RIP favorite foods
Repairing an Autoimmune Disorder with food
My name is Stephanie and I have an addiction to cheese smothered bread - Pizza, Mac & Cheese, Quesadillas, Cheese Bread, you put cheese on anything gluten and I am instantly in love!
That was until last year. . .
September 2014 I was diagnosed with an autoimmune disorder called hashimotos. I know, it sounds like a made up sumo wrestlers name, but it is a legitimate Thyroid disorder that took forever to diagnose. I knew something was not right for years. I saw multiple doctors who kept testing my TSH, T3, and T4 to show me I was a hypochondriac, well at least that is what it felt like they were trying to do.
I am not a doctor, but I am the one living in my body, and I knew it was acting up. My symptoms were never acute, instead they were very small but constant and nagging. I am super sensitive to the cold, once I get cold it takes hours to warm back up. I have bizarre out of the blue hormonal swings where I feel blurry. It is the only way to describe it, I am not depressed, but not happy, not sleepy, but cannot focus. I just feel super unmotivated and lethargic. They come on fast, sometimes will last a few hours, others a few days. Like I said, it’s not terrible, but I know it affects the people around me, and it really sucks to feel like you are trapped in a body that isn’t working right.
It took me 3 years to find a doctor that would look outside the box and test me for the correct markers. Turns out the blood test I needed was the Thyroid Peroxidase Antibodies test to identify a thyroid autoimmune disorder. Thankfully I found a phenomenal doctor who specializes in Functional Medicine who helped me treat my disorder WITHOUT drugs! The drugs they want to put you on for a Thyroid disorder are crazy and most deal with Synthetic Hormones. . .no thank you!
I learned having an autoimmune disorder does not mean you cannot treat it. In fact, what is even cooler is that autoimmunes are most commonly caused by leaky gut. I know, it sounds really gross, and you would think you would know if you gut is leaking, but you don’t, usually. When we eat things that we have intolerances to, things like dairy, gluten, etc, it opens the tight junctions in the gut, which control what passes through the lining of the small intestine and causes substances leak into the bloodstream. Those substances are then “foreign intruders” so you body attacks them.
In my case, people with Hashimotos have to be careful with gluten. When gluten leaks out, my body attacks it, but also mistakes my thyroid for gluten and attacks it too causing all sorts of problems.
Here is where all of my favorite foods lay to rest . . .
I am a super picky eater, my diet consists of ground beef, cheese smothered bread products, chicken fingers, sweet potatoes, and fruit.
When you remove the cheese smothered breads and chicken fingers (because they are breaded) I am left with ground beef, sweet potatoes, and fruit. You can see my hesitation with removing gluten from my diet.
After doing a lot of research on my own, I saw so many case studies of people treating Hashimotos through diet alone. I decided to give it a try for 3 months (that is when my next blood test was). If my numbers improved I would consider continuing, if not, I would find another way.
To my surprise, my numbers did change for the better, so did all of my other deficiencies (Chromium, B2, B12, Vitamin D, copper, Cystine, Folate, Maganese, Pantothenate, and Alpha Lipoic Acid). I was amazed!
I have been gluten free for almost a year, my symptoms are still here but not nearly as frequently. Look at my tests from 3 blood sets of lab work. My Thyroid Peroxidase Antibodies which are supposed to be below 9 points went from 129 to 94! That is 30 points in 1 year! I still have a long way to go, but if feels amazing to know that I am in control of my disorder. If things keep going the way they are, I can be Hashimotos Free in less than 3 years!
This year of trial and error has been such an eye opener that we really are in control and we always have a choice . . . a choice to eat for fuel, a choice to emotionally eat, a choice to over or under eat. At the end of the day we all have a choice . . . Only you live in your body, only you will be able to tell when you are treating your body with disregard. It is NOT EASY, quite the opposite, it has be a rough road, but figuring out HOW to make yourself better is so rewarding and powerful.
Stay tuned for my continued progress, I have learned what to remove from my diet, and now I am on the search to find the best foods I can ADD to my diet to further the repair process.
About the Author
Stephanie's career in fitness started almost a decade ago after graduating with a degree in Applied Physiology and Kinesiology from the University of Florida. Over the years she's gained invaluable experience as a business owner and dedicated coach to hundreds of athletes. CrossFit has given her the opportunity to compete with incredible athletes around the country at the Regional and Games level.