Does Being on The Autoimmune Protocol Suck?

Autoimmune disease comes in all different forms. I have been on the autoimmune protocol for about 11 months.  I spent a whole year before going on it contemplating whether or not I should do it.

It is daunting. Overwhelming. A. Lot. Of. Work. All that cooking. I got used to it. 

I had questions. What will I be able to eat? Will I be able to go out to eat? Will I be able to have any fun? What will a social situation look like? I adapted. 

I have had such a love for food my whole life. It was my friend when there was no one else. It was love. It was comfort. It was my everything. It was the way I showed love or that I cared about someone. I cooked for them. I baked. I loved to bake. Bread, cake, cookies, brownies, muffins, more bread, more cake. What my kids didn’t eat I did. I love sweet things. I love chocolate. I loved sugar. None of this is allowed on the autoimmune protocol. So, you bet, I took a long damn time to decide to do this knowing what I would have to further cut from my diet. We can be positive and say, “Look at all the good stuff you CAN have.” Well. You can have a lot of stuff. Lots of vegetables. Veggies up the wazoo. You can have beef heart! And Liver! Yum! Do you hear the sarcasm? When 39 years of your life is consuming the Standard American Diet (SAD), this feels like kind of a big deal. Especially if you have emotional ties to food. 

I know I am supposed to be eating those nutrient dense offal things. I am not because I can’t get past the idea of what it is. The texture even. Gah! No thanks. 

When I did this. I was all in with what needed to be restricted. But I was not adding in any offal. So I didn’t and you know what? I still felt really good. My thyroid numbers got better. Then, as I started to feel better I added some foods back in. Not in the “proper” way but in a way that worked for me which was like this: You put pepper on that meat? Okay. Let’s see if I have a reaction to it…. No reaction. Okay. Pepper seems to work.  

One day in August I made plantain brownies with carob. The recipe called for 2 eggs. I ate half the pan in about 12 hours and had a major reaction but it wasn’t how I expected. Not even 12 hours in to eating those brownies did I become so irritable that I could not even stand myself. I couldn’t believe it. I was raging. My poor kids. So, no eggs for me. I reinforced that idea when I mistakenly ate some gluten free crackers that had egg yolks (no wonder they were so good) as a snack before bed and the next day became increasingly irritable. That really bums me out. I liked eggs. I know that I dot’ want to live life in a state of constant rage though so I am willing to cut them out. I am not happy about it. Don’t get me wrong. I am actually a little pissed. I have a pity party every so often and do the whole “why me?” thing but then I let it go. The more I do that the worse it gets. 

Now it is 11 months in and I have let some things slip. I have a vegan gluten free bread every so often and some Mary’s Gone Crackers crackers on occasion. They don’t seem to wreck my digestion and if I don’t eat them every day it seems to be fine. 

I have decided that if I am so restrictive with my diet, I am unhappy. I do my very best most of the time and on occasion I do enjoy something off the protocol and I don’t feel bad for it. I still always eat gluten free but occasionally have some dairy. Dairy and I don’t get along so if I have it, it is usually just a tiny bit. Like a lick of ice cream or a dab of butter. I definitely feel better when I stick closer to the protocol. I have not reintroduced peppers or eggplant but have done well with some of the nightshade spices like chili powder. I am not so sure on tomatoes though. I have to do a "real" reintro to know for sure. That would mean just eating tomato instead of adding tomato in to a recipe and wondering if that is what has caused the issue. I'm not very diligent about doing a proper reintro of a food. I let life get in the way. 

The real killer for me is sugar. I am addicted and I have intense cravings which are related to a yeast overgrowth which I am working on killing off. Too much sugar has resulted in me having to deal with psoriasis and this last go round with it gave me two new patches to deal with. Needless to say I got really mad when these popped up. I first got mad at myself for eating stuff I know is bad for me and then I got mad that I just can’t be normal. That is the most frustrating part for me. I just want to be like every one else sometimes and I can’t. When I look back on my life though it seems like I never have been able to be like every one else. When I try to be I find Idon’t feel like myself. So I have come to realize that my path is to take the road less traveled and see what I find. For me that is this new life of stress management, sleeping when I need to and eating so that I don’t continue to stay sick. Being well means different things for different people and my mission is to help you figure out what well means for you. 

