Last Updated on July 20, 2020 by Renee’
When I was first diagnosed with Hashimoto’s, I had no idea what had caused it.
Then my daughter was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s at the age of 12. By this time she had 2 autoimmune diseases. I was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis & Sjogren’s shortly thereafter.
As a mom, nothing will get you motivated faster than something being wrong with your child. I started reading anything & everything I could about autoimmune diseases. I wanted to know what caused it? I did not want to just take a pill, which is what doctors wanted me to do.
During my research, I found the Paleo Diet. The Paleo diet is real food, nutrient-dense diet.
I learned in my research how the SAD (Standard America Diet) was probably to blame for not only, autoimmune disease but most other health problems & diseases as well.
I also found out that if you have an auto-immune disease you have Leaky Gut & the first thing you have to do in order to heal is to heal the gut!
What is the Paleo Diet?
Thousands of years ago, cavemen hunted for their food. They ate meat, fish, berries, fruits, nuts, seeds and veggies. Cavemen were lean & muscular.
They didn’t sit inside on their computers & I-pads or on their x-boxes as we do today.
Cavemen were always on the move and didn’t eat all the fast food & junk food (processed foods & oils) that we have today.
They also didn’t have GMO’s or the chemicals (pesticides/herbicides) in & on their foods as we do now.
Cavemen ate real food!
Everything was organic and non-GMO.
So, What can you eat?
On the Paleo diet, you eat lots of vegetables, fruits, meats, seafood, nuts, seeds, eggs, bone broth, healthy fats & oils.
I have found that I have so much more energy than I did when I ate the SAD (Standard American Diet).
What is Forbidden?
All Grains (including corn), Legumes, Soy, Dairy, Refined Sugars, Refined Processed Foods, Processed Oils, Chemicals & Additives. Basically, if it has a label & it’s in a package, it’s probably forbidden.
Now, that being said, there are companies out there that are selling Paleo & AIP convenient products. You just have to know who they are & where to get them. It is so much easier for convenience foods than when I started this lifestyle.
I know this sounds like a lot to give up, but it is so worth it. After doing the Paleo Diet for about 6 months & feeling so much better, we decided to go one step further & commit to the AIP Diet (Auto-Immune Protocol).
AIP is a stricter version of the Paleo diet, where you eliminate foods that can cause inflammation, such as eggs, nuts, seeds, nightshades, cocoa, alcohol, coffee, etc… for at least 30 days or until all symptoms disappear. Then you reintroduce the foods in stages one at a time to see how you react.
How hard was it to Transition?
It was not easy at first, however, it did get easier & became a habit. My daughter at 12 years old had a hard time adjusting at first, but now it is just normal habits. She enjoys making her own paleo pasta, tortillas, pizzas, biscuits, gravy & treats. It just takes patience & persistence. It does pay off!
My husband, thank goodness, was very supportive. (Sometimes they can be the most difficult) My daughter didn’t have a choice. I am her mother! As a mom, I knew what I had to do to help her, even when she did not feel like I was. We had many meltdowns. She just wanted to be like all her friends.
I think one of the things that helped her transition was taking her with me to the grocery store & making a game of it. I would tell her to pick out the weirdest ugliest vegetable she could find & we would then figure out what to do with it. She started looking on Pinterest & would find awesome recipes. She actually looked forward to going grocery shopping every week so we could make something new.
My daughter is almost 18 now & is always in the kitchen cooking. She cooks for her friends, & I just have to smile when I hear her telling them about the ingredients that she’s using & how it is so much healthier for them.
She is always nagging her boyfriend about what he is ordering when they go out. He has now started ordering the gluten-free bun with his burger. Not perfect but it’s progress!
Some of her favorite recipes to make is Paleo Buffalo Chicken Pizza, Paleo Chicken Tenders, & Chicken Fried Rice to name a few. For an occasional treat, we make Paleo Almond Joy Cookies. She also makes her own paleo pasta. She swears it’s better than any regular boxed noodles!
Transitioning was much easier to do in Stages, especially with a tween. I think it’s much easier with smaller children. The younger they are introduced to a healthier way of eating, the easier it is to develop good habits early.
If it takes longer in-between stages, don’t worry, just take more time if you need it. I feel that making habits that last, is much more important for long-term success.
I just wish I had known before my daughter was diagnosed that the food we were eating was causing so much harm.
How I Transitioned my Family to the Paleo Diet?
The first thing I did, was clean out my pantry. (I got rid of everything that wasn’t Paleo) Read about it here. If it’s not there, you can’t eat it. You can do this at each stage if it’s too overwhelming to do all at once. I made sure that when I went to the grocery store that I didn’t buy anything that wasn’t Paleo going forward.
Remember, if it is in a package or has a label, it probably isn’t Paleo. That being said, there are a lot more convenience items now than when I started. Just make sure to read the labels.
Stop eating grains- all grains, that means, no more bread, pasta, rice, corn, oats, etc… This is going to be your hardest week. Expect to go through withdrawal.
