Your relationship to your disease is the cure. – Jessica Flanigan (The Loving Diet)
An open letter to you, wherever you are and for whatever reason, you are here reading this.
Let me first start by saying, I have tried a lot of different methods to manage Hashimoto’s Autoimmune Disease when it comes to my symptoms and in an attempt to put the disease into remission. I’ve gone up and down both with my blood work and in my day to day struggles, and what works for one might not work for others. Everyone is different! But if there is one thing I can say with absolute confidence is that this is a truly HOLISTIC journey and you do have the power to support your body TO HEAL. It’s not just your meds/supplements, or just your diet, or just stress management… every aspect of your life and your health are related. There is certainly no magic pill, method, protocol or way to manage your disease… and with each attempt to try something new… self-love and care must be present so you’re not fighting yourself the whole way through and making it worse. With that, I’m sharing a long list of what I’ve tried, and what has really helped me and has stuck around in my normal routine along with much more info that I hope you will find useful, whether you suspect you have this, have other thyroid issues, or know someone with it. There are some amazing references out there but it’s overwhelming when you’re sick and don’t know where to go or how to get help.
I’m hoping this compiled post will serve you well with everything you need to get on your way. Because I’ve spent years weeding through, researching, and testing – and I won’t let that go to waste!! I want to also say that wherever you are in your journey, I’ll tell you something that only one person had said to me when I first got diagnosed. CONGRATULATIONS. Why? Because you’re empowering yourself to support your body in healing, you’re educating yourself, you’re wiser, and about to become much more in tune with your body than perhaps you were before… I know all of that is true for me. Or maybe you’re supporting a loved one or client through their struggle and that’s a beautiful thing, so I thank you and commend you for that. While there were times in my darkest hour that I cursed my disease, I now wear it like a superpower… and I hope after reading this you’ll see why and begin to find your own power and strength through what seems like a frustrating and even isolating process. It changed my life in so many ways that I am now GRATEFUL for. You’re not alone, and you can do this.
While I will definitely be keeping this post updated (and/or adding more on off-shoot topics), I also talk about these things frequently on Instagram as well if you’d like to follow along and connect with me more on it!
What is Hashimoto’s and how do I find out if I have it? (full thyroid labs checklist)
Hashimoto’s is an Autoimmune disease affecting the thyroid. With any autoimmune disease, as far as we currently know, the immune system attacks the body itself (depending on the organ/tissue, etc. – defines what type of autoimmune disease a person has). There are also more recent theories and studies to suggest the immune system is, in fact, attacking something and the organ/tissue is getting hit in the process. It’s been brought up that Ebstein Barr virus which lies dormant in most people can be “hiding” out somewhere in the body, i.e. the thyroid and be the cause for the immune system’s attacks and your poor thyroid is getting destroyed in the process. Whether or not the body is directly or indirectly attaching the thyroid, it’s still happening. The way it’s confirmed… is if a person is positive for Thyroid antibodies which the immune system has created as a proof of the attack happening. When this attack happens, it can lead to hypothyroidism, which is when the thyroid can’t produce enough of the T3 and T4 hormones it’s supposed to. It can even lead to complete destruction of the thyroid. This is why there is a need for medication (most commonly, Synthroid is used) which provides the body with T4 hormone or you can use Natural Desiccated Thyroid medication which will provide the body with both T3 and T4 hormones. What’s the difference? T4 is the inactive form of the hormone, it’s up to your body to still take it and convert it into T3, for many people, they don’t have the iodine and materials to do this because they’re in such a poor state… so considering a medication with both the active T3 and inactive T4 can be very helpful.
There are many causes and triggers of this disease, given it’s affecting nearly 14 million people in the U.S. alone. Synthroid is one of the most commonly prescribed medications for this reason as well as the many other thyroid disorders someone could develop such as: Hyperthyroidism (when the thyroid is producing too much thyroid hormone, so the thyroid is overactive), Grave’s Disease (a common cause of Hyperthyroidism, with the Autoimmune factor… this is much rarer than Hashimoto’s but it’s common to sway back and forth between Grave’s and Hashimoto’s while undergoing treatment), Hypothyroidism (as mentioned above, the thyroid gland is underactive and making too little thyroid hormone). Reasons for all these dysfunctions come down to so many factors, and can be caused by genetics (even if your family has a different type of autoimmune disease, knowingly or not) and then can be triggered by dietary, hormonal, environmental factors including chronic stress, toxins, medications, oral contraceptives, and just the Standard American Diet of over-processed, high-sugar foods and consuming foods that you are sensitive or even allergic to.
Symptoms of Hashimoto’s Disease
Hair loss, hair thinning, and dry/brittle hair
Brain fog, lack of concentration
Constipation and increasing food sensitivities
Joint and muscle pain
Always feeling cold, having a hard time warming up and even sweating
Irregular or heavy menstrual cycles
…and more. (Also please remember, you don’t need to have ALL the symptoms, it’s just a list of commonly heard symptoms)
I personally experienced nearly all of these symptoms, but I initially treated them all differently… I didn’t see them as related, and thought some were “just the way I was”. Once I was diagnosed, it all clicked for me how it was in fact related.
*After polling some of my community on Instagram, “vertigo” and dizziness came up a lot for people. It seems like it’s not a widely addressed symptom but some tips I received from my friends were: Personal Therapy to treat this, as well as sea salt in water when you feel dizziness coming on.
How your thyroid disorder affects the rest of your body
Just like symptoms are all related, so is the domino effect your body has when one thing is drastically out of order, especially such an important gland like the thyroid. Many of us don’t realize it’s importance, maybe we know of it as controlling metabolism or have heard it is the “thermostat” of the body – all true, but let’s break down how important both those things really are.
The thyroid is majorly involved in the control of the following body functions (but not limited to):
the central and peripheral nervous system
weight and metabolism
And since the thyroid is a hormone-producing gland, it’s in the Endocrine system. So if it’s suffering, many of the other endocrine glands can, for lack of a better term, “get dragged down with it”… especially the Adrenals. I learned pretty early on that when looking at healing the thyroid, the adrenals must also be supported all together… so do not forget them! Fertility is also related here, as hormones are such an important part of conceiving and having healthy menstrual cycles. It’s fairly common to hear that someone with Hashimoto’s has PCOS or other menstrual issues like irregularities and very painful periods.
The thyroid and the digestivesystem
When the thyroid is underactive, a hormone called gastrin is commonly affected. This hormone is needed in the production of strong stomach acid which without this, we can have issues like malabsorption and a slew of digestive issues (enter constipation and more). Conditions such as Small Intestinal Bacterial Growth (SIBO), Candida, recurring Parasites, etc. are very common in Hashimoto’s cases causing major discomfort and perpetuating immune system issues since the majority of our immune system resides in our guts. If at this point in the reading, you’re like “wow, what a cluster F”… yeah, you’re getting the idea! But it’s important to understand how interrelated all these functions are and why nothing really happens in isolation.
Full Thyroid Labs Checklist
When getting checked for this by an Endocrinologist, Naturopath, or Functional Medicine Doctor – you will want to be thorough. It took me 3 years to get diagnosed simply because no Endocrinologist would do a full thyroid panel, even when I did the research and begged for it. Why? It’s not that they hate you, it’s that they simply were not trained to check all of these things… they feel just checking TSH or some subset of this list is all the indications they need (wrong, many people’s TSH appears fine, but their antibodies are sky high – that’s what happened to me), AS WELL AS they wouldn’t treat you any differently than giving you Synthroid and sending you on your way whether it was Autoimmune or not… which just isn’t going to cut it. I’d highly recommend saving your sanity and going directly to an FMD or ND who will more than likely very willingly run this full panel on you without an argument, that was just my experience personally, even going to the “top” Endos in NYC. Some people hesitate in trying FMDs or NDs simply because insurance usually doesn’t cover it, but for me, spending the money is worth it to know and not waste years of my life suffering without answers. The actual lab work is normally covered under insurance, but the visits themselves are usually not.