What do you do that makes you feel good?

Follow My Journey on The Autoimmune Protocol

I have decided to dive in head first with the Autoimmune Protocol. Never thought I would commit to it but at this point I feel I just don’t have anything to lose except my symptoms. So, what is this whole idea about?  The autoimmune protocol or AIP is about promoting healing, removing inflammatory foods so your body can calm down and work on healing itself. Food as medicine. I have been gluten free and dairy free for 5 years. I have been on a paleo diet for probably 3 1/2 years. Truthfully, I didn’t really pay attention to when I made the switch to a paleo type diet. I really just call it eating real, whole, nutrient dense foods instead of paleo because that is really what it is. None of this, “Is this allowed on the Paleo Diet?” stuff happening over here. It is more like, “What sort of reaction might I have to this?”.  I am just like my clients at this point: sick and tired of being sick and tired. I was really hoping the paleo diet would be enough for me to feel my best but as my luck would have it, that was not the case. 

What got me “sick” in the first place was the good old Standard American Diet or SAD and some really poor eating habits that I have had since I was a kid. I grew up eating processed foods like nobody’s business. Remember Swanson TV Dinners? Boxed frozen donuts you could bake in your oven? Canned pie fruits?  My mom cooked a lot too, don’t get me wrong but she also worked so we had a lot of “convenience” foods growing up and I didn’t complain. I loved it. We had dessert every night, a solid rotation of chocolate cake, chocolate chip cookies, or a variety of fruit crisps made with the pie filling (cherry crisp, apple crisp or blueberry crisp) served with cool whip. I remember those fondly. They helped me develop a serious craving for sugar. We ate a lot of bread too. I still love bread or at least the idea of it. I still kind of miss it probably because my family doesn’t eat the way I do so there is still bread in the house. So, a childhood of the Standard American Diet coupled with the Autoimmune Thyroid problems running rampant in my mom’s family lead to me having Hashimoto’s and trying desperately to feel good again. 

The first couple of months on just a gluten free diet, I felt pretty good. I had tried to replace most of my old favorites with gluten free versions, either store bought or home made. That lasted a couple months like I said, then I had some food allergy testing done and found out I also should avoid dairy, eggs, oats, yeast (bye bye gluten free bread), shellfish (didn’t like it anyway) and goats milk. The biggest hits for me were dairy ( I was living off cheese to keep me full since I couldn’t have gluten any more), eggs and yeast. I gave all that up and was the best patient my naturopathic doctor ever had. She even told me she loved how compliant I was. Yay me!  

This all helped but I still suffered from terrible PMS, fatigue, brain fog and my thyroid numbers have not been in any labs normal range for most of the last five years. Something wasn’t right. My ND told me to keep sugar to a minimum. That didn’t work for me. I was an all or nothing type of person and so I kept sugar in because I was severely addicted.  I saw this ND for several years and asked her if I should be on the Autoimmune Protocol. She said that she had me on what was basically my own Autoimmune Protocol which made sense since we are all bio individuals, there would not be a once sized fits all protocol. I was happy with that because I didn’t want to give up nightshades (especially tomatoes, potatoes and peppers), nuts or my treat that became a regular thing- corn chips. 

Cut to the beginning of 2015. My ND had moved her office about an hours drive from me and I had found an MD who was willing to treat my thyroid based on my symptoms and not just my labs. Plus she was willing to test me for more than just TSH and she was about a 40 minute drive for me (See this post for more explanation on what TSH is.). With my Nutritional Therapy Background, I knew what I needed to do to heal so I didn’t think I needed my ND anymore. I did however go to a chiropractor that had a “Thyroid Protocol” because I was so tired all the time and I didn’t know what to do about it. This protocol gave me a taste of the Autoimmune Protocol which I did well on and started to feel pretty good three weeks in so he took me off the protocol and I started to eat nuts and sugar and some other things and it completely wrecked my digestion and I was back to feeling tired again. I knew I should go back on it but without someone telling me that is what I should do, I was basically lying to myself that I was fine and that my gut was healed. 

