WHAT I WENT THROUGH
For YEARS brain fog-filled-days had me making lots of wrong decisions. Wrong decisions about healthy relationships, wrong decisions about setting up and maintaining healthy boundaries with the people that weren’t healthy for my life, and on top of that… all the wrong decisions about food. Everyday just seemed to have me in a state of existence, and I wasn’t really thinking.
Those closest to me wondered why I was so weak. Emotionally weak. Physically weak. Decisively weak.
During those years, I faced tall hurdles and it was all because I was eating the wrong foods for my condition. You see, I had no idea that I had Celiac Disease, and Hypothyroidism. My doctors never tested me for either. Because of this neglect, I, and those around me, suffered. Greatly.
As soon as I was diagnosed with Celiac Disease in 2009, the previous decades (days loaded with sadness, depression, continual ‘brain fog,’ never-ending weight gain, joint pain, inflammation, losing hair, raspy voice, dry skin, irritability, infertility, raging anger -there’s more… dare I list it all?) finally started to make sense. I learned that my Hypothyroid status was a symptom of Celiac Disease, so no, I wasn’t losing it. Rather, my hormones and body were out of control, causing my health to plummet out of control.
Fast forward to now. I’ve done an immense amount of guinea-pig type experimentation on myself over the past 3+ years. Through the decades, I’ve tried it all. Endless Supplements. Vegan Food. Raw Food. Magnetic bracelets. Dessicated organs. Colostrum. You name, I’ve bought it. I’ve tried it and I spent thousands of dollars doing it. I was so desperate to find “the answer” because I wanted to feel better. Funny enough, it all came down to the food I was, and wasn’t eating. Living in an out-of-order way was also a contributor. Prior, I had been living as a Vegan/Macrobiotic for over 5 years, but this type of eating was destroying my health!
MY SINCEREST TO YOU
I would like to stress how important it is that you be around healthy-minded people. Don’t let yourself suffer through relationships where you are constantly being taken advantage of, harassed or antagonized. Don’t get caught up in gossip chains. Stay away from negative people, your health depends on it. Of course, we are called to have compassion for people, but you will NOT be a good friend or of any good use to anyone, if you are constantly caught up in their crazy drama. Sooner or later, it will infiltrate your life. Let’s be frank here. When the brain fog has you down, you will not think straight. Just be aware. Don’t let yourself gravitate to the first person or group who pays attention to you when you are down. Make sure you monitor the healthiness of their life and know they are trustworthy people you can rely on. If you trust in God as I do, God will not be angry if you decide to walk away from those who keep you down. He does not want you to lose your inner peace and faith. Trust in Him to provide a new road to regaining healthy boundaries.
While social media offers us a way to connect to others dealing with the exact situations and illnesses, there are an abundance of Facebook pages and groups that have Hypothyroid and Autoimmune Disease victims sulking in their misery, rather than providing trustworthy guidance to help initiate positive changes. Most so called “Advocates” of Autoimmune diseases would rather have you pay them for every piece of advice they put out, or buy every supplement they suggest. Most of these types of “Advocates” are only in it for themselves while disguising that they are there for you.
Down below, you will see that I have listed the products I use. I do not get paid to endorse any products. Unless they see this article, the companies listed will probably not even know I’m even sharing their products with you!
By nature, I am not a lengthy writer, (this will probably be my longest blog post ever!) so the list of what I’ve done to rid the Hypothyroidism that paralyzed my life, will hopefully be clear for you. I will try my best to be as detailed as possible. OK, let’s get started.
What I have included in my daily life:
First of all, it is important to understand that the foods you are eating could be making your condition worse! For 20 years, I was juicing fresh, raw kale, collards, strawberries, etc and drinking this everyday. These are Goitrogenic foods. I had no idea I was making things worse for myself. What are Goitrogenic Foods? They are said to block the iodine your thyroid needs. I now focus on eating Anti-Inflammatory foods each and every day.
1). A Paleo Eating Style = Eating Paleo wasn’t a conscious decision for me. Coming from a Vegan/Macrobiotic lifestyle, it actually made very little sense to me at all. I honestly didn’t want to give it a chance because it went against everything I had been fed from conventional medicine and social mindset. After much rebellion, I allowed myself to remember how Lois, a former client had positively recommended Bone Broth, Chicken Broth (made with chicken feet), I submitted and decided to look into a more traditional and nourishing approach to food. After eating this way for a few months, my body made the decision for me. While my taste buds absolutely love gluten-free grains (rice, oats, quinoa, etc… ) my body hates them. While my mind misses, craves and is ready to devour a bowl of beans, my body rebels with pain if I do it. These heavy starchy-carb foods (along with dairy, sugar) just don’t get along with my body at all. For this reason, I have adopted the Paleo style of eating, and it is amazing how well my body is responding!
2). Green vegetables, and Sweet Potatoes, even those on the goitrogenic foods list as = I include sauteed/braised/steamed kale, broccoli, chard, cauliflower into my meals daily because they have so many nutrients my body needs. Eating a sweet potato or having fresh pumpkin soup in the morning, keeps me from having sugar cravings.