TS3 Free, and Total
T4 Free, and Total
Thyroid Peroxidase (“TPO” antibody)
Anti-Thyroglobulin (“TG” antibody)
If you experience severe hair loss, etc., I’d recommend getting your Iron and Ferritin checked out as well. You may also want to ask about a Thyroid Ultrasound to confirm if there are any nodules, etc. and to see how much damage may have been done.
Always get your own copy of the blood work so you can track progress, etc.
The lab biomarkers include: TSH, free T4, free T3, TPO antibodies and add-ons include Vitamin D and Reverse T3 (which I personally recommend adding).
This brand also accepts HSA/FSA payment to make it easier on you if you have that option through insurance but otherwise is more cost-effective than the other options I mentioned. They can also support you with more of their tools including appointments with doctors that specialize in thyroid health and their free-to-use app to support your thyroid health.
I’m diagnosed with Hashimoto’s… now what?
As I mentioned, it took me 3 years to get diagnosed. Sadly, this isn’t uncommon at all… many people share that same story of being bounced around from various doctors and specialists… being told “it’s all in their heads” and feeling lost and confused. After finally getting my diagnosis, I had a mix of emotions.
At first, RELIEF – I wasn’t crazy, yay! I finally had some answers to all my compounding issues that were keeping me depressed and isolated. I finally had a direction.
I also felt FRUSTRATED, because I had been trying to figure out for so long what was wrong with me, and a big part of me felt I had lost time in my life not knowing, I felt like I had a lot of catching up to do. ]
Lastly, I started to feel STRANGE IN MY OWN BODY. To think my body was attacking itself was a very confusing concept to me especially since I was just learning in nutrition school that the body is wise and this perfect “bio-computer” that knows what it’s doing. So why was it attacking and destroying my thyroid? What did I do wrong to cause that? How do I fix it?
It’s normal to feel these feelings, and it’s normal to feel whatever else comes up for you throughout the process. Talking about it with others who have gone through it or are also in it, is helpful… journaling and writing it out is also pretty therapeutic. But feel it… don’t shove it aside.
Now the healing journey can begin, and it’s not straight and narrow, it’s different for everyone… but there are various pieces of the puzzle that need to be addressed. So firstly, be patient with yourself and be kind to yourself, knowing that there isn’t a magic pill and your body is in need of your support. As I said above… “how do I FIX it?”… this became a debilitating issue for me. I became obsessed with fixing, with literally taking a checklist of all the things I needed to address and going down the list, then getting frustrated when something didn’t work. When I’d get worse blood results, or feel extra terrible. I wanted so badly to fix fix fix and I’ll tell you right now, if you go about it that way, you may find yourself worse off. Instead, look at this list of factors open-mindedly and ask yourself what feels most out of balance or you will get overwhelmed. It’s not a list of “here’s everything that’s wrong about you”, it’s merely a list of what we know will affect this disease for better or for worse. Take it slow.
Gut Infections – SIBO, Candida, Parasites, etc. – you’ll want to get tested for these conditions to begin treating them which in itself, can feel like a bit of a rabbit hole but is important in healing.
Leaky Gut & Food Sensitivities – there are a myriad of healing diets out there, I’ll go through later what I tried and what I like, but the bottom line is… you’ll want to see if you are eating something that is making things worse and reduce/remove it to heal.
Heavy Metal Toxicity – you can get a heavy metals test with your doctor to see if this is an issue and work with them on detoxing if it is.
Vitamin Deficiencies – since malabsorption is a problem that can be addressed with the gut infections and leaky gut factors above, this is a common issue… finding a good supplement you can absorb from will be key but I’d also recommend adding in a strong digestive enzyme with HCl to help with stomach acid production and absorbing nutrients. Key nutrients for the thyroid are iodine, selenium, Vitamin D and more – get a blood test to determine what you are low in before supplementing. It would also be great to know if you have the MTHFR gene, which would mean you need the methylated forms of B12 and Folate for example. This can be found in genetics testing and is common with autoimmune disease.
Stress and HPA-Axis dysfunction – we know stress is a problem, but it’s hard to quantify and connect with since we are all so numb to it by now, however that’s no excuse to ignore it because it could be majorly throwing things off, whether it’s perceived and external stressors or internal like inflammatory and glycemic dysregulations… all of these factors need to be considered)
Chronic infections/viruses – I mentioned EBV earlier… so getting checked for EBV, Lyme disease, and other autoimmune conditions are important to see if anything else is at play here that needs to be addressed and treated
Trauma – You may come across this in reading about Autoimmune disease, if there is unresolved trauma from your past or otherwise… it will perpetuate the stress issues mentioned above, you may want to consider speaking to a therapist or try journaling out your ideas on what you could be holding in.
Chronic Stress – I worked very high pressure, demanding jobs in NYC most of my life… I became disconnected from just how stressed and quite frankly, miserable I really was. When I started calling it out and realizing how bad it was… I was able to start prioritizing my health… I was able to find new jobs that made me feel less stressed and explore my true passions to lead me into a more fulfilling career that didn’t leave me exhausted and unfulfilled. I was able to express myself and communicate more when I was under stress vs. holding it all in and exploding. Yoga, meditation, and self-care practices were huge here… it doesn’t happen overnight, be patient but figure out what’s doing this to you.
Toxic Relationships and situations – This is another thing you may need to call out, and figure out how to deal with or remove. If you are constantly being brought down by certain people or situations, you need to deal with it so you can heal.
Your relationship with yourself and food – Firstly, the relationship with yourself will be a common theme here. If an autoimmune disease is your body attacking itself, can you think about other ways you attack yourself? Perhaps in the mirror? Perhaps at the gym? Perhaps when you’re being too hard on yourself to achieve a goal or to live up to someone’s expectation of you? This is hard work… but call it out. Recognize if you need to stop attacking yourself and start re-building the relationship with yourself, your body, your life. Secondly, FOOD. We tend to have complex relationships with food these days… it’s used as a comfort, with convenience, in a rush, whatever tastes sweet, whatever pacifies us, so on and so forth. And it’s so intertwined in the relationship we have with ourselves because we are told to look a certain way, eat a certain way (constantly with a million diets and counting) and yet “fall off the bandwagon”… the diet culture has caused a lot of confusion and we’ve lost touch with being able to mindfully eat, be intuitive with our bodies, and just feel calm around food. Examining this is huge, especially if you end up trying a healing diet.
Medications – this can be a major trigger, often taking oral contraceptives (which I did for nearly 10 years) can be a common trigger of Hashimoto’s disease. This is loaded because if you’re dependant on a medication, you’ll have to work with a skilled practitioner to evaluate and take next steps but know this could be an issue.
Personal Care Products – your skincare, beauty regimen, household cleaning products, etc. are all going on your skin, in your home, and into your body! We are learning more and more about how various chemicals throw our endocrine system out of whack so it’s best to start making safer swaps. I share down below what I love to use and this has majorly helped!
