it Pancreatic Enzyme Deficiency Disease, or PEDD.

So far, the category does not include the Acquired Immune-Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS), traced to infection by the Human Immune-Deficiency Virus (HIV), but rather the other so-called modern autoimmune diseases that can rear their ugly heads without the presence of the virus, Brockley cautions.

She and Urdiales offer up the medical and nutritional research that was taking place as they journeyed through the years to come up with their conclusions.

“We didn’t know what we were getting into when we started this journey,” Brockley says. But the learning and the experience has fortified her. From a semi-invalid who rarely set foot outside her yard for 10 years, she has transformed into a modest lecturer now on the book circuit. She and her daughter are looking forward to releasing a second edition.

She is presenting the book to Black Hills area civic groups, and Urdiales is taking it to health clubs in her adopted state of Colorado, not so much because the co-authors want to make money from the book sales as because it supplements their longtime arguments to friends and neighbors about the importance of certain foods in disease control.

Looking at the symptoms of different diseases for clues of a common source, Brockley and Urdiales not only researched the world-over on the web, they also went into their own kitchens to come up with tasty ways to prepare the probiotic and other medicinal foods that generate missing enzymes.

The beauty of taking part in their experiment is that if it doesn’t cure you, at least it will not hurt you as so many drugs, synthetic chemical concoctions and hospital visits can. In the authors’ words: “It would seem to make much more sense to simply fix the problem at the source rather than risk the serious side effects of such drugs.”

Conventional treatments have overlooked the dietary components in combating the rise of the modern autoimmune disease cluster. “Much more scientific knowledge is needed about probiotics,” a special report that appeared in the November issue of the Tufts University Health & Nutrition Letter concludes cautiously. Sharing their layman’s findings, Brockley and Urdiales make no bones about having any formal medical training, which may be just one reason the book is ground breaking.

Removed from the rigors of university and peer review, the authors were free to pioneer their own frontier. Their independent approach will not result in many accolades or any scientific journal publications but may nonetheless serve as a generous contribution to academics’ toolkit for advancing medicine. At the same time it provides direct relief to the ailing – which was their main goal.

“Studies from around the world have given us the scientific evidence to identify the cause of autoimmune disease,” the authors note. “Simply put, it all starts with the inability of your body to break down dietary proteins because you lack pancreatic enzymes.”

The deficiency may come about in different ways, but it is still the same deficiency in the end, leading scientists to support an “emerging theory about the origins of autoimmunity,” they say. So the question becomes: How do you get your enzymes working?

The authors come to the rescue with recipes for enzyme-rich foods. Raw milk, cultured milk, kefir “which means ‘feel good’ in Turkish”, unpasteurized apple cider and cider vinegar, open crock dill pickles, soaked nuts and sprouted seeds, raw organic local honey, dark chocolate, homemade chicken soup, green smoothies, and of course sauerkraut.

The raw, fermented, old-fashioned kind of sauerkraut contains the enzymes needed to do such things as clear up the red mask of rash symptomatic of lupus, Brockley found. But it won’t get rid of the associated fatigue. After her rash subsided, her blood tests showed she was low in vitamin B12 and high in cholesterol, which prompted medical professionals to advise she cut down on meat and take B12 shots.

Instead, she heretically posited that the meat was necessary for vitamin B12. But she wasn’t about to take B12 pills or injections because she was already painfully aware of the body’s complex system to metabolize B12 and proteins. Supplements can actually harm the body, she had learned.

“All I need to do is give it the raw materials to make me healthy,” she thought. She actually needed more fermented foods, and that is how her fermented foods diet was born. Her recipe book, which begins in Chapter 3, the Recovery, is called “Healing Your Gut.”

Telling all the secrets in it wouldn’t be fair, such as where canola oil really comes from or what’s wrong with boxed whole grain organic cereals that are mass produced, or why New York City banned shortening in public places, why medications for managing chronic disorders are a bad way to go, what licorice root can do for you, how that omega-packed Atlantic salmon is toxic, the reason chicken feed contains arsenic, who should avoid fluoride, or how come so many people these days are intolerant of a protein called gluten. But if you take to this book to heart, you will never take drugs or eat the same way again.

It can be a frightful challenge, because it forces you to think about giving up some of your favorite things, like microwave popcorn, and worse, going outside the radius of your route home from work to find unprocessed foods. But consider the options.

Priceless one-liners of pure common sense will guide you through the journey. Just remember this one: “When you have a mouse in the house, I think it is far better to set a mousetrap than to blow up the entire house to catch it. Herbs are the mousetrap. They will do the job of many pharmaceuticals without causing damage to your ‘house’.”

(Talli Nauman is the Health & Environment Editor for the Native Sun News. Contact her at