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How To Kick Your Thyroid’s Ass: Andrea Beaman, Thynspiration

Post Published: 13 December 2009
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Category: Column, How To Kick Your Thyroid's Ass, Thyroid Nutrition and Health
This post currently has 18 responses. Leave a comment

Today, I’d like to acquaint you with a woman who has used nutritional methods to heal her thyroid disease.   I think it’s important to read stories like this; we don’t tend to hear too many positive outcomes for thyroid disease.   I don’t think her healing is through some freak coincidence, though I also don’t mean to imply everyone can heal their thyroid disease as she has.   I try not to make generalizations like that, or discredit the hard work we’re all already doing to keep our health in check.   I think her story is hopeful, and she really had the worst of it — many different incantations of thyroid disease.   Her message, in my opinion, is very inspirational (or, thynspirational).

You may recognize the name Andrea Beaman, or at least her face — she was a contestant on Bravo’s Top Chef.   Diagnosed at the age of 28 with hyperthyroidism and a goiter, which later evolved into hypothyroidism, and Hashimoto’s Disease, Andrea used nutritional methods to heal her disease(s).

Her background in Macrobiotics, she advocates eating a whole and unprocessed diet, which includes grass-fed meats and dairy, candida-fighting foods, various grains (both gluten-free and some gluten-filled), and nuts and seeds, fruits and tons of veg.   She hosts two shows on the Veria network — a television cable channel dedicated to natural living, where she gives viewers nutritional ideas and recipes to aide in calming their physical ailments, and is the author of The Whole Truth: How I Naturally Reclaimed My Health, And You Can Too! — a memoir in eating and healing.   She currently hosts classes in the NYC area for nutritional ideas for thyroid health.

Here are some links and resources to read up on.   Gather from them what you will, and as always, with your discerning eye:

To conclude this week, I’d like to ask a favor of you all.   Whether you’ve been following this column and Dear Thyroid since near its inception, or whether this is your first or second week reading, I want to hear from you.   Each week, I end this column with a “Until Next Week, Love Always, Liz; Have a question, comment, story, love letter, or rant/rave to send me?: Liz@DearThyroid.com”. And over the past few months, I have received some of the nicest and most uplifting personal health stories from you.   Off the top of my head, I can recall an email from a Dear Thyroid lady who shared with me that her fatigue, moodiness, cravings, and insulin levels came into check once she omitted grains from her diet.   Another woman recently emailed to tell me that after ten years of probiotic therapy, there are no remnants of her (non-thyroid-related) autoimmune disease. I love hearing these things because no matter how “big” or “small” the success may seem in relation to the vastness of disease, these steps forward are all important and all worthy in my book because they make us feel even just a little bit better. And when we feel a little bit better, the quality of our lives becomes a little bit better.

I’m not looking for miracle cure-all stories.   I just want to hear about any nutritional or lifestyle choices that you’ve made that you can tell are helping you feel better — be it something you read on this column that prompted you, or something you discovered on your own.   Whether it be something so big as your blood sugar stabilizing, a significant weight loss, or less and less depressive episodes; or something else like the ability to think clearly, without brain fog, enjoy a conversation, or sleeping through one single solitary night to get a full eight hours.   Maybe your skin cleared up, maybe your joints aren’t achy anymore, maybe you can take a shit where you couldn’t before, or maybe you stopped shitting as frequently so you can go out to dinner without worrying where the hell the closest bathroom’s located (or, if you’re anything like me — worrying about participating in “normal” activities like going to the movies, or getting a coffee with someone because you know you’ll need to pee every twenty minutes and will end up feeling dehydrated). I won’t use your name, if you prefer anonymity.

Also, How To Kick Your Thyroid’s Ass will be taking a little hiatus until the first week of January.   We’re all busy this time of year — traveling, eating, spending time with friends and family, and I’m no exception.   So please savor this week’s article and links, and enjoy your holiday season!,   Let’s all come back refreshed and committed to happy, healthy lives the beginning of next year (2010).