3). Homemade Bone Broth and Chicken Broth = Just go for it! Just make it! You won’t regret it. I’m always stocking up on grass fed Marrow Bones and Chicken feet every week for my next pot. The results of drinking this every morning are incredible. Not only is my Leaky Gut repairing, but my hair, skin and nails are becoming strong, silky shiny and lovely!
4). Fresh Coconut Water, not canned but from a real coconut = Coconut water helps speed up metabolism and is anti-inflammatory and very soothing (it’s antifungal, antiviral) in dealing with Sarcoidosis.
5). Cooking with Coconut Oil = I also use Olive Oil, and sometimes, ghee which is clarified butter.
6). No more Vegan diet for me. Eating a vegan diet, robbed my body of nutrients, and loaded me up with high carbs and gluten. I now eat Grass fed beef, Pastured Chicken, and Pastured Eggs. Yes, they are more costly, but I would rather pay more now, than pay doctors later. Daily cups of Bone broth have greatly improved my leaky gut.
7). Fish such as Salmon, Barramundi, Sardines, Mackerel. I eat fish 2 to 3 times a week.
8). Miso Soup with Shiitake Mushrooms. Not necessarily Paleo, but I do include this 1 soy product daily because the benefits of what it provides to my immune system, are amazing. I buy a Non-GMO Certified Organic Miso paste that is made in Japan and imported by Nijiya Market in Santa Monica.
9). Saurkraut = Yes, it’s made from cabbage, but like Miso, it’s properties give a boost to both my immune and digestive systems, as well as metabolism. Research indicates it helps prevent Breast Cancer. I make it myself.
10). Fresh Nopal Cactus = During the accumulation of the 70+ pounds I gained, my blood sugars and triglyceride levels were at diabetic levels. By eating fresh cactus daily and taking a supplement of dried nopal cactus, my levels have returned to normal
11). Purslane, also known as Verdalago = Although I’ve only been eating and juicing this for a short time, the positive results for my immune system have been wonderful! I get this into my body about 3 to 4 times a week. It is not a goitrogenic food, but rather a succulent. Purslane is sold in most Latin markets, but I bought the seeds to grow myself. You will be amazed when you read about its health benefits!
What I avoid:
1). Non-stick cookware = contains toxic POA’s and PFOA’s that can break down your immune system
2). Food with gluten. Gluten inflames the thyroid and anytime gluten is eaten, your immune system will attack your thyroid. I also avoid all foods with msg, high fructose corn syrup, artificial ingredients, preservatives, white sugar, canola oil, corn, dairy, and soy (except miso soup). Also avoid fast, frozen, and packaged food.
3). Grains. Most grains were just too high carb for me. I really needed to get my blood sugar levels down out of fear of staying at diabetic levels. I include coconut flour, and almond flour, in my recipes. I do enjoy sweet potatoes, squash, pumpkin, tons of green veggies and white potatoes on occasion.
4). All commercial under arm deodorants. They are filled with toxic ingredients such as aluminum, and chemicals (such as Parabens) that can clog Lymph glands. I use Magnesium oil (you will learn more about it further down) and Apple Cider Vinegar. While in the shower, simply splash ACV on your underarms. After a few minutes, rinse.
5). Chemically loaded personal products. I use fluoride-free toothpaste and gluten free hair shampoo. My choice toothpaste is from Kiss My Face. My choice shampoo is from Savonniere. I use Dr. Bonner’s Pure Soap for my body.
6). Angry and Negative people (there is a difference between people who need genuine help and just overall angry people).
7). Alcohol (depletes my vitamin B’s which can add to more brain fog)
8). Sodas (full of sugar, artificial ingredients, just plain junk)
9). Coffee (the caffeine stresses my adrenal glands) I do drink coffee a few times a month, but rely on Kukicha tea a few times a week.
Overall, my healing and restoration has been through food and my new found faith in God. I am strict about avoiding anything that will compromise my health and very disciplined about eating what will help me. For me, it’s as simple as this. Do I allow myself to have fun by eating out? Sure, sometimes, but I have to be careful. I don’t want to go back to where I was years ago, and I don’t want to load my body up with pills or supplements. Food and faith have been my answer. I am grateful for the hardships I’ve had to endure. God allowed things to happen to me and I realize I had to go through them in order to get where I am now.
I COULDN’T SLEEP
Sometimes I only slept 2 to 3 hours a night. Some weeks, I only slept 3 or 4 days! I lost A LOT of sleep over those dark 10 years. So much so, that sleeplessness also contributed to stressed out Adrenal Glands, recurring colds and flu, grouchiness, and just plain suffering. And you know what happens when you don’t sleep… EVERYTHING under the sun comes into your mind, and then you are dangerously living on adrenaline, empty fumes, just trying to make it through the day. If this is happening to you, this is bad.
Cutting out gluten, dairy, coffee, sugar made a fantastic difference for my body, but I still wasn’t sleeping enough. Like I mentioned above, I experimented greatly and finally found what works for me.
