Brain fog, chronically sensitive to cold, night sweats, constant fatigue and sluggishness, dry skin, muscle stiffness, muscle weakness (in lower extremities), weight gain, depression.
This is a laundry list of symptoms caused by Hashimoto’s Disease. I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s (a thyroid disorder that causes hypothyroidism) after my daughter was born. My daughter is now 12, so I think I perhaps have been taking Thyroid replacement therapy for about 7+ years now.
The thyroid medication made a significant difference when I started taking it. I noticed this mostly in my level of energy and my mood. I never really worried too much about the rest of the symptoms… I thought those were just “me”. Also, when you start getting into your 40’s and your body starts to change… you accept it as “oh, I guess I’m just getting old…” That’s kinda my style I guess.. sometimes I just accept what I’m given and don’t try to change it.
How could I be in the middle of marathon training and treating myself right and still be so TIRED? One of the things my family doctor had always told me is that exercise will ultimately give you more energy. However, a few weeks into my marathon training this year and I was DRAINED. I couldn’t get up out of bed in the morning, I came home from work always wanting to nap, I had terrible brain fog and I was noticing weakness in my muscles. (Yes, the lack of daylight hours in Seattle was contributing to this, but it wasn’t the whole thing.)
It got to the point where I felt I was not being helpful to my family if all I could ever do was say, “Mom has to go lay down….” or “I don’t want to do that because I’m too tired.”
I was going to have to find some way to get back my energy and increase my mood. I started doing a little research. What I found was that many Hashimoto’s sufferers believe that effectively treating the disorder doesn’t only require thyroid medicine, but also diet.
Google the words “Best Diet for Hashimoto’s Disease” and HOLY MOLY…. it is highly suggested that you stay away from (ready for this?) gluten, dairy, nuts & seeds, “nightshades” (which are potatoes and eggplants), soy (OMG… soy?!), sugar, high glycemic fruits, and “goitrogens” (veggies that attribute to goiter… uncooked broccoli, cauliflower, kale… etc.)
Wow. Now I could imagine gluten, because I think overall we’ve come to the realization that overstuffing ourselves with lots of gluten and sugar (the stuff that tastes GREAT) slows us down. But soy? Here I was substituting tofu as a healthy alternative to meat and I’m not supposed to have it at all! (And why didn’t my endocrinologist ever suggest that to me?)
I’m jokingly calling this the NO-NO-NO-NO diet. Essentially it is a Paleo diet minus a few odds and ends. Don’t you hate that? People who walk around shouting all the stuff they can’t have? They sometimes seem like party-poopers for living. I’m deciding to keep this low key… but I have been doing it. And guess what? It’s working.
After 2 weeks of my NO-NO-NO-NO diet, I feel so much better. My brain fog has lifted, my mood is better, I have more energy and I think the strength in my leg muscles is returning.
What can I have? Lots of veggies, meats (grass-fed if possible), fish/seafood (which I love), fruit (low glycemic), healthful oils, coconut products (I’ve switched to coconut yogurt vs. dairy yogurt) and a moderate amount of eggs. I’ve also eliminated (as suggested by the Hashimoto’s 411 Facebook group) oats, rice, quinoa, couscous, corn and legumes. I think as I go on… I will occasionally have things from this last group because they are gluten-free, but only in small amounts and anything that negatively reacts with my body, I’ll stay away from.
You know you can’t live and be 100% NO-NO-NO-NO. But as with many things, if I can be about 85% compliant, I think it is a “win”.
As I move forward with my marathon training, I’ll check back in and let you know how it is going!