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Welcome to episode 20, It’s been a good, busy week and I hope you are all doing very well. I’m keeping it short and to the point this week so let’s get started.
We have a question from Maggie.
How do you deal with things that are not within your control and maintain your health? I have worked really hard to eat the right diet, take supplements, do all my food prep, etc... but there's just some stuff you have no control over and it can WRECK all the work that you've done.
For example, I am two weeks in to AIP (autoimmune protocol or elimination diet) and last week I felt that I turned a HUGE corner in terms of energy, brain fog, anxiety, etc. So, I'm feeling SO great!!
But then Monday comes and I commute to my job... and by the end of the day I'm EXHAUSTED and cranky. I commute 1.5 hours each way... and somedays, like tonight, there's a lot of traffic which can make it nearly 2 hours each way. UGH.
What do you do to rebound? Is rebound possible? How do you manage the un-manageable?
First of all, congratulations for taking charge of your health and taking care of you! This is a really big deal. You are doing an elimination diet which is no small feat! That is amazing. It is a lot of work to do all the cooking for all those meals that have to be made from scratch in order for you to begin to heal. If you are exhausted at the end of a work day that is okay. It is okay. Plus you are only a couple weeks in and it is quite normal to feel really good in the first couple weeks and then have a day where you aren’t doing as well.
You are feeding your body all this good stuff and it is taking it in and figuring out what to do with it.
Let’s talk a bit about the elimination diet or autoimmune protocol. The elimination diet depending on who’s website or who’s book you are reading is a little different than the Autoimmune Protocol or AIP for short. So I’m going to just get very basic about AIP because I think it is a great diet.
You are basically able to eat the cleanest meats, veggies and fruits you can afford, This diet removes all possible inflammatory or allergenic foods so that your body has the opportunity to lower the inflammation you may be experiencing. So that means things like grains (all of them), nuts, seeds, beans, dairy, eggs and nightshades are eliminated. Coffee and alcohol are out as well. So it is very, very clean. Nightshades are things like tomatoes, potatoes (sweet potatoes are okay), peppers and any spices made from peppers like paprika and chili powder. It also eliminates any seed spices like fennel and pepper.
Depending on who you follow you do the diet for a minimum of three weeks and up to 3 months or longer depending on how long you have had your condition and how long it went untreated. Everyone is a bio individual so your healing time will be different than mine. The longer you went without doing anything about your condition or even knowing about it for that matter will determine how much damage has been done in other parts of your body. It is like a cascade effect because all of our body systems are intertwined and when one is dysfunctional it will affect other areas of your body.
Your exhaustion could be a symptom of that.
When I did AIP I found I didn’t eat enough. Could that be the case for you? Maybe. Let’s talk about that.
AIP is a protein, fat and carbohydrate diet. You are getting protein from all the meats you are eating, fat from the healthy fats like olive oil, coconut oil, avocado, pastured lard, and maybe olives.
You should also consider if your body is used to eating a lot of fat or if your body can process it- break it down and get it to your cells. Not everyone can handle a high fat low carbohydrate diet.
The carbohydrates- the veggies, fruits and starches- eating too many fruits will mess with your blood sugar levels causing their own blood sugar roller coaster so don’t be dependent on fruit to give you your sugar fix. Limit your fruits to 1-2 per day through the elimination phase and eat plenty of vegetables both cooked and raw. In fact, your body might do better with more cooked veggies right now than raw.
Your plate should have a palmful size of protein at each meal and the rest of your plate should be veggies.
Food journal if you can. I’m not so good at this but it really does help you to take a look at what you are eating and how you felt afterwards. It is called a food an mood journal.
Let’s talk about how you are feeling when you are exhausted. If you are dealing with too much or too little energy, become hyper, jittery, shaky, nervous or speedy you may need to up your fats or your protein and scale back on the starches and the fruits. If you feel hyper but exhausted underneath or you have a big energy drop, fatigue, exhaustion or sleepiness, then you also need to adjust your meals to include more fat and protein and less of the starchier carbs like sweet potatoes, and the root veggies like beets, parsnips, rutabaga and things like that. They could be spiking your blood sugar and making it more difficult for you to deal with things like stress because a two hour commute one way is stressful in and of itself.
The one really great thing about your commute, I hope anyway, is that you have a lot of time to reflect, practice breathing which will allow you to relax and be less stressed. When we create stories in our head about things and tell them to ourselves over and over, we eventually believe them to be true and our body responds accordingly. That long of a commute is a great time to listen to an audio book- if you don’t want to do a subscription service, you can go to the library and check out CD’s of books but that would mean you need a CD player in your car- I guess they don’t all have those anymore. My car is old so I might be a little out of touch on that. Anyway, you can listen to podcasts- some of my favorites to listen to in the car that are not health related are The Quote of The Day Show by Sean Croxton, Armchair Expert and Ear Hustle. Personally I wish Brene Brown had a podcast but I have listened to one of her books but it wasn’t read by her. Anyway, you get the idea.
Is your job in and of itself exhausting? Is it things that happen at work that are exhausting? Or maybe your thyroid is needing more support or less support and that is why you feel exhausted. Maybe your adrenals are needing support. We can often feel quite exhausted when they are out of balance or as some would say, fatigued. This is all about your blood sugar being balanced so you have to go back to what you are eating and if it is the right amount for you.
We balance our blood sugar with our stress hormones. This means cortisol and adrenaline are involved in the process. Insulin stores sugar (and other things) for us and if our thyroid hormones are not in balance we will have issues managing our blood sugar which affects energy levels. If your energy continues to stay in the realm of exhaustion you should look at things like anemia which is common in Hashimoto’s. Anemia can be low iron but it can also have something to do with B12 deficiency, a folate issue, B vitamin deficiency (especially B6) or nutrient deficiencies.
Are you calm and relaxed when you eat? Do you sit down, take a few deep breaths and chew your food really well? You might need a stomach acid supplement to help you digest your food. It is really common for people with Hashimoto’s and hypothyroidism to have low stomach acid which will mean your body has to work harder to break down your food so you can use the nutrients but it also means you won’t be getting all the nutrients from your food because it won’t be broken down in to microscopic nutrients like it would if you had enough stomach acid.
Sleep is another thing. By now you should be sleeping well but if you are not, obviously that will take its toll on your energy levels too.
That is it for me today. I hope you start to feel better soon Maggie!
Check out my ebook, “Five things your doctor won’t tell you about Hypothyroidism” over at helpforhashimotos.com and if you have a question for me that you would like me to talk about on the podcast, please fill out the contact form on my website.
You can also find me on instagram as stephanieewalsntp or on facebook at Out of The Woods Nutrition and join my private facebook group called Help For Hashimoto’s. Let’s empower you with the tools you need to get better!
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I have a couple of guests lined up in the coming weeks and I’m super excited about them so stay tuned for that!
Take care until next time.