This fall I became a RESTART® instructor teaching a five week nutrition class with a sugar detox built in to it and I also decided to start the Autoimmune Protocol.  Cutting out sugar has been life changing for me. I relied pretty heavily on fruit before the detox and having to be strict on the sugars with my class was the best thing I ever did. I really felt good. So about 8 weeks in to AIP and three weeks on a sugar detox, I made pumpkin pancakes from Practical Paleo which used 4 eggs and I ate the whole batch for dinner. Very shortly afterwards I became really irritable and I couldn’t figure out why. The next day, discussing food intolerances with my RESTART® class I was telling them how a food intolerance can show up as irritability. Duh. So, I realized that eggs were not ready to be reintroduced. I also did not reintroduce them properly so that didn’t help either. 

Shortly after that class ended, it was Thanksgiving and I made a traditional dinner for everyone that was gluten free. I enjoyed some of my gluten free stuffing and ate green beans, both of which are not allowed on the elimination phase of AIP so today I am back to square one of the elimination phase of AIP eating only healing, nutrient dense foods for at least the next two months. I will then try to do a reintroduction the proper way which I will talk about in later posts. I am hoping you will follow me on this journey to healing so that you can see it can work for you too. 

I thought I would list my current symptoms for my Hashimoto’s so we can get a baseline of what is going on. I will also list my latest lab work so hopefully we can compare results for the better. 

Symptoms (since we are all bioindividual, your symptoms may be different than mine):

  • fatigue
  • cold hands, feet and bum and sometimes a general cold to the bone feeling (especially in winter)
  • sleep disturbances (especially when stress is not managed)
  • irritability, mood instability
  • heavy periods (I do have an iron deficiency but hypothyroid women tend to have heavier periods)
  • brain fog
  • slow to process information (if you listen to the Real World Paleo Podcast you can hear that I take some time to develop a thought)
  • a general feeling of blah (almost as if I am depressed but I am not)

As of 10/6/15 my labs were as follows: 

  • TSH 6.13 uIU/mL high
  • FT4 .74 ng/dLlow
  • FT3 2 pg/mL normal

I keep forgetting to ask my doctor to test my Reverse T3 since it hasn’t been tested for a year (it was 11.4 ng/dL November 2014 which is in their normal range). 

I should also list for you what supplements I am taking to help this process along: 

  • Betaine HCl (Biotics or Pure Encapsulations)
  • Fish Oil (Biotics or Metagenics)
  • High dose Vitamin C (Metagenics)
  • Adrenal support (Biotics or Pure Encapsulations)
  • B Complex (Pure Encapsulations)
  • Vitamin D3 (Biotics)
  • Selenium (Pure Encapsulations)
  • Zinc (Douglas Laboratories)
  • Vitamin E (Pure Encapsulations)
  • Iron (Pure Encapsulations)
  • Fermented Cod Liver Oil (Green Pastures)

I do not recommend you buy supplements of any kind from retailers like Amazon and here is a good blog post explaining why.  Buy only from a trusted and reputable source or from a practitioner like myself. Buying from a practitioner like myself not only helps me make a living but helps to run my website and podcast. I also think you should, run, not walk away from anyone who wants to fill you up on a boatload of supplements without first finding out exactly what might be troubling you. I never ask my clients to take this many supplements even though these are pretty basic and are needed for my particular situation. It is always best to start out slow with supplementation and work on getting your digestion working first so at a minimum you might want to try the Betaine HCl which can be purchased at health food stores or food cooperatives or Whole Foods. No one has a better HCl than anyone else. There is no proprietary ingredients. Stomach acid is stomach acid. 

My next post will talk all about what foods to include in AIP and what foods to exclude and the reasoning behind all of it. Join me here next week, won’t you?