Drinking water – living in NYC, we are often told we have “the best” tap water… how about the best pipes that carry that drinking water? I don’t care if it’s directly from the crack of the Appalachians, guys… these NYC pipes are nasty and I witness it daily in the subway. The amount of pollution going through these same pipes, the tossed narcotics, and other toxins are ALL going into our water. Not to mention if you’re drinking bottled water, you have no idea how it’s filtered and the toxins in the bottle itself. Investing in a good filter is a great investment in your health, you can find my recommendations below.
The long list of what I’ve tried through the years (Treatments and Diets for Hashimoto’s)
In the crusade to “fix” myself, I bought all the books, read all the research, listened to all the podcasts, and took that list above and went HAM on it. I was treating the disease like I was planning a wedding and dotting all the i’s and crossing all the t’s… I was stressing myself out more and it was no bueno. So this is your millionth reminder to NOT DO THAT. And to instead keep this handy as a reference for yourself when troubleshooting and when there is space on your life to try new improvements. That all said, I’m grateful I was able to learn from this and share it!
As a nutritionist, my tool of choice: FOOD and SUPPLEMENTS! If I could just find the perfect diet to control everything, life would be perfect, right? EHHHH WRONG. And I learned it the hard way. Don’t get me wrong, the food we consume is MAJORLY important to our health but it’s not the be-all end-all to fixate on, it’s just one of the easiest to, since it’s physical and we can control it. It’s when we start treating healing diets like any other yo-yo diet, that we fall into trouble, and the second I realized it was happening to me… I took a good long look at myself and realized I had put so many amazing changes into my routine for eating well, that now it was just time to let go and let my body do it’s thing so I could be more in tune with what my body needs vs. trying to override it and control it all the time. This is the other reason I mentioned to get clear on how you treat your body and treat food… we all can fall into the pitfalls of diet culture since it’s all around us whether we are dieting to fit into a bikini or dieting to reduce our antibody levels! I’d also like to add that none of these diets were as effective without the practice of Mindful Eating.
What is it: You eliminate gluten from your diet completely and must be diligent in reading labels to ensure they are gluten-free and be prepared when going out to eat. Gluten-free grains are acceptable.
What I liked: This was my first step into finding food as medicine, it helped relive a lot of skin irritations and scalp dermatitis I was suffering with (those are the symptoms I experience to gluten). Nowadays, it’s not that hard to live a gluten-free lifestyle, so it was fun for me to explore and try new things. I’ve been gluten-free since the start of my blog around 2015 and it was mighty convenient that it’s basically a must for Hashimoto’s given the fact that your body sees gluten as the same protein produced by the thyroid and launches attacks. Gluten is also notorious for causing intestinal permeability (leaky gut) which needs to be healed when treating Autoimmune Disease.
The issue was… you do have to read everything and people will tend to think you’re following some “food fad” or “trendy diet” vs. have a legitimate concern. While I haven’t been diagnosed with Celiac, I tell waiters I have Celiac so they don’t give me eye rolls and mess up my order out of lack of attention to detail. I express it’s a legitimate allergy since with Hashimoto’s, it has to be treated as such (am I going to explain all of that to a friend or a waiter? No. Just say you’re allergic and move on).
The verdict: This has always been a major help for me, it can feel challenging at first when you want a baked good that everyone else is having, but it’s not that hard to prep and search for places you can find gluten-free goods if you need them. That said, many gluten-free baked goods are still baked goods usually loaded with sugar and excess carbs we don’t need a lot of in any capacity, gf or not. So making gluten-free swaps with whole foods are the way I usually deal with things at home!
What is it: Gluten-, Grain-, Dairy-, Legume-free! You essentially eat a predominantly whole foods diet, if it didn’t come straight out of the earth without processing, it’s generally out. It’s also referred to as a “caveman” diet. It’s used in a lot of healing protocols to reduce inflammation, heal the gut, and improve your health.
What I liked: I had to get creative without grains, dairy, and legumes! And in reducing these things, realized just what they did to my stomach when I ate them in excess, so finding swaps for them was a game-changer in improving my digestion and energy. I also started eating a ton more vegetables and wising up on smarter sources of animal protein since I used to be vegetarian, and supporting better farming practices is such a huge part of this diet, I was really impressed by that. This generally removes the “no-no” foods on the Hashimoto’s list so it was a great catch-all.
The issue was… Like with any diet, you have the evangelists that take things to another level. While I’ve seen the magic this diet can work on people (Self-included), not everyone needs to remove grains and legumes, but rather prepare them by soaking/sprouting them to digest easier for example, and maybe reducing how often they’re eaten when digestion is an issue. But there can be Paleo bullies just like there can be Vegan bullies out there that get on their high horse about what YOU should eat, and my friend, everyone is different. Another issue, all the paleo “treats” out there (some are even on my site, I’m not going to lie!)… they’re technically classified as paleo because they’re all the “-frees” but sugary baked goods are really not something a caveman would eat now would they?! I find people tend to lean on paleo treats and desserts a lot because they are missing them and still having issues with reducing the sugar in their diet, and so they’re not really healing if they can’t reduce it. I’m all for the occasional treat, I love to bake on occasion but know that too much sugar for anyone and especially Hashimoto’s is inflammatory and causes more issues for the liver and hormone imbalances. And lastly, some Paleo cooking can rely too heavily on nuts and eggs, which can be major allergens or simply just too hard to digest in a large quantity for many people… self-included. I love nuts, but I had to take a SERIOUS time out from them and then go very slow on eating them again. I tend to use them more as toppings and try to use flour blends vs. purely almond flour goodies that really adds up to a TON of almonds that you likely wouldn’t be able to normally eat in a sitting. Certain nuts like cashews also are notorious for carrying mold, and hence, can bring parasites. I found this to be an issue for me, so while the diet can be great… listen to your body and still moderate the amounts of the “safe” foods you are eating.
The verdict: The paleo-ish style diet has stuck around for me because it makes me feel great, but I don’t follow it to the letter, because I instead listen to my body on what it needs and responds to best. I don’t live blindly off a list someone made on what not to eat and what to include… I have to listen to my body and learning how to is a learning curve enough! The paleo diet, in general, has worked magic for many people and has great principles for traditional food preparations and eating as close to nature as we can which I’m always on board with.
AIP Diet (Autoimmune Paleo/Protocol)
What is it: The Paleo diet but with more restrictions that are believed to be inflammatory and common allergens, especially for those with Autoimmune Disease. The idea is to try it for at least 6 weeks with reintroductions. It was developed by Dr. Sarah Ballyntine and has helped many people with AI. On the restriction list: nightshade vegetables and spices, nuts, eggs, coffee, seeds, and more.
What I liked: I really felt great on AIP, I embraced the challenge and found it really helped me reduce inflammation. I lost unnecessary weight I was carrying (I feel mainly due to inflammation), and my symptoms and antibodies improved just 4 weeks in. I realized what I was leaning too heavily on for sure (nuts and eggs after going Paleo) and removing it for a while really helped me.
The issue was… Many people love how they feel so much that they never reintroduce, I’ve been in many Facebook groups where people start off saying things like “I’ve been strict AIP for a year, and still am not better…”. There are many reasons for this… firstly, there is a concern that when you get stuck eating the same old same old, your autoimmunity gets accustomed to it and starts to see new things as a threat. I found this starting to happen to me with coconut and cassava which are two things many AIP recipes will lean on since nuts and white potatoes are out. So some people will see an increase in food sensitivities if they don’t ever reintroduce and diversify their foods again. Secondly, this is used sometimes by some people obsessively to try and get into remission and as I’ve drilled in by now… IT’S SO MUCH MORE THAN JUST YOUR DIET. So when you start obsessing over removing and restricting yourself from eating… I’ve seen major disordered eating habits (in myself too) with going too far with this. And like with any diet, the bullies and evangelists can sometimes guilt you into doing it longer than you feel comfortable. I’ve sadly seen it in support groups several times which I don’t respond well to given the negative diet culture effects we deal with constantly and the rise of eating disorders there are. Adding that on top of an Autoimmune disease is the worst idea possible.
