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Wednesday November 21st 2018


How To Kick Your Thyroid’s Ass: The Case For Veganism, Part II (And A GIVEAWAY!)

Post Published: 22 November 2009
Category: Column, How To Kick Your Thyroid's Ass, Thyroid Nutrition and Health
This post currently has 23 responses. Leave a comment

Because we’ve been sold the idea that high animal protein diets are healthy, it’s difficult to allow ourselves to consider the fact that too much protein — specifically, too much animal protein — can actually harm our bodies. But mounting evidence (see resources below) indicates that meat and high-protein diets can hurt our bones; that these proteins are calcium leaching. That is, they literally draw calcium from our bones, which contributes to breaks, fractures, and osteoporosis.

In studies observing the eating habits and bone health of women who ate animal protein and women who ate vegan diets, vegan women were found to experience less bone loss than their meat-eating counterparts. It’s theorized that eating meat causes a temporary acidosis of the body, due to the sulfurous compounds in the protein. In order for the body to return itself to a balanced pH level, the body borrows calcium phosphate from our bones. This corrects the acidic state, but over time, weakens the bones and continues depleting them of their calcium stores. This theory may sound valid, but many meat-eaters worry about switching to plant-based diets for fear of not being able to acquire enough protein.

The fact is, people who do eat meat are actually taking in much more protein than they realize, many times. This is because they’re only taking into consideration the protein grams in the animal product they’re consuming. What they’re neglecting to realize is that the potatoes they’re eating with the meat, as well as the broccoli, lettuce, carrots, peppers, all contain protein! Take for example one cup of cooked peas (technically a legume): that’s about the serving size you’d eat with dinner, right? Well, that one-cup of peas contains approximately nine grams of protein! Nine grams!,   (Though, if you’re anything like me, one cup is nothing and I’d eat the whole three cups that came in the bag). Or, how about some broccoli? — seven grams of protein in about two cups.   What about raisins instead? — Five whole grams in one cup. Or how about our new favorite gluten-free, grain-free substitute — coconut?: 10 grams for 5 ounces.   Oh and let’s not forget that’s before the rice (5 grams in one cup) and beans (15 grams in one cup), and cheese (11 grams per ounce of Parmesan), or god-forbid… soy! (68 grams for one cup!),   that we’re eating with the chicken breast (35 grams for 4 oz.) or steak (42 grams for 6 oz.!) . That’s alotta exclamation points.

Those plant-based grams really add up, considering the recommended daily intake of protein for the average female ranges anywhere from 30 — 60 grams, depending on whom you speak with. The verdict is still out on one set number of grams of protein — no one can exactly agree; there are numerous methods that claim to properly calculate protein needs, based upon weight, caloric intake, age, sex, and so on.

Remember, these calculations are only if we’re eating “clean food”; meaning food that contains no additives — just natural and unprocessed food. Consider the thousands of processed foods that have added corn or soy. The protein total just keeps going up and up with each addition of that familiar grain or legume.

For the next week, I want to challenge you to total up the number of non-animal grams of protein you eat everyday, with the help of the Nutrition Data site.   I think you’ll be surprised just how much protein you’re actually eating, even before you get to the meat and poultry.   I’ll count mine each day as well and give you a re-cap next Sunday.

So maybe the real question isn’t how much protein we need each day, but instead, “is the protein I’m eating supplying my body with the essential amino acids that it cannot make on its own; And, “can a vegan or vegetarian diet supply these? Vegetable-based diets sometimes are said to not supply the “complete proteins; that animal products do, but perhaps there’s more to this story. L-tyrosine, another amino acid, is often said to be crucial in thyroid function. I’ll delve into amino acids (and how they relate to protein and thyroids) next week.

Oh, and before you leave to ponder all this, did I mention we’re running a giveaway contest this week? Well, yes, we are! — a healthy, nutritious giveaway! How exciting! Here’s what to do: in the comments section, list two topics you’d like to see discussed on “How To Kick Your Thyroid’s Ass” and (very briefly) why those topics interest you. If you tell us, in your comment, that you linked this article on your Facebook, Twitter, Digg, or StumbleUpon you’ll get an extra entry! Also, if you email the article to five friends, you’ll get another entry! Maximize your chances to win, folks!

And just what exactly will you be entered to win????

Drum roll please…

A jar of organic coconut oil from our good friends at Nutiva! You’re familiar with Nutiva, right? They’re a fabulous organic natural foods company who makes the health of their consumers top priority. They’re producers of organic, non-GMO superfoods like hemp, flax, and coconut products.   Nutiva’s coconut oil is unbleached, unfermented, unhydrogenated, unrefined, oh and the list goes on, so you can read more about it here.

We will pick a winner at random next Saturday night (the contest will close at midnight on Saturday) and will announce the winner via “How To Kick Your Thyroid’s Ass” on Sunday.

(Note: please remember that coconut oil is thyroid-stimulating. Though it has redeeming, non-thyroid-related health properties that would benefit anyone, hypers should take caution and be aware.)


