Although I was working hard to heal my body, I was missing giant pieces of the puzzle without having a full diagnosis of Hashimoto’s hypothyroiditis. Because my doctor didn’t complete a full thyroid panel, I was aware that I had hypothyroidism but unaware that I had Hashimoto’s. Since Hashimoto’s is an autoimmune disease, there were key behavioral interventions that could have helped me that I wasn’t doing. Once I integrated them, I felt huge improvements in my health.
Let’s start at the beginning…what is Hashimoto’s hypothyroiditis?
Hashimoto’s hypothyroiditis is an autoimmune condition that results in your body attacking its thyroid gland. Under attack, the thyroid isn’t able to produce enough hormones for the body. What really caught my attention is that seven out of eight people who have Hashimoto’s are women!
Only after being diagnosed with Hashimoto’s, did I learn that the most common cause of hypothyroidism is Hashimoto’s. In fact, Hashimoto’s accounts for 90% of the cases of hypothyroidism in the US, which I read in Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis: Lifestyle Interventions for Finding and Treating the Root Cause
I was extremely green in this whole area of health but quickly learned that autoimmune diseases are quickly becoming an epidemic in today’s society. This led to my next question…
What is an autoimmune disease?
The book The Paleo Approach by Sarah Ballantyne, PhD answered that question and more. She states that the one hundred plus confirmed autoimmune diseases have the same root cause: our immune system. With autoimmune, instead of our immune system protecting us from invaders in our system, it attacks our own cells instead. With Hashimoto’s, the cells attacked are the thyroid.
While this number is debatable, the American Autoimmune Related Diseases Association estimates that over 50 million American suffer from at least one autoimmune disease. Some common ones you may have heard about are Rheumatoid Arthritis, MS and Lupus.
As I continued researching, I learned from multiple sources that there is still a lot for science to learn about autoimmune diseases, but there are three key factors present with cases of autoimmune.
- Genetics. If someone in your family has an autoimmune disease, you’re more likely to have one, but not necessarily the same one. After asking, I learned one of my parents has an autoimmune disease, different than the one I have.
- Triggering factor. This could be some kind of toxic invader, infection, lifestyle or environmental trigger. I believe my triggering factors were years of stressful lifestyle, which blew out my adrenals.
- Leaky gut. Because of stress, food allergies, or other causes, we literally get holes in the lining of our gut, allowing toxins to enter into our bloodstream that would usually be eliminated form the body, such as parasites, viruses and more.
What are the symptoms and diagnosis of Hashimoto’s hypothyroiditis?
The majority of the symptoms are the same symptoms as hypothyroidism. Check out the previous blog I wrote a blog about the symptoms of and diagnosing hypothyroidism and Hashimoto’s.
How can I naturally heal my Hashimoto’s Hypothyroiditis?
There is no magic pill to take to spontaneously cure Hashimoto’s hypothyroiditis. What helped me most was a combination of many lifestyle changes and working with my doctor. Today I’m going to share two of the lifestyle changes that created shifts for me: food and stress.
“Eat perfectly and you will have perfect health,” my Naturopath told me. By perfect he meant eat fruits, veggies, animal protein and nuts. No dairy, grains, processed foods, legumes, soy or processed sugar. (Basically the Autoimmune Paleo diet.)
This was another example of what I found so interesting in this journey. There is a huge gap between being told what to do and being able to live it. If giving up cheese and sugar were as easy as being told to do it, we wouldn’t have obesity or disease at all in this country…or we’d have extremely low rates of it.
Today I do abide by that diet, and I feel a lot better. As suggested in Whal’s Protocol, I started eating six cups of veggies a day and felt a shift in my health and energy. While I had been gluten free for years, completely eliminating grain and dairy significantly decreased – and on most days eliminated – the joint pain I was experiencing.
All of those changes weren’t easy! It took a lot of mindset shifts to be unaffected when everyone else around me was sipping champagne and noshing on a scrumptious cheeseboard in front of me.
Another nugget of wisdom you’ll receive along this journey is, “reduce your stress.” Again, I find this advice kind of ironic since these situations are inherently stressful. You don’t fee like yourself. Your brain isn’t working full speed because of brain fog. You have little to no energy. And sometimes you can’t work because of all of this.
Anyway, while all of that was true for me, I did take a hard look at stress in my life and how it may have contributed to my Hashimoto’s hypothyroiditis. Where had my body learned to attack itself?
I eventually realized I taught my body how to attack itself.
It was a sickening realization. All of these years I thought I was being good to my body because I ate what the latest studies recommended. I exercised. I meditated. I did yoga.
When I got honest with myself, I realized I did most of those things to calm my mind (meditation, yoga) or to look a certain way (eating, exercise). I didn’t really check in with my body to see if those foods were what my body liked. I didn’t check in with my body to see what my energy levels were before charging ahead with an intense workout. I didn’t give it enough rest because that was “lazy.”
Worst of all, my body absorbed the stress I experienced through a few drinks here or a few cookies there. Then my body received criticism from me because it didn’t look or perform exactly the way I wanted it to.
I was in a very one-way relationship with my body. It gave and I took. No wonder it had enough.
Want to learn more?
My program Happy to Heal (Everything Your Doctor’s Not Telling You About Healing Your Thyroid, Adrenals and Leaky Gut) covers it all … Get on the waitlist today for exclusive offers and first access! 🙂