The verdict: There is no doubt in my mind that AIP taught me a lot about what foods do better and worse for me. The reduction in inflammation and antibodies I saw was all the proof I needed, and I felt great. However, I was excited to reintroduce and was able to do so but many people fear reintroductions and it can backfire… my advice is to do it controlled for a short time (at least 3 weeks like any standard elimination diet) and make sure you’re not using this as an obsessive way to control everything. While it can make a huge impact, it’s not an excuse to ignore other aspects of healing – I’ve learned that the hard way. AIP is a great tool to use if you feel lost on what foods are aggravating you and if you need some help with symptom management temporarily to heal. Just use the tool wisely and get help from a practitioner if you need it.
What is it: Ideal for anyone with digestive issues such as Leaky Gut, SIBO, bacterial infections, IBS, symptoms of bloating (especially after each meal or at night), gas, irregularity, etc. The premise: “FODMAPs” is an acronym referring to Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides, and Polyols. These are complex names for a collection of molecules found in common foods, mainly fruits, and vegetables. They can be poorly absorbed by some people and cause gastrointestinal distress and feed overgrown bacteria as in the case with SIBO (Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth). In these foods, the amount each person can tolerate varies, so starting small and working up is best. You may also not react to some, and react to others… it’s not a perfect science but is a very comprehensive way to start to figure out what foods at which quantities can cause distress. This diet doesn’t necessarily heal SIBO or other illnesses, but it GREATLY reduces symptoms. For those with Hashimoto’s and other autoimmune diseases, SIBO is commonly present. For this, I do have many AIP & Low FODMAP recipes that overlap so that both can be managed.
What I liked: When using this for SIBO, it really helped reduce the symptoms like bloating, etc.
The issue was… It’s very hard to eat out or travel eating Low FODMAP, many vegetables are included in this so it’s beyond grains and nuts here… garlic and onions are out – try avoiding that when you go out hahaha. Besides that, it’s another elimination that sometimes can be done for too long, obsessively. It also doesn’t “heal” SIBO persay, it merely starvest he bad bacteria, so it’s great for symptom management until the underlying issue whether it’s SIBO or otherwise is eradicated and dealt with so you can test out which FODMAP foods are FINE for you. FODMAPS aren’t the devil as they are sometimes treated, it’s just that when you’re really sick… they can totally seem like it. Having to give up cauliflower was the worst thing ever for me LOL.
The verdict: Helpful when used correctly and when a treatment plan to heal any underlying gut infections or issues is in place. Otherwise, you’re going to miss out on a lot of foods for a long time and it’s not actually killing or healing SIBO. For those with “IBS”, this is a bit of a nebulous term people get when a doctor sees your digestion sucks, right? IBS isn’t an actual thing that gets treated or eradicated… things like SIBO, Candida, and parasites (which are probably what’s underneath the IBS symptoms) CAN be treated and dealt with. So if you’re just over there saying “well I have IBS, so I eat low FODMAP always”, I’d challenge you to work with a Functional Med. Doctor or Naturopath to dig much deeper and find out the cause of the IBS so you can get treated and enjoy more food again one day.
What is it: The GAPS diet was derived from the Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD) created by Dr. Sidney Valentine Haas to naturally treat chronic inflammatory conditions in the digestive tract as a result of a damaged gut lining.
What I liked: The structure, the proven studies, and how nourished I felt with the warming soups. I felt like my stomach was truly getting a break and getting a chance to heal.
The issue was… Like with AIP, it’s restrictive, most of your foods will be made at home in a massive meal prep which isn’t necessarily a huge issue but does require a time investment (a bit more than your average “eating healthy” type of diet). I worry a bit about all the pancake recipes and almond butter used, I leaned on that a little bit and it wasn’t great on my tummy – so I’d just bring that up and stick with the broths more heavily and veggies, etc. that are really the best.
The verdict: For massive gut issues, if yore feeling at a complete loss with digestion, this is totally worth a try. The benefits it’s had on those with diseases like Colitis and even various issues like Autism, etc. are astounding. There is absolutely something to this very healing diet and worth checking out to at least be aware of as a tool should you ever need it.
What is it: What it sounds like, essentially cutting out foods with high-fructose like certain fruits, etc. along with sweeteners and sugary processed foods.
What I liked: My first venture into this was with the I Quit Sugar movement, I loved it. I was so excited to try fattier foods to replace sugar especially when this came to me at a time when I didn’t realize how addicted to sugar I was. A lot of the recipes in the I Quit Sugar cookbooks are delicious and healthy.
The issue was… I can’t think of much of an issue… it really felt good but like any diet – if it comes with the diet mentality it can be an issue. However, this was earlier on in my experimentation and I remember having a fun open-minded attitude with it. When I did “fall off” from just wanting to go out to brunch with friends etc., I remember that was the first time I really noticed what sugar did to me – both in my digestion and mentally, emotionally, the brain fog… etc. I remember it being a good experience in that I was able to decide when eating sugar was not right for me but it was still a long journey after that to understand how to not let cravings get to me.
The verdict: This is something anyone can benefit from trying just to feel what it’s like and to go through the exercise of seeing how much sugar they are consuming whether they realize it or not.
What is it: A 30-day elimination diet, it’s very similar to Paleo however white potatoes are allowed and any kind of “treats” are not allowed.
What I liked: I love the mental work and the Food Freedom of Whole30. The community and slew of recipes from bloggers like me and others are also hugely supportive and it’s fun to be a part of, which can help you keep going. Most importantly, it can teach you what foods are causing you harm or you’re sensitive to so that you can eliminate or reduce them in your normal diet.
The issue was… Many people struggle with reintroductions, usually on day 31 it’s all hell breaks loose… welcome booze, chocolate, dairy, gluten all in one – and out goes the learning about your sensitivities. It often happens this way because perhaps it was to severe of a change into the 30 days removing so many foods all at once, that they miss all their foods so much or the restriction has triggered a rebellious attitude in them, that their cravings kick into high gear (which by the way, is a totally normal biological response to “starvation” or restriction). This can leave people leaving like they failed and then they end up in a perpetual cycle of going through Whole30’s several times a year.
The verdict: I’ve seen Whole30 work miracles on people but once again… the attitude you have towards yourself, food, healing, etc. is paramount to the success. Working with a practitioner to help transition or having an accountability buddy do it with you might be the best way to go about it. I loved doing my first Whole30 for learnings but stay in my Food Freedom and away from the ups and downs if I can avoid it, because then the attitude gets compromised.
Supplements are highly personal, you need to see what you’re deficient in to determine what to supplement with. Since nutrient malabsorption is so prevalent with Hashi’s and Autoimmunity in general, Digestive Enzymes with HCl have been a saving grace for me so I could better absorb the nutrients in my food and then determine what I needed more of. You could also just try some Apple Cider Vinegar before eating to help with this as well if you’re hesitant to try the pills. Mindful Eating is also KEY for digestion.
I did also venture out to replace things like Advil or Aleve pain relievers with more natural ones as I could, however, sometimes a girl just needs Aleve when she’s dying in pain from 2nd day period cramps (ya know what I mean??) lol – but reducing my exposure to these types of meds was a step in the right direction.
