Lessons from the Thyroid (part II)

I hope everyone had an awesome Thanksgiving!

Here’s part two of my thyroid story, for those interested:

The first thing I did (after my initial freak-out) after getting a diagnosis was to read as much as I could about it on the internet. I was careful to source my information from websites that seemed reputable, and I only tried things that didn’t strike me as too good to be true. Because, let’s face it, if it seems too good, it is too good.

I found a number of good blogs while I was doing this, and a number of bad ones. I also happened to luck out and get in on The Thyroid Sessions as they were being released, so I didn’t have to pay for them. The site is really gimmicky looking, but I know for a fact that there is good information to be had if you watch them. I’ll be honest though, I probably wouldn’t have watched them if they hadn’t been free, so I wouldn’t blame you for not watching.

My criteria for a “good” blog is rooted in whole foods and a certain holistic approach to life in general. Everything is connected in some way, whether we are able to identify the connection or not. It doesn’t make sense to treat anything (physical or otherwise) in a singular way, which is why the “magic bullet” mentality of western medicine doesn’t resonate with me. Sure, those bullets will treat symptoms (sometimes really effectively), but they are rarely effective at actually resolving the issue because they hardly address the root cause. In this case I could take the synthetic hormone replacement and I’m sure it would make me feel better, but if I hadn’t changed my eating habits I would still be doing damage to my thyroid. While I wouldn’t necessarily feel in poor health, I would be stuck with the medication for the rest of my life and my body wouldn’t have a proper chance to heal.

So the very first thing I learned was about the gluten-thyroid connection. Or, more specifically, the gut-thyroid connection: If your digestive system is malfunctioning in some way, chances are your thyroid isn’t far behind. Once I managed to heal my gut a little I could have a bit of gluten here and there, but I still avoid it as much as possible because I feel terrible after I’ve had too much.

I know, “but gluten-free is such a fad,” you say. Or, “I eat that stuff all the time and I feel fine!”

I said those things too. And, honestly, the only reason I cut gluten out of my diet was because I read so much about it negatively affecting thyroid function. I didn’t think it made me feel bad when I was eating it regularly. Bad was just my normal and I had no idea. None. Removing gluten was just an experiment, and it turned out to be one of the things that changed my life for the better.

People tell me all the time that what they eat doesn’t make a difference in how they feel. I’m here to tell you that it does. The biggest lesson I’ve learned from my thyroid is that the old adage “you are what you eat” is more true than most of us realize. My journey with food has left me more connected with my body. I’m a more grounded person than I was 3 years ago because of the choices I’ve been making when it comes to diet. I know that sounds really strange, but food is such a large part of life that decisions you make about what you eat have a significance that impacts your life in ways that are small, but powerful.

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2 thoughts on “Lessons from the Thyroid (part II)

  1. I have a hair thinning issue. When I cut gluten off my diet, my hair fell off in bunches,much more than before. Wheat is a staple in our diet. Cutting it out made things worse for me. How did you substitute the complex carbs found in wheat?

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    • I never went what is considered strictly paleo because I never cut potatoes and beans from my diet. Neither of those are technically paleo foods, but it didn’t occur to me to follow the diet religiously in regards to starches, mostly because I’ve always had a certain amount of disdain for dieting in general and it didn’t make sense to me to stop eating them. I also discovered that quinoa is rather delicious when prepared correctly as a pilaf or a breakfast porridge and fermented/soaked oats for breakfast once I started adding grains back in.
      Now my baked goods have brown rice flour, though not very much, and I’ve added einkorn flour to my pantry. The einkorn is great because the gluten is easier to digest and I can make legitimate bread with it (I missed bread).
      If you’re concerned about the gluten still you can try sprouted wheat, or the einkorn flour of you enjoy bread-making.
      I hope I answered your question. I’ve got a bit of pregnancy brain going on right now.

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