When Carrie Vitt was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, she was put on an elimination diet to cleanse her system that removed gluten and grains. Failing to find recipes that followed her strict diet guidelines and still were delicious, she began experimenting in her own kitchen. Through organic, unprocessed, grain-free foods Carrie has reversed Hashimoto’s, chronic migraines, IBS, and eczema. Oh the power of food.
Written by Carrie Vitt, Deliciously Organic
Thyroid disease is becoming a major health issue. 20 million Americans have some form of thyroid disease and it’s estimated that 14 million of those have Hashimoto’s disease. When I first read these stats, I was shocked. We need to raise awareness and help others get to the root of their health issues so we can turn this trend around!
Be prepared for a long recovery – plan for a “marathon”.
When my nutritionist told me to eat a grain-free diet and put me on a protocol of gentle detox and whole food supplements, I thought it would be reversed within a matter of months. Years before, I’d reversed my chronic migraines in a matter of weeks (by simply switching to an organic diet) and my IBS and eczema cleared easily when I made the change to real, unprocessed foods. Based on my past experiences, I thought it would be a pretty quick fix. I didn’t know it at the time, but it was going to take years to reverse the damage, and heal the underlying cause of my thyroid disease.
Healing from a chronic illness like thyroid disease is complex and often requires a long-term commitment to getting well.
And what about the game plan? Well, you have to have the right information to make a game plan and I’ve got some great tools to get you going.
Here are some of the steps and resources I used to help me while I worked to heal Hashimoto’s disease including links below to some preferred brands. If the list is overwhelming, think about finding just one change or resource each week. After about 6 months, you’ll have made a wealth of changes and will hopefully be on your way to better health.
20 Tips and Resources to Help You Heal Thyroid Disease
1. Make sure you get enough vitamin D – Vitamin D deficiency has been linked to numerous autoimmune disorders so it’s important to know your vitamin D levels and make sure you’re getting enough. Get tested.
2. De-stress – I’ve never been good at this one, but I’ve learned the hard way that it’s really ultra-important – Stress can cause your thyroid to perform at a sub-optimum level. Do what you need to do to relieve the stress in your life.
3. Eat pastured, grass-fed, organic animal foods – Foods derived from animals raised 100% on pasture (and wild animals) are anti-inflammatory.
4. Add grass-fed gelatin to your diet – Gelatin has also been shown to benefit the digestive tract, immune system, heart, liver, muscles, and skin. It also helps aid in detoxification. It’s odorless and flavorless so it can be added to any type of dish. It’s important to purchase from the right source, though. Bernard Jensen and Great Lakes gelatins both come from grass-fed animals and don’t contain MSG (most other brands of gelatin contain MSG).
5. Eat saturated fats at every meal – I could go on for days about the many benefits of saturated fats from the right sources: organic butter, coconut oil, ghee, lard, tallow, etc. In a nutshell, they help reduce inflammation and nourish the body.
6. Anytime you take a prescription drug, over-the-counter drug or get a vaccine, read the insert and know the ingredients you’re putting into your body – You might find gluten, egg, soy, bovine cells, pig cells, human cells, heavy metals, etc. used in these products. Depending on your condition, you might consider other alternatives.
7. Use healthy cookware and bakeware – Most of us spend lots of time addressing the foods we eat but very little time thinking about the pots and pans we cook and bake them in. Take a look at your cookware and bakeware – make sure it doesn’t contain metals or chemicals that might leach into your food.
8. Read the book Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis: Lifestyle Interventions for Finding and Treating the Root Cause – Dr. Wentz discusses how to find the root cause of your disease and how to treat it.
9. Reduce your caffeine consumption – Caffeine can cause stress on the adrenal glands which can in turn cause stress on the thyroid. It’s a good idea to decrease your coffee consumption, enjoying it only occasionally.
10. Eat unprocessed sea salt – Conventional salt is a processed food that usually contains anti-caking agents and dextrose (a sugar derived from corn). An unprocessed salt, like Celtic Sea Salt provides about 80 different minerals for the body.
11. Consider having your amalgam fillings removed – Amalgam fillings can cause inflammation in the system as they continue to off-gas each time you eat or drink. If you get them removed, it’s imperative you go to a dentist who is trained to remove them safely (I learned this the hard way). If you have them removed, follow the advice of your dentist and also follow-up with a heavy metal detox protocol.
12. Check Your Adrenals – Adrenal issues and thyroid disease can go hand-in-hand. The thyroid needs the adrenals to be working properly – sending the right signals to the thyroid to secrete the proper amount of hormones. A saliva cortisol test (you can order an Adrenal Fatigue Stress Test here) is a great place to start.
13. Remove all sugar from your diet – Sugars can cause inflammation in the body, so it’s a good idea to remove them from your diet to give your body more resources for rest and healing.
14. Make sure you’re getting enough carbohydrates – Sometimes when eating a grain-free diet, you can get too few carbohydrates to fuel the adrenals and other organs of the body. Try various quantities of carbs to find the right balance for your body.
15. Read this article by the Weston Price Foundation – This article discusses alternatives to medicine for treating thyroid problems, the tests necessary to establish the health of the thyroid and the different types of Hypothyroidism.
16. Find a holistic practitioner to work with – Here are some resources to help you find a practitioner in your area:
17. Get in the sun without sunscreen for a little while each day – Sunlight can help reduce inflammation and nourish the thyroid.
18. Don’t eat soy (except for traditionally fermented soy like Nama Shoyu) –Soy can be an endocrine disruptor and suppress thyroid function so it’s best to avoid all processed soy.
19. Read Chris Kresser’s thyroid posts – He’s got some great articles on the thyroid, gut and reducing inflammation.
20. Read The Grain-Free Family Table – I wrote this book after reversing Hashimoto’s disease using a grain-free, nutrient-dense diet. It contains recipes, resources, and encouragement for your journey.