I have been at my computer for a long time today, because I want to pour everything I've learned about Hashimotos, and what it takes to conquer it, into this blog post. Although I know that there is too much to share in one post, or even three, today I'm sharing the information you will need if you too have been experiencing similar symptoms as I described in my previous two posts. To catch up with my journey, go and read THIS and THIS before going on to read this blog, which is part 3, and then come on back and join us.
You deserve answers.
I want to help you get them.
You deserve to feel like YOU again.
I want to show you how.
I thank my lucky stars that I had a doctor who is specializes in Women's Health and in autoimmune disease, because she recognized my symptoms right away and ordered the right tests for me. But sadly, that’s not the case for everyone. I’ve been amazed at how many of my clients have shared with me their story about how they left their doctors office undiagnosed, feeling hopeless, and totally confused, because their doctor couldn’t find anything wrong with them!
But why do they feel like a walking zombie?!
So many times when I ask them to bring me in their lab test results, I look over them, and find out the doctor didn't order a complete panel, and without a full panel there is no way to understand the ENTIRE picture.
This is not uncommon, there are approximately 300 million+ people suffering from thyroid dysfunction in the world, yet it is one of the most undiagnosed, misdiagnosed, and unrecognized health problems worldwide. So many of us are falling through the cracks, left to feel like crazy people while suffering through some extremely debilitating symptoms.
People go to the doctor with symptoms of fatigue, weight gain, depression, etc. and what tends to happen is that the doctor decides to run the “gold standard” of thyroid tests, which is the TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone). If the TSH falls within the ‘normal’ range, then the thyroid is declared "normal". Often times the only recommendations given are to take anti-depressant pills or to just “get more exercise!”
Here's a devastating statistic that Dr. Sarah Ballantyne gives, she wrote the book ‘The Paleo Approach‘ : "45% of people later diagnosed with serious autoimmune diseases are labeled as hypochondriacs in the early stages of their autoimmune diseases."
You aren’t crazy.
Your body is talking to you…listen to IT!
This is why I want you to find the right doctor, and I want to prepare you to go in knowing the right tests to ask for.
So, here you go my friends:
A full thyroid panel should include these 6 key thyroid lab tests:
TSH Free T4 Free T3 Reverse T3 *Thyroid Peroxidase Antibodies *Thyroglobulin Antibodies
Hashimotos, is an auto-immune disease where the body has turned on itself and attacks and destroys its own thyroid gland, the reason Hashimotos goes undiagnosed so often is because doctor’s fail to run two simple thyroid antibody tests:
*Thyroid Peroxidase Antibodies (TPOAb) and *Thyroglobulin Antibodies (TgAb).
Without the knowledge of autoantibody formation, there’s no way to accurately diagnose Hashimotos.
Autoantibody formation is an accident that happens in all of our bodies. Approximately 30% of us at any given time have detectible autoantibodies in our body. But, our bodies have a fail-safe mechanism in them that is suppose to recognize that our immune system isn't attacking a foreign invader, but is instead attacking our own body's tissue, like the thyroid. It should back off, but with Hashimotos, those fail-safes fail. Overtime enough damage happens to the thyroid and that's when we start to see symptoms of disease.
For me, this is where my test revealed that I had both elevated Thyroid Peroxidase Antibodies and Thyroglobulin Antibodies, yet I was within the normal range for all the other thyroid tests. If my doctor had failed to test my antibodies and only looked at my TSH, etc. she very well might have sent me along my merry way, with zero answers as to why I had all these symptoms. But because she asked for the thyroid antibody tests, we learned that my immune system’s fail-safe mechanism failed, and that I have Hashimotos.
But it gets exciting! Because diet and lifestyle has a direct impact on immune health, we can provide the body with the opportunity to actually heal damaged tissue. This is where reversal of symptoms can occur.
