Thyroid disease runs in my family and I have always struggled with my weight. I eat better than so many people in my family and I was still the heaviest no matter what diets or exercise routines I tried.
I had been doing research on my own and recently learned about Hashimoto’s so I knew to ask for an antibody test for Hashimoto’s because the symptoms lined up with what I had been experiencing.
My Hashimoto disease symptoms.
I had extreme fatigue. My body would be so swollen and stiff that I felt like I was ninety years old trying to move around in the morning and the evening.
My back pain was constant even though I saw a chiropractor regularly. The best way to describe the feeling was that my spine felt swollen. I had always struggled with my weight ever since I was a child, I was two hundred pounds at the age of fourteen and it slowly kept adding up. I had skin issues and it wasn’t just acne; chicken skin and dry skin areas were common.
I had (and still do to a point as I go through this healing process) major brain fog. I forget what I was saying mid sentence. I try to put things away in the wrong place. I will find myself staring off into space and zoning out quite frequently, especially when the fatigue hits. There is so much more.
I went to see my naturopathic practitioner and requested to have my thyroid tested as well as the antibodies, but she was already ahead of me and ordered thorough testing.
The test came back in the 80’s. 35 is confirmed Hashimoto’s. She told me because I was already gluten free that probably helped the numbers to not be in the hundreds, or even the thousands.
Let me take a step back and explain what exactly Hashimoto’s disease is.
What is Hashimoto thyroid disease?
The Mayo Clinic defines Hashimoto’s as:
“Hashimoto’s disease is a condition in which your immune system attacks your thyroid, a small gland at the base of your neck below your Adam’s apple. The thyroid gland is part of your endocrine system, which produces hormones that coordinate many of your body’s activities.The resulting inflammation from Hashimoto’s disease, also known as chronic lymphocytic thyroiditis, often leads to an underactive thyroid gland (hypothyroidism). Hashimoto’s disease is the most common cause of hypothyroidism in the United States. It primarily affects middle-aged women but also can occur in men and women of any age and in children.”
Hashimoto’s is an autoimmune disease. It displays symptoms of both hypo and hyper thyroid. Mix that with adrenal fatigue and you can imagine how fun this is.
Hashimoto’s is also becoming more and more common with 90% of anyone suffering from hypothyroid does in fact also have Hashimoto’s. Many doctors do not do the right testing. A regular TSH and thyroid panels will not always show Hashimoto’s.
My immune system is attacking my own body. Specifically, my thyroid. It affects my brain, so I have trouble remembering things, forgetting what I was saying mid sentence, or forgetting what I was walking to do. This was scary news, but I finally had answers after 15 years of searching for them.
I broke down. I was sitting on the floor next to my husband in our hallway outside the door of our sleeping babies. I had researched what Hashimoto’s was, the causes, solutions, management, anything and everything.
I was terrified that I passed these genes onto my children.
I was sad for all the things I had to give up and make a drastic life change. I was having a little bit of a pity party.
My husband reminded me that my health was the most important thing. That it wasn’t worth trading for food that would hurt my body, and my mental clarity was more important then what I would have to give up. I knew what I had to do.
What happens if Hashimoto is not treated.
A lot can happen!
Your well being will be negatively impacted. In some rare cases untreated Hashimoto’s can lead to Hashimoto encephalopathy which can cause strokes and brain damage. Having any autoimmune disease makes you more susceptible to getting others like Graves disease, MS, Lupus, ect.
If left untreated Hashimoto’s can wreak havoc on your health. Many people have even been misdiagnosed with mental illness when it was really their thyroid that needed help. The symptoms will get worse and grow into other symptoms if left with an untreated thyroid.
Choosing a natural way to treat my Hashimoto.
I am choosing to deal with this in a more natural way. I do not want to take pharmaceuticals and mask my symptoms while becoming dependent on these drugs, unless that is my last option. This is my personal choice on what course both my Doctor and myself feel is best for me.
My numbers were not in the thousands so I do not believe I need the thyroid drugs at this point. I am not saying my approach will work for everyone, I am simply sharing what information I have gathered and the approach I am trying to get my Hashimorto’s into remission.
I have cut out grains completely from my diet. I am doing elimination diets with other inflammatory foods like diary and eggs. I have cut out all sugar except limited grade B Maple syrup, Raw untreated honey, coconut sugar, or date sugar.
