My Hashimoto's Journey...
I am a mother of 3 wonderful children, and a nurse practicing at a Family Medicine Clinic.
I'd been feeling badly for several months (cold hands and feet, fatigue, insomnia bouts, irritability, pain, high cholesterol... to name a few) and went to my PCM nurse practitioner. Previously, I had adopted a much cleaner eating/exercise regimen, per Dr. Mark Hyman's teachings. See the bottom of this page for an informative video from him about clean eating and living.
This was me, before my change...
Following Dr, Hyman's plan, I had lost 30 pounds in 6 months, quit smoking, and, in my opinion, was looking and feeling great. Then, these other symptoms started occurring, and I researched some more. My research indicated to me that I may have Hashimotos. I went to my doctor, armed with this knowledge. My practitioner told me these symptoms were indicative of aging, and I needed to accept the fact that even though I was trying so hard to improve myself, that I was getting older. I insisted this was not the case here, and asked her to run thyroid antibodies labs on me. I came up positive on both counts (TG Abs and TPO ABs). The diagnosing definition of Hashimoto's.
I have, since those labs, done extensive research on Hashimoto's. I learned that diet, stress, toxins and infections can compromise the gut lining, with results such as intestinal hyperpermeability...also known as leaky gut. Further research into this condition through pioneers such as Dr. Alesio Fasano's discovery of "zonulin" and its impact upon the gut and autoimmune disease really inspired me.
And so I went even further into optimal living with food than my previous plan. I went gluten and dairy free. I do not eat CAFO meat, processed, packaged foods of any kind, as additives contained in those foods can make the food more antigenic. A food that is antigenic, by definition, will produce antibodies. Therefore, one-ingredient foods are my mainstay. I skip breakfast to allow proper digestion of the previous day's food (this is called intermittent fasting). For more information, click here). I drink a 16 oz cup a day of oolong or herbal tea and half my body weight in ounces of organic lemon water per day. I make all my lunches for the work week organically, with a salad and avocado as the main course; I eat only non-GMO. no preservatives. No vegetable oils, artificial colors or high-fructose corn syrups do I consume. No unfermented soy products, especially soy protein isolate. I use natural sweeteners for my baking (I do not buy ready-made baked goods). All are made by me at home, with only sweeteners in the form of coconut, palm sugar or raw honey. For dinner, I consume wild-caught fish, or organic chicken or grass-fed steak, with more salad, and a side of my own homemade bread. I also use nutritional compounds to support any deficiencies while watching my labs closely for necessary adjustments.
Living optimally in good health is a systems-based approach, and more needs to be addressed than the all important proper nutrient consumption:
So...I extend this dedication to my household cleaners, and all personal products, to include fragrances, makeup, hair dyes, nail polish and hairspray, as these products contain chemicals detrimental to the thyroid and the body. One of the reasons why many more women than men acquire thyroid disease or other autoimmunities, as well as weight gain, is because they use products that contain so many systems altering chemicals. I even quit dying my hair, and am using henna only. I use Environmental Working Group (EWG) to check all ratings on personal hygiene and household cleaning products before buying them. EWG also has some wonderful apps to download to your phone to make informed choices on what hygiene products are safe for the body to buy, a Food Score guide for what you buy at the store, and which foods to consume organic. I have removed BPA and fluoridated water as much as possible from my life, other known and well-documented endocrine disruptors. Read more about what I do here.
I am happy to say that my lab ranges are now all optimal by functional medicine standards. I look and feel great. Better than I have ever felt in my life. You would never guess to look at me that I am 51 years old! I have energy that is boundless, and I am very happy, whereas before I had an anxiety disorder, with depression. I enjoy my new foods immensely, and I feel no loss whatsoever by the giving up of all processed foods. I discovered that all foods I previously enjoyed have a healthy option. Yes, even Starbuck's Frappuccino! I eat all day within my eating window, and wouldn't trade my new self for anything.
I live and breathe this lifestyle. I never recommend anything to my clients that I haven't tried myself.
This is me now:
I rediscovered that exercise and relaxation are key in any health improvement journey. Choosing the right kind and implementing them as much as possible in the lifestyle is highly recommended. Choosing the right kind, while not overdoing intense exercise is an optimal choice.
I do 5-10 minutes of HIIT (high interval intensity training) Monday through Friday, using body weight and dumbbells at home for targeted muscle groups. I go on walks, go mountain bike riding as well. I do restorative yoga weekly. I do Epsom salt baths by candlelight together with soothing music. Rest versus chronic stress is imperative to resolve and prevent adrenal fatigue, a source of much angst in Hashimoto's. Too much stress and not enough rest is a deal-breaker. Nothing you eat will make you well. Unfortunately, many people are too busy to relax, but it is imperative for wellness.
I feel MUCH better. I have managed to work through 24 conditions of my own since adopting a cleaner, whole foods style of living. I have been able to stop taking all of my pain medications (and all others) - a 15 year habit since the military.
SOME of the sites I used for information on how live optimally with autoimmunity are outlined below, in no particular order:
I suggest to all thyroid patients to subscribe to these Facebook sites:
Your Thyroid Pharmacist, Dr. Izabella Wentz I am one of her recommended practitioners
Hashi's Need Good Food
Mary Shomon: Thyroid Patient Advocate, Author
And these websites:
Your Thyroid Pharmacist, Dr. Izabella Wentz
Dr. Kharrazian News
Hope for Hashimotos
The Paleo Mom
The following is a great place to start to learn about thyroid disease:
An Overview of Hypothyroidism - by Mary Shomon
For those that are not thyroid patients, please check out the below (although thyroid patients can use them as well)
Dr. Mark Hyman (video spots are best- especially his keynote speech at the UMD school of medicine...link is at the end of this blog)
Mark's Daily Apple
The Weston A Price Foundation
Note: the above sites also benefit thyroid clients...
Read extensively...your answer to your own personal optimal health is located within these sites.
EDUCATE, EDUCATE, EDUCATE! DAILY!
Living well, as described by me and the above sites, is the ticket to success in feeling and being well. Use me as your sounding board, guide, example... anything I can do to support and guide you in integrating these changes into your life, I will. I feel better now at 51, than I have ever felt my whole life! You are well important enough to do this for yourself as well. And YOU are the only one who can do it, as it means a WHOLE lifestyle change...
I can give you a lot of help...ie...books to read. Yes, books! FB pages to join, blogs to read... the lifestyle changes that need implementing are good for everyone to get healthy with. Implementing Dr. Hyman's principles would be a fantastic start. Food can make you well, or sick. I use it as medicine now...let me be your sounding board, your go-to person for info.
Below is a fantastic, very informative video to watch, from Dr. Mark Hyman delivering a keynote speech at the UMD School of Medicine, that gives you a synopsis on how to live a healthy lifestyle in much more detail than I myself have just given. He is inspiring, and my hero...
I'm looking forward to hearing from you
yours in health,