Swapped my skincare, makeup, house cleaners, etc. slowly but surely
SIBO (small intestinal bacterial overgrowth) – this is a breath test you can take at home ordered by a practitioner, it determines if you have SIBO and what type of SIBO to determine the best course of treatment. MAJOR DISCLAIMER – this is not a walk in the park to treat and recurrences are common, they certainly were for me. Patience and open-mindedness required!
Treatments I tried:
The first time I had SIBO, we did Metagenics Candi-bactin treatments which were herbal. They were very uncomfortable, the die-off reaction sucked, and didn’t taste good… but I toughed it out for the 60 days I had to be on it and followed the directions, while I started to feel better on the protocol… I never felt 100% afterward.
I was then put on Low Dose Naltrexone to help with maintenance and it’s also an immune suppressor which is a common treatment for AI. It helped initially but after a year or so, I didn’t see the point as I kept relapsing. It’s helped many people!
Rifaximin (prescription antibiotics) – this was used the 2nd time I had SIBO, honestly, it worked the best at knocking it out for me but I got it back a few months later.
I did all of these with a Low FODMAP diet on and off but ultimately, retired that. You see, the diet doesn’t cure you of SIBO, it starves the bad bacteria and some people speculate you wouldn’t want to starve it if you are trying to kill it (let it come out to play so you can get it all!), it does, however, reduce the symptoms, but it’s quite limiting with what you can eat (bye, garlic… bye, onions… what?!) I had a good attitude, creating recipes where I could for the diet, and it can be therapeutic when you’re really feeling terrible, but in my opinion it’s really no way to live permanently.
Parasites – this another pesky thing to deal with, similar to SIBO but with compromised stomach acid which is supposed to stop pathogens from getting in, it can be a common thing sadly! I was tested for this after multiple SIBO recurrences through a parasite specialist. Sometimes the test is stool or its a cotton swab to the booty with blood testing. Depending on the parasite, there are different antibiotics you can take, there are also natural remedies. I took the antibiotics after being exhausted of suffering with it, it again helped in the short-term, but seemed to feel recurring.
Muscle-testing – I wanted to learn more about what might be going on that labs wasn’t picking up, muscle testing is a fascinating way to learn what you might be reacting to. I went to a holistic chiropractor for this who picked up different parasites that my other tests hadn’t, and after taking a series of herbs that didn’t bother me at all, I was able to feel much much better finally!
Adrenal Fatigue/Hormone Saliva Testing – this can also be done with your doctor at home, you essentially have different vials throughout the day where you deposit saliva to monitor your hormone levels such as cortisol, estrogen, progesterone, etc. This helped show that I had stage 3 adrenal fatigue so I could start supporting my adrenals through massive stress management, diet (very low sugar), and supplements (adrenal support blends and glandulars).
Naturethroid – This was the first thyroid medication I was put on, it was helpful though you always have to go slow with increasing and monitoring your blood work for several months to find the right dose for you. This is natural desiccated thyroid with both T3 and T4 hormones, it’s not synthetic, but instead from bovine.
WP Thyroid – I have switched to this a while ago and have been on it ever since after I felt like my weight was fluctuating too much with Naturethroid. My doctor, Dr. Gabrielle Lyon put me on this as she noted it was better for metabolism, it’s the “sister” of Naturethroid with slightly different compounding, and still has T3 and T4.
Liothyronine – This is T3 only, we found that my T3 wouldn’t budge easily and so we added that in with the WP Thyroid. I used to take 2 doses throughout the day initially which helped drastically and then moved down to 1 dose which put me in a good spot. Things are always changing, so monitoring regularly is really helpful with a skilled practitioner.
Low Dose Naltrexone – I was on this for a couple of years as mentioned above, for both SIBO and lowering my antibodies, it seemed to be helping at first but ultimately after a while of SIBO recurrences and my antibodies fluctuating so drastically throughout different periods of my life (with stress and grief), I quit it… please do note it helps people A LOT, there are a lot of great reviews on it and it’s worth the conversation. I used it for when I needed it and then felt together with my doctor that I didn’t anymore.
Ozone Therapy – I tried this after hearing amazing reviews from my friends in the AI and Hashi’s community. Knowing it’s a little more experimental and albeit controversial, after seeing my numbers go from almost in remission to higher than when I was diagnosed for unexplainable reasons… I was desperate. You have to go sometimes multiple times a week and regularly to see results, it doesn’t take long.. maybe 15 minutes each time, but can feel a bit strange with die-off reactions such as flu-like symptoms and tightness in the chest but it passes fairly quickly and for me, happened maybe half the time. If IV/Shots are not your thing, you will NOT like this… because that’s exactly what it is. It can also be pricey but could be worth looking into. I tried this at the same time as I was on the herbs I mentioned above for parasites and I do think that it helped me even more. I saw a huge 180 in my blood tests after re-testing (I went for about 10 sessions) and started feeling much better too. Do your own research and be sure you feel okay with it, I’m not recommending this to anyone, I’m merely sharing my experience.
The Root Cause Protocol (Magnesium) – This is something I started learning about early on and finally gave a try after a while, back then it was mostly centered around magnesium supplements but has expanded a bit. It’s basically a protocol around certain supplements and lifestyle changes. I personally only tried the magnesium recommendations which helped with constipation for sure, here’s more info.
Celery Juice – I drank celery juice every morning on an empty stomach for over 30 days and truthfully it really helped my digestion, it’s known for increasing stomach acid production while eradicating EBV and I needed help with both! You’d have to invest in a juicer and LOADS of organic celery – it doesn’t taste that bad (I don’t even like celery), and you get used to it and even like it (or at least I did).
Therapy – In all the talk about trauma and such, I decided it might be good for me to talk to someone! I honestly tried it once and hated it LOL, I don’t know if it was the therapist, me, or the day… but something didn’t jive… or perhaps I just wasn’t ready. She had me “diagnosed” within like 20 minutes and kicked me out by minute 40… cool, thanks. Right when I was getting all worked up. It’s something I’d like to try again eventually but I mainly rely on practicing gratitude with a journal and writing things out as they hit me. Meditation and breathing have also made major differences with this.
Acupuncture – I tried this for both hair loss in the early stages of getting sick and then more recently, for my PCOS and abnormal menstrual cycle. I cannot say enough amazing things about acupuncture. It seriously works and has really helped me!
The shortlist of what has worked well for me (and is in my normal routine)
Truthfully, I’ve tried so much, I’ve likely forgotten much of it – LOL but this is the list of what I lean on right now and have been for a while because it makes me feel good and I’ve seen results in one way or another. It’s manageable but wasn’t developed overnight, this is years of trial and error… so go slow and easy on yourself! That’s how it’s best to build habits anyway 🙂
I label my recipes here by diet, I pretty much have to in order for people to find them and identify quickly what it’s not made with for allergy or food sensitivity restriction purposes. But I wouldn’t say “I’m Paleo” because I’m a human being and not a style of eating 🙂 That was after going to the deep end of several healing diets, to realize… ya know what though, IT’S JUST FOOD, RELAX, GIRL. But through it all, I do feel the best when I mainly eat a low-sugar, anti-inflammatory, Paleo-ish diet. I lean on ancestral food preparations like soaking/sprouting nuts, seeds, and the few grains I do consume on occasion like rice because it makes it much easier to digest. I sometimes have the occasional gluten-free baked good like bread or otherwise, when I’m traveling, trying a new place and out with friends because on occasion it feels good and is fun, and this keeps me in check so I’m not over-restricting but still honoring what I know to feel best for my body. I don’t normally drink alcohol, and try to not be dependant on coffee because both are a lot on the liver… but I do enjoy the occasional cup of coffee before noon and leave it at that. A good cocktail or glass of wine with friends and family on a holiday or trip is DIVINE and with some Charcoal tablets… really helps me bounce back. I know how to “hack” these things so I can still have what I enjoy without compromising all the hard work I’ve done.
