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How To Kick Your Thyroid’s Ass: A Little Heart To Heart

Post Published: 11 October 2009
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Category: How To Kick Your Thyroid's Ass
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I’m starting this installment with a dedication.   I’m dedicating these words to our good friend and thyroid sister, Mrs. Anita Roberts.   She wrote a little note,  this week that, once read, prompted me to remember why it is I care about all this food stuff to begin with.   I start getting that excited-with-a-whole-lot-of-sadness-and-heavy-knotting in my stomach when I read things like that.   It’s the kind of emotion where you only feel so excited and ready to live and confront life because you just realized how many absurdities and how much perversion really exist (and how much needs to be fixed).   She says she relied heavily on Dr. Mercola in her note, of whom I am a fan and who is really a health pioneer and actually believes in people like you and I — the chronically-ill.   As Anita says, “I’m a bit new to doing it right; had massive illness kick my head into proper gear. But at the same time, I think I can be a testament to the efficacy of doing it right. It takes work. It takes effort, determination and thought. And it’s worth it in ways I can’t even articulate…   I agree, and so, Anita, thank you.

This week, I want to have a little heart to heart with you all; well, maybe more like “straight talk”.   There are a few things I think we should talk about.   You’re well aware — I’m constantly immersed in food:,   thinking about food, reading about food, planning what I’d like to eat and shopping for such food (which, yes, usually turns out to be rather delicious).   It’s really always been this way — even long before thyroid disease and long before I’d ever heard the word “autoimmunity” or, as a writer, understood its sickly implications and all-too-sad metaphor.   Food was and is so much of me.

For the last two-and-a-half years, food has become something much more meaningful than what is a chinois?, or, quinoa is actually a fruit, or, “orecchiette” means “little ears” and “farfalle” means “butterfly” or that you never press things down — pancakes (wait until you can see the bubbles), steaks, burgers — you let them cook and you let the heat from the griddle or grill do its job and you never press them down.

Now, food is much more about the science behind it (micronutrition it’s called) — what it’s comprised of and how it will either help or hurt my body to function.   What nutrients do bodies need to perform at their peak and am I getting those everyday?  What are the best nutritional strategies for easing inflammation and repairing my gut?   How do I feed my brain and which foods will help me avoid the infections to which I am prone?  In trying to sort of these kinds of questions, I’ve also gotten a rude awakening.   The food we eat in this country isn’t really food.   It’s been altered, coated, made artificial, concocted, sterilized, killed and implanted without our consent, and largely, without our knowledge.   It’s all so foreign at this point and no longer travels that straight and sacred path from ground to table.

I don’t write these things to scare you or to be all debbie downerish, which we all already know I’m very good at.   I write these things because they affect our health and have the ability to make us more well or make us more sick.   And because this information is being suppressed so that consumers like you and I continue buying our food all under the illusion that we are protected from disease-promoting foods, let’s be clear: we simply are not.   Food will either fuel our bodies, or it will cause our bodies to violently react or go into deficits.   Our food choices and our food purchases are that important and they are the very basis for any wellness at all.   These words are all in an effort to prompt you to see how our food system is corrupt and how this corruption affects our bodies.   But (and this is a big, huge, life-changing “but”) — we have the power to give a damn and do something the fuck about it.

As people with chronic illnesses, we have to be very in tune with our bodies.   After all, we’re scrutinizing every doctor’s appointment, every blood work and lab results, our medication level and the appropriate ways to take it (first thing in the morning, on an empty stomach and with a full glass of water).   We examine and scrutinize everything.   We like to pick apart test results and ask the physician why, if our numbers are in range, do we still feel like dog shit.   Or, if our numbers are out of range, why can’t he reduce/increase the dosage appropriately?,   Or, the best of them all — why the hell wouldn’t our weight loss/weight gain/fatigue/depression/insomnia be related to our thyroid disease — just how can this be so???

