At the beginning of March I decided I was sick and tired ... of being tired. Not in the way that babies-who-don't-sleep-through-the-night-yet makes you tired. Tired in the way that I had to talk myself out of bed. Every. Single. Morning.
I was diagnosed with Hashimoto's disease, hypothyroidism almost eight years ago. And I did well on the levothyroxine for a while. But for the last couple years I have still had all my symptoms. And then Kris suggested I start researching what I should be eating for optimal thyroid function. The results of my weeks of research culminated in a suggested diet of no sugar, no refined carbohydrates (white breads and rice, cookies, etc.) no unfermented soy, no polyunsaturated fats and no gluten. I decided before I bought into it, that I would experiment to see if it would be worth it and what the effects of these things had on me. Soy was pretty straightforward. Slows metabolism, makes you fatter, more sluggish. Polyunsaturated fats block thyroid secretion. But what about sugar and gluten? I understood what they blocked, but not how it would make me feel.
I went off of sugar, gluten, and p.u.fat for three days. And that's all it took for me to become a believer in avoiding them. I was alert. I could get out of bed as soon as I woke up, no hitting the snooze button fifteen times. I didn't need two or three power naps during the day. If you think I'm exaggerating, ask Ryan what a zombie I've been and the energized woman I've become. After those three days, Ryan and I discussed whether or not it was fair to change our entire family's diet just because I have a health issue. We decided the benefits outweighed the negative. So I went through our pantry and tossed everything with soy, soybean oil, soy lecithin and soy protein in a box to donate.
But I still wanted to know what the difference between sugar and gluten on my immediate physical response would be. So, I had some bread. And some crackers. And some rice. I overdid it, really. And I paid dearly for it. I had the worst stomach-ache that night and an overall heaviness in my gut. It was not pretty.
I waited a week in between gluten and sugar. And sugar sapped all my energy. I was back to sluggishness, and needing power naps. Needless to say, I was sold. But what has soy, sugar, (including the ever-present high fructose corn syrup) and gluten? Everything. Seriously. Go through your pantry. I dare you to find 10 items without at least one of them. What's left are obscure foods like vegetables, and fruit, and whole (gluten-free) grains.
I've made some new friends in the last couple weeks. Our palate is changing to accommodate unrefined virgin coconut oil and quinoa. It'll take some getting used to. Oh, but butter has been welcomed back with open arms. Turns out it's not the heart-attacking fat after all. It's a complete lifestyle change, but one I know will be worth it. For our whole family. We'll have to always have a garden. And we'll probably need to develop the skill of canning. But what better way to get better at nutrition, than to study it?
That's right. I'm hoping to add registered dietitian to my resume over the next 10 years. It'll be slow going, but I'll be going. I feel so strongly about the need for this kind of particular knowledge. When in three weeks, I can turn my energy around, simply by avoiding what I now have to consider as poisonous foods. I have to do it.