Make sure you are getting enough carbs through veggies, such as sweet potatoes, butternut squash, plantains, fruit, etc… This should help with the withdrawal. Sweet Potatoes have become my best friend! If you find out it’s too hard, start with one thing at a time until you are grain-free.
If you are trying to lose weight you can cut back on the carbs. Just make sure you are eating enough veggies such as squash, greens, etc…
Stop eating all processed foods including processed oils & margarine, (if it has a label, it is probably processed) Focus on getting enough good fats, such as Olive Oil, Coconut Oil, Coconut Butter, Avocado Oil, Ghee, Avocados, etc…
Stop eating dairy (yes that means milk, cheese, etc.) Switch to coconut milk, almond milk, etc… (read labels) I buy canned, non-BPA, organic, non-GMO coconut milk. I use this in my coffee or in my AIP Coffee Alternative for when I was AIP.
Most store-bought non-dairy milk has preservatives & nasty chemicals, so make sure you read the labels.
Stop eating legumes (yes, that means peanuts & soy, they are a bean) Have almond butter instead of peanut butter. You can still have green beans (as long as the pod is edible it is allowed). Also Nuts & Seeds are great for snacking. (No Peanuts)
Make sure you are eating plenty of greens, such as kale, collards, spinach, lettuce, etc…
Now it’s time to ditch the sugar. This is probably the hardest for most people, but you have already detoxed from grains, so it’s relatively easy now. You can use natural sweeteners such as Raw Honey, real Maple syrup, molasses, dates, etc. but remember, only in moderation.
Also, NO diet drinks or sodas of any kind. Switch to Kombucha. This is how I transitioned my daughter off of soft drinks!
Give yourself a Pat on the Back!
You deserve it!
Make sure you are eating the best quality vegetables, fruits, meats, fish & eggs that you can afford. Preferably, 100% grass-fed, organic, pastured (not cage-free), non-GMO, wild-caught, etc…
Go to your local farmers market & buy in season & get to know your local farmers. I hear Aldi’s has a great selection. Costco is another great source.
Some of My Families Favorite Recipes:
- Paleo AIP Breakfast Sausage Hash
- Paleo Curry Basil Chicken
- Paleo Chicken Tenders
- Paleo Coconut Chicken Soup
- Paleo Korean Ground Beef over Cauliflower Rice
- Paleo Almond Joy Cookies
What was the Hardest Struggle to go Paleo?
The hardest part of eating healthy would have to be not eating at home. For my daughter, eating at someone else’s house. Her friend’s parents mean well but would try to get her to eat things that the SAD (Standard American Diet) claims are healthy or that are “gluten-free”.
I’ve told her that they don’t understand about auto-immune diseases, it’s not their fault, most people don’t. I usually pack her enough snacks that she won’t go hungry. At first, this was especially hard, but now she just politely declines.
In the beginning, we didn’t eat out for 30 days. I felt this was critical to making sure we were eating the way we should.
The first time we went out, I ended up in tears & not ordering anything. I just had to remember why I was doing this & kept moving forward.
It eventually got so much easier. I know what restaurants to go to & what to order. I ask a lot of questions. Most places are very willing to accommodate. We still eat mostly at home, but on weekends we try to go out at least a couple of times, to not only give me a break but allow our daughter to “be normal”.
Things I do for Self Care
- Exercise – I try to get at least 30 min of exercise 3-5 days a week. I walk 2-4 miles most days (outside if possible) or do the rowing machine & do bodyweight exercises 2-3 times a week.
- Magnesium Baths – I take a magnesium bath with lavender essential oil at least once a week. Magnesium helps you to unwind, relax & sleep better.
- Dry Brushing – This makes my skin feel so good & helps to stimulate the lymphatic system.
Is Reversing Auto-Immune Disease Possible?
In November 2016 for the first time in 3 years, my blood-work came back normal for RA (Rheumatoid Arthritis) & Sjogren’s. I still take Thyroid meds. which has been stable now since starting the Paleo diet.
I probably will always have to take thyroid medicine due to so much damage having been done before finally being diagnosed. But recently had my blood work done & my antibodies are within 2 points of being normal for the first time since being diagnosed. My daughter is taking the lowest dosage we can get for her thyroid & it has been stable now for 3 years. We don’t take any other meds.
In Feb. 2019 I finally put my Hashimoto’s in remission!!! Yay Me!!!
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If you or anyone in your family is suffering from an auto-immune disease, diabetes, etc… or just want to be healthier, I would highly recommend starting the Paleo Diet & then possibly transitioning to the AIP (Auto-Immune Protocol) Diet if you have an autoimmune disease.
This was the best thing I did to not only help myself but to help my daughter. I realized, that I had to be healthy in order to help her.
The one thing I have learned is that whether you have an auto-immune disease or not. The Paleo Diet is one of the healthiest diets out there & everyone could benefit.
The SAD (Standard American Diet) is killing all of us. We have more Obesity, Cancer, Heart disease, Diabetes, Autoimmune Diseases, etc. than ever before. If you are reading this, you obviously care about your health & are being proactive in learning more.
Congratulations on that!