What is Hypothyroidism?
Hypothyroidism is when the thyroid (a gland located at the base of the throat) doesn’t produce enough T3 (triiodothyronine) and T4 (thyroxine) causing it to be underactive. This can cause a multitude of symptoms.
The Thyroid Hormones T3 & T4 maintain the rate at which your body uses fats and carbohydrates. They help control your body temperature, influence your heart rate, and help regulate the production of proteins.
The reason it takes sometimes years (the average is 5) to diagnose is that the symptoms of hypothyroidism vary.
The symptoms depend on the severity of the hormone deficiency. They tend to develop slowly over a number of years.
Most people barely notice the symptoms such as fatigue or weight gain, & just attribute them to aging. My doctor told me I was in early menopause when I was 36. She also told me I was depressed & put me on anti-depressants, which only made it worse.
Over time, as your metabolism continues to slow down, you may develop more obvious symptoms. If Hypothyroidism isn’t treated, the symptoms can become more severe. I had almost all of the symptoms below.
Some of the Symptoms associated with Hypothyroid:
- Weight Gain
- Hair Loss
- Dry Skin & Hair
- Puffy Face
- Muscle Weakness
- Brain Fog
- Feeling Cold
- Joint Pain, Stiffness or Swelling of Joints
- Elevated Cholesterol
- Slowed Heart Rate
- Heavier or Irregular menstrual periods
- Digestive Issues
7 Steps to Losing Weight & Keeping it Off
1. Eliminate all Gluten/Grains
Grains cause a spike in insulin leading to diabetes, obesity, heart disease, cancer & dementia.
Giving up Grains (pasta, bread, rice, corn, wheat etc…) is probably the hardest thing to do, but one of the most important. It takes about 5-7 days to stop having cravings. This will have the biggest results! (Gluten hides in many places, be sure to read all labels)
Example: Instead of Rice have Cauliflower Rice.
Most People with Thyroid Issues have a sensitivity to gluten & don’t even know it.
2. Stop Eating/Drinking Dairy
Dairy is nature’s perfect food — if you’re a baby cow.
Dairy causes inflammation in the gut. Dairy has been linked to weight gain, prostate cancer, & heart disease. It causes digestive problems for people with lactose intolerance, acne, bloating, gas, constipation, diarrhea, aggravates irritable bowel, & autistic behaviors.
Drink Coconut Milk or Almond Milk (check labels & avoid as many chemicals as possible) This is what I drink. I mix 1 can with 1-2 cans of water. (use 1 can of water if you like it thicker) There are no emulsifiers, so you have to shake/blend well before using. I use it in my AIP Coffee instead of milk or cream.
3. Stop Eating Sugar
Sugar causes Weight Gain, Heart Disease, Type II Diabetes, Fatty Liver, Leaky Gut, & Cancer. Instead of refined sugar, use natural sweeteners such as Raw Honey, Real Maple Syrup, dates, etc… (use in moderation, remember they are still high in carbs)
Limit Root Vegetables (such as potatoes) & Fruit. Remember, they convert to sugar in the body. Example: Choose Berries over melons & sweet potatoes over white potatoes.
4. Stop Eating/Drinking Soy
Soy can cause serious problems such as obesity, breast cancer, thyroid problems & increased estrogen levels. Instead of soy sauce use coconut aminos. (Make sure to read labels.)
Recipes using Coconut Amino’s:
- Paleo Korean Ground Beef
- AIP Paleo Chicken Fried Rice
- Paleo Coconut Chicken Soup
- AIP Paleo Ground Beef and Broccoli
- AIP Paleo Asian Grilled Chicken
5. Stop Eating Processed Oils
Processed Oils/Vegetable Oils are linked to reproductive problems, low birth rate, hormonal issues, obesity, mental decline, liver problems, cancer, endometriosis, PCOS and heart disease.
Make sure you are getting enough fats in your diet.
Repeat after me: FATS DO NOT MAKE YOU FAT! Good Fats, that is!
I put 1-2 Tbs of Coconut Oil in my “AIP” coffee every morning. Coconut Oil is especially good for the Thyroid.
6. Stop Eating Processed Foods
Processed foods have been linked to obesity, heart disease, high blood pressure, cancer, liver issues, and diabetes.
