Having thyroid problems, migraine headaches, IBS “irritable bowel syndrome”, chronic fatigue, etc?
Did you know that “thyroid problems” can be caused by many things other than a bad thyroid? A few years ago I went to the doctor for an infection, during the blood work testing it was discovered my TSH “thyroid-stimulating hormone” level was 6.5, which is high and an indicator of hypothyroidism. During that time I was also very sick, overweight, and felt like I was dying. I had a goiter “enlarged thyroid” forming that was painful and made it hard to swallow. Not wanting to take thyroid hormone medication I started digging into possible causes and remedies without the drugs, what I found through prayer and God’s guidance changed my life. Thyroid hormone is found in possibly every cell of our body, and quite often the cause of the “thyroid problems” is not the thyroid at all. In my case it was an autoimmune issue called Hoshimoto’s Thyroiditis, which is the immune system attacking the thyroid. Multiple things can cause this reaction, but what was causing it for me was leaky gut syndrome, caused by food intolerance. I found that I had an issue with gluten, eggs, dairy, soy and possibly some others. Another thing that can damage the lining of the intestines and cause issues are exposure to things such as pesticides in your food from eating conventional produce and conventionally fed meat products. GMO’s “genetically modified organisms” are another big cause of all sorts of health problems. By going gluten free, organic, non-gmo, grass fed, free range, as close to God’s original creations as possible I shrunk the goiter, lost weight, felt healthier, overcame illnesses I had been struggling with, dropped my TSH from 6.5 to 1.38, which tested last at 1.23 and felt so much more alive. No drugs, no hormones, using food as medicine I cured myself of so much illness and misery.
Now that I’ve been gluten free for a while it’s very easy for me to tell when I get accidental exposure, and now know all that it had caused for so many years that I had no idea was caused by gluten. It causes severe, debilitating migraine headaches, gastrointestinal distress, extreme bloating, gas, pain, diarrhea, extreme fatigue, confusion, inability to focus or concentrate on anything. The slightest exposure affects me for anywhere from 1 – 3 weeks and it can actually take several months to a year to fully recover from a single exposure. I have found after being off of them for a while so my intestines could heal that I can tolerate eggs again, as long as they’re organic free range. Occasionally if I eat too many they may bother me, but when they do I just back off for about a week then I can eat them again in moderation. I can also tolerate grass fed organic dairy, where conventional gives me issues every time.
Being gluten intolerant is a life sentence, but it doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy any of the things you like. There are lots of yummy gluten free products out there you can buy and enjoy in place of your old diet. There are some pretty good breads, muffins, cookies, pastas, all sorts of things out there, and the more people recognize and realize this is a much more common issue the more you can find. There are way more stores carrying way more products than there were just a couple years ago. And while you have to be careful about cross contamination, there are multiple restaurants out there that are trying to cater to the gluten free society. Most, while they serve gluten free you have to remember that it’s still conventionally raised/grown ingredients, so if you’re an organic eater like me you may experience the side effects from the conventional food. Chipotle is one of the few places I can go and enjoy a meal without the worry of gluten or the quality of ingredients. If you tell them you are gluten intolerant they will do everything they can to try to make sure you don’t get contaminated food. Out of dozens of times eating there I’ve gotten sick from contamination maybe twice, which isn’t bad. And if they really understand and care they’ll give you everything out of fresh stock if they can with clean spoons and there is no worry of contamination that way.
If you have any serious health issues I urge you to at least try giving going gluten free a try and see if they don’t improve or completely go away. One thing that I do feel the need to mention is that if you’re on thyroid hormone medications going gluten free alone will not help enough to stop taking the medication. When you take thyroid hormones your body stops producing its own, so while if you’re still having symptoms despite being on hormones going gluten free may help relieve or eliminate the symptoms, you will likely need to keep taking the medication for the rest of your life.
Going gluten free is a lot harder than one may think, you can’t just stop buying gluten containing foods and think you’re good, you need to decontaminate your home so you’re not getting gluten from lingering sources. My next post will be instructions for how to prepare for your new gluten free lifestyle.