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How To Kick Your Thyroid’s Ass: Food Is Science Too!, OR, A Little HTKYTA Background

Post Published: 07 March 2010
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Category: Column, How To Kick Your Thyroid's Ass, Thyroid Nutrition and Health
This post currently has 20 responses. Leave a comment

For those who haven’t been following this column and my health journey from the beginning, I’d like to ask you to head on over to The Nourished Life blog and read a piece I wrote for the site this week.   But before you do that, let me give you a little background.

I based this column, How To Kick Your Thyroid’s Ass, on a Dear Thyroid letter I wrote, in which I mentioned I was working on kicking my thyroid’s ass, meaning, it wouldn’t get the best of me and I would find some way to get it working better.   That one line prompted this entire column, whose focus is on natural lifestyle choices, and food and the many ways it can help or hurt the body.

In short, food is science too, and I think that often gets overlooked.   Dietary choices aren’t only a means to lose weight or a caloric equation, they are scientific reactions within the body that can prevent, or contribute to disease.   And it’s funny to me that dietary solutions to symptoms and illness get marked as “alternative” because, since when is science an “alternative” approach?,   In my opinion, dietary solutions aren’t in the financial interest of a doctor or pharmaceutical company, which is why they have been branded as “fringe” “alternative” “unsafe” and “ineffective”. The reality is, however, some doctors and researchers dedicate their entire lives to the discipline of food science.   Take the Rudd Center at Yale for example.   These people spend their waking lives studying food, it’s scientific components, and the effect of those on the body.   So how does this get lost in the doctor’s office?

You can hate me (in the comments section, wink wink), but I believe that our current medication-only approach in much of Western medicine (for the chronically-ill) is inevitably flawed because it does not address root problems of sickness.   Addressing root problems are considered alternative and controversial, and actually support financial interests that have nothing to do with the patient.   Patients who are on medication for years and never truly feel good or normal (even with balanced numbers) know this all too well.   My post for The Nourished Life blog goes in to this.

If we start looking at food as scientific reactions within the body, we can start relying on it more for better wellness and be less scared of its “alertnative-ness”.   Goitrogens, food allergies, inflammation, hormones, genetically-modified foods, vili damage, iodine deficiency or overload, enzymes, antinutrients, bacteria, lectins, amino acids, fatty acids, chemicals in industrial food, food contamination (mercury in fish, ammonia in beef, aflatoxins on nuts and seeds), irradiation, and the list goes on — all science.

My story of food and health and my Hashimoto’s in un-medicated remission started with food science.   Over the months, I’ve recommended a ton of great books, the ones I used in my journey, in hopes you’ll also benefit from it.   Another book I’d like to suggest today is “Win The War Within” by Floyd Chilton, Ph.D.   This book explores the epidemic of inflammation in our country, and how so many diseases are actually related, though they may not seem like it, via inflammation: diabetes, asthma, lupus, eczema, inflammatory bowel disease, allergies, cancer, obesity, arthritis, dementia, atherosclerosis, psoriasis, and so many others.   Because autoimmune diseases, by nature, are inflammatory diseases, I’d suggest this book to anyone with autoimmune thyroid disease, or any inflammatory condition.   Along with extensive science and research, Chilton also provides a food plan that has been proven to reduce inflammation and inflammatory disease.   Let’s use this science to our advantage.

Until Next Week

Love Always,

Liz

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20 Responses to “How To Kick Your Thyroid’s Ass: Food Is Science Too!, OR, A Little HTKYTA Background

  1. Katie Schwartz says:

    Liz – Your success and your column gives us the opportunity to view nutrition as a means of healing and achieving wellness in a new light, which we need. Many doctors, unless it’s an integrative specialist won’t encourage a patient to look to nutrition for implementing change. As you said, I’m paraphrasing, it doesn’t generate revenue.

    Western medicine, for the most part is all about making money, which means patient care falls to the wayside, period.

    The goal, in my opinion, and speaking only for myself, is finding an integrative doctor willing to work with us to find our way back to ourselves and feel healthy. Many patients, myself included don’t feel healthy. Yet, by implementing many of the nutritional changes I have as a result of reading your column, I do feel better. I do feel that I am on the road to being healthy again.

    I also believe there is a place for both Western medicine and nutritional medicine (a concept I hadn’t thought of until you wrote about it). I think that nutrition and holistic medicine are branded as fringe or alternative practices due to marketing. Plus, it’s very important to choose a doctor that isn’t, for lack of a better word, a quack. However, I think that goes for both ends of the spectrum (Western/nutrition).

    Great column, excellent points.
    Katie

  2. Lolly says:

    Liz another great column from you, I too agree with you and kaite not enoguh emphasis on what we put in our mouths, other than medication we don’t always need when lifestyle changes and better nutrition can go along way to healing or aiding recovery.