Until Next Week,

Love Always,

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: The Case For Veganism, Part II (And A GIVEAWAY!)

  1. Lori says:

    Liz, first, I am so glad you did this article about protein. I thought I wasn’t getting enough protein but realize now I am getting more than I thought (of the good kind). I rarely eat meat but I will think twice next time, as I did not know how they leach calcium.

    I would love to see a ‘how to kick your thyroids ass’ article cover:

    1. Foods that speed up your metabolism to aid in weight loss. Hopefully something other than hot peppers. I am physically limited due to knee, ankle and lack of back flexion due to fusion, which is a huge roadblock for me and want to maximize anything that might help.

    2. I am just learning about goitrogenic foods/veggies and have read that cooking these particular veggies solves that problem. I have not been able to find anything that tells you how much to cook them. Soft veggies are not appealing to me and I always understood vegges cooked that much have no nutrtional valve left in them. I want to learn more about this so I can incoroprate as many veggies in my diet as possible without aggravating my thyroid.

    I have linked this article on FB and twitter and also emailed to five people.

  2. Alexia says:

    I am in.. Great info

  3. quin browne says:

    i don’t mind giving up almost all meat…but, bacon! how can i live without my beloved bacon every sunday morning??

    i’ll think about it. can you be vegan except for one meal a week?

  4. reva skie says:

    How bout what to do when your thyroid has left your skin and hair in terrible shape. Or is there any link between Rosacea and thyroid disease.

  5. Amy says:

    I am in agreement with Lori about goitrogenic foods. I know that you have done an article on this before, Liz. I was thinking a more in depth article. The whole list. Should we always avoid all of them?(I do like a little steamed broccoli now and then!) And the cooking. The exact effects of consuming too much of them Another topic I would be interested in is ?Is there a link between Hashi’s and unexplained pain in the body?

    This is a really interesting article. I eat quite a bit of meat and eggs as well as a ton of veggies, nuts/seeds and a little less dairy. What are the consequences of eating too much protein? I will try to track my protein mon-wed but then I am going away for Thanksgiving weekend and it would be too much for me to do away from home. Thanks for the info! Love Amy

  6. Zari says:

    You do get a lot of protein from vegetables and more from grains and legumes, although I’m unclear as to whether other legumes might have the same problems for the thyroid as soy. After all soybeans are just another legume. Also one has to eat these things in the right combinations, although that can be done over the course of the day.

    Animal flesh is a great source of fat, which is less common in most vegetables, grains, fruits and so on than is protein. So what might feel like a protein defiency in a vegan diet could well be a fat deficiency. According to the nutrition folks, we need more fat than we do protein in our diets. Fat gets a bad rap because when we are trying to lose weight we eliminate fat in the hopes that our body will metabolize it’s own fat, but this only works if you are overweight, and even then you are basically metabolizing animal fat (your own fat) with all the bad saturated fats and so on, so you need additional unsaturated fat as well.

    There is always in these studies the whole correlation does not imply causality issue. Vegans have less bone loss than meat eaters. But a simple explanation is that vegans may be more health conscious than meat eaters, being a smaller and more select group of the population, and may be more invested in exercise. Moderate impact exercise has been shown to decrease bone loss, as has weight lifting. Also it does not say if the subjects were matched for age, weight, racial makeup (Black people are less prone to osteoporosis than White people, although in the US most Black people are not of purely African descent). All these things become important.

    It’s widely known that not eating a lot of meat is good for people in many ways. And for those of us who want to continue to eat meat and fish, we can consider lessening the amounts and reap some benefits. Of course there is another school of thought altogether that says people of type O blood type tend to do better with animal protein and folks with type A or B do better with more grains.

    Who knows.


    • dearthyroid says:


      I know I’ve spoken to you about this many times, but I do indeed agree with you that a high-fat diet is actually healthy. Especially for those of us with autoimmune disease… we need all the “good” fats we can get (though I personally like the information Dr. Mercola has delineated, which goes that saturated fat and cholesterol have been maligned, and our body actually needs them. My other readings confirm that as well — the brain is composed of cholesterol. What are low-cholesterol diets doing to our brains??) Hence, the coconut oil giveaway this week. A vegan being deficient in good fats would be no different than someone eating a standard American Diet being fat-deficient. There are a ton of vegetable sources of fats: avocado, coconut/coconut oil, olives/olilve oil, hemp, flax, almonds, cashews, and the list goes on and on.

      I’m going to go into the debate over whether the essential amino acids need to be eaten together at the same meal, or if our bodies acquire them and combine/use them later. It’s up in the air among experts.

      Thanks for your comment! It’s nice to see someone else so interested in nutrition. 🙂

  7. amy says:

    Interesting, Zari. After I gave up grains I was eating beans and I noticed immediately feeling very tired and a high-feeling. This happened a couple of times so I keep them out of my diet. However, lentils and peas do not have the same affect as beans. This is all so interesting. Food and how it affects the body/mind!