1. Tart Cherry Juice = 100% real. I don’t waste money on anything that is blended with apple or grape juice. I want the real thing. I add 1 tablespoon to 8 ounces of water, and drink every evening at 6pm. Tart Cherry Juice is a natural source of Melatonin that provides me with a much deeper sleep. I know I’m sleeping deeper because I dream more now.
2. Magnesium Oil = Magnesium Oil provides me relief from anxiety, and gives muscles a relief. I spray 4 times into my palm, rub together and rub under my under arms (makes an excellent deodorant), on my wrist area and on my thighs. Helps me sleep like a baby.
MY DAILY SUPPLEMENTS
Regarding supplements… I used to take 13 to 15 supplements daily, but now focus on getting what my body needs, through food. The list has significantly decreased over the past 2 years! I only take 4 supplements and not even on a daily basis.
Under my doctors care, I am now off all Thyroid meds (I started out with Synthroid, then went to Armor) and even though I took Kelp, I stopped taking it because I eat enough fresh seaweed salads and fish, weekly. This provides me with enough natural iodine. Since I am off meds, it is easy and possible that my body could jump right back to hypo status should I go back to my old eating habits and lifestyle. This is why I focus on doing what my body seems to be happy with these days.
1. Nopal Cactus = I take this Monday through Friday. This provides fiber for my body, and keeps my blood sugar maintained.
2. Camu Camu = I take this 3x’s a week (Mon, Wed, Fri). This is a pure form of Vitamin C that strengthens my immune system. I am so glad I discovered it.
3. Chlorella = I take this 3x’s a week (Mon, Wed, Fri) because it helps to pull toxic metals (dangerous for my thyroid) out of my body. Most often toxic metals are stored in fat, not just blood.
4). L-Glutamine = Offers major Gut repair, aiding in growing intestinal cells (immune system lymphocytes and intestinal cell enterocytes).
EXERCISE IS IMPORTANT!
While dealing with the large amount of weight gain, I was limited to walking. I would get exhausted easy. I was embarrassed because I would break out in a dripping sweat just climbing one flight of stairs. Even my Mom would ask me why I was breathing so hard on the phone when I got up from the couch to go to another room! Just writing this makes brings back memories and makes me cry.
I had to force myself to walk everyday. EVERYDAY. Started walking in 2010. Did 20 minutes for a few months. Then increased to 45 minutes. Then 1 hour. A year later, I was hiking. I’m talking inclines! I worked my way up to being able to hike for 4 hours. That first time of hiking 4 hours was like winning the lottery for me! I was stiff and exhausted the next 2 days, but that didn’t matter. These days I am rollerblading 7 miles (we have a 7 mile path near our home) 3 times a week. I also jump on my rebounder (mini trampoline) everyday for 15 to 20 minutes while I watch TV. This helps my circulation and so much more.
You will have to FORCE yourself to get up. Just push yourself through. You will look back later on and be glad you did. Ideally, I need to lose 30 more pounds to get back to where I was before. If not, I will still be happy and healthy!
Update: April 18th, 2013 – I now alternate 7 miles of rollerblading with bike riding 8 miles a few days a week. I also started water aerobics and kickboxing. Seriously… I never thought I would be able to do any of this again. If I can get off my butt and do it, you can to!
WHAT’S GOING ON WITH ME NOW?
While I was miserable, sad, down and depressed, I accomplished nothing. I went to work and came home. The years between 2004 through 2009 were the worst. I honestly don’t remember details about some things that happened in that period, well, because I was in a haze. I dropped off the radar. I was off the grid of life. I was in deep in debt. Yikes. I know it sounds bad, but if you’ve been in my shoes, you will understand. Since being diagnosed, eating for my condition, losing weight and seeing the signs of my health being restored, I went back to college, took business classes, started a blog, started a business, lost 40 pounds and I can focus. I mean really focus. No more days of just lying in bed. No more crying. No more covering my thinning-haired-head with a hat. I have energy! I feel alive again.
And… I actually cut out the people who kept me and my mind frazzled. I realized they liked me better when I was lost. There is no place for people who just want to hold you back. Our everyday should be filled with purpose, productivity and clarity. No one has the right to rob you of this. Initially I was angry because I realized I lost YEARS of my life. I lost my ability and my chance to have babies. But I grieved the losses (I won’t lie… it took me awhile to grieve) and then got back on my feet, which is EXACTLY what you need to do!
Celiac Disease is still present, so an on-going gluten free diet is required for me. I’ll keep doing what I’ve been doing because I never want to go backwards. Once was enough. I can’t help but think that maybe someday I will be cured. Celiac Disease is often a symptom of Hypothyroid, so you never know…
Thank you for reading and may God Bless you by restoring your health, happiness and heart. I pray you will discover what works for your body. Also, know that most of my recipes (there are some strawberry recipes, strawberries are goitrogenic) are hypothyroid safe, gluten free and can be used when you need new ideas.
Just one more thing… Don’t worry about what ANYBODY thinks regarding the changes YOU NEED to make for YOUR health! They aren’t walking in your shoes. They have no idea what you suffer through. Don’t make their opinions part of your life. Don’t allow them to prevent you from restoring your health.