STOP the Thyroid Madness!

When I was first diagnosed with Hashimoto Thyroid Disease I went to my endocrinologist, like anyone else would, and was prescribed Synthroid. After a few weeks I started feeling a little better, but I still had chronic pain and some degree of fatigue. After months and months of complaining to my Dr. and him saying that my thyroid levels were within the normal rage and that this was all in my head, it dawned on me that as much as I appreciate modern medicine and doctors, I needed to be a full participant in my health and wellness. This meant RESEARCH. In my experience, doctors seem to treat you like one size fits all – and that just wasn’t working for me. I couldn’t imagine spending the rest of my life feeling the way I did! I was only 30 years old and I felt like I was a senior citizen. Awful. And no thank you.

I feel like it took me longer than it should have to figure out that my doctor wasn’t necessary doing me any good, which I kick myself for because I spent a good amount of time feeling like crap, crying, wondering if I was going to have to live that way for the rest of my life. But I think that when you’re in that state and you’re not well, it’s probably not abnormal to believe what your doctor says.

So began the research…

Eventually I stumbled upon this website: Stop the Thyroid Madness. This website was a huge  help in pointing me in the right direction as to what kind of doctor I needed to seek out, the different types of thyroid medications, the many other symptoms or autoimmunity’s associated with thyroid disorders, etc.

First of all I found that taking Synthroid was NOT in  my best interest. As stated on the Stop the Thyroid Madness website:

“Technically, it’s a synthetic crystalline L-3,3′,5,5′-tetraiodothyronine sodium salt. Doctors have been prescribing Synthroid for over 50 years to treat hypothyroidism. Before that time, the only treatment for hypothyroidism was natural desiccated thyroid, which appeared to work well for a good seven decades before Synthroid entered the arena.”

Synthroid is a T4 only medication but T4 is only one of the five hormones that are made by the thyroid – the others being T3, T2, T1 and calcitonin. I personally never felt “normal” on Synthroid. Actually, that’s putting it mildly. At one point I had WORSE pain and fatigue than I did BEFORE I started on the Synthroid. Let me back up for a minute, the symptoms I get when my thyroid isn’t being treated properly or is “off, are very similar to fibromyalgia (joint pain, fatigue, brain fog, etc.). I think the reason for the way my body responded to Synthroid is because a healthy thyroid doesn’t make you totally depend on a conversion alone. T4 is simply a storage hormone meant to convert to T3, the active hormone. A healthy thyroid give, along with converting your storage hormone (T4) to T3, gives you DIRECT T3 plus T2, TI and calcitonin.

They thyroid and the different disorders and/ or diseases associated with it can be very complicated to treat. The thyroid is a complicated little gland!! But it’s in charge of so much for your body!

During my research I started bouncing around from doctor to doctor. I refused to go to a doctor who didn’t treat thyroid disorders with natural desiccated thyroid (desiccated thyroid is natural and gives you exactly what your own thyroid would be giving you: T4, T3, T2, T1 and calcitonin). But even still, all doctors treat the thyroid differently. It’s crazy. Slowly but surely I started feeling better on the natural medications, but not 100%. Eventually I ended up working with an integrative medicine doctor and that just changed my life. I was FINALLY on the right path for the medication part of my disease. I STILL work with my doctor, who is in California (I’m in Austin now), over the phone. I have my medication compounded at a compound pharmacy and I’ve been doing this for years now.

I wish the story ended here, but it doesn’t…

I still have an autoimmune problem – three of them to be exact (Hashimoto, Endometriosis, Fibromyalgia). So, although I’m medicated properly, I still run in to the same issues.. fatigue, joint pain, etc. The fibromyalgia still affects me even though I keep a good diet and workout regimen. But there are very definite triggers that will make it flair up such as high stress, lack of sleep, etc. I’m still very much affected by my autoimmune problems but I feel that now it’s much more managed and less extreme.

So, I’m definitely a work in progress. I am doing GREAT. I have found that along with the proper medication, maintaining consistency with working out and DIET that I feel so much better most of the time.

I’m still learning. I started his blog because I wanted a place to document and tell my story and maybe that might help someone else. Because the truth is, there is no ONE fix for any of this. It takes effort, research, time, energy, commitment, consistency, finding a good doctor, etc.

Really quickly… Some info I’ve learned on autoimmunity…

My doctor explained to me that autoimmunity’s, although to some degree can be treated medically, also rely on diet, exercise, lifestyle, stress levels… etc.