  8. Pam says:

    Amy, that is interesting about beans.

    This says black turtle beans are supposed to be good for stamina:

  9. amy says:

    Oh, Pam! That looks good. Maybe I will give that a try and see how I feel. Thanks!

  10. Bee says:

    for the past 3 mos. I’ve increased my “good’carbs” and have been eating brown rice, whole wheat pastas, more fruits and veggies, in order to stabilize my blood sugar. Now I have off the chart triglycerides (253 when the high normal is under 150).The doc told me to cut back on carbs.As I don’t eat a lot of starchy vegetables, I can’t help but wonder if the increase in good carbs is the culprit. Any ideas? I’m flabbergasted.

  11. Alexia says:

    I still need some animal protein. so it is one drumstick/ palm size grass-fed beef/some grass-fed liver/ or pastured raised chicken liver once a day. I also chew on bones. and eat the marrow.. Bone broth is wonderful for our bones
    Yes I supplement with supplements. I take enough iron to kill an Elephant!

    I am a Type A and my sister..the vegan is Type O.. Go figure!!!!!! LOL

    Along with that are plenty of green leafy veggies with root veggies that are a staple in the fall in the Northeast

    I have a bleeding disorder that requires this..the vegetarian way of life does not give me the B12 nor the type of iron required to live..

    Black beans and french lentils are part of my pantry staples.. Rice does not sit well with me

    • dearthyroid says:

      Alexia, yeah totally understood. Like I said to Marie, our nutritional needs are so different — that’s why I think it’s great to expose people to different eating plans and lifestyle diets, in hopes they’ll figure out what works for them.

      That is funny that the type O is vegan. Same with the bf here. He’s type O and vegan all the way. Weird, huh?

  12. anita says:

    hmmm. food for thought, that’s for sure. i’m definitely a carnivore, although not really into “hooved” food. mostly chix and fish. but still, this is interesting to note about the calcium. i’ve often read that type A pos blood ppl and ppl from scottish background do better on mostly veg diets. may be just wives tale stuff, but i know i feel better mostly veg.

    it would be good to hear more about the whole adrenal thing, as well as why we tend to get multiple autoimmune issues. why do some of us get lupus, some diabetes, some gluten, some RA…. what’s up with that daisy chain nightmare stuff???

    • dearthyroid says:

      I’m A positive too, Anita. 🙂 I’ve heard the same thing, as well as they’re intolerant to gluten, but thrive on grains. Nothing could be further from the truth for me… just about the grains part. I’ve read that we tend to have low stomach acid.

      Thanks for your entry!

  13. Kathy says:

    First of all, thanks for all the effort that goes in to researching all this kick ass information. I have to truthfully admit that sometimes my brain fog and memory challenges don’t always want to let it all in.
    I’d like to hear
    1. more about dealing with depression through diet..ie:Kathleen Desmaison’s “Potatoes Not Prozac” while keeping the thyroid in balance, as well..
    2. more about dealing with hypoglycemic and/or other blood sugar issues with thyroid disease
    I am linking this to Facebook will send it to 5 others..

  14. matchbookhymnal says:

    Just another perspective–
    I love animals, and I hate factory farming. I was a vegan for a little over a year, an ovo-vegetarian for three more, and mostly-vegetarian for two years thereafter when I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s. I prided myself on the fact that I rarely (once a month? Maybe?) ate any saturated fat or cholesterol. D’oh. Without enough fats, you can’t absorb the fat-soluble vitamins in a lot of vegetables. Fats and cholesterol make up the walls of our cells; when cells rupture, autoimmune reactions can result.

    I don’t know if not eating meat caused my energy to drop, but I do know that the longer I avoided meat, the more my energy dropped, in spite of the careful amino acid balancing I did, and in spite of the supplemental B-12 I took. I eventually became anemic despite iron supplements. I began eating grass-fed, locally raised meat again a few times a week, and fish, after I was diagnosed. I have felt better the longer I’ve been back on a meat-centered diet. I found out later that my vitamin D levels were very low, and it is hard to get enough vitamin D without eating at least oily fish,or fortified dairy products (I’m lactose intolerant, so those are out for me anyway).

    I think that it’s also important to eat more than just lean meat– the fats, vitamins, and minerals in organ meats and bone broths are important, too. I also feel more respectful of the animal when I use every part.

    Now, coming off of an unhealthily fatty and processed diet, yes, becoming vegan is likely to make you feel better! But I have real concerns about the healthiness of long-term veganism. The Weston Price Foundation has some good arguments in favor of meat as a food our bodies need to survive.

  15. Phil, you are absolutely correct, it shows that you’re an authority on the subject. I admire someone that takes the pride you have and with your projecton of information. oSo when i actually do sit down to read material, I appreciate well written and organized blogs like this one. I have it bookmarked and will be back. Thanks.

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