So I’m gluten-free. I know, roll your eyes, the typical American girl claiming to have a gluten sensitivity. Well, hear me out. Several years ago, I found myself occasionally covered in hives accompanied by the itchiest possible skin rash, with headaches and joint inflammation to boot. I made a few trips to walk-in clinics and my primary care doctor only to be told that there wasn’t any real explanation for these symptoms. After receiving rounds of steroid shots and taking more Benadryl liquid tabs than I care to admit, I made it my mission to find out the cause of these allergic reactions and the near constant fatigue and headaches.
After an allergist confirmed the wheat allergy, I eliminated wheat from my diet, but still felt pretty lousy. My curiosity was peaked when at a routine physical my doctor noticed my thyroid was enlarged, also known as a thyroid goiter. I was referred to an endocrinologist who diagnosed me with hypothyroidism, or underactive thyroid. Highly common, with thyroid diseases affecting more than 20 million Americans, the symptoms matched what I had been experiencing: fatigue, headaches, muscle aches, and joint swelling to name a few. I immediately wanted to know more – what the cause was, if there was a relation between the wheat allergy and the thyroid, and if the disease could be treated. The endocrinologist informed me that the cause of my hypothyroidism was an autoimmune disease, Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, where my immune system attacks the thyroid cells leading to hormone imbalance and eventually resulting in the destruction of the thyroid gland. The doctor offered medication to balance my thyroid levels but couldn’t offer any information on the autoimmunity aspect of the disease or a relation to diet.
I decided I wanted to know more. I wanted to know why autoimmunity was so prevalent in America. Why did so many women have thyroid disorders? Surely there was a relation to diet and disease, but what could it be? And what has changed in food processing that my generation suddenly has so many food sensitivities and allergies to staple foods consumed by Americans every day?
I found an amazing naturopathic medicine doctor who specializes in autoimmune disease and digestive disorders. Surely enough, this is where my healing began. I learned that medication was not the only treatment to manage my disease and that there are alternative interventions that can heal the body and put autoimmunity into remission.
For the first time in years, I realized there was hope! I am now healthier than ever before and feel my best self yet. I look forward to sharing with you the diet and lifestyle practices that have proven most beneficial. In future posts, I’ll be discussing nutritional and health related topics such as intestinal permeability, the epidemic of autoimmune diseases, the skinny on toxins and fun ways to avoid them, the paleo approach, and many others as well as share my favorite healing recipes!
“The natural healing force within each one of us is the greatest force in getting well” – Hippocrates
Keep Reading: How I Reversed Hashimoto’s