Over the past five years, I've studied and have finally learned what works. I've learned that through eating gut-healing foods (if you have Hashimotos, you probably have a leaky gut), anti-inflammatory foods and eliminating inflammatory foods from my diet, adding the right nutritional supplements, also changing up my exercise habits and managing my stress better, I have been able to reverse my symptoms.
It's a process, but it's worth it! My body, over the last year has been dropping the weight, Im down 15lbs from the 25lbs I gained, which is a miracle! I used to be able to drop that kind of weight in a month, but with Hashimotos it's much more slow going. But, that's ok! I'm thrilled! I never thought the weight could come off. I'm sleeping so much better, my skin and mind are clear again. Hooray! But, the best part is that I have my energy back, which allows me to show up in life again...I missed my old energetic self!
I'm so excited to share with you everything I can, Like I said, I know I can't share everything in one blog post, but I'm going to make this post a little longer than most, so that I can give you some more important information that can empower you right now.
Keep reading if you'd like to know what foods you should eliminate (at least initially) while trying to heal the gut, calm the immune system and become asymptomatic.
Here's the list:
Grains!These foods contain prolamins and agglutins, which impair digestion, cross the gut barrier largely in tact, damage the intestinal lining and set off the immune system. Grains also contain digestive enzyme inhibitors, phytates and phytic acid (anti-nutrients that interfere with the absorption of food) which survive cooking, resist digestion, and also cause intestinal permeability, dysbiosis, and worsen immune activation.
Gluten! The protein portion of gluten, called gliadin, is the best example of a prolamin. These gliadin fragments create holes at the tight junctions of the gut barrier which allows various contents of the digestive system to leak into the body. Inflammation is then triggered by the gliadin fragments that cross the gut barrier as well as other partially digested food proteins, gut bacteria, bacterial fragments and toxic waste products. This causes a viscous cycle of inflammation and gut-barrier damage, and is why gluten is the most troublesome for those with gut issues or autoimmune disease. (Side note: Many prescription medications can also contain gluten. … Luckily, most thyroid medications are gluten free, but we need to be careful with the various generic brands of Levothyroxine (only 2 are gluten-free), as well as Cytomel. (Source: Dr. Isabella Wentz, www.thethyroidpharmacist.com) pseudo-grains and grain-like substances! Foods such as amaranth, buckwheat and quinoa contain many of the same substances that impair the digestive process as grains do. They have been known to cause intestinal permeability, worsen dysbiosis, and activate the immune system.
Dairy! For those with gut issues or autoimmune disease, there are many reasons to avoid dairy products. First, dairy is a common allergenic food (1-17% of children and 1-4% of adults.) For these people, even trace amounts of dairy found in ghee can be a problem. However, even without a lactose intolerance, dairy products contain protease inhibitors that may contribute to intestinal permeability. Dairy increases mucous production, which can irritate the gut lining and hinder nutrient absorption. Lastly, dairy proteins are also known to be gluten cross-reactors, which means dairy can stimulate a person’s immune system as if they were eating gluten!
Legumes! Like grains and pseudo-grains, legumes contain many of the same substances that impair the digestive process, cause intestinal permeability, worsen dysbiosis and activate the immune system.
Soy! Soy is a goitrogen that should be avoided in those with Hashimoto’s. It blocks the activity of the TPO enzyme. Soy has been linked to the development of autoimmune thyroiditis and should be avoided by those with Hashimoto’s.
Refined vegetable oils! Oils like canola, corn and soybean oils, are high in pro-inflammatory omega-6 fatty acids. Additionally, the manufacturing process to produce these oils results in toxic end-products forming free radicals. Free radicals damage DNA, RNA, cell membranes, vascular walls, and red blood cells, all of which cascade into deeper damage.
