*deep breath* This post has been a long time coming. While I started this blog as a journey to chronicle my health and hypothyroid symptoms, I’ve found that changing my fuel (read: food) helped to increase my athletic abilities. I started by transitioning to pescatarian, then vegetarian, and finally vegan.
How I Helped My Hypothyroid Symptoms With A Paleo Diet
And then I got pregnant with Smalls and everything went to hell in a hand basket, except for the kid. I’ll happily keep him.
While I am proud to say that I maintained a vegan diet for my entire pregnancy, I gained over 60 pounds (yes, you read that right), and I’m still fighting to get the extra weight off. Part of that fight has to do with my hypothyroid diagnosis.
About 6 months ago, when I couldn’t keep my eyes open, couldn’t care for my son, and quite seriously thought that I was severely depressed because I quite honestly didn’t care about anything, I was told that all of these symptoms (which some blood work confirmed) were caused by an under active thyroid, and that I would have to take a pill for the rest of my life.
The news hit me hard.
I felt like a failure, broken, and completely hopeless. Hypothyroid means:
- weight gain,
- low energy,
- low body temperature…
…and what’s worse, it can cause infertility. Smalls just turned 3, and I want another child at some point. So I started researching. And I went a little crazy. I read EVERY.SINGLE.BOOK. I could find that had anything to do with Hashimoto’s or Thyroid disorders.
I Didn’t Stop There.
So I started looking into other options: diet, natural supplements, even baltic amber. I tried amber, and it did nothing for my thyroid levels.
I tried to adjust my vegetarian diet to accommodate the rather large list of things that I should not be eating (cauliflower, broccoli, kale…a LOT of my staples)…don’t even get me started on my attempts at gluten free cooking!
Maybe if I’d had a good gluten free cookbook I would have done better…. But I didn’t seem to be improving no matter what I did. I was told that it would take up to 3 months for me to feel “normal” again.
But all the Synthroid did was make me foggy, cranky, and generally really, really bitchy. Not something that I’m proud of, and I’m sure that Ish wasn’t terribly thrilled that I’d morphed into a constant ball of PMS. I certainly didn’t like myself much. But I kept my head down and waited. It had to get better…right? But you know what? I didn’t get better. If anything, I got worse.
So while I waited for “normal” to appear, I started looking for other options. I found that most people who struggle with Hypothyroid aren’t terribly successful on a vegan or vegetarian diet because of the restrictions, especially if you choose whole, natural foods over processed.
During this research, I came across Essential Oils, and read some amazing testimonials of people who had seen an improvement in their symptoms with some natural supplements (I am 100% sure that a healthy diet plays a part, too, but if you want to heal, you have to rebuild your damaged thyroid gland).
After about 2 months of personal deliberation, I took the plunge and placed an order.
I was VERY skeptical.
I was super skeptical that these supplements could help me with my struggle. But they did!
So I did more research and chose supplements that science said would help my thyroid recover and I started stalking the poor Fed Ex guy (he must think I’m nuts…seriously). While I was waiting, I dug deep down and had to look inside myself….
I need meat.
I spent a long time doing a lot of deep soul-searching, prayer and had a lot of internal struggles. I knew that I had to change my diet, and everything was pointing me toward a Paleo or Primal diet. Every piece of research, every successful testimony that I read involved *gulp* meat.
I originally changed my diet because I wanted to lose weight, but after reading a number of amazing books (Skinny Bitch, anyone?), I decided that I just didn’t have it in me to hurt animals. And I still believe that factory farms are cruel and inhumane. But I can’t ignore the fact that I was not well on a vegan diet.
I was far from it. I was sicker than I’d ever been, gaining weight like crazy, even though I was working out a crazy amount of time every day (2.5 hours!), and eating less than 1,250 calories. Something had to change. A girlfriend loaned me her book Practical Paleo, and I started reading.
I also started to talk to my Paleo and Primal friends. They were feeling amazing. They were losing weight. Major health issues (ADD, ADHD, depression, thyroid dysfunction) were disappearing. But I still had to make that mental leap. If I was going to heal, I had to start eating meat. Quite honestly, the thought of eating meat made me a little bit nauseous. Okay, a LOT nauseous. But I knew that what I was doing was not working and that if I wanted to heal, I had to take some drastic measures.
So I took the plunge. I started with bacon (sourced from a local farmer who loves his animals) omelets in the mornings. It was amazing the amount of energy that I had! I didn’t need to take a nap after my workout!
What happened next
Initially, I kept to my veggie roots with lunch and dinner, and have been slowly been introducing more and more Paleo/Primal/whole foods meals. I found even more awesome meal planning resources and a couple of delicious recipes in a few eCookbooks and haven’t looked back. Smalls wasn’t sure at first, but he’s enjoying the variety now. Ish was ecstatic.
After about a week, my Young Living order showed up (I’m cheap, and I could have overnighted it, but I chose the cheapest shipping option), and can honestly say, I’ve never been more excited to get a package in the mail! I may or may not have hugged the Fed Ex lady.
NOW I was ready. To help myself feel better, I knew that I needed to try:
- Endoflex (which supports a healthy lifestyle)
- Digest & Cleanse, and
Please consult your endocrinologist or primary care physician before you start any natural thyroid regime in conjunction with medications.
Change is GOOD.
It’s been a long, long road, and has required a lot of self-care and reflection, but honestly, I am just glad to feel like me. Finally.
So there it is. I’ve felt like I couldn’t really be myself for these past few months on the blog, but with this out there, now I can share my joy with everyone. I’ve found that there is a path that each individual has to find for themselves, and sometimes that path may be a bit surprising (it certainly was to me! I was not prepared for this to work, but it did!), but no one person’s path is right for another.
You have to find the path that makes you the best YOU that you can be. That’s what this journey is all about.
Disclaimer: I am not a doctor, and was on a very low dose of Synthroid. Please consult your physician or naturopath before you begin a natural regime to regulate any glandular dysfunction or any function that you are currently medicated for. Everybody is different. Please take care and follow the advice of your doctor. If you’re not happy, seek a second opinion, but don’t go this alone.