The Paleo-ish diet has helped me immensely in healing food sensitivities and leaky gut issues, while also improving my digestion, but again, I don’t follow some rule book on what and how to eat… I merely used it as guidelines while healing and learned from that on what my body likes and doesn’t like and have my own personal way of eating. I’m able to listen to my body and eat more intuitively and mindfully to fully enjoy and digest the food I put in my body. Mindful eating has become a major part of my life and the way I eat, because it’s not just what you eat but how you eat it. If you’re interested in trying Mindful Eating… my 5-day challenge is a great way to start! And of course, as for Paleo-ish recipes, you’ve come to the right place because my site is chock-full of them! I also have AIP, Low FODMAP, and Whole30 which were all very helpful temporary elimination diets for me that helped me at specific times in my healing journey. And I know if I suffer from certain symptoms, I can always go back to them and use them like the tools they are.
I do not eat (and it’s recommended for anyone with Hashimoto’s): gluten, corn, soy, and most dairy.
Recently I’ve been able to loosen up and have some goat/sheep’s milk cheese in small doses and I’m fine! But other than that, dairy can be pretty inflammatory and troublesome on the gut for me. Every once in a blue moon if corn or soy makes its way into something, I don’t panic or die… but I don’t seek it out.
Foods I regularly have in the house:
Greens (always ready to line my plate with leafy greens)
In-season fruit and vegetables (I use the Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen to help me decide if it needs to be organic or not)
Bone Broth (homemade or Bonafide Provisions is a favorite brand)
Grass-fed Beef and Bison
Wild-caught fish and seafood (I usually buy from Vital Choice)
Organic, pasture-raised poultry and eggs (I like Vital Farms Eggs and often buy meat from U.S. Wellness Meats)
Apple Cider Vinegar (Bragg’s)
Cooking Oils & Fats: Grass-fed Ghee, Tallow, Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Unrefined Coconut Oil, and Avocado Oil
Almonds, Brazil Nuts (great source of selenium for the thyroid), Hazelnuts (which are all best soaked)
Grains: Sprouted brown rice from Thrive Market, White Jasmine Rice, Brown Rice Pasta (that’s about all I do well with)
Paleo All-Purpose Flour for baking which I do on occasion but not very often, Coconut Flour, Almond Flour
Sweeteners: raw honey, maple syrup, monk fruit (Lakanto for baking), coconut sugar (for baking), dates, I also love using a lot of vanilla and cinnamon in place of too much sweetener
Frozen low sugar fruits like berries, frozen cauliflower rice for convenience, Trader Joe’s Cauliflower Gnocchi, Trader Joe’s Artichoke Hearts
Siete coconut or almond tortillas (I freeze them and use sparingly)
I love shopping at Thrive Market for pantry items because it’s a great way to save money!
Primal Kitchen condiments like ketchup, mustard, and creamy dressings
Seasonings: Simply Organic, Primal Palate, and Balanced Bites along with a good flakey sea salt and Pink Himalayan sea salt and black pepper grinder
My own “flavor bombs” like homemade pesto, chimichurri, etc.
Georgia Grinders Almond butter or homemade
Rao’s Homemade Marinara Sauce
Simple Mills Pizza crust mix for the occasional pizza night!
Pederson’s Farms breakfast sausages, chorizo, and Italian sausage
Plant protein for the occasional shake or smoothie (I love Truvani Chocolate)
Dr. Axe Collagen Powder for shakes and smoothies on occasion
BPA-free coconut milk cans and coconut cream for making a whip or using in place of cream cheese and yogurt in certain recipes – I always keep it handy in my fridge
Homemade or The New Barn unsweetened almond milk
Seaweed: Kelp, Nori Wraps, Seasnax, Kombu for soups and stews (great for natural sources of iodine = great for thyroid)
Recommended references for Hashimoto’s (books, websites, podcasts, the works!)
The 30-day Thyroid Reset Plan – this is a great guide whether you’re deep into your healing journey, or just diagnosed. Dr. Becky Campbell does a great job of breaking it all down in an easy-to-understand, organized way so you don’t get overwhelmed and can take action! The actual 30-day protocol I would describe as an anti-inflammatory, low sugar, Paleo type diet which is quite similar to how I eat. She’s very knowledgeable and has some great recipes too!
The Loving Diet – this book helped me majorly change my attitude with how I dealt with my disease, and how I was able to start to learn from the disease vs. fight it. It’s brought me to tears many times, and I often re-read it (my copy looks like it’s been through a war LOL), I can’t recommend it enough for your spiritual/mindset journey. In terms of sources for the AIP diet, I recommend The Autoimmune Wellness Handbook and the work of Dr. Sarah Ballantyne.
The Root Cause – I often refer to this as “the bible” on Hashimoto’s because it’s an extremely thorough and valuable resource. It was the very first book I purchased when I was diagnosed, and I dove into it very deeply. It gave me a lot of knowledge to be able to speak to doctors about what I wanted to be tested, etc. and gave me the confidence to better understand and branch out looking for answers. That said, it can be a little on the clinical side and might not be for everyone. It also basically lists out a TON of what could be going wrong for you and a lot of the tests to confirm it will be pricey and lengthy… if you’re already struggling with overwhelming yourself, this could do you in even more. And admittedly, sometimes I used it to obsess… I can’t blame a reference book for that, I can only blame my attitude towards it, but knowing we can fall into the obsession sometimes, I just caution you that if you read it cover to cover and obsess about everything in it, it may cause you more stress and anxiety than you need. I’d instead recommend using it as a reference if you fear this is the case!
There are many other books out there about Hashimoto’s, many are very well-reviewed! But I’m sharing my top recommendations on what I find myself going back to time and time again that gave me the most valuable information or new ideas that helped me in my healing.
Here are some other books that always come highly recommended you may be interested in
Why do I still have thyroid symptoms? – Datis Kharrazian is kind of a genius with Hashimoto’s and a great speaker and educator. I’ve listened to his podcasts and visited his website as a resource. I haven’t gotten around to this book yet, but it has great reviews.
I would strongly advise you seek out a Functional Medicine Doctor or Naturopath near you to get a proper and detailed diagnosis, to help you find your sweet spot with dosage and medication types, as well as to help you with further testing as mentioned above with respect to chronic infections, gut conditions, and any other Autoimmune diseases that could be lurking. While in many places, insurance is not taken for the visits of these doctors since it’s considered “preventative” care (gotta love that healthcare system, ya’ll)… the lab work and tests are often covered, you will just have to double-check all of that with whoever you work with. For me, the money spent was well worth the answers, expertise, and support I have received from these types of practitioners.
Dr. Gabrielle Lyon, DO (NYC only) – My current doctor, she is an incredible physician, mentor, and friend to me. She has been with me through thick and thin to help manage my medication, dosing, and various testing to unravel the disease. Without her support, I would have been lost. I regularly see her for check-ups. She’s also an amazing speaker and educator who has many podcast interviews and videos about what she has coined, the organ of longevity… the muscle. She got me into understanding more about the benefits animal protein had in my diet and in supporting my thyroid all those years ago.