In Health, 

Stephanie

11 Things You Can do to Beat Fatigue in Hypothyroidism

Fatigue and Hypothyroidsim. It sucks, doesn't it?!  You get sick and tired of being sick and tired. I get you.  Why are we always so tired?

The struggle is real.

We all get tired from time to time but if you have hypothyroidsim or Hashimoto’s you understand dog tired fatigue that just won’t go away. I have spent the better part of the year trying to figure out why the heck I have been plagued with constant fatigue. It is depressing. Chronic illness in general is depressing. It stinks to be tired all the time. If you have kids then you have the guilt of not feeling well enough to take your kids anywhere or do anything fun with your family. I paid lots of money to a chiropractor to help me figure out why I was so tired all the time. Didn’t help much at all. I spent a good portion of the summer watching the entire series of Gilmore Girls with my ten year old because I didn’t have enough energy to do anything else. My house didn’t get cleaned much for a good 6 months. I finally figured out a few things, made some changes and now feel really pretty good and have had a bit of a pep in my step which has been a welcome change. Ask my family. They will tell you!

There are several things you can do when you have hypothyroidism to help get that pep back in your step as well. 

First of all make sure your thyroid levels are optimal. That seems like a no brainer but you need to have more than just TSH tested. I feel like a broken record with this one but so many doctors don’t test anything but TSH and you really need to be an advocate for yourself and get T3 and T4 at a minimum tested and make sure they are in what would be considered a healthy range.  Between .3 and 3.0 is what the American College of Clinical Endocrinologists suggests for TSH. 

If your T3 is low and your reverse T3 is high, this will affect your energy levels as well. T3 is what your cells use for energy. Every cell in your body uses that hormone for energy. If your reverse T3 is high that means your body is possibly stressed in some way so that it is converting more T3 than it should into reverse T3 which your body cannot use, therefore you may have less energy.  You can ask your doctor if they are wiling to try different medications on you and if you feel it is the meds and your doctor won’t work with you, find another doctor. Fire your doctor. 

Have your iron (including ferritin) levels checked as well as your B12 levels. All of these have an effect on your energy levels. 

Do you have any food allergies or sensitivities that are not being addressed? Often times having a sensitivity to a food can cause fatigue and those of us with Hashimoto’s usually have at least a gluten sensitivity and more often than not a dairy sensitivity as well. Trying an elimination diet is key to figuring out just what foods might be causing problems for you.  We get a particular kind of sausage made from our deer every fall and I noticed the other day after having some that I felt particularly tired afterwards. Clue number one that there may be something in that sausage that is causing problems for me. Learn to listen to your body. Here what it is trying to tell you. 

This next one is a biggie.

You absolutely must get your blood sugar under control. Not doing so will wreak havoc on your entire body. Your body makes balancing blood sugar a priority over most other things it does. Make sure you are eating protein and fat with every meal, including breakfast. Don’t starve yourself and make sure you are eating enough. Avoid starchy and refined carbohydrates. It should be okay for you to include squashes and sweet potatoes. I find I do better when I include those in my diet. Keep a food journal. You will be surprised that you just might not be eating enough food on a daily basis. 

You also need to make sure that you are digesting your food. You cannot use the amino acids in the protein you consume if you are not breaking the protein down in your stomach. You need to chew your food well and slowly and even before you start eating you need to be relaxed (in parasympathetic mode). 

Have your vitamin D checked. Optimal levels are somewhere around 60-80 ng/dl and most of us don’t get enough. You need to make sure you are getting D3 from your diet. Your vitamin D fortified orange juice and milk do not have D3 in them. 

Take good care of your adrenal glands. They help manage blood sugar, sex hormones and your fight or flight response. Put a pinch of sea salt in your water when you drink it and stay away from coffee. Coffee is not the friend of your adrenal glands. They don’t get better over night either. They take some tender loving care to get them working well again. I have been working on mine for a couple of years. 

If your liver is blocked up with all kinds of stuff it cannot do its job of eliminating toxins. This is called having a congested liver. A toxic liver can make us feel tired. 

