Ahhhh, there it is! My former favorite meal! It may look like plastic now, but before, it was heaven! And I mean heaven! That is the meal I lived for. Macaroni and Cheese! And this was just not any ordinary Macaroni and Cheese! No sir! This was gluten free Macaroni and Cheese and I added my favorite gluten free American Cheese to boot! I mean this was a cheesy, delicious, and mostly daily treat for me! Can you feel the emotion? Well, that was a good portion of my diet over two years ago and knowing it was gluten free and good for Hashimotos Thyroiditis was just a perk to the addiction! And you can tell by my before and after pictures, that gluten free indulgences didn’t really do anything positive for me.
But wait, you say, it was gluten free. You can indulge if you want. See, since then, I figured out a ton of new information. Gluten free was just the tip of the iceberg. I am not a technical writer so I will support my thoughts with articles by those who are, as needed. So let me get started.
When I say this Hashimotos thing is a journey, you have no idea how much I mean it. Well, let me re-think that statement. If you have Hashi’s yourself, you certainly do! Or at the minimum, you are figuring that out fast! Living with this condition is like putting pieces of a puzzle together, taking them apart, re-evaluating, putting others back together, until you have something that looks like it might just come together. And this is a long, and in most cases, tiring process. However, with current research, those of you just starting out, have it much better than those of us who have been on this journey for years. Within the last 2-3 years, breakthroughs like Dr. Datis Kharrazian’s “Why Do I Still Have Thyroid Symptoms When My Lab Tests Are Normal?” hit the scene. This book was one of the most significant helps towards a healing road that I could have found back then. It explained why I wasn’t feeling better even though I was taking that “magic pill” my traditional doctor told me about. That lead me to my Functional Medicine doctor who finally helped me understand that leaving gluten in my diet was not going to help me heal. On top of that, he suggested I get certain testing which helped support my system and helped him decide what systems of the body needed the most help. In next week’s post, I plan on reviewing a book which goes into detail on this subject but for now, I can’t tell you how important this step was for me.
After that initial series of important steps, it occurred to me that the biggest culprit in my disease seemed to be inflammation. This “ah ha” moment opened up a new understanding about why I should remove not only gluten but all foods that my body might be fighting against, as much as possible. Then the GAPS Diet entered the picture. Before this diet, I was resisting the idea that other grains and foods could be contributing to this inflammation. But my doctor suggested I take a gluten cross-reactive test which revealed other foods that might be being identified as gluten in my body even though the food itself would not be considered gluten by my best judgment. Thanks to Paleo Mom’s blog, this article is an excellent read on the subject! And after beginning the GAPS Diet, I began to believe all the hype about the other foods that could have been causing problems in healing even after going gluten free.
To give you a bit of a snapshot of my past, I think the most significant symptom that was totally unexpected to resolve with this diet was my swollen fingers. I have always assumed I had “fat” fingers. I told everyone I met that even when I was thinner, I had fat fingers and it’s “normal” for me, and it really was. The problem is that after the GAPS Diet, my fingers began to deflate! Yes, I was no longer in the category of fat fingers and I was dumbfounded. In fact, I am now in the process of finally re-sizing my wedding ring down to a size that will accommodate a finger that is now out of the fat finger category (since I have seen it stay this way for two years now). And even more interesting, is that I can now determine if a food is causing inflammation by simply watching my fingers! What an awesome guide that is! So my “fat fingers” are now a tremendous identifier of food sensitivities! Our bodies are so awesome when you think about it. They “speak” to us all the time in symptoms that most people ignore. But if we just take the time to get to know our own body, we can learn so much from what it is trying to tell us! I’ll tell you one thing, if there is inflammation in my fingers, how much do you want to make a bet that there is inflammation inside my body? And that is the point of this post. If inflammation is so important to disease (as this wonderful article by Robb Wolf explains), especially in Hashimoto’s, it makes sense to lessen this inflammation in any way we can and allow the body to get a break and over time, hopefully heal.
So, from a person no longer with fat fingers, I leave you with this: there IS hope for Hashimoto’s and it might be different for everyone, but inflammation is a main contributor. And I am very happy to see my inflammation at a minimum! I do believe this is why I could never lose the weight before. Of course, there are other factors which I will touch on next week but there is no doubt in my mind that getting this inflammation under control has been a powerful step towards my continued healing.
Here’s to continued healing for us all!Disclaimer: All posts are describing my personal journey through health issues and are in no way meant to guide anyone towards any method in particular. I am not a medical practitioner or have a dietary or medical license, and this blog is not intended to be taken as authoritative advice. Please see your doctor, or health professional before making any drastic diet changes! Also, occasionally I find others to partner with whom I have had tremendous help from and therefore, there may be paid advertisements and links to support them and help me financially run this website.