In light of all of that, below is an abbreviated list of other things we need to scrutinize; things we have to scrutinize.   They’re current food-related issues that I think it’s important you know about.   This is what is happening to our food supply without our consent and while our bodies are acting out in rebellion. We have so many reasons to actually give a damn about this list: ,  125 million Americans with (diagnosed) chronic illness, 50 million with (diagnosed) autoimmune disease, and 27 million with (diagnosed) thyroid disease. No longer can each case and every incidence be solely genetically justified.  ,

  1. Genetically-Modified Organisms (GMOs)  are those foods that are not indigenous to our planet.   The main purveyor of GMOs is the Monsanto Corporation.   They create seeds that have been implanted with bacteria or other foreign entities (such as proteins, for example) that either extend the shelf life of a crop, or make them resistant to pests, herbicides, etc.   Unlike many European nations, the American food industry is not required to label a food as genetically-modified.   If you eat processed foods, you will almost certainly be consuming a genetically-modified corn or soy ingredient/derivative. No one knows the health risks associated with eating foods that are foreign to our bodies and the earth’s ecosystem, though many diseases and side effects have been implicated.   And wouldn’t it make sense that, after time, the body reacts against these foreign entities? Autoimmune disease, anyone?
  2. 1 in 100 people (that number grows every year) are gluten intolerant. Period.   We are being exposed to gluten in epic proportions with every bite of processed food because gluten is used as a filler and flavoring agent. Standard blood work often does not identify a gluten allergy/intolerance.   Both blood work and intestinal biopsy can result in false negatives.   Most recently, cutting-edge research has shown that one need not have gluten antibodies in their bloodstream or damaged villi in their gut to be intolerant.   One study found gluten antibodies on the thyroid itself, in a patient with Thyroiditis! ,  An inflammatory protein on an inflamed gland — how revolutionary! Our understanding of this gluten protein is so minute compared with the damage it can be doing to our systems while we’re awaiting outdated and flawed tests to determine what action we will take.   Start listening to your own body versus a possible false negative.
  3. An acronym you need to know: C.A.F.O, or Confined Animal Feeding Operation.   C.A.F.O.s are horrific close-quartered animal production “farms” (read: death warehouses) where cows (dairy and otherwise), pigs, chickens, etc. are contained in such close quarters and in such inhumane ways that they end up acquiring various illnesses and conditions.   Animals are forced to live in pools of their own feces, chickens are forced to sit upon ammonia-laced newspaper shreds which end up literally burning right through their feathers and skin, causing scarring.   Animals are given a sickly cocktail of hormones and antibiotics due to the tight space and communicable ailments, as well as have their beaks or tails cut so that they cannot bite each other in the tiny spaces in which they are forced to live.   Animals are not even fed a diet they would naturally eat in the wild, which means they are given grains and soy (both almost always genetically-modified).   This unnatural diet causes bacterial infection, which prompts antibiotic use as well.   This doesn’t just refer to the meat our country is eating, but also eggs and dairy, and it is toxic.
  4. Pesticides used in growing our food contain endocrine disruptors and carcinogens.   Plain and simple.   Buy organic. (Also, don’t forget that these chemicals are damaging to the liver and the liver is vital in thyroid function and overall health).