B vitamin deficiencies have a big effect on our energy. Taking a good B6 complex in general can be helpful. 

Do you have a leaky gut?

How healthy are the bacteria in your gut? Both of these play a role in your energy levels and are important factors to consider when looking at your health. 

Gentle exercise is your friend. Going for walks, yoga, tai chi are all great things to get your body moving and helping you feel better. 

Of course, you can work with a practitioner to help you figure out exactly what is going on inside your body and get to the root of your fatigue and other symptoms of thyroid disease. You can feel better. Trust me. I live this disease and know its ups and downs. 

Empower yourself to get better and to feel better. 

In Health, 

Stephanie

Tell me in the comments about your worst day with fatigue. How about your best?

Strategies for Changing Your Diet When You Have an Autoimmune Disease

I have Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, an autoimmune disease, and I have to be honest. The whole idea of doing an elimination diet was really overwhelming to me. I was seeing a chiropractor for a thyroid protocol that they had last spring and the good doctor put me on an elimination diet along with a gut healing supplement for a month. It was doable but the thought was really overwhelming at first. 

I dove in to the whole thing head first like I have done with every other diet change I have made and did fine. I ate a huge salad for lunch everyday and took the time to cook. Three weeks in to the diet the doctor told me I didn’t have to do it any more and all went to the wayside. 

For some reason it was like permission to reintroduce some things I had not wanted to give up. Nuts were huge. I ate a lot of them because I have been a habitual snacker my whole life. Switching from baked goods to nuts was a good switch but when you have an autoimmune disease it becomes much easier for you to develop additional food sensitivities especially if you over consume something. 

You guessed it. I developed a sensitivity to nuts- every one of them. My tongue starts to hurt and I get all achy and don’t feel well (much more intense with cashews but it happens with all of them). 

Fast forward to late summer. A family wedding in a small town. I brought emergency stashes of some Paleo food bars and they had nuts. I knew they had nuts and consumed them anyway. Several of them in a period of a day and a half (from a Friday evening to Saturday night). I woke up that Sunday morning with just an aching in my right hip. Like what I imagine arthritis to feel like. I finally decided it might be a good idea to get it checked out but since my holistic doctor is out of the office for the month of September, I must wait until early October to find out if it is in fact arthritis. It certainly hasn’t gotten any better though, I can tell you that much. A part of me wonders if I did the elimination diet or the autoimmune protocol which are basically the same things if that would help. I should do it. I will do it. Just not today. 

So you see, I get you. I know how overwhelming it is. I know it is good for me. It is a good thing for you too especially if you have not made any changes to your diet. If you are not the dive in head first type of person I really recommend taking it slow. Do it in what ever way will ensure that you can succeed because in the end, that is what matters because you will see health improvements for sure. I know I would rather have a high quality of life especially as I age and our health care system gets worse. No bandaids here for chronic illness. Just real life solutions and getting to the root cause. I have a sneaking suspicion that my root cause is heavy metal toxicity. A whole other blog post. 

Where should you start when beginning an elimination diet?

You need to start by eliminating some foods from your diet. 

The list of foods to exclude is small but they just happen to be the foods many of you eat most. 

Foods excluded:

  • toxic foods- sugar, caffeine, alcohol, GMO foods, processed foods, trans fats, 
  • Inflammatory foods- gluten, dairy, corn, eggs, soy, peanuts, citrus, nightshades- tomatoes, potatoes (except sweet potatoes), eggplant and peppers. 

Also exclude things that are hard on the gut- grains, beans, legumes, nuts and seeds

You will need to be on it for 30 days minimum before you even think about reintroducing foods.  If you are autoimmune you would never, ever add back gluten. 

This is ideal. For some this may not be realistic and that is okay. You can go in phases to make the transition less overwhelming. 

Start by eliminating gluten from your diet, then dairy, then eggs and go slow with it. Starting with gluten first and eliminating it completely for one week, then dairy and then eggs the following week. Also, don’t try to replace your favorite gluten full foods with gluten free. So for the week you start out gluten free, don’t switch your regular bread for gluten free bread. That defeats the purpose and will just add to your being overwhelmed when you have to give that bread up too- remember you will have to eliminate all grains eventually. 

