Hypothyroidism = Low thyroid function
Many of us diagnosed with this chronic health condition are told that it is a life sentence of taking thyroid medication every morning for the rest of our lives. We're told that our thyroid gland is broken. If we've been diagnosed with Hashimoto's Hypothyroidism, we're told our thyroid gland is destroyed and beyond recovery. Our only hope is to swallow a pill every morning. Or is it?
I am living proof that you CAN heal your thyroid with natural therapies. In my last post, I talked about supplements I take to support my thyroid health, and today I want to talk to you about the foods I eat to further support my healing.
When I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism, I was already eating a healthy, vegan diet, but there are a few tweaks that I have made which I feel have really helped me to decrease my thyroid antibodies and get my hormone values back into the normal range.
FOODS TO AVOID
First, I want to talk to you about foods that I avoid as a hypothyroid patient.
I stopped eating meat in 2012 for ethical reasons. At the time I was working closely with animals in a veterinary clinic, and this deepened my appreciation for animals as beautiful, sentient creatures with their own desires. Over the years, I’ve learned so much about nutrition, and I made the transition to a 100% vegan diet in 2014. I truly believe that this is the ideal way to eat if you want to be healthy, especially if you’re living with hypothyroidism.
Eating animal products, including eggs and dairy, is problematic for the human body for many reasons. Because these products are taken from living, breathing animals that have their own endocrine systems, these products contain hormones that when we consume them, disrupt our bodies natural production of our own hormones. If you are living with Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism, you’ll definitely want to give up dairy at the very least because dairy is a highly inflammatory food that can aggravate the body’s autoimmune response even further.
Another food that I’ve eliminated from my diet is gluten. This is another food that can aggravate the body’s autoimmune activity. Because I have Hashimoto’s, my doctor advised me to avoid gluten 100%. Even a little bit of gluten every once in awhile is enough to cause problems. Unfortunately it isn’t an “everything in moderation” kind of deal. Not gonna lie, I hate being gluten free. I miss regular bread so much. So. Much. But it is worth it to know that my body is no longer destroying my thyroid gland!
FOODS TO ENJOY ABUNDANTLY
So now I’m sure you’re like okay, Rachel, what the hell am I supposed to eat then? There is so much you can eat on this lifestyle! For real! I feel like I actually have more variety in my diet as a vegan.
You can enjoy an abundance of fruit and vegetables. Literally as much as you want.
Whole grains like rice, corn, quinoa. Legumes. Nuts and seeds. Learning to use spices and create tasty vegan sauces will also help to add flavor and excitement to your meals. Literally any food that you enjoy, there is a vegan version of it.
Some of my favorite meals to eat are vegan chili mac, cheese-less pizza, pasta with vegan meat balls, red lentil curry....and I could keep going. I really love food.
I’ve also started incorporating more healthy fats into my diet in the form of nuts and seeds. Hemp seeds, pumpkin seeds, Brazil nuts, chia seeds, walnuts, flax seeds, all of these provide vital nutrients like zinc, selenium, omega 3’s and omega 6’s. These nutrients are necessary for many reasons, and they help the body to synthesize thyroid hormones. Getting enough healthy fats is especially important for women. Our bodies need enough fat to be able to create hormones. This is why women who don’t have enough fat on their bodies will oftentimes lose their periods. So don’t be afraid of eating fats. As long as they are healthy fats from whole foods, you’re good.
QUICK TIPS TO REMEMBER...
#1 Eliminate animal products.
#2 Eliminate gluten
#3 Eat plenty of healthy fats
As you transition to a more whole-foods diet, try not to think of it as sacrifice or deprivation. This is a gift you are giving to yourself, a gift you are giving to your body. You deserve to live a vibrant and healthy life, and I know you are strong enough to do what it takes to get yourself there.
Remember that everyone has unique dietary needs. Some people may need more protein while others need more fats or carbohydrates. Some of us may have food allergies, absorption issues or nutrient deficiencies that also need to be addressed. Give yourself space to experiment and find what feels right for you and your body. Consider talking to a nutritionist who is familiar with the vegan diet.
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