I wasn’t expecting to get quite so personal so early into the blog’s existence, but here goes. In the early 1990s I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, an autoimmune disease. I had no symptoms, aside from an inflamed thyroid gland. No explanation for why or how it happened, and no offer of any cure. The only thing the doctors did know is that it could be managed, by taking a pill every day to replace the thyroid hormone that my body couldn’t produce.
Since then I’ve been taking a little Synthroid pill every morning. And getting blood tests every 6 or 12 months to monitor the T4 and TSH levels in my blood.
Most of the time I don’t think too much about it, but when I do it bugs me. It’s a hassle. Yes, it’s very minor compared to all the possible diseases out there, but I still don’t like it one bit.
Fast forward to late 2011. It started with my dad, who told us about an article he’d read on the link between gluten and a number of diseases, like diabetes and Alzheimer’s, two of the demons in our family. Shortly after my sister instantly became a gluten-free convert after reading Wheat Belly. Me? I love bread — toast, pizza, crusty baguette with cheese — and I bake sweet treats on a regular basis. Very regular. I even used to be a baker of gorgeous artisanal breads too, in my early career days. The thought of giving up bread and baking seemed impossible to contemplate.
That is, until I stumbled upon the many articles linking autoimmune conditions, including Hashimoto’s, to gluten intolerance. I felt a little foolish for not checking this out earlier, since it seemed every Google search I did turned up more and more articles linking gluten consumption and autoimmune diseases like mine. Why had it taken me so long to look into this?
Now not everything you read on the internet is true, I know. But a lot of websites and blogs detail the dramatic effects of not just a gluten-free diet but a Paleo diet, free of grains entirely. Like Sarah Wilson who noticed “amazing differences” two weeks into the diet, or Ann Wendel who said a Paleo diet changed her life.
Wow. Life changing. Could I actually cure my Hashimoto’s by eating a Paleo diet? That clinched it — I would go Paleo for a month. Plenty of seafood and meat, vegetables and fruit, and some nuts and seeds. A minimal amount of dairy. What’s not to like?
Oh right, the bread part. Maybe I can just forget about bread for the next month. It’s not like I’m going to do this forever, right?
I’ve come up with three things I’m looking to test in this challenge:
- I want to see if I can stick to a Paleo diet, especially the grain-free part
- I want to see if I feel any different. More energy! More alertness!
- I want to see if the Paleo diet makes any difference in my usual blood test results for thyroid levels
So I’m starting today.
What’s my plan for this anyway? Find out what I’ll be eating here.
Image courtesy of Lord Jim, via Flickr.