Find support and try to get your family on board. This will help tremendously. If you are having issues with autoimmunity and you have children there is a good chance they could have some genetic susceptibility to gluten and possibly to autoimmunity too. You really want for it to become a way of life for you and your whole family. What you will find is that even a spouse who doesn’t have an autoimmune disease will feel a lot better when they come on board and support you fully with your new way of life. You will be way more successful with support and encouragement. 

Find a positive place online to get support as well. You want to find message boards, blogs, facebook pages that offer you support and recipes and things like that. Stay away from the places online that you don’t see support from. There are blogs about autoimmune disease that have a lot of people complaining about the medicine their doctor put them on or something like that. There is a Hashimoto’s facebook page that I have visited and just quit visiting because it was all about people complaining about how they felt. I think if you spend a lot of time thinking or talking about how bad you feel then that is how you will feel. Know what I mean- like a self fulfilling prophecy. 

Make a plan- 

  • Find some recipes and try them out before you even start to make the transition. 
  • Go shopping for the recipes
  • Clean out your kitchen and pantry of all the things not allowed on the elimination diet.  That way you won’t be reminded of all you should not be eating in order to succeed. 

If you have the option of buying your meat and produce locally or from a farmers market, co op or natural foods store that would be great. There are great online sources for meat and seafood such as US Wellness Meats, Vital Choice seafood, Massa Natural Meats. 

If that still feels really overwhelming then just go slower. Just remember the slower you make the transition the slower you will see results. 

So what can you have for breakfast since eggs are out and so is toast and cereal? 

  • You must do your best to think outside the box on this one.
  • You can make a hash of veggies and sweet potatoes and have some bacon with it or some homemade breakfast sausage (just a few spices and some ground pork).
  • You can make coconut milk yogurt and have that with some berries and or a smoothie.
  • You can have bone broth or have soup made with the bone broth for breakfast.

Once you get the outside the box thinking on the breakfast foods, the options are endless. 

I often have leftovers for breakfast and I do a protein smoothie of Pure Paleo Protein powder from Designs For Health which is a beef protein powder. I generally have trouble eating enough food in a day so it works for me to supplement with this. 

For lunch I will have a big salad with some kind of meat. I roast sweet potatoes ahead of time and shred carrots and beets and use olive oil and lemon juice as a dressing. 

For dinner I would have pretty simple stuff. Some kind of meat cooked and lots and lots of veggies. 

If you are not a fan of salads then eating lots of cooked veggies is a great option. You have to make sure to do lots of good fats and proteins. Avocados are a great thing to eat and you can add those to smoothies to make them thicker and creamier. 

You really have to make sure to do your prep work to make this plan successful. It is not easy but it really is doable. You have to plan if you are going somewhere how you will transport your food if you need to. Travel with your food if you have to.  

Download my Gut Healing Meal Plans and recipes to get you started and go for it! It is free when you sign up for my newsletter. 

Live Well, 

Stephanie

What Role Does Exercise Play in Thyroid Health?

If you have hypothyroidism or Hashimoto’s you know that even doing housework can deplete your body of what little energy you have each day. You may even want to exercise but find it tough to get up and go. It is important that you don’t talk yourself in to feeling badly about your self and your ability to handle little exercise. It may be working against you anyway.  

Let us first have an overview of how thyroid hormones work. 

T3 affects most of the physiological processes in your body like your metabolism, your body temperature and your heart rate. T3 production is stimulated by by Thyroid Stimulating Hormone or TSH. Your pituitary gland (in your brain) signals the release of TSH which in turn signals the release of TSH which in turn signals the production of T4. Physiological processes in the body are supposed to convert T4 into T3 so it can get into your cells. The T4 that isn’t converted to T3 gets converted to Reverse T3. 

Your body is very receptive and adapts to certain things. Your body knows how to survive and makes sure that you remain alive each second of your life. It does this by trying to keep things in balance. It is called homeostasis. 