    Lolly

  3. Monica says:

    I was able to heal my body with the help of an integrative doctor who believes 90% of diseases start in the gut. After six months of following her protocol of a change in my diet, along with intensive acupuncture and Chinese herbs, many of the symptoms abated. Three years after being diagnosed with lupus, the rheumatologist told me if I were to present to her that day that she would NOT diagnose me as having lupus. She was so impressed that she wanted the name of the acupuncturist I saw so she could recommend her other patients to give it a try to help relieve their symptoms.

    Unfortunately, I had to have surgery to remove my thyroid due to cancer. But acupuncture and massage helped my body to heal without taking prescription drugs.

    Thank you for bringing to light that Western and Eastern modalities can be used together with much success.

    I love this site 🙂

    ☮ ♥

  4. Heather says:

    As a nurse I often am conflicted internally about the best treatment for my Hashimoto’s Disease. However, as I languished sickly for months under the care of a conventional doctor’s care, I realized that there had to be a better way. I found a Nurse Practitioner that practices Integrative Medicine & I am now almost 100% back to normal a year later. I’ve been gluten free for about 9 months & eat no processed foods. I know that my thyroid replacement is not the only thing that’s helping! I also refused prescription anti-depressants & am looking to start accupuncture soon. I had a thyroid lobectomy for a nodule impeding on my trachea.
    Thanks for this article! I look forward to HTKYTA weekly!

  5. Lori says:

    Liz, your topics always seem to be so timely for me. My new doc has recommended just that, a stricter anti-inflammatory diet, along with liquid D3 and liquid DHA 800 mg daily. I have been on one for a while but I am learning I have been doing it kind of half-assed and the new doc has recommended a couple of books to guide me along. I am glad to have your suggestion now too so I have more options and can find the best fit for me.

    I haven’t said anything to anyone (until now) but I am wondering already if the changes I’ve made looking at food as medicine has already put me on the path to remission. I may be getting ahead of myself and it’s definitely a bit early to be sure, but my dose keeps going lower and lower. I went from 2 grains down to 1/2-grain on my thyroid dose. I did this by my symptoms and had labs checked after 4 weeks each time lowering it. My new doctor was quite surprised that my numbers were so good from the last set. She thought for sure she would be telling me to increase it. I, on the other hand, would have been surprised if they were not good because of how I felt.

    I think she may have found the reason I’m still falling asleep (borderline insulin resistace)and I am now eating 5 small meals a day. I was eating lots of carrots throughout the day, not realizing they had too much sugar for me. She said in order to lose the weight I need to get in 30 minutes of exercise twice a day after two of the meals. Part of the equation is OSA, which I developed from the weight gain, so the weight loss is very important health wise, not just because I want to fit into my old clothes.

    Keeping my fingers crossed I am correct about heading toward remission. Either way, I know I would not be where I am today without your column. It has been so valuabe to me from the start.

    Keep “Kicking Ass”, Liz!
    🙂
    Lori

  6. LizSchau says:

    Thanks Lolly! I appreciate your thoughts. 🙂 Thanks for reading and sharing today

  7. LizSchau says:

    Monica, that’s an amazing story and thanks so much for sharing it. I think it’s important that people who have experienced both big and small successes with natural approaches start speaking up. I’ve realized it’s time for me to start speaking my truth and making bold statements. I’m not relying on hocus pocus, I’m relying on hardcore food science, and those tenets can help anyone to any degree.

    Thanks for reading and commenting. Please keep sharing your story! It’s so important.

  8. “Dietary choices aren’t only a means to lose weight or a caloric equation, they are scientific reactions within the body that can prevent, or contribute to disease.”

    Sad thing is that EVEN AFTER SEMESTERS OF BIOCHEMISTRY AND PHYSIOLOGY, a lot (I’d venture to say that even most) dietitians and nutritionists (not just doctors) still have this wrong. They think of weight (not body-fat content), they think of calories, not nutrients, and completely disregard the rest of the statement.

    Eat more fruits and vegetables. They don’t warn you about the pesticides that have been tied to thyroid probs. Eat fish for omegas, they don’t tell you FDA has limited to 6ozs PER WEEK because of heavy metal contamination, etc, etc.

    As always… AWESOME POST, Liz.

    Kevin :: Glyco Trainer
    On Twitter: @glycotrainer
    Website: http://www.GlycoTrainer.com

  9. LizSchau says:

    Lori, that is absolutely amazing news. I am beyond thrilled and touched that you are feeling better and better.

    I hope I made it clear in my article on The Nourished Life (I know I alluded to it) — this is not an easy road. It was hard and it is a challenge every day. However, eating to your body’s advantage DOES become second nature. It becomes less of an obligation and less of a kill joy and starts to really feel good. But, it also requires sacrifice and willpower. So, what I mean to say is, it’s not easy but it is so worth it. I know you already know this.