In autoimmune diseases the body attacks itself. It does this the same way it attacks foreign invaders like bacteria and viruses: with T-cells, B-cells, natural killer cells, and cytotoxic T cells. The immune response also involves proteins called cytokines, chemical messengers that pass messages between cells. This self-attack by the immune system increases inflammation.

That is the short explanation of what an autoimmune disease is.

I’m learning that diet is a HUGE part of battling autoimmune disease. A bad diet can cause inflammation in your system alone – so imagine that along with the inflammation happening from the autoimmune disease. For example, with thyroid disease, First, inflammation suppresses the hypothalamus-pituitary-thyroid (HPT) axis. Inflammation disrupts the production and regulatory mechanisms of thyroid hormones.

Second, inflammation decreases both the number and sensitivity of thyroid hormone receptors. If there aren’t enough receptors, or they aren’t sensitive enough, it doesn’t matter how much thyroid medication we take. The cells won’t be able to use it.

Third, inflammation decreases the conversion of T4 to T3. T4 is the inactive form of thyroid hormone. The body has to convert it to the active T3 form before it can be used. Most synthetic hormone medications on the market are T4. If you give a T4 medication (like Synthroid, Levoxyl, Unithroid, etc.) to someone with inflammation, it’s not going to work because they can’t convert the T4 to T3.

That is just one small example of how inflammation can wreak havoc on your body.

That said, I’m working on my diet. I’m starting with a strict Paleo diet, eliminating a bunch of food such as dairy, grains, sugar, etc. Eventually I will reintroduce some food back into my diet and see how my body tolerates it. Right now, my antibodies are very high – which means they are attacking my thyroid gland (Hashimoto) – this is why my doctor has suggested getting very strict with  my diet and see if there are any changes.

I will keep posting as I continue on my journey with autoimmunity, diet, exercise – really converting my lifestyle to one that works well with my body. I’m learning how to cook great food and yes, some days are more challenging that others, but that’s okay. The long term benefits are going to be better for me than if I just sit on my butt and do nothing to heal my body.

 

Thanks for reading!

 

Advertisements

Some Days….

2015/01/img_8303.png

Some days are harder than others… Today is one of them. With my fibro I’ve found that I’ve gotta KEEP MOVING! If I give in to the pain and fatigue then it’s ten times worse, and it remains that way. Working through the pain/fatigue always seems to be the key to feeling better .. But man, some days I just want to lay down!!

I’ll keep on moving though.. Even a nice walk will help… I noticed a pattern over the last year… I would feel like crap, lay in bed resting, take it super easy, didn’t challenge myself and guess what?! I felt WORSE overall AND for longer periods of time. I finally picked myself up and pushed through it. I started off slowly – walking. I then added light weights and worked up to doing some of the Tracy Anderson workouts (which I love!) FullSizeRenderEverything I did was low impact but it was getting my body moving. I slowly started feeling better and have worked my way up to HIT circuit workouts!  I can say that I feel better over all from keeping my workouts consistent. I’ve noticed that if i take a few days off, I feel like I do today, crappy, tired, head achy. No fun!

If you’re in the same boat as me, challenge yourself to push through the pain and fatigue, even if it’s something small, like a walk. It’s worth trying out… I did when I was at my worst and on an average day I’m doing and feeling so much better than I was a year ago! Plus, my body is shaping up and of course who doesn’t love feeling strong and healthy!

Crockpot Paleo Thai Stew Recipe

CaptureI tried out this amazing recipe over the weekend from the Against All Grain cookbook. It came out really nice – wonderful flavor. IMG_8291It took me about 45 minutes to prep before it went into the crock pot. Sooo worth it! It makes 6-8 servings – I’m going to freeze some of it. I’m trying to stock my freezer with the healthy meals I cook – it’s so time consuming to be constantly cooking! I’m hoping in a few months I will have a nice stockpile in my freezer so that I’m not having to cook SO MUCH every week/day!! You can find the recipe on the Against all Grain website as well.

Raising a Real Food Generation in the Real World

CaptureI came across a great website today – RAISING GENERATION NOURISHED – which has some awesome information and recipes for feeding babies, natural health and home remedies, etc. They have a Feeding Nourished Babies Series, a great resource to help “waded through mainstream medicine’s processed baby food recommendations so you can make your own decisions on what is best to feed *your* baby to nourish their growing minds and bodies!” I don’t have kids, but if I’m every lucky enough to have a family, I would definitely focus on feeding them healthy, NOURISHING foods from the start. Check out their website:  Raising Generation Nourished

GOOD READS…

a few good reads[6]As I’ve been researching and trying to figure out how to deal with my autoimmune problems, I’ve come across some great websites and books that are so helpful with tons of information and AIP and/or Paleo recipes:

The Paleo Mom – This website includes great recipes, information, podcasts and much more. She also has an amazingly informative book – The Paleo Approach – Reverse Autoimmune Disease and Heal Your Body. It’s A LOT of information but worth reading.

