I have Hashimoto’s Disease, while it’s not the best news it’s certainly not the worst. In case you don’t know anything about it (who does?!) it’s an autoimmune disease that causes your antibodies to attack your thyroid gland. If you don’t know anything about your thyroid gland (I didn’t) it regulates your metabolism, temperature, energy, etc. and produces hormones that are sent through your bloodstream to help regulate every system in your body. Because my thyroid is being attacked the following symptoms can occur and worsen over time:
constipation, depression, anxiety, enlarged thyroid, extreme fatigue, hair loss, joint stiffness, muscle weakness, puffy eyes, sensitivity to cold, slow heart rate, swelling in extremities, and/or weight gain (I had to start with constipation didn’t I?)
The symptoms above don’t sound terribly scary but at their extremes can be debilitating, not to mention your chances of acquiring another autoimmune disease increases. I wasn’t exactly surprised by the diagnosis, my mom was also diagnosed a few years back (yes, it’s a fun genetic disease)! Over the last year I noticed a drop in my energy, decreased ability to handle stress, hair loss, foggy brain, forgetfulness, depression, and a little weight gain but I chalked it up to being too busy. That is until I went to my doctor for a general checkup and they noticed a swollen thyroid…we all know where this led.
I am lucky, I found out earlier than most people do and I dug into research to see if there was some way to halt the progression and put this beast into remission. Conventional searches will tell you there is no cure and the only treatment is a thyroid replacement pill every day for the rest of your life and that, eventually, your thyroid will completely stop working. While it sounds simple the medication is hard to control and doesn’t manage all of the symptoms consistently and is very much imperfect, as are most autoimmune medications.
While there is no “cure” I stumbled across the AIP Diet (Auto Immune Protocol Diet) in my obsessive search of Hashimoto’s (similar to the Paleo diet). Basically you take everything you ever loved to eat and stop eating it, simple, right?! It’s also not one of those diets where you can have a “cheat” day because eating these inflammatory foods can mean you set yourself back by days, weeks, or months in your healing.
The basics of the diet all stem from the “leaky gut” theory and that healing begins in the gut with the right foods! Listen, I’ll be the first to tell you I do not WANT to eat this way, but I WANT to feel good and basically the food I love is hurting me and not in the way I previously considered. Being a lover of food of all kinds you can imagine that starting this diet sucks.
However, I am a two months into the diet and I can attest to feeling really good, I have more energy, stamina, less brain fog, better circulation, less stress/anxiety, and I am happier. It’s a process, there are more obstacles to overcome and road blocks but it’s a first step in the right direction. It’s been awhile since I’ve shared so I thought I’d make it…educational.
A couple of great resources if you’re curious about the diet are:
Mickey Trescott and Angie Alt’s site: Autoimmune Wellness
Dr. Sarah Ballantyne’s site: Paleo Mom
Sophie’s site: A Squirrel in the Kitchen
Amanda Torres’ site: The Curious Coconut
Bre’anna Emmet’s site: He Won’t Know its Paleo
and so many more!
Listen, doing this diet aint cheap, it’s hard work, and not all of the recipes will rock your world. That’s why I will be here to bring you my AIP creations and critiques in the weeks to come from various AIP food bloggers. I also hope to bring you tidbits about the other autoimmune friendly products that I am trying.
This “Hashimama” [copyright ;)] is signing off, have a colorful day and eat some pizza for me!