In February of 2013, I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis. What that link will tell you is that Hashimoto’s is an autoimmune disorder that attacks my thyroid. What it won’t tell you is what it’s like to live with an autoimmune disorder.
When things are at their worst, I fight with swelling in my hands and face, joint pain and stiffness, exhaustion, memory loss, and brain fog. I often top that off with mystery rashes, itchy skin on my face and ears, muscle twitches, hair loss, and other ailments. I sometimes start the day feeling like I am 90 years old. Not exactly the way I expected to spend my thirties.
In the center of my universe, I have two young children and an amazing husband. My kids don’t slow down for anything. They are a constant reminder of the driving force of life: beautiful, thrilling, and full of adventure. I know this window of time with them is short. The “Mom, catch!” and “Mama, up!” phases are only a heartbeat in their lives, and I want to be fully present for all of it. Life around here cannot stop when I don’t feel well.
For them, I fight this illness like an obsessed superhero. I take thyroid meds and supplements to make up for the destruction of my thyroid. I force myself to exercise. I make sleep a priority. I take supplements and follow strict dietary restrictions with the Paleo Autoimmune Protocol Diet (AIP). In the first year of my healing journey, these changes allowed me to recover my health. When I stick to the protocol and get enough sleep, I can live symptom-free.
If you are interested in reversing symptoms of an autoimmune disorder or healing an illness I highly recommend the following resources on the autoimmune protocol (AIP):
No affiliate links here, friends. Just pure enthusiasm.
PaleoMom.com – Sarah Ballantyne is the Guru of the AIP. When I first started my healing journey, the information on her website allowed me to create a plan for myself and muster up the energy to change my life. I am anxiously awaiting her first book, The Paleo Approach, because it will be a game changer. She also co-hosts The Paleo View podcast with Stacy Toth from the Paleo Parents. I listen to it while I wash the mountains of dishes that build up in my kitchen and it makes me feel not-so alone in AIP land.
Autoimmune-Paleo.com – Mickey Trescott’s Autoimmune Paleo Cookbook is an amazing resource for anyone just starting out on the AIP. She has created handy lists of AIP-safe foods, and foods to avoid. I bring them to Dr. appointments so that they can easily see how drastically I have modified my diet and lifestyle. Did I mention that she’s a personal chef? AND the MacGyver of AIP foods? Serious gourmet recipes that are easy to follow. Don’t even wait. Get her cookbook now.
Nutrisclerosis – Whitney has MS. She’s reversing her symptoms with whole food. Having her in your Facebook feed will provide no-bullshit reminders about putting your health first, and she candidly shares what she is working on personally to heal. Also, in an ideal meeting of the minds, the Nutrisclerosis meatloaf on autoimmune-paleo.com is a great AIP meal for the whole family. I’ve even added ground beef heart on the sly and the kids INHALED it.
Speaking of MS, if you haven’t seen the Tedx talk from Dr. Terry Wahls, Minding Your Mitochondria, go watch that now. Sometimes people like to question my food choices. I make it pretty clear that I eat in a way that allows me to be well, and that my food choices are not up for debate. Then I refer them to this video, because it is one of the most powerful testimonials on the healing power of food that I have ever seen.
ChrisKresser.com – If you’re curious about functional medicine, Kresser is your guy. His website has tons of information about taking a Paleo approach to health and wellness, including in-depth information for all kinds of questions like “O-M-G, you eat Paleo? Isn’t your cholesterol through the roof?”
If you think you may have a thyroid disorder, or find that your thyroid treatment isn’t getting rid of your symptoms, I suggest checking out Datis Kharrazian’s Why Do I Still Have Thyroid Symptoms? When My Lab Tests Are Normal. I thank the powers that be for Dr. K’s book with it’s super SEO-friendly title. It is what put me on the path to finding Hashimoto’s 411 and the autoimmune protocol diet.
I love to share information that I find on my quest for wellness, but please keep in mind that I am barely qualified to write a blog, let alone give medical advice. I encourage everyone to find a good doctor and demand the quality medical care that they deserve. Then come back and tell me all about it.