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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18 Responses to “How To Kick Your Thyroid’s Ass: Andrea Beaman, Thynspiration

  1. dearthyroid says:

    Hi Liz;

    Katie here. Andrea’s story is Thynspirational, to be sure. I agree with you, whenever someone is able to reclaim some small piece of their selves via nutrition, or anything else, it’s a victory!

    Personally, I have benefited tremendously from How To Kick Your Thyroid’s Ass.

    I went Gluten Free, which is helping me lose weight. I’m down 50 pounds, even though I have a lot more to go, I feel like I’m finally on the right track.

    I went from being vegetarian to vegan and that gives me a lot more energy. I’m also eating so many of the foods that you’ve recommended from books and such.

    I take Probiotics and a lot of other vitamins and supplements. There is marked improvement in how I feel when I take my vitamins versus when i don’t.

    I am experimenting with Coconut flour, milk and water. So far, I’ve tried milk and it’s absolutely delish. Coconut oil has helped my hair in more ways than you can imagine. For years since this thyroid business happened, I haven’t had smooth or silky hair. Thanks to coconut oil, now I do. It’s really helped my self-esteem.

    I love this column and how much it’s helped me personally reclaim little bits of myself.

    THANK YOU FROM ME AND MY THYROID FOR EVERYTHING YOU DO!

    Have a happy, healthy holiday.

    Love,
    Katie

  2. Me says:

    While I applaud those who change their diets and improve their health without medical assistance, I think endorsing this approach is extremely dangerous. This suspiciously sounds like Oprah’s cure for thyroid disease where she laid around on a beach in Hawaii for a month eating organic fruits, veggies, and a truck load of soy. Note the massive goiter Oprah has been sporting for proof that this didn’t do much to cure her. Modern medicine is aware they know very little about how the body works, though they won’t admit it to their patients, but I believe it and more natural cures, like dietary modification can work hand-in-hand. I believe the “I was cured” proclamations made by people with something to sell do more to damage any potential collaboration in the future then help it. Perhaps Andrea truly did heal herself this way; I was not there. The fact that she has something to sell automatically makes me very suspicious of her claims.

  3. dearthyroid says:

    Hi. Liz here.

    Dear “Me” — whomever you may be,

    First I’d like to say that this was a difficult week for me. Many shitty things happened all at the same time, even though it is painful to experience, there is one positive outcome. I tell you this because I learned many things about the world that I apparently desperately needed teaching. What this has to do with your comment is that I learned how important it is to be accepting of my own and other people’s humanity; in that, I need more patience and peaceful graciousness for whatever they do in life and however it may affect me and whatever emotions it may bring up in me. So what I mean is, thank you for your comment — I accept it as coming from deep within you: a very honest and important place. I recognize how important it is and how meaningful it is.

    I have also learned this week how important a positive dialogue between disagreeing people is. Therefore, although I disagree with you, I love that you shared your opinion and I will not try to discredit you or dismantle what you’ve said with such conviction and meaning. I hope that makes sense and doesn’t sound condescending. I mean it sincerely because I’ve had people do that to me this week and it didn’t feel good.

    Secondly, the only thing I have to benefit from sharing my story of remission via natural healing is more readers (a potential for a larger fan base). I don’t sell anything or promote products as cure-alls. The proof I have is on paper and in my daily reality. Maybe I should share my lab values on the site for comparison — before diet and after.

    When I tell my story of remission, I do it because I see it as positive and hopeful. Unfortunately, natural health is often perceived as negative. What I would ask you to consider is this: why are we defending the very mainstream institutions and methods of treatment that do not help us feel better? I do not at all mean to imply that we should abandon mainstream treatment methods. What I am saying, simply, is this: I hear and read stories everyday via various Dear Thyroid mediums (Facebook, Twitter, the site, emails) of people complaining of never ever feeling well using mainstream treatment. But when shown positive stories of people actually easing their disease through natural methods, we strongly adhere to the mainstream methods which we complain about everyday. Why is this? We loathe mainstream medicine, on the one hand, because who do we know who ends up really feeling well at its hands? — but when shown other choices that *have* helped many, we refuse to believe it. We defend those who cannot make us well.