Dr. Nicole Weigl, ND (remote + CA) – She is the doctor that first diagnosed me, I was at my ropes end after seeing “top” endocrinologists in NYC who kept missing my diagnosis. She caught it immediately with proper blood work and got me on medication fast. She was highly supportive in my initial SIBO treatment and very knowledgeable. I’m very grateful I was able to work with her and would definitely recommend her as a great remote option (you can do testing at your local labs, etc. through her prescriptions and scripts).
Dr. Beer(NYC) – I have friends who highly recommend him and have worked with him for Hashimoto’s, though I haven’t worked with him directly.
The Morrison Center (NYC) – This has definitely crossed my path a few times, I have friends who see doctors here (they have a large team), so you can definitely call in and ask to have an appt. with any doctor there for thyroid disorders.
In my private community, we keep an up-to-date practitioner Rolodex with everyone’s referrals!
Acupuncture Muscle Testing, and Alternative Treatments
Dr. Connie Qian, L.Ac, DACM, MSTOM (NYC) – She is my angel, she seriously helped me shorten my cycle, reduce pain for menstrual cramping, reduce stress, and help me with detox and various issues I’ve experienced all related to Hashimoto’s. Chinese medicine is fascinating and I’ve only experienced amazing things with it. Connie is very meticulous and does it on both sides (front and back of the body) which I’ve found to be the most effective though it takes a little longer, going regularly really makes a difference. She’s a very kind, patient, and has a great bedside manner.
Dr. Louis Granirer (NYC)– Dr. Granirer is a skilled professional, he’s a chiropractor who specializes in muscle testing and helped me drastically with the “last of the remaining parasites” as I call it LOL – He uses herbs and supplements to treat and while it requires some patience (herbs always do), it really helped me a ton.
Dr. Howard Robins, DPM (NYC)– People come from all over to get his specific patented form of Ozone therapy. He was recommended to me by a good friend who struggled with her MS and he drastically helped her. I was slightly skeptical for a long time but finally gave it a try as I mentioned above. You start with a consultation/screening to see if you’d be right for it and then you can buy a package and go regularly (sometimes multiple times a week – this is a time commitment). I’m going to be super honest, the office is not beautiful but the staff is kind and they keep their calendar and appointments well so you can be in and out. All in all, I did 10 appointments of this and felt it really helped as my antibodies drastically went down with this plus the herbal treatment I received from Dr. Granirer.
My current thoughts and feelings towards my disease, and what I wish I knew in the beginning
“What is your disease here to teach you?” – I remember reading this almost 2 years ago in The Loving Diet… all I could focus on was my hair loss, weight gain, lack of energy, confusion around what to eat, and depression. When I asked myself this question, not once but every single time I was ready to throw my hands in the air and give up… I came up with a ton of answers. I used this as a chance to journal and reflect and I became ready to learn the lessons. I became ready to change, transform, and grow through this instead of back down and fight against my body. I realized my body needed more love and understanding than ever, and while as a type A “little miss fix-it”… that wasn’t easy initially. So I had to train myself to keep my perfectionism in check, and to be patient…
Today, years into my healing, I’ve gone up… down… almost in remission only to make a complete 180 and have the worst numbers I’d ever seen after trying EVERYTHING. It can really feel demoralizing to wonder what the heck you’re doing spending money, seeking treatment, reducing what foods you can eat, etc. and then have it all fall to shit. IT HAPPENS. It happened to me over and over again because of family deaths, grief, and massive stress I was under but I failed to see that. I failed to think those things could really affect me when I was on meds, eating “right”, and trying so damn hard. I had to give in a little, I had to say over and over again “I trust my life, I trust my body, I’m here to listen and learn” and more importantly, I had to just go on living and not put things on hold for some magical day of remission.
Today, I happen to actually be just mere points away from remission, but I don’t take it for granted or too seriously if that makes sense – nothing is permanent in this life. I am, however, grateful and happy about it… I majorly owe this to the entire journey… not any one thing, no magic pill or treatment or diet but more so my relationship to myself, to my body, to the disease to work in partnership instead of against it all. It was my learning experience and the peace I had to come to that has helped me heal. I feel that yoga, meditation, and eliminating the stress of working too much and following my passion of being a full-time nutritionist and food blogger as the most recent huge commitments I’ve made. The rest had been done, the food, learning what food worked for me, going through several SIBO and gut healing treatments, so on and so forth. The missing pieces are usually the attitude, the self-love, and waking up to realize what’s really keeping you trapped.
Today, I no longer let the fear of what’s possible or not possible of the disease and symptoms bother me daily. I don’t allow myself to obsess over diets and supplements the way I once did. I allow myself to not take it all so damn seriously all the time and to laugh things off more.
Today, I can thank my disease for opening my eyes and helping me transform. When I first started trying to figure out what the hell was wrong with me, I was exhausted, depleted, not taking care of myself, and uninformed and out of tune with my own body and feelings. Getting sick, getting knocked on my ass, and feeling hopeless is what changed everything. Though it was isolating and depressing at the time… I was determined to get better. After being fed up with how doctors were treating me, and seeing how doctors were treating my sick family members too… I went back to school to become a health coach. Then, I was hungry for more and became a Nutritional Therapy Consultant to learn much more about how to use food and supplements to heal. I became laser-focused on helping myself but moreover, helping others to not have to go through all the same things or to have some comfort and support as they did to find their own healing as I have and still am.
For this reason, lately, I am more thankful to Hashimoto’s and my body than frustrated at it. My whole life may not have changed for the better this way, sometimes you need that wake-up call to really see what’s in front of you and to see what appears to be a disadvantage to instead be your power. Because without this, would you even be on this journey of self-discovery, transformation, and healing?
My advice is to believe this is here to teach you and to pay attention. You’re not here to “fix yourself” or to put this into remission as quickly as possible… the second you get that out of your head, is the second it all changes and you will use this as a power instead of a downfall. You are here to learn, you are here to love your body into healing, you are here to grow. And, I’m excited for you.
I hope these tips of all kinds, bring you some ideas, relief, and support and not more “to-do list” items… because your body is not a list of shit to fix. It’s your home.
I say to myself, “I wish I knew this in the beginning”… but what fun would that have been! That’s not really a journey at all and I probably wasn’t ready yet to hear it. You might not even be ready to absorb all this mushy stuff I just said that’s literally bringing me to tears… but if my experience can teach anyone anything, it’s that you have to learn it your own way. Maybe this helps with some aha-moments and a new perspective, but the lesson is yours to learn just as it was mine, however long it takes.
Wishing you the very best on your journey. XO
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join the conversation
Hi there. Thank you for sharing! I have been living well with thyroid disease since 2013..we’ll, honestly it’s a process. I have to switch thyroid replacement from time to time because it just stops working. Naturethroid was amazing and then it wasn’t. Armour was amazing and then after 9 months I started with terrible joint pain. Went to levoxyl with Liothyronine but never felt 10p% but numbers of course looked great. I recently just switched myself to Thyrovanz and it’s really great. The dosage us similar to armor so the conversion is easy. My test results look pretty good although my t3 could be a bit better. I see you use both natural thyroid replacement and Liothyronine? Is that correct and do you do that to keep your t3 at a better level! Thank you in advance for the information!
Thanks for sharing! My meds have also changed over the years, it all depends on your labs and what you and your doctor feel is best. Always good to ensure what’s working and whats not.
