Hello readers, happy fall! Can you believe we are already a week into November? Time has been flying this year– I guess it really is true that the older you get the faster time goes, (and I’ve felt particularly old this year. Haha!) Well, it’s been a few months since I was diagnosed with Hashimotos. So, here is an update of how I’ve been doing, what is working and what isn’t working.
One of the changes I decided to make was to try a basically “modified” paleo diet. I followed this pretty well, but had a few cheats here and there like an occasional bit of brown rice with dinner, or a couple tablespoons of milk in coffee if I was away from my dorm and didn’t have my coconut/almond milk blend. I actually lost around 8 lbs in the first week alone, I believe from cutting out gluten which I realize is a very inflammatory food for me. Though I was pretty faithful to stay off all gluten the past few months, I ended up gaining all the weight back for unknown reasons. But, as all of you that deal with Hashimotos know, dealing with unexplained weight gain is just a part of life. You learn to roll with the punches.
I tried to keep out nightshades, goitrogens, and cruciferous vegetables as much as I could, but this caused me to really struggle with my variety of foods I could eat. I was attempting to really limit my kale intake in particular, as it’s one of my staple foods, and I would normally eat at least one salad a day. I didn’t however, want to eat iceberg lettuce, which is non-goitrogen or cruciferous, but is also non-nutritious. This led to a lot of struggles and frustration with what options I could incorporate into my diet, particularly as a poor college student without much time to food prep or much room in her mini fridge! After several weeks of increased frustrating shopping and decreased vegetable intake, I eventually caved and started buying bags of kale again because I figured its better than eating a nutrient-void salad. (I also wasn’t great about not eating other vegetables on the list, like cauliflower, strawberries, spinach, red peppers, etc., to be fair.)
I’ve noticed my thyroid has been noticeably more swollen the past few months, and this could very well be due to the fact that I am eating a diet with a lot of goitrogens and cruciferous vegetables. It has actually arrived at the point that I can see my thyroid, my neck feels swollen, and it’s often uncomfortable to swallow.
One thing that has improved a lot is my regularity. Probably most of you guys who deal with Hashimotos are no stranger to digestive issues. I think cutting out dairy and gluten was a huge help with this, as well as the increased veggie intake. I also have been faithful with my vitamins, which I’m sure is a help as well.
Recently, within the last several weeks in particular, I have finally begun to notice a change in my energy level. For most of the time doing paleo, and all throughout the summer, my energy was so low, and my workouts had cut back to a 2-3x a week, and even those were a struggle. It was very frustrating because I would often get nauseous during the workout, was lifting about 15% less weight than normal and only doing 3 reps on average rather than 4-5. I have finally begun to increase my workout frequency, as well as have really great workouts and I am able to lift about where I was before, as well as kick up the reps back to 4-5. This has been really encouraging as working out is one of my top outlets for stress relief. (And just plain sanity.) So, I am not sure if this energy perk is from the paleo diet results kicking in, or perhaps consistency with my vitamins, or maybe just some random season for my body. Whatever it is, I’ll take it. (That’s not to say I have full energy on every day, I still have a few days a week where I try to work out and my body is just completely exhausted and I get nauseous when I try to lift. And all this being on 8+ hours of sleep every night…. But I’m so thankful for the improvements that have been made!)
What is my plan now?
I’m serious about my health, and I think I can do better than a couple improvements. I’ve been researching the AIP (autoimmune protocol) diet, and it seems like there are many people that have been able to control and improve their hashimotos symptoms with this diet. For those of you who haven’t heard of it yet, it’s essentially an elimination diet. It’s similar to paleo, but more strict, particularly in the beginning.
Stage 1 is the elimination phase. You permanently cut out processed foods, food additives, refined oils, refined sugars, grains (including corn) and dried legumes (including soy and peanuts).
You temporarily cut out eggs, dairy, nuts (including nut-based oils), seeds (including coffee, cocoa, seed-based oils and spices), nightshades (veggies and spices), fresh legumes (green beans and green peas) and alcohol.
In stage 2, after 30 days, you are allowed to start incorporating some foods back in. You just see how you feel, and go from there. These foods you incorporate back into your diet are eggs, dairy, seeds, nuts and nightshades.
This diet will definitely be a challenge for me! My main goals in this diet will be to keep a detailed food journal and be consistent in tracking my symptoms along the way. Additionally, I really want to try to create more variety in my diet so I’m not constantly eating chicken and salad! I think it will be very easy to burn out on this diet if I don’t create variety. Overall, I’m excited to get started and hopefully start seeing some more results! I will continue to keep you all posted on how the process is going.
Thank you for joining me on my journey, I deeply appreciate the support from each one of you.
My friends with autoimmune disease, have you ever tried AIP? Were you able to find success/improvement of symptoms?