    Like I said before, if this week has taught me anything, it’s that I will not attack you personally or your opinion. This is a very sensitive topic for me because it is my life. I would just ask anyone to consider the questions I just asked.

    Respectfully,

    Liz

  4. Lolly says:

    Liz,

    I love reading your Articles and what you have to say about nutrition, I feel diet plays a big part in are overall health, although I don’t think I would just use it alone not having a thyroid I still need supplementation even thogugh I know it’s a poor substitute for the real thing.

    I’ve known a few people over the yeats who can testify that diet, vitamins supplements alone, instead of thyroid meds have helped them regain there lives back and like you go into remission, I don’t knock anything till I’ve at least tried it myself.And none of these people were selling anything so you are not alone keep doing what you’re doing that’s why we love you.

    As for Oprah well she is a law unto herself and not a great advocate for the disease like you and Katie are.

  5. Amy says:

    Thanks, Liz! I look forward to reading about Andrea!

    I would like to say to the people responsible for this website: Thank You! This site means a lot to me and I think that it does to a lot of people. While I have wonderful, caring, and loving friends and family, they do not have thyroid disease and do not understand as people on this site and facebook. We should be here for each other! I love it! It is a beautiful thing that we can sympathize and encourage each other.

    I feel like you were talking about me up top that once I gave grains the boot I got my life back! That is me! And it was Dr. recommend! Bottom line what we eat matters big time! Thank you for putting the info out there for us to review and consider if these things might be beneficial to us. Happy Holidays! Love, Amy

  6. Dear “Me” —

    That is such bullshit. Sorry, but it is.

    If you were a regular reader of this column, you would know that never, not once is nutrition used as a cure all, be all for thyroid diseases and cancers.

    Furthermore, HTKYTA has always made it 100% clear that the nutritional FACTS, YES FACTS that are presented are OPTIONS to better assist thyroid patients IF WE choose to utilize them.

    The very idea that Dear Thyroid or the column HOW TO KICK YOUR THYROID’S ASS is in any way, shape or form a replacement for medical care is not only unfounded, it’s completely insulting.

    Katie Schwartz

    PS: If you READ IT in its entirety, you would understand the meaning of the post, but clearly you didn’t, so you don’t.

  7. I need to add one more thing, please.

    What makes me crazy is this: As thyroid patients, we see doctors, which is very important, we have to. We have to take our medication and achieve the coveted “balanced thyroid”.

    That being said, many of us still suffer with symptoms. More often than not, when we see our doctors, they don’t offer a solution. In my opinion, this column creates an opportunity for us to consider the use of supplements and dietary adjustments that can benefit our thyroids and allay our symptoms. These are ideas that we can choose to utilize or not.

    Speaking for myself, every idea that Liz has presented that I’ve spoken with my doctor about, they’ve supported and endorsed. Since incorporating many of Liz’s nutritional ideas, my life has changed for the better. I feel more in control.

    That’s it.

    Thanks,
    Katie

  8. Lolly says:

    Katie,

    Now I know why I love Ya!!!

    Liz in the new year I’m going pick your brains in the to see what I can do to help myself better than I am now. Maybe I too should go vegetarian, as I’m not a great lover of meat anyway going gluten free I found really hard but I willing to give it another try, as long as I got me some decent recipes.

    You gals rock and so does DT.