Hi, I found this page wanting to hear Dr. Lyon’s opinion on lifting weights with a disease like cfs/me, lyme/ hashimotos. My current symptoms are insomnia, mental fatigue, chronic fatigue, hpa axis dysreg, dysautonomia, ya know the works lol. Did she have any opinions on it ? She is very keen on muscle centric medicine, and I used to lift weights all the time before i got the vaccine, I’m just wondering how do you know when to push and when to chill? I’d love to hear what she may have shared with you. Thank you! Great read, very well organized, and yup- all sounds so familiar.
Warm hugs from a fellow health warrior, Jennie Vacca
so glad to hear from you and hugs right back! I can’t really speak for Dr. Lyon on that but she’s def. an advocate for strength training and adequate protein as you can handle it. She has some great podcasts and youtube videos you can check out if you google her page! Hope it helps.
Wow! That is a wealth of information, thank you!! I’ve been on a similar journey trying to heal Hashimoto’s as well. A couple mor paths you might want to explore too are: (1) to help balance hormones and reduce menstrual cramps, reduce saturated fats – this got me through perimenopause without having to get a a blood transfusion nor hysterectomy – fastest way to reduce saturated fats is eliminate processed foods (which you already do), all animal products (even fish and lean meats are still high in Sat fats) and all oils/butters (except small amount of flax seed oil on salads and in smoothies, never heated); and (2) check Dr. Alan Christianson’s latest book, The Thyroid Reset, he feels most people are simply getting too much iodine. That being said, I do think there is still a minority of folks who may benefit from adding a bit of iodine (~150 mcg) day) to meet min thyroid requirements, especially if you’ve been eating strictly unprocessed and vegan foods, and high amounts of raw cruciferous foods (e.g. Dr Brooke Goldner’s hyper nutrition protocol); and (3) get as much variety of fiber as possible by eating atvleast 30 types of plants per week, see Dr. Will Bulsiewicz’s book “Fiber Fueled”. Have fun experimenting! 🙂
I don’t think there is a disease out there quite like Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. I was diagnosed last year and it was the greatest thing that has happened to me in over a decade. I ignored my symptoms for years and it finally caught up with me. But you’re right, the best thing to do is look at it as your superpower, because anything we do with this disease is so much harder. The rewards are greater and I’m thankful for that. Let’s live a life happier than before, because we know what is going on with our bodies. Thank you for sharing!
Thanks so much for sharing this, Adrienne – couldn’t agree more. I’m so glad you have the clarity you need and are enjoying the lessons on your journey. That’s what it’s all about!
This article is everything and more! It has given me a huge insight into this new journey. I have gone years undiagnosed and am ready to start healing. It hasn’t exact happened yet a month in, but this gives hope! Thank you!
Aww, you are so welcome!! And congrats on finding out so you can work on healing, it’s an amazing journey. Wishing you the best. xx
Wow this was truly beautiful. I especially love the ending, how you are great full and how this journey made you care and love your body. All of this causes me stress because it was “healed” or brought to normal levels when I was 12. Now I’m pregnant my anti-Bodies have never been so high! (1456!) and all I keep thinking about is my baby. All these articles can be overwhelming and scary. But yours was truly amazing THANK YOU for doing this. I was vegan for over 5 years and it really did teach me how to love my body more and how to care for the earth. Because Of the baby I’m mainly vegetarian but I do eat lean meats here and there(not my main picks) I’m reaching out to this doctor but in the mean time I’m starting gluten free and eating very clean 🙂
Aww, Denise – thank you so much for taking the time to write this. It always brings a huge smile to my face that I can help someone with the journey. Congratulations on the pregnancy, I too was concerned with all the thyroid changes (I have some Hashi pregnancy posts as well you can check out), but ultimately our body is SO SMART and will take care of baby. You’re doing everything else that you can. YES to protein, keep up with it, mama! If you need a nutritionist, I’m your girl 😉
My journey isn’t too far off from yours. But I didn’t try as many of the diets. Like you I also avoid gluten, corn, soy, and dairy. I also avoid added sugars. But I’m starting to be less interested in the alternative medicine aspects. I even feel some of them can be quite dangerous. I see many folks on facebook groups getting bad advice without anyone keeping people in check. It is hard to know what advice is credible or not. Some of these are not even common recommendations from alternative practitioners. I think I like many of what you speak to. Getting medication settled (surprised by adding T3 to NDT though), diet, stress reduction, etc. I didn’t see sleep discussed but that’s a other key aspect. My personal opinion is the truth is somewhere in-between alternative and conventional. The internet and facebook is 95% alternative focused. I think some of us get too into the alternative because of that. Something to be careful with. That being said I do think diet plays a major role. And lowering exposure to toxins like in tap water and products. So it’s a mix of alternative and conventional to me. We have to be careful as we are easy prey for shady functional doctors. Pricey and giving too many supplements (which they sell).
I too read through most of your article. I was recently diagnosed with Hashimoto’s. I’ve been hypothyroid since 98. I was feeling so exhausted and last year I was almost bedridden. I had to find a new doctor became I knew it was my thyroid but it was 3.52 which is normal. I knew that number was too high. That doctor never checked my T3 or T4. My new doctor listened to me and checked me for everything. As I was reading I couldn’t help but cry. I’m 45 and have inherited a few things. I have to admit I have a problem loving myself! However my husband and I are Pastors and I know that God is healing me it’s just overwhelming at times. I just told my husband that I was going to have to change some things. I really thank you for this article. I’m not able to go to a naturopathic doctor. My insurance wouldn’t pay for that. But I’m going to follow your suggestions to the best of my ability and ask God to lead me through this! Blessings to you!
Aww Donna, thanks for sharing. I hope this helped and so glad you have some new things to try. The self-love is such a huge factor, as you see I learned that! Sending you hugs and blessings as well.
I read through most of the post here. I have been doctoring for hashimotos for 12 years now. I had it under control for several years before we moved overseas and I no longer had easy access to supplements, foods and health practicioners. so began the struggle all over for years. back in the states and committed to getting this in remission/under control again I find myself so sad. I have stopped eating meat/animals for years. One day, I just looked down and all i saw were the beautiful animals and couldn’t. It made me so deeply sad. How can I manage the whole diet/ai part while not eating meat? I have searched and searched for months and keep coming up against the same wall. I am reading the Omnivores delimma again, in hopes I can find a paradigm shift in heart and mind. I need to have a long healthy life. I will be following your site. Your information is clearly written and easy to understand. Thank you for all your time and dedication to making understanding and living with hashimotos a little easier.
Hi Kristin! Thank you so much for sharing this, my heart is with you – I know the struggle and journey and can’t imagine the move back and forth oversees with having to change/search for new practitioners and less access to the supplements and food you were accustomed to. I’ve had a few international clients with thyroid conditions and know the struggle but we made it work!
I also can totally empathize with eating meat/animal products. I too have tried in the past to be vegetarian/vegan for the same reason. Sadly, it made my symptoms much worse after a short period of time and I had to face bringing them back. I know it can be emotional on top of everything else you have going on with symptoms, etc. Give yourself grace and introduce slowly as your comfortable. Perhaps pasture-raised eggs and sustainably caught fish to start, working your way over to some organic and pasture-raised poultry so that you know they were raised ethically and lived a happy life. I often find practicing gratitude before the meal and thanking the animal beforehand is a really nice practice to add in. I have some sourcing info in my budget article you can check out for where I buy fish/meat.
See how you feel, don’t rush or push anything you’re really uncomfortable with… but it could seriously improve your symptoms and make you feel better and that’s worth the test. You know your goals and you deserve to support your body in getting there.
Lastly, thank you so much for the kind words, it means everything to me – I’m so happy you’re here following along! xo