Start Eating Whole Foods (preferably organic Fruits & Vegetables) (Fruits in moderation due to sugar content, preferably berries)
If it has a label, it probably is processed. If eating Root Vegetables, eat in moderation due to sugar content. Substitute Sweet Potatoes Fries for White Potatoes (also in moderation) or Mashed “Fauxtatoes”. Eat as many leafy greens as possible. Salads are a good way to get in lots of veggies.
Some Recipes to Try
- Grilled Zucchini Squash
- Pan-Fried Okra with Bacon
- Pan-Fried Chicken Thighs
- Chicken Fried Rice
- Mediterranean Chicken Bake
- Portobello Rosemary Garlic Hamburger Stacks
For More Recipe Ideas go to My Recipes!
7. Stop Drinking Sodas, Diet Drinks, Sugary Drinks, Alcohol
These drinks cause obesity, heart disease, diabetes, kidney problems, tooth decay, preterm labor, belly fat, high blood pressure& high cholesterol.
Start Drinking Clean Water & lots of it (tap water & most bottled water contain fluoride & chlorine) Make sure it’s filtered. This is the filter I use. I even take it on vacation with me when we drive. The water tastes so clean! I like to drink lemon water. Also, Kombucha is a great alternative to soda, plus you get gut-healthy probiotics.
I know this sounds overwhelming but is necessary to heal your thyroid. That is why I did it slowly to get used to removing things from my diet in phases. Read how I did it here!
Additional Things to Start Doing
1. Start using a Natural Salt instead of Table Salt (Switch to a natural salt such as this)
4. Start Walking or exercising at least 20-30 min. a day (if possible, outside & get some natural Vitamin D) Try to work up to 10,000 steps per day. I love my Fitbit. It helps me to track my steps, workouts, heart rate, food intake & sleep patterns. As you start to feel better, try incorporating bodyweight exercises such as squats, planks, pushups etc… or yoga!
5. Have a cup of warm lemon water on an empty stomach 1st thing in the morning. Or even better have a cup of Lemon Ginger Tumeric Tea.
Supplements that can help Balance the Thyroid Naturally
- Vitamin D3 with K2 (have levels checked) or get it naturally by getting out in the sun 20-30 min a day.
- Selenium (no more than 200 mcg. daily) necessary for T3 production – (or just eat 3 Brazil nuts daily)
- Ashwagandha– balances T4 hormone
- L-tyrosine (500 mg. 2x daily)
- Fish Oil
- Vitamin B complex (1 B complex daily)
- Probiotic &/or eat homemade sauerkraut
- Iodine (150-300 mcg daily) Make sure you are tested. Do not take if you have Hashimoto’s unless under a doctor’s care. Most people get enough in their diets.
These are some of the supplements I take with the exception of Iodine. I have Hashimoto’s & do not take Iodine. Make sure you are tested for Hashimoto’s before taking Iodine & do not take if you test positive unless under a doctor’s care, preferably a Functional Medicine/Naturopath Doctor.
I also take a natural thyroid medicine which is a natural product made from animal thyroid glands that treat both T3 & T4. I have done much better than when I was taking Synthroid which only treats T4. That’s why it’s so important to have all 5 tests done instead of just TSH.
Most people find that when they treat both T3 & T4 they feel better than just taking Synthroid that only treats T4. I had a hard time finding a doctor that would do a complete panel & prescribe something natural. I kept firing them until I found someone who would listen.
I have since gotten my antibodies into the normal range which my Naturopath Doctor said is in remission now. She tested my iodine & I was low. I am now taking iodine & keeping a check on it. If you are not sure have your doctor test your iodine levels.
Books I Recommend Reading
Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis: Lifestyle Interventions for Finding and Treating the Root Cause by: Isabellz Wentz, PharmD
The Paleo Thyroid Solution: Stop Feeling Fat, Foggy, And Fatigued At The Hands Of Uninformed Doctors – Reclaim Your Health by: Elle Russ
Stop the Thyroid Madness: A Patient Revolution Against Decades of Inferior Treatment by: James A Bowthorpe
***Remember to always check with your doctor (preferably a Naturopath Doctor) before taking any medications or supplements. NO information in this post should be used to diagnose, treat, prevent or cure any disease or condition.