  5. Our fruits, vegetables, some grains, and now, meat products are irradiated, if not purchased as organic.   Irradiation is a process used to kill bacteria and viruses from food products.   However, it does not kill all bacteria, which renders some “irradiation-resistant” (super bug, anyone?).   Also, of course, there are other major drawbacks that include reduced vitamin and mineral content in the food (as much as 5-80%!), creation of free radicals and new toxic chemicals, and the reduction or death of enzymes.   Killing enzymes is a big deal folks. ,  Our bodies require enzymes to digest food.   The enzymes naturally found in foods are what our body uses to process the food without putting strain on our organs and system.   According to the Organic Consumer’s Association (a great organization): “If unlabeled, raw foods that have been irradiated look like fresh foods, but nutritionally they are like cooked foods, with decreased vitamins and enzymes. The FDA allows these foods to be labeled ‘fresh…,   Each time we take a bite of a non-organic food that has been irradiated, we’re putting huge amounts of stress on our bodies and we aren’t even certain of the long-term side effects.
  6. The façade of pureness emanating from the bottled water industry is, quite frankly, a load of bullshit, as the industry is self-regulated (read: nearly no accountability whatsoever).   Most bottled water is not even filtered, but instead, sourced from municipal tap water supplies and, then bottled and sold under the guise of purity.   Both tap water and bottled water contain all sorts of pharmaceuticals, as well as chlorine and fluoride.   Chlorine will give you a yeast infection (systemic, intestinal, or otherwise localized) before you can say Diflucan, please.   Fluoride will slow thyroid function and has been linked to everything from spotting on the teeth (ironic, right?) to neurological damage.   Bottled water is not clean and is not pure and it is lacing our insides with chemicals.
  7. The breeds of cows from which we derive our dairy, called A1 cows, contains a genetic mutation which contains the small protein peptide called BCM 7.   What you need to know about BCM 7 is that it causes undesirable side effects in human beings and is linked to a variety of illnesses.   The milk we buy in the grocery store comes from A1 cows. ,  BCM 7 is not only an opiate, but is linked to everything from autism to schizophrenia, as well as interference with immune system response, type 1 diabetes, heart disease, mucus secretion, and inflammation.   In addition, according to some researchers, casein is “the most relevant cancer promoter ever discovered”.
  8. I saved the most important for last: Codex Alimentarius.   If nothing else, please pay attention to this one.   Codex Alimentarius is a set of rules and regulations that are being imposed worldwide, which promote ideas of “consumer safety” in the food industry, which sounds like a good thing, right?,   But in reality, its aim is to limit the scope of the natural health community, all in the interest of big pharmaceutical companies.   Things like organics and herbal supplements and vitamins are all in jeopardy.   The head of this committee, Dr. Rolf Grossklaus has announced that there is no room for nutrition in the realm of health and that nutrients are, in fact, toxic entities that are dangerous to the public health.   You realize this gives me a panic attack every time I think about it, right?,   Hearing someone tell me that all my hard work — all these nutrients and vitamins and minerals, pesticide-free foods, omega 3s, probiotics, herbs and supplements that I have been putting into my body for the last year and a half have nothing at all to do with my no need for medication, with my antibodies in range, with my — hello!! — remission from an autoimmune disease!?! (how is this even possible??), infuriates me more than anything because food does and can bring about wellness.   My goal isn’t to preach a miracle cure-all, but my story has to elicit hope.   And the idea that hope is being taken from people like you and I — those with an official diagnosis — is simply vile, especially considering it’s all in the name of profit.   Please read more into Codex and spread the word and take action against it.

