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First off, I would like to make it clear that I am writing about MY journey. I’m not promoting or telling anyone what I think they should do or not do. These are just things that are or have been helpful to me and my own experiences with Hashimoto’s.
This week I decided to focus my search on diet while having Hashimoto’s. As you can imagine, there is all kinds of things out there. Things that were contradicting with each other greatly. One website would say to eat a certain food, but then I’d find a blog that would say don’t eat that same certain food. It can be overwhelming and frustrating. However, I did start finding things that were giving the same kinds of advice, maybe differing a little, but had the same basic guidance.
My process for finding helpful articles
What I did to weed out the hurtful from the helpful articles, blogs, etc was to think about all the work I had done in this last year. As I stated last week, I worked with a nutritionist (well actually she is a dietician). She was the first medical person that I encountered after being diagnosed where I actually started feeling some hope. She listened to me about everything that I was feeling. I cried, got angry, and cried some more. I just kept telling her that I am too young to be feeling this crappy. I have a lot of life to live with my husband and kids, and I can’t live it if I’m in bed because I’m so exhausted or my body is hurting so badly that I don’t want to move. She sat there and listened to me. Then instead of telling me, “There’s nothing we can do,” or “You’re going to just have to live with the symptoms,” or “You look fine, it must not be too bad”….yes these were all things medical people told me! She looked at me with empathy and determination and said, “Well, let’s get you to feeling better. We’re going to have to work hard, but I’m confident that we will get you better.” Finally, someone gave me hope!
We spent the rest of that summer and the school year finding foods that were making my symptoms worse. She had me do a very controlled diet called FOD Mapping. Ultimately what I did was eat a very strict list of foods for 4 weeks, and then 1 week at a time added in a certain type of food. I needed to document what I was eating, when, and how I felt. With this I learned several foods that were exasperating my symptoms, and the surprising thing is many of them are healthy foods.
Before meeting with my dietician, I had gone through a series of ultrasounds, because of a lump I could feel in my throat. I was relieved to find out it wasn’t cancer, however that’s when I learned that I was developing a goiter. So, some foods that I immediately took out of my diet, were broccoli, cauliflower, brussel sprouts, and cabbage. I gradually have added them back, but very rarely and only cooked. These foods are considered goitrogens. Goitrogens disrupt the production of thyroid hormones.
Back to the results of the FOD Mapping. The first group of foods that cause me problems, I’m sure you can guess, is gluten. So, I immediately have limited my eating of bread, pasta, crackers, etc. I also went on a mission to find tasty gluten free alternatives. And let me tell you there are some really bad tasting gluten free foods out there. However, I have found some very yummy things that curb my cravings for crackers and toast.
The next food group that I discovered gave me some of my most painful symptoms was very surprising to me. It was the nightshades family; tomatoes, peppers, potatoes, etc. WHAT?!?! I love all of these foods. Foods that I ate daily. I always eat a big salad for lunch. During the winter time, veggie soup with these foods. What I discovered was these were the foods that caused my pain, puffiness, and inflammation in my body. My garden in the summertime is full of these, and something that I look forward to harvesting and eating. However, I have to remind myself of the pain that they caused me and just stay away from them as much as I can.
I’m ending this post by leaving a few resources that I enjoyed reading and that were helpful to me. Some steps that I am planning on doing with the things that I learned are to track my daily meals and make sure to include foods that enable my body to work at its best. Which always seems to be the hardest thing to do since I live over an hour away from a grocery store! I guess planning ahead of time and being diligent at food prep is going to be a must in order for me to be successful.