Organic and non genetically modified foods are a must. Because we are on a budget, I buy some conventional produce if it is on the clean 15 list. I drink and cook with water that has been through a reverse osmosis system. I use body care products without chemicals and parabens. I cut out coffee and drink more herbal tea. I do most of my organic food shopping on thrive market; they have the best deals on organic foods.
I found a recipe for a herbal “coffee” made from roasted dandelion and chicory root which I will try soon. I try to eat at least 1/4 cup of coconut oil a day in my tea, cooking with it, or even as a substitute for butter.
My girls are both gluten free, non-gmo/organic, limited grains diet. They do not eat sugar except what was mentioned. I know I may seem over the top and too strict for some people, but I don’t want my children to have to go through this if I can help it.
I will have an allergy test done in a few months to see if there is any other surprising foods I should steer clear from. I will also have genetic testing done to see if I have the MTHFR gene mutation and any other markers.
3 Months after changing my diet.
I am entering my third month of this new lifestyle and I am feeling so much better. I found it is best to focus on what I can have and not so much dwelling on what I can’t. I take selenium, a plant based thyroid support, probiotics, and other supplements. I try to have as much bone broth in my diet as I can to help heal my gut.
A leaky gut is the root of so many autoimmune diseases – if not all. I try to go to bed by 9:30 and get as much sleep as possible with two toddlers, one of which is still nursing at night.
I didn’t realize that my back ache and the feeling of my spine being swollen was because of my diet including inflammatory foods. I have lost 25 pounds, but I do not focus on losing weight, that is a plus.
My focus is on getting healthy for myself and my family.
My fatigue has lessoned greatly. I just have to pace myself and be careful to not over do it. Last week the girls both caught a touch of the cold and my body was fighting it off so my fatigue came back with a vengeance. I have my days when it hits me, I try to rest as much as possible. I have had a hard time dealing with my inner critic on days like this, but cutting myself some slack and silencing that critic is part of my healing journey.
In addition, I am dealing with my emotional healing and trying to work through things that have come up from my past. I know my healing has to come from within, just as much as the outward changes. I am working through emotional and spiritual healing as well.
“Our healing can only go as far as our most limiting belief will let it…because we’ll eventually sabatoge every effort in our healing…if we don’t believe we are worth living “ -Stacy Robbins
I will be tested in a few months to see if my numbers are better, and I truly believe they will be because I feel better.
Is it possible to get Hashimoto into remission?
Yes. Some people manage to get their Hashimoto’s into remission. It will always be there and will have flare ups.
But as long as I remain in this healing lifestyle I believe I can get there too.
I am finding substitutes for a lot of my favorite foods so they will be grain free. On the other hand, I am finding new favorites. 🙂
I truly believe healing is a mind, body, emotional and spiritual journey.
I continue to research, watch videos from specialists, and listen to podcasts on healing my gut, Hashimoto’s, balancing hormones, adrenal fatigue, and my overall health.
I wanted to share this with you because this is such a crossroads in my life.
Big changes are happening. And I feel there is not enough information out there about alternative healing and Hashimoto’s. One very helpful website that has given me recipes and my first crash course in Hashimoto’s was Wellness Mama.
These changes may seem extreme…they are.
Living with an incurable disease that could have been prevented if I had this knowledge earlier in life is a motivation for me to make sure I do everything in my power to help my children lead positive healthy lives without this issue.
Our children do what we do more then what we tell them to do. We lead by example.
I want my girls to love food as much as I do, to love cooking and baking. I want them to have happy memories of baking cookies, but to know what ingredients can help us stay healthy and fuel our bodies. That’s what food is after all, fuel.
The amount of sugar in our foods today is disgusting. Ketchup (even the organic) has cane sugar. Childhood obesity, diabetes, allergies, and other health issues are on the rise. 1 in 3 children in the U.S. are obese. This is the future generations we are talking about.
I know I don’t want my children, future grandchildren and further generations to need a shot of insulin every day.Or have kids that have to carry an epi pen because of a life threatening food allergy, deal with being overweight, or having an autoimmune disease.
We as mothers have such a powerful voice in our children’s life, and in the marketplace.
Change starts with one person. One mother. One father. One child. One home.
Lets make it a positive and healthy change.
Image courtesy Cocoparisienne