  9. Robyn says:

    Liz (and Katie),
    You know I wrote a comment very similar to “Me” on Facebook. I am a medical professional who has a love/hate relationship with Western medicine (human and animal), so I TOTALLY get “questioning authority”. I also agree that abandoning/rebelling completely against it is no better than saying it’s the only answer. Basically, I think that EXTREMES of any kind are suspect and potentially dangerous. I believe Andrea (and Liz) when they say they keep themselves balanced with diet/supplements alone. I also believe there are people who are balanced with no lifestyle changes at all except for their little white pill. Both are likely in the minority. I would venture that for the majority of us, a balance between better diet/nutrition, better living (reducing stress, etc.), and their medication, is what achieves their best outcomes.

    Liz, I love HTKYTA. Because of it (and you), I went gluten free. And it totally HAS changed my life for the better. And my endo, whom I actually like, has no experience or knowledge about it–and for me, that’s okay. I don’t expect my MD to FIX me. I expect ME to fix ME, using all available resources, including him. I had already been taking probiotics, fish oils, and VitD prior to my diagnosis due to my own research on health. Omitting gluten has been that last integral piece of the puzzle, though, and I’m eternally grateful to Liz–I don’t think I would have attempted it otherwise. And I hope my contention is only viewed as exactly that–great minds can not advance if there is no disagreement. Total agreement leads to no new ideas, no broadening of our vision, and no benefiting from other’s experiences and wisdom. My best friends are those with whom I can have a hot debate on *whatever*, then laugh and hit the pub.

    I think my main concern with the “Don’t believe the hype…” article was it’s tone. Very extreme in tone to my mind. But I have not read the others, and will, so maybe my fears are premature. My goal is not to dissuade anyone from trying anything, I just worry when anyone touts something as an “only way” against all other options.

  10. Lori says:

    Liz, first “Me” is not ME (Lori). If I have something to say, I would put my name on it. I would not do that. I just want you to know that.

    As you know my original reaction to “Don’t believe the hype about thyroid disease” sounded to me like it promoted total rebellion from the medical community. It seemed rather extreme and my first thought was how dangerous this could be to someone that is not diagnosed properly or completely yet with something such as cancer.

    What is very surprising to me is that I even reacted the way I did. You see, if anyone has reason to abhor the medical community it is me and believe me, I did for many years. I am surprising myself a lot lately. I don’t know anyone who has experienced/endured what I have but you would think I would be the first person to grab hold of Andrea’s “coattail”. Because of what has happened to me, I am extremely cautious about anyone who has claims to “cure” health of any type. For me personally, I need proof. Like I said everyone’s experiences and circumstances are different.

    My statement previously about wanting documentation is because she wanted a lot of money to learn her secret to cure the thyroid and I didn’t see anything to prove her claims. This “need” is “mine” whether it be her, non-MD, MD, DO, DC, etc, because of my personal experiences and need to protect myself. Right or wrong that’s where I’m at.

    Anything I said was nothing personal towards you, Liz. I instinctively trust you and Katie completely. I love what you are doing. I love this whole community more than you know. You and Katie and everyone else here are where I get my strength from.

    I don’t want to make anyone uncomfortable so I won’t write what happened, plus this is probably not the approprite place, but it took me more than eight years to go back to a doctor after a series of wrongs. I have built a trusting relationship with my curent MD, even though she can’t totally help me with my thyroid, she has been open to what I have learned, and has gone out of her way to learn herself. I have a current issue she doesn’t know how to deal with and has found the best person she could that would “listen” and treat me with what I need. It’s taking too long but that’s another story. She is the one who told me she thought wheat may be causing a problem. She actually spoke with a nutritionist friend of hers. She agreed with the probiotics, which I have been on for three years, she found my vitamin D deficiency, and the omega-3 she prescribed for my cholesterol, endedup treating my depression. The one thing it took her way too long to diagnose was my thyroid disorder, but at least I have changed one doctors ways. She was doing what she was taught and what most endo’s have been taught. I don’t think it will take so long for any of her other patients to be diagnosed now, and I am happy and proud of that. I hope that she will tell other doctors about our experience. I think it’s the MDs that treat us so wrongly are the one’s that need awareness.

