I was diagnosed with Hashimoto's Disease when I was 18 years old. I was extremely tired and suffered from recurrent upper respiratory tract infections, chronic eczema, headaches, anxiety, and candida.
My doctor took a blood test and told me I would have to take my T4 medication for life. That was it. I didn't really understand exactly what I had till I was about 24. All I knew was that I needed to take this medication and that I had a genetic autoimmune disease that was pretty common.
But the medication didn't really work, and my antibody levels kept creeping up. I was fatigued, losing my hair in big clumps, moody, and gaining weight. It was only after I met a naturopath, that I learned about the connection between my food intake and reducing the symptoms of this autoimmune disease.
It was mind-boggling at first: I could feel better with a change of my diet? My doctor had never mentioned anything about diet. This opened a whole new world of information to me. I consumed any information from the natural and holistic world like a hungry teenage boy. I tried everything and anything the naturopaths and nutritionists had to offer, and lo and behold, I started feeling better and my blood tests improved without additional medication.
Helping myself feel good again inspired me to quit my banker job and become a nutritionist so that I could help others improve their quality of life.
Many people ask me what I eat on a daily basis, but I don't always like to share because I really truly believe that we are all on different wellness journeys and there is no "one diet fits all."
Having said that, there are some foods that are helpful in bringing down inflammation in the body, healing the gut, and strengthening one's immune system. I try to base my diet around these foods.
Having autoimmune thyroiditis makes me focus my efforts on getting in nutrients that support the thyroid (zinc, selenium, magnesium, B vitamins, and good-quality protein), help keep my gut in a healthy place (bone broth and probiotics), and dampen inflammation (omega-3s and antioxidants or phytonutrients).
Breakfast: Immunity-Boosting Smoothie
My immune-boosting green smoothie. I use:
- Coconut kefir (fermented coconut water rich in probiotics) as the base
- Loads of organic greens
- Aloe vera, which is great for gut health
- An orange
- A touch of lime juice
- A healthy protein (I like hemp protein)
Protein helps balance my blood glucose levels and regulate my insulin, which in turn helps keep my energy stable. Smoothies are great because you can load them with all the good nutrients, and they are easy to have and digest. I usually carry my smoothie with me to the gym or work.
Lunch: Fully loaded sweet potato
Stuffed with Brazil nut pesto, rocket or arugula leaves sautéed in coconut oil, homemade preserved lemons, and either smoked salmon, olive oil marinated anchovies, or leftover protein from last night's dinner.
Brazil nuts are high in selenium, which is vital for normal function of the thyroid.
Dinner: Soup + Salad + Protein
I love starting off with a soup; one of my favorites is my asparagus soup with a bone broth base. Bone broth is rich in amino acids that help repair the lining of the gut and prevent leaky gut. I love to sprinkle hemp seeds on top of my soup for extra omega-3s.
I usually add a salad—I love endive, radicchio, and cucumber with a goat's milk kefir dressing—and a protein like grilled wild salmon, grilled sardines, grass-fed beef, free-range chicken.
- Coconut yogurt with chia seeds, pomegranate, and berries
- Pumpkin seed butter (pumpkin seeds are a fabulous source of zinc) smeared on apple slices or celery sticks and dusted with cinnamon
- A shot of beet kvass (iron, vitamin C, and probiotics boost)
- Raw cacao, vegan chocolate, or homemade raw cacao bliss balls
I am living proof that a diagnosis is not a death sentence. You can still live a wonderful, rich, energetic, healthy life even if you have an autoimmune disease.