If you are over exercising and/or draining your supply of energy regularly then your body will adjust its functioning accordingly. Our bodies are designed to survive second by second and that is it.

A study was done in Turkey where they studied the effect of exercise on TSH levels. The study was done on male athletes and they had them doing varying intensity levels of aerobic exercise. The researchers found that aerobic exercise at 70% of your maximum heart rate showed an improvement in your body producing T3 and a slight decrease in TSH.  So a little aerobic exercise may actually do your body some good. 


Another study was done to show the effects of high intensity interval training (HIIT) where you work your body intensely for a short period and then do moderate exercise for a short period (usually in 30 second to one minute increments). It found that this type of training was more depleting of your thyroid hormones and your energy. This is important for those of us with thyroid issues and Hashimoto’s. We are super sensitive to changes in our environment and our energy levels. 

It is important what kind of exercise you are doing and at what intensity you are doing it at. It is not just about burning too many calories. If you are burning through your nutrients faster than you can replenish them through your diet then your body will slow down your metabolism and the production of T4 which converts to T3. If you are exercising more and not eating enough to restore your energy levels your body will adjust your metabolism accordingly. You could even be doing a small amount of exercise but if you are restricting your calories your body will do what it has to to preserve itself. The kind of exercise you are doing may not be as important as the total amount of energy you are using up in one day. 

Believe it or not, when you have thyroid problems, the most important thing to eat for your thyroid is high quality carbohydrates. Low carb or ketogenic diets can have negative effects on thyroid hormone production. One reason behind this is that you need glucose to convert T4 to T3. This means you need carbohydrates  to make this happen. 

Another reason is that having too many fatty acids circulating in your bloodstream can keep T4 from converting to T3. 

Having high amounts of cortisol present in your blood can prevent T3 from getting in to  your cells. This can occur from lots of exercise, lots of stress and being on a low carb or high fat diet. 

If you are exercising regularly and have thyroid problems such as hypothyroidism you need to make sure you are supporting your blood sugar levels to keep them stable. This might mean that you have to eat sweet potatoes or white rice before or after your workout or maybe both before and after your workout. 

Just because carbs are great for thyroid health doesn’t mean fat is not as well. Saturated fat in particular is needed for cholesterol production. Cholesterol is a part of every single cell in your body. It keeps your cells and your brain healthy. You also need fat to carry the fat soluble vitamins A, D, E and K to your cells. Being deficient in any of these vitamins will affect your thyroid health. Liver would be a great addition to your diet to help keep your thyroid healthy.  You can also get saturated fat from coconut oil and full fat coconut milk (best to buy it in a BPA free can) with no fillers. High quality grass fed butter and ghee are also great sources. Red meat, especially organ meats and wild caught sustainable oily fish are good sources of saturated fat as well. 

Much of the conversion of T3 happens in your gut so it is important you have a healthy gut which includes the proper balance of gut flora. Healing your gut with bone broth, supplementing with L-glutamine and colostrum can be helpful. 

The best exercise for you and your thyroid health is to do a small amount of high intensity exercise (lifting heavy things) for a short period of time (under 1 hour) once a week with more restorative exercise like yoga or swimming a couple of times a week. Walking on a daily basis is great exercise and is also great for your adrenal health. It is important for you to know and listen to your body. Know what is right for you and don’t try to overdo it. I recently started lifting weights at a gym and really enjoyed it. The feeling of getting stronger was a real confidence booster. I was very careful about making sure I ate enough everyday and included carbs in my diet as well to maintain energy levels. Then one day I over did it and didn’t eat enough. The next day resulted in me lying on the couch for the whole day. My energy levels were destroyed. Bottom line here is that you need to take it slow and take it easy when you start exercising. If you don’t have the energy for a workout then just go for a walk. It is so good for your body is so many ways. Like I mentioned before it is especially good for your adrenals. It will also boost your mood and if you are dealing with chronic illness that is always a plus. 

In Health, 

Stephanie