On a lighter note — some people/organizations/websites that I like, maybe you will like, and whom I trust (though always with a discerning eye because we can’t and don’t always agree on everything):

  1. Dr. Mercola
  2. Organic Consumer’s Association
  3. Michael Pollan
  4. Civileats
  5. Marion Nestle,
  6. Food Renegade

Think about it.

Until Next Week,

Love Always,

Liz

Have a question, comment, story, love letter, or rant/rave to send me?: Liz@DearThyroid.com

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23 Responses to “How To Kick Your Thyroid’s Ass: A Little Heart To Heart”

  1. Robyn says:

    Liz, great post. Since what we eat becomes the building blocks of our body, it is indeed very important. Monsanto (and Syngenta, ConAgra, Bayer, and BASF) are the spawn of Satan. These conglomerates will truly own the food supply in a few short years. They have genetically altered seed with PESTICIDE already in it! The tentacles of evil in the commercial food supply are so vast, it’s difficult to even conceptualize.

    One thing, though. We *want* A2 cows, not A1 (A1 is the mutant form of A2). The bulk of large scale commercial milk farms are Holstein based–they have the largest output of milk, with the lowest milk fat. Smaller dairies frequently use Jersey and Guernsey–smaller cows to feed, less milk, but higher fat %. Holstein cows run about 50/50 regarding the A2/A1 mutation, but Jersey and Guernsey are mostly A2. Many organic milk companies rely on co-ops or groups of smaller farms, to the percentage of A2 milk may be higher. Most processed dairy (yogurt, cheese, ice cream) prefers high fat content, so I wonder if that is higher in A2 content…
    Humans are the only mammals that consume any milk product once reaching adulthood. It should be no surprise that there are so many health reasons NOT to ingest it. Unfortunately, I find it yummy, and every time I try to strike it from my diet I *crave* it more. Luckily, my daughter seems indifferent to it, so I don’t push it as a food source for her.
    I began reading Pollan around the time I was pregnant, and it really did change my life. My eating habits are so much more healthy, and well, natural. Good organic, or local, fresh foods (especially meats) are not easily obtained in all parts of the country, however, so it will be difficult for everyone to follow.
    And then, of course, there’s the government involvement. I recommend the documentary King Corn as a good Friday night educational movie! Just don’t eat any popcorn…

  2. Alexia Dunay says:

    Right on Target

  3. Michelle says:

    I agree. As someone with a very extreme case of Grave’s Disease, I have been in remission for over 5 months, and have completely changed my life: vitamins, food, cut out all artificial sweetners (a REAL danger for hyperthyroid/Grave’s patients), cut out iodinized salt, etc etc . The doctors laugh when I tell them I believe it has something to do with these changes, but they assure me it it only the medication.

    A science of the WHOLE body is needed if we are going to live well with this disease: hyper or hypo. The sad thing is you need to seek out the whole body part on your own while they manage the prescriptions.

    But even sadder is the people who sit at home hoping that someone or their pills will fix their health. In a tough love way, YOU need to have some responsibility to what you are putting in your body. If you are not losing weight, it is the disease yes, but it is also what you are putting into your body.

    Anyway THANKS for the article. It helps wake people up a bit to what is going on in our bodies, and look at what the root source of these issues are. When the conditions in our bodies are optimum, it is possible that we can achieve remission and maybe get off that medication 🙂

  4. Lolly says:

    Liz thanks for the heart to heart. You know your stuff. My diet and life style changed dramatically after getting GD..and you can’t let your guard down either.

    I don’t know if you have come across this link/ article in your research but this also makes sense too.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/8295438.stm

    What you eat effects your whole being. I like to grow my own where I can, buy organic if at all possible and cook from fresh not processed food.

    We live in a world of convenience foods fast food takeaways that are doing nothing for your diet or have any real nutritional values.

  5. Robyn says:

    Let me add, that unfortunately as a veterinarian I have been all too “educated” on 2 things your post today touches on.

    First: medical care (both animal and human) is only disease based, not wellness based. I spent 1 year learning in depth about “normal” animal bodies (anatomy, physiology, immunology, etc.) and then 3 years of diseases, diagnosing diseases, pharmaceutical disease prevention (ie, vaccines and the like), and treating diseases. One semester of nutrition (and not a very good one–had a nutrition class in grad school too with a bunch of MDs–not a very good one. These classes were in 1994 and 1996). The “big picture”–MISSING. Of course, I didn’t realize it then, because all of US medicine has been disease driven, not wellness driven, for decades. Luckily I now work at an integrative eastern/western holistic vet clinic and we focus on lots of wellness issues. We are the minority, I can tell you.