    Sorry I went on again but I just didn’t want you, Liz (or Katie), to think that my opinion was meant in any way negative against what you stand for and your success, because you both inspire me more than you know and I have learned so much already.

  11. Lolly says:

    Lori,

    I find you so sincere in what you have written and yes you are so right, there are people out there who will want to take your money with a cure all. That is why it’s very important to research before parting with any cash.I too would be dubious of these kind of people too, although I took LDN Low Dose Naltrexone for my eye disease I can honestly testify that it actually improved my eyes tremendously too (now in the inactive stage of GO) with LDN it was word of mouth, research and with caution Plus the great Elaine Moore and other thyroid peeps who had tried before me.

    Also another thing you are spot on that it’s the MD’s who need more awareness about thyroid disease and the effects it has on each and everyone one of us as a whole. Conventional medicine, dietary and alternative medicines do and can play a big part in aiding our recovery, I think they all work well hand in hand and in some cases depending on that particular person alone.

    I do understand your thinking though if only ME the person with no name had put it that way maybe it wouldn’t have sounded so dismissive and also personal. Just my opinion.

    Lolly

  12. Natasha says:

    I think the thing that people tend to forget is that treatments, dietary changes, etc affect all of us differently. A “miracle cure” that works for you might set me back months and vice versa. Western medicine puts a lot of emphasis on drugs and medication. Have a headache? Take a pill. Have thyroid problems? Take lots of pills. It’s easy to feel like your doctor’s science experiment and feel like your disease is completely out of your own control. Adjusting your diet, going to therapy, taking yoga classes, meditating are things that we can do to empower ourselves over our diseases. If they reduce the thyroid symptoms, fantasitc! If they don’t reduce the thyroid symptoms, maybe you feel a little more in control of your disease, a little calmer, a little more able to deal with the evils that thyroid disease throw at you. Isn’t it worth it to try?

    I left my endocrinologist’s office in September in tears. I was told that if my TSH levels did not improve (it was .04) I would have to either have surgery or RAI. No discussion, no debate. In June I went completely gluten-free (I’m a vegetarian so it hasn’t been as challenging as I thought it would be). At my endo appointment last week I found out that my TSH was completely in the normal range (in my excitement I forgot to write down my numbers). Normal range! I assure you the improvement was not from taking my meds regularly as I have been having a really hard time with them since mid-October. Could my new diet have helped? I think so. Does my doctor think so? Not really but she is only focusing on the numbers, not what it took to get there. Do I feel less depressed, has my asthma gotten under better control, have my skin/chronic rashes lessened, do I feel more alert and alive since going gluten free?? Yes, yes, yes, and yes!!! Would it have been worth it even if my TSH hadn’t improved? YES!! Would I be better able to mentally process what it means to kill my thyroid because my outlook on life isn’t as dark?? YES!

    Humans are complex beings. Thyroid disease is even more complex. We owe it to ourselves and our health to investigate *ALL* forms of treatment – traditional and nontraditional!

    ~natasha

    ps I am going to miss you during the hiatus! 🙂

  13. Lori says:

    Lolly,

    Thank you for your kind words. It means a lot to me.

    I am so glad you found LDN and have had relief. And I’m so glad you mentioned it. I read something about it recently and have had it in the back of my mind for if some of my ‘pain issues’ (neuropathy, fibro, CMP, RSD) are not resolved enough when hashi is optimally treated. It seems to have benefits in so many areas. This is one treatment that truly does sound remarkable. I had no idea it helped with GO. That is wonderful news. I need to find out if it is even used is my part of the US. I am seeing a pain specialist in January and I’ll be sure to ask about that. I’m sure I would not have thought of it at my appointment.

    It is too bad “Me” did not put their name to their words, as this is the safest and most caring place.

