Going Free

Today’s Daily Post prompt asks us if we have “junk” in our lives, and if so, how we’ll be getting rid of it. Since it might be awhile before I can afford to go to a doctor to do more comprehensive testing of my thyroid, in the meantime I’ve decided to do everything I can to keep it from getting worse.

According to experts, to 90% of people suffering from hypothyroidism have a condition called Hashimoto’s Disease, which is an autoimmune disorder. There are quite a few autoimmune disorders, including Addison’s Disease, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Celiac Disease, Type 1 Diabetes, and others. Basically, what happens when you have an autoimmune disease is that your immune system loses the ability to tell the difference between healthy body tissue and antigens (which attack the body). Your own body starts to fight itself. It thinks it’s acting as a protector, but instead it’s killing you.

There are two major schools of thought when it comes to treating Hashimoto’s. For the sake of simplicity, I’ll just call them western medicine and alternative medicine, although there are plenty of crossovers between the two today. I hesitate to call either “right” or “wrong,” but in the case of thyroid conditions, it seems that many doctors are happy to prescribe a synthetic hormone replacement and leave it at that. Meanwhile, many of these thyroid patients who are only taking hormones experience worsening of symptoms or, at the very least, little improvement to their current status.

Alternative medicine (along with a growing undercurrent of western medical professionals) has noted that a number of lifestyle changes can help hypothyroid patients not only feel better, but also put less stress (thus, less damage) on the thyroid. Most of these changes are dietary, and include possibly cutting back on goitrogens, soy, caffeine, and any other foods that you’ve noted stress your body (for me, that would be dairy).

Perhaps most importantly, many doctors advise avoiding gluten at all costs. To quote Aaron and Elisha at Surviving Hashimoto’s:

“Thyroid experts strongly urge people with thyroid problems to completely eradicate gluten from their diets.  Gluten is a protein that is found in wheat, rye, barley, oats, triticale, and spelt. Countless studies have proven that gluten and Hashimoto’s have a strong connection. Gluten actually has similar properties to the thyroid gland, making it a vile enemy to a Hashimoto’s victim, especially if that individual is already predisposed to gluten intolerance or Celiac disease. Products containing gluten weaken the intestinal walls and can facilitate leaky gut, yet another common problem for Hashimoto’s patients. When leaky gut occurs, gluten can make it’s way from the intestines to the blood stream, where the immune system likely sends out it’s immune system cells to attack it, exacerbating an autoimmune condition.”

For the last four days, I’ve been gluten and caffeine free. It’s been slightly disagreeable, but not too hard. I’m still looking for a phone app to help me track my days of detoxing, and what symptoms I’m experiencing. I’ve had a headache every day for five days, and have been tired, weak, and foggy-headed every day as well. But that’s nothing new – it kind of goes with the territory. I’ve been combatting it a bit by upping my daily Vitamin D, plus remembering to take a B complex. My mood has stabilized, even if my energy hasn’t.

This is going to take a whole lifetime to fix and then maintain. I’ve talked in the past about wanting to be healthy in order to be skinny, but this is different. This time I have to get clean of all of the junk I’ve been putting into my body, to save my thyroid and keep from getting sicker.

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