    Second: Re: FACOs. Ugh. I started out as a large animal emphasis vet student, and worked exclusively on horses for 4 years. In school, this means I had a lot of food animal rotations. In full disclosure, I was a vegetarian at the time, but no longer am a vegetarian. FACOs are a direct result of the governments goal to make meat cheap for the average consumer to eat. Food animal vets are largely “managers”. They look at environment, rations, MEDICATIONS, and try to help the farmer get the maximum yield in the minimum time. Since cows are fed a largely corn diet, they must be fed daily monensin (an antibiotic) to prevent bloat–a deadly unbalance of the contents of their stomach. Pigs get such horrible stomach ulceration that corn has literally been researched as to how fine or coarse it needs to be ground to get the most weight gain (faster on finely ground corn) with the least ulcers (less gastric juice on coarsely ground corn). Chickens and turkeys are housed on litter that will never be changed their entire short life, so antibiotics in the feed prevent serious illness (not that they care about illness per se, just birds that fail to gain or die) from ammonia ulceration of the feet and eyes. Walking into a late run turkey house will make YOUR eyes water some 5 feet off the ground, imagine the turkey 5 inches off the ground. It’s disgusting. So while these FACO managements are bad for animal welfare, bad for introducing overuse of antibiotics, bad for the consumer in down stream consumption, it makes meat cheap. Really cheap. And that, ladies and gents, is all the flipping government really cares about. Joe Rockhead is happy that he can afford his steak, and meat with every meal, so Joe Rockhead is happy with the government.
    It was veterinary school that made me realize that the death of the animal was not the tragedy (the reason I was a vegetarian)–because there are worse things than death. I now eat meat ONLY from reputable sources (ie, directly from the farmer using open range farming only). I pay $30 for a 5# chicken. THIRTY DOLLARS–even the “organically fed” whole chickens at Whole Foods are only $12 and that is more than double what you get at any national chain grocer. But I see the chicken happy while he was alive, and then we get a baked chicken dinner, chicken salad, and chicken soup from said chicken. Needless to say, we don’t eat a LOT of meat–can’t afford to–and I’m happy to make that sacrifice.

  6. amy says:

    This is good info esp. for people who do not know a lot about food and their sources. Sadly, hashimotos wasn’t enough to make me realize what some food could possibly doing to my body.I started to become aware gluten intolerance and went off of it. I became aware of gmos and started buying more organic foods. But I still had a bad relationship w/ carbs. It took insulin resistance to really get my attention. So, two weeks grain/sugar free for me and I feel amazing! I want it to last! I am losing weight and have energy and I am really enjoying my almost 3 year old. But more importantly, I think, I am gaining a healthy respect for food that I have never had! I am now what you would call a perimeter shopper(except for a few organic processed foods for my husband and daughter). I have to do this! And now that I know how good I can feel I do not want to go back to grains! I have not had crazy mood swings and been exhausted all day. I am loving being a mother, the way it should be. And I slowly trying to incorporate less carbs(grains) into my families diet. FOOD HAS A LOT TO DO WITH THE WAY WE FEEL AND ACT. This is not some crazy statement. I know from experience. Thanks, Liz for pointing these things out. I hope it helps people make changes for better health. Your articles definitely encourage me! Amy

  7. amy says:

    Thanks for the book titles…I will add them to my wish list! The changes I am having are so profound I really could care less if I ever ate another bite of any grain or a big fat bowl of ice cream!

  8. Pam says:

    Liz,

    Thanks for the awesome post! We are on the same wavelength. I was at the endo’s the other day & was appalled to see an ad/propaganda for Monsanto in Audubon magazine! I was wondering what you thought of them. 😉 I’ve heard a bit of what you discussed but not everything here, and certainly not with the good synopses you provided. I /think/ that I first heard of Monsanto from a film called The Future of Food. Here is a great interview with the director that touches on some of the above subjects:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s1GSG9NJIWg

    And I just bought Michael Pollan’s In Defense of Food. It’s Silicon Valley Reads’ pick for 2010. I hope it helps bring more exposure to the corruption in the food industry. Seriously, how do these people sleep at night? 🙁 We oughta make them pay the bill for health care reform!

    Cheers,
    Pam

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