    And I do think in generations to come MDs will come out of med school with more “nutrition” education and ways to use it in unison with their more conventional lessons. And that will happen because of us. We need to keep telling them we need more and staying in their safe box is not helping us.

  14. dearthyroid says:

    First of all, to everyone, I LOVE YOU. I love this community and how bold everyone is. Each one of you have a strong point of view and isn’t afraid to express it. I am melting from joy from this. I’m a freak, I know.

    Even though I exercised my freedom of speech rather assertively when I responded to “ME”, I am surprised that “Me” didn’t respond. That’s just an aside.

    The beauty of this community, IMO is that we are going to disagree. We’re going to engage in healthy debates.

    Before Liz’s column, I was so uneducated regarding nutrition and how nutrition impacts my thyroid. Though Andrea’s story is shocking because I’m so cynical, I greatly appreciated hearing it. In some small way, whether I buy into her story or not, it is a victory and makes me feel like anything is possible. Does that make sense?

    Robyn — We’re super same paging regarding extremes. Striking a balance is very important. Each practice of medicine (Eastern/Western) has a place. As thyroid patients, I think we have a responsibility to work with our Western practitioners and maintain an open mind to Eastern and nutritional ideas that could enhance the quality of our lives. Again, in my opinion, I think it’s important to keep our doctors in the loop about the things we wish to incorporate into our lives. If they disagree, we have to find out why they disagree. If they agree, go us. In my experience, so far, none of my doctors have disagreed. My primary care physician has offered up several alternatives in addition to what I’m doing.

    Lori — Just an FYI, for what it’s worth, I never thought you were “Me”. YOU ARE LOVED AND WELCOMED ALWAYS, even when we disagree, just an FYI’r. I hear you regarding what you’ve been through and how horrific, vile and unforgivable it is. You’re right, if anyone has the right to hate the Western medical community, it’s you. I congratulate you on successfully educating one of your doctors, that’s a victory! (PS: I hope that next time you won’t feel uncomfortable and will share what you’ve been through.) You make us think and feel every time you speak up, my dear. When I read this installation of HTKYTA, it didn’t read extreme to me, that’s just my opinion. To me it read like “Here’s the story of a person who chose to go this route and this was her end-result, I thought it was positive and uplifting and wanted to share it.” I liked hearing it, even if have my doubts, it gave me hope.

    Lolly — We’re same paging hard. Great point re: GO, being informed, doing the research and making a decision from there.

    Natasha — We’re same paging. Beautifully said “I think the thing that people tend to forget is that treatments, dietary changes, etc affect all of us differently. A miracle cure”. I think this is also the heart and soul of the HTKYTA column. It presents new ideas, not miracle cures. Rather, it helps us as patients to consider new information and new ideas. Natasha, I can’t believe that going GF got your TSH in the normal range! I’m beside myself, what a fucking fabulous victory!!!

  15. kathleen says:

    I just found this and am so thankful as I have “hoshimotos” even though I tried for years to not claim it! Even though I have gained about 35 pounds in 5 years (I have no energy to exercise), my endo tells me one time I am hypo then hyper (you’d think you’d be thin if you were hyper!!! 5 ft 180 lbs but hyper? For 15 years I go back and forth but stay fat. It is so frustrating, I do eat fairly healthy but not as good as I would like. Thank you all for this forum I look forward to it.
    kathleen

  16. Dawn, 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.

  17. I just found this and love it. I enjoyed reading all the angry responses and hopeful responses too. I want to reiterate that it was NOT diet alone that helped me heal my condition. Au contraire – it was a diet, lifestyle, spiritual and emotional work that helped me heal my condition. I firmly believe that anyone, as long as they are alive and breathing, can improve any condition with the right tools and attitude. Nutrition is just one of many.

  18. Carla says:

    Hi Andrea, i found my health return to me when i started going to the macrobiotic restaurant in Sansepolcro italy, i had your same problema with my thyroid.
    My foggy bain days were over.

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