    I’m so glad you’re doing/looking into more anti-inflammatory things. The book I suggested is great… he has great data and statistics and then of course, an eating plan.

    Please keep us up-to-date. We deeply care about how you’re doing. You’re using science to your advantage and quite frankly, you can’t go wrong. 🙂

    Love you Lori!!!!!!!!!!

  10. LizSchau says:

    Thanks, Kevin! We appreciate your support! You of all people know and understand that food and its components are science. We need a tutorial from you!! 🙂

  11. Marie says:

    I know that my autoimmune disease started out as long standing food allergies. I wish I had known it sooner though. My naturopath says that once you’ve been on thyroid hormone for longer than three months, that it’s very hard for the body to learn how to begin making its own. I hope that’s not true. I’d like to believe that if I can get this all straightened out, that I can have complete remission. I think the answer to many if not all autoimmune conditions is in food. So I know you’re right about this. Maybe someday we’ll look back at medicine during this time and see it the way we look at draining peoples blood and drilling holes in people’s heads to let out evil spirits, totally insane.

  12. That reminds me… I owe you an e-mail, Liz.

    I’ll type one up ASAP. Not too much detail but you’ll get the gist of the basics behind my mom’s “crazy cooking” (or at least it seems that way to what I call spectators/sheep).

    PS: Perfect example of how nutritionist think… I had a comment blocked today at another blog because I corrected a lady who said she used mashed up bananas as sweetener instead of something else (including agave which is low glycemic). I told her that mashed up bananas were probably not a good idea as bananas oxidize RAPIDLY (specially when blended/”mashed up”) and they were extremely high glycemic. And then said there was basically no diff between banana and fructose.

    Kevin :: Glyco Trainer
    On Twitter: @glycotrainer
    Website: http://www.GlycoTrainer.com

  13. LizSchau says:

    Marie, all I have to say to that is, “heal the gut; heal the body.” 🙂

    I feel like our mainstream understanding of gut health in relation to chronic illness is in the Dark Ages. I also think, like you, one day we’ll look back on this and wonder how doctors got away with writing a prescription and being done with us. I think about all of these people who have had to get body parts removed due to cancer, and feel so deeply saddened that the only solution we have to that disease is to cut off a person’s body part. How barbaric.

  14. Check your e-mail Liz.

    Send confirmation via twitter but not sure if you were getting back on tonight.

    As I said on Twitter, please let me know if you need clarification on anything in that e-mail.

    And the info is for you… Some personal info that I wouldn’t like to see published on public forum. 🙂

    Kevin :: Glyco Trainer
    On Twitter: @glycotrainer
    Website: http://www.GlycoTrainer.com

  15. LizSchau says:

    Kevin, about the bananas — so are you saying that foods that oxidize rapidly tend to be higher glycemic?

  16. No… One does not have to do anything with the other.

    Oxidized molecules (in this case, iron) will act as free radical in body. Same happens w/ apple. I forgot to mention (and maybe this has something to do w/ my comment being blocked on that other site) but I provided them with a link to The Banana on my site. It explains sugar content and the process of oxidation in bananas and other produce.

    Kevin :: Glyco Trainer
    On Twitter: @glycotrainer
    Website: http://www.GlycoTrainer.com

  17. As far as I’m concerned, lifestyle/food changes appropriate to an individual’s body are the way to go. I have Hashimoto’s and diabetes (Schmidt’s Syndrome) and my developing my own diet/exercise program was key in getting this disease under control for me, giving me back a lot of what I had lost in my life when I was first diagnosed 4 years ago.

  18. Great post, Liz (this one and the one on my blog!). Another flaw Western medicine brings to the table is the tendency for people to ignore diet/lifestyle problems *because* they are using medication–like the medication eliminates the need for adjusting other factors that may be contributing to the issue.

  19. Liz says:

    Hey there, Angie! Thanks for your comment. Sorry to hear about your concurrent diseases — those have got to be tough. I remember being tested for what it sounds like you have (Polyglandular Autoimmune). Finding out what works best for one’s own body IS key, like you said. In many ways, I think disease benefits us in that respect — we finally start listening to our body, stop ignoring it’s signs and signals, and choose dietary and lifestyle choices that benefit our weak genes vs. hurt them.

  20. Liz says:

    Elizabeth, that’s a good point. But when people who use natural cures to reverse their disease are getting sued by the government, it’s no wonder people don’t think to change their diet or lifestyle — it is suppressed information and doctors certainly can’t suggest that medication won’t fix the problem. People who promote natural lifestyle and dietary choices to prevent and reverse disease are literally getting sued. We are not allowed to go against a medication-only approach, legally as dictated by our own country. Doesn’t it blow your mind?

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