Added sugars! Added to the majority of packaged snacks, breads, condiments, canned items, cereals, etc. which make these nutrient-poor foods highly addictive and keep you craving MORE and MORE! Also, increased consumption leads to issues with blood sugar regulation, which can look like insulin resistance, high blood sugar levels, hypoglycemia and diabetes. Regulating your blood sugar and maintaining insulin sensitivity is paramount to regulating your immune system and reducing inflammation.
One could very easily look at this list and think “What the freak?! IS THERE ANYTHING LEFT TO EAT???” And the answer is ABSOLUTELY, POSITIVELY!
When I first decided that I was going to commit to eliminating symptom aggravating foods from my diet and only eat nourishing and healing foods (because I was so sick and tired of always feeling sick and tired), I seriously sat everyone in my family down and warned them that this was what I was going to do and that I'd probably be very miserable and very horrible to be around, but please still love me!!
Here’s the deal though. I came to the determination to feel good again and YOU want to feel better too, right?" So if I can do it, so can you!
True it might mean, you have to eliminate everything on this list initially, or perhaps go even deeper. I did.
Stay with me.For those with several autoimmune conditions, or who are highly symptomatic, you may need to eliminate other possible gut-irritants in foods like eggs, nuts, seeds and nightshades through an Auto-Immune Protocol Diet (AIP). But that doesn’t mean you are stuck eating this way forever.
Personally, I was able to become symptom free by simply following an AIP diet for 5 months and then continuing to follow a paleo-ish diet, removing the foods in the list you see above.
I feel better, and I don’t WANT those foods back into my diet.
But, everyone is different, so YOU might be able to reintroduce some of the foods on the list back into your diet systematically, after you have given your immune system a rest.
I work with clients on adapting this lifestyle, as well as walking them through the re-introduction process, and what I see is that the signs of reactions are different from person to person. What one can tolerate is never the same as the next person. That’s why there is never a one-size-fits-all approach to diet. It takes time and diligence, but once you figure out YOUR sweet spot, it’s a beautiful place to live!!!!
You remember how I was so scared to get started because I thought it would be so miserable? Well, it wasn't as hard as I thought it was going to be at all, and all of my relationships are still intact.
The key for me, was to BE PREPARED.
As long as I had the right foods, ready to go, or at least easy to prepare, I felt like eating this way was no problem at all, in fact it is AWESOME! And, I feel awesome, and it doesn't get any awesomer than that...so to share the awesome, I want to share morewith you!
Would it help you to have a FREE meal plan? I want to take away some of your guess work... you've got enough to think about right now. This is a meal plan that I designed to help me feel like I don't have Hashimotos any more! I want you to feel like that too! Even if you don't have Hashimotos, it's still an amazing diet to help anyone feel their best. My whole family has agreed that when they eat like this they feel better, have more energy and they all lost weight (way more and way faster than me!). I'm including recipes and a grocery list, to help you get on your way to feeling good again!!! Yay!! I hope you love it! Click HERE, so I know how to send it to you. Cool beans.
Ok, because I always want to be truthful and because knowledge is power, I do need to say...it’s not a cure. There is no cure for Hashimotos. Once the ability to attack our own body has been learned by the immune system, it cannot be unlearned. There is always the chance for Hashimotos symptoms to come back. A stressful event or an accidental exposure to a food trigger, can bring the disease symptoms back with a vengeance.
But, back to the happy part, with the correct diet and a healthy and balanced lifestyle, the right medications and nutritional supplements, Hashimotos CAN become asymptomatic and you can go into remission.
I want to leave you with a feeling of hope and determination!
I am so devoted to this lifestyle. I’m not messing around anymore. This is my one life, and I want to live it the best I can! Don't you?
Please let me know if you have any questions. And, I'd LOVE to know if you feel less confused, overwhelmed and hopeless and more empowered to be your own best advocate when it comes to your health!
That's my hope and prayer.
I'll continue to keep this conversation going and will share more helpful information, yummy recipes and workout ideas and of course motivation to conquer autoimmune disease.
Let's have a Happy + Healthy LIFE!
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