Against All Grain – Anther wonderfully informative website created by Danielle Walker – she talks about her journey, has great recipes as wells as a couple of books out.

Autoimmune Paleo – Great articles, recipes, cookbooks and resources

These websites are great for learning more on autoimmunity as well as just healthy living and healthy eating in general. You’ll find that diet is the MOST IMPORTANT part of fighting autoimmune problems.

 

Crispy Brussels Sprouts w/Bacon & Garlic

brussel sprouts 2aI found this yummy recipe on Pinterest and tossed it together last night. It came out so great!! I’m not a big veggie fan but I’ve been trying to add more veggies to my diet. Who knew that I’d love brussells sprouts! Plus… there is bacon. The recipe is really simple and can be found HERE.

A little about the health benefits of Brussels Sprouts… They are among the top 20 most nutritious foods with vitamin K, vitamin C, vitamin A, potassium and manganese. One cup of Brussels sprouts provides only 38 calories, 0 grams of fat, 8 grams of carbohydrate and 3 grams of protein.

Broth is Beautiful

food-whybroth1“Good broth will resurrect the dead,” says a South American proverb. Said Escoffier: “Indeed, stock is everything in cooking. Without it, nothing can be done.”

A cure-all in traditional households and the magic ingredient in classic gourmet cuisine, stock or broth made from bones of chicken, fish and beef builds strong bones, assuages sore throats, nurtures the sick, puts vigor in the step and sparkle in love life–so say grandmothers, midwives and healers. For chefs, stock is the magic elixir for making soul-warming soups and matchless sauces.

Meat and fish stocks play a role in all traditional cuisines—French, Italian, Chinese, Japanese, African, South American, Middle Eastern and Russian. In America, stock went into gravy and soups and stews. That was when most animals were slaughtered locally and nothing went to waste. Bones, hooves, knuckles, carcasses and tough meat went into the stock pot and filled the house with the aroma of love. Today we buy individual filets and boneless chicken breasts, or grab fast food on the run, and stock has disappeared from the American tradition.

Grandmother Knew BestScience validates what our grandmothers knew. Rich homemade chicken broths help cure colds. Stock contains minerals in a form the body can absorb easily—not just calcium but also magnesium, phosphorus, silicon, sulphur and trace minerals. It contains the broken down material from cartilage and tendons–stuff like chondroitin sulphates and glucosamine, now sold as expensive supplements for arthritis and joint pain.

Fish stock, according to traditional lore, helps boys grow up into strong men, makes childbirth easy and cures fatigue. “Fish broth will cure anything,” is another South American proverb. Broth and soup made with fishheads and carcasses provide iodine and thyroid-strengthening substances.

When broth is cooled, it congeals due to the presence of gelatin. The use of gelatin as a therapeutic agent goes back to the ancient Chinese. Gelatin was probably the first functional food, dating from the invention of the “digestor” by the Frenchman Papin in 1682. Papin’s digestor consisted of an apparatus for cooking bones or meat with steam to extract the gelatin. Just as vitamins occupy the center of the stage in nutritional investigations today, so two hundred years ago gelatin held a position in the forefront of food research. Gelatin was universally acclaimed as a most nutritious foodstuff particularly by the French, who were seeking ways to feed their armies and vast numbers of homeless in Paris and other cities. Although gelatin is not a complete protein, containing only the amino acids arginine and glycine in large amounts, it acts as a protein sparer, helping the poor stretch a few morsels of meat into a complete meal. During the siege of Paris, when vegetables and meat were scarce, a doctor named Guerard put his patients on gelatin bouillon with some added fat and they survived in good health.

The French were the leaders in gelatin research, which continued up to the 1950s. Gelatin was found to be useful in the treatment of a long list of diseases including peptic ulcers, tuberculosis, diabetes, muscle diseases, infectious diseases, jaundice and cancer. Babies had fewer digestive problems when gelatin was added to their milk. The American researcher Francis Pottenger pointed out that as gelatin is a hydrophilic colloid, which means that it attracts and holds liquids, it facilitates digestion by attracting digestive juices to food in the gut. Even the epicures recognized that broth-based soup did more than please the taste buds.

CLICK HERE TO READ MORE

“Soup is a healthy, light, nourishing food” said Brillant-Savarin, “good for all of humanity; it pleases the stomach, stimulates the appetite and prepares the digestion.”