How To Kick Your Thyroid’s Ass: This is Not (Necessarily) About Vaginas
Okay people, let’s get something straight: this installment of How To Kick Your Thyroid’s Ass is not for the feint of heart. Those of you who get easily grossed out, can’t handle real and raunchy body talk, or are disturbed at the thought of mucous, acne, constipation, urine, rashes, anything that isn’t perfumed or flower-scented, or certain words that denote any of the aforementioned, may get all freaked out at my frankness. But here’s the thing — it’s too easy to sugarcoat the symptoms of thyroid disease and instead, focus only on the p.c… side effects: low body temperature, weight gain/weight loss, fatigue. And while those are all totally legitimate and equally important, they just don’t seem to elicit the yuck factor the way that the lesser-spoken-of ones do. So look, these are our bodies and that makes this kind of stuff natural and valid, no matter how freakishly dysfunctional our systems may be, or no matter how we fear the reactions of others. We need to talk about the unpopular problems too (and trust me — I’m the queen of the weird/unpopular symptoms).
At the very very beginning of my journey back to thyroid health, I came across a health-bible-of-a-book of sorts, which was actually the catalyst for me to begin implementing nutrition as a medicine. I bought it, brought it home and read it in three hours. It described my life to a T (here’s where the “grossÃ¢â‚¬ factor comes in): Dr. William G. Crook’s book The Yeast Connection and Women’s Health. , But wait!!! — before you start thinking all about vaginas and the many ways they can potentially go awry, let me explain; it’s probably not what you’d expect.
The basic premise behind The Yeast Connection is this: our modern over-use of antibiotics (both as prescriptions for patients and also in the meat and dairy we consume), years of birth control medication usage, combined with our diet rich in processed/sugary foods and devoid of nutrients/life can lead to a virulent and systemic bacterial overgrowth within our bodies. This overgrowth causes immune suppression and painful symptoms: anything from headaches, infertility, mucous overgrowth, muscle weakness, anxiety and depression, hives, weight loss/gain, insomnia, intestinal distress, psoriasis, nail and skin disorders, dry mouth and sore throat, to urinary frequency, erratic vision, PMS, joint pain, and thyroid problems (and of course, so so many others — some of which actually do reference vaginas). Bacteria feed off its host and proliferate, and in the process, also destroy the host.
In order to believe this premise, you first have to believe that our bodies (mouths, eyes, skin, intestines, etc.) are comprised of a natural and absolutely necessary balance of bacteria (or, “yeastsÃ¢â‚¬) called flora. , You may have seen yogurt commercials on TV recently, promoting the “immune-enhancing bacteria/probiotics” in their product. That’s because it’s believed that the largest stretch of our immune system is actually located in our stomach with the flora. Therefore, for good health, we’ve got to eat foods to promote a balance of gut bacteria, instead of causing the bacteria to become imbalanced, thereby weakening our immune system. Any dentist also understands this essential balance of bacteria — they tell us not to eat sugar for sake of cavities and decay and oral ulcers and aches/pains, (sugar fuels bacterial imbalance).
So let’s say, for a minute, that you do believe this yeast/flora/immune system stuff. The question remaining, then, is how to eliminate the bacterial imbalance to restore immune function, to alleviate symptoms and gain control of your thyroid. This, of course, is where food comes in. Essentially, the “anti-candidaÃ¢â‚¬ diet, as it’s called, consists of whole foods. That is, foods in their “naturalÃ¢â‚¬ form: vegetables as they come from the ground, unflavored rice or polenta and other gluten-free grains (which I’ll go into in further detail in upcoming articles), fish/seafood and lean animal protein, some starches like potatoes or plain potato chips and unflavored popcorn or beans/lentils, most seeds and nuts/nut butters, oils, herbs and spices, and even small amounts of full-fat dairy; things that haven’t been processed or somehow made synthetic with chemicals and flavorings. Things to omit include anything leavened, all sugar forms (white sugar, maple syrup, most condiments like ketchup or salad dressing, honey, candy, dessert, etc.), anything fermented like alcohol or olives/pickles or aged cheeses, and processed foods like lunchmeat. , Read every label, every ingredient list.
The best part about this diet plan is that there’s no calorie-counting or portion control. , Eat until you are full. , Don’t worry about fat grams. , Feel good. , Lose weight. , It’s fucking revolutionary. , Oh, but there is one caveat: if, like me, you happen to be a sugar addict, omitting sugar in all its hidden forms will be tough. You just have to remember that because this isn’t a diet, there’s no need to get all neurotic and sad if you do happen to have a piece of candy, and also, you merely have to weigh which is more important — a cupcake or your TSH (and other values) being balanced so you don’t feel like dog shit everyday. , This isn’t just about losing weight (which you absolutely can on this diet), it’s more importantly about gaining control of your wellness and being able to function on a daily basis.
As always, there’s much more to this story, so below are some external resources to jumpstart your research. Because this lifestyle-diet (none of the ideas I’ll propose to you will ever be quick-fixes; instead, it’s about a lifestyle of healthfulness — choosing to be consistently healthy feels much better than cyclical spurts of fad dieting) set the groundwork for my personal return to wellness, I’ll use it in the future as an idea to cumulatively build upon — finding even more natural approaches to get our thyroids and bodies in working condition. The way that I eat now is a much more refined variation on this idea, but it nonetheless allowed me to lose nearly thirty thyroid-induced pounds within the span of four months (without ever being hungry), made my migraines and mind fog subside, and stabilized my TSH after nine diagnosed months of it completely hating me/being off-the-charts high and out-of-whack.
Until Next Week,
- What exactly are yeasts/candida?
- The Yeast Connection website (includes an abbreviated self-quiz and symptom-tracker)
- What should I eat?
Have a question, comment, story, love letter, or rant/rave to send me?: Liz@DearThyroid.com
Tags: embarassing symptoms, How To Kick Your Thyroid's Ass, Liz Schau thyroid nutrition writer, probiotics thyroid diseaseas, symptoms of thyroid disease, The Yeast connection thyroid pateints, thyroid nutrition column, thyroid nutrition tips