Health Hypothesis Series
Something’s not quite right. I’ve been relatively health conscious most of my adult life. I exercise, I eat well, I make time for hobbies and leisure. I consider myself to be quite mindful. My one health downfall is stress. I’ve lived a very stressful life and, as such, I am well versed in both managing my stress and also in hiding it. In all honesty, I tend to do things in extremes. I go from being extremely fit and healthy to loosening up and letting myself ‘live a little’ for a while. And then I get back on track.
Lately though, I’ve had trouble getting back on track. Something’s not right. I don’t feel like me. I’m eating right, I avoid caffeine, sugar, alcohol and grains. I exercise daily. I take care of myself. My moods are great, I’m not experiencing irritability or depression the way I used to. I feel positive and uplifted, I have energy throughout the entire day. But despite all these healthy food habits and despite exercising rigorously and regularly, I am gaining weight, my body aches, I am constantly hungry and craving sugar, I am almost always bloated and I struggle with brain fog on a daily basis.
This has sent me into obsessive health research mode. I’m the type of person who is convinced that there is a solution to every problem and finding solutions to problems has actually become a hobby of mine. It’s a skill, even. After struggling with these health issues for almost a year now, I’m more determined than ever to get to the bottom of things through trial and error. I am recording the process of my findings through this blog series.
Autoimmune Disease? Hashimotos? After visiting a naturopath, who analyzed the results of my blood tests, this potential health hypothesis has come to light.
So what is Autoimmune Disease?
There are a broad range of autoimmune diseases: Hashimotos, diabetes, arthritis, thyroid disease, to name a few. All of these relate to when a person’s immune system produces an inappropriate response against its own cells, tissues and/or organs, resulting in inflammation and damage.
My naturopath suspects that perhaps the bloating and inflammation I’m experiencing could be related to this. There are another few indicators that popped up in my blood test results.
Factors pointing to Autoimmune disease.[Insert test results]
How to heal an Autoimmune disease? Pretty much entirely through diet and supplementation efforts. Good! I can get behind that.
Since the Candida diet didn’t quite kill my symptoms or suspicions, it’s time to take on another health protocol. I did a lot of research into this condition and most of the best information came from Sarah Ballantyne, The Paleo Mom. I’ve quoted her most helpful resources below.
Autoimmune Paleo Diet
- Eggs (especially the whites)
- Seeds (including cocoa, coffee and seed-based spices)
- Nightshades (potatoes, tomatoes, eggplants, sweet and hot peppers, cayenne, red pepper, tomatillos, goji berries etc. and spices derived from peppers, including paprika)
- Potential Gluten Cross-Reactive Foods
- Fructose consumption in excess of 20g per day
- NSAIDS (like aspirin or ibuprofen)
- Non-nutritive sweeteners (even stevia)
- Emulsifiers, thickeners, and other food additives
- organ meat and offal (aim for 5 times per week, the more the better)–read more here.
- fish and shellfish (wild is best, but farmed is fine) (aim for at least 3 times per week, the more the better)–read more here and here.
- vegetables of all kinds, as much variety as possible and the whole rainbow, aim for 8-14 cups per day
- Green vegetables
- Colorful vegetables and fruit (red, purple, blue, yellow, orange, white)
- Cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cabbage, kale, turnips, arugula, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, watercress, mustard greens, etc.)
- Sea vegetables (excluding algae like chlorella and spirulina which are immune stimulators)
- quality meats (grass-fed, pasture-raised, wild as much as possible) (poultry in moderation due to high omega-6 content unless you are eating a ton of fish)
- quality fats (pasture-raised/grass-fed animal fats [rendered or as part of your meat], fatty fish, olive, avocado, coconut, palm [not palm kernel])
- fruit (keeping fructose intake between 10g and 20 g daily)
- probiotic foods (fermented vegetables or fruit, kombucha, water kefir, coconut milk kefir, coconut milk yogurt, supplements)–read about them here and here.
- glycine-rich foods (anything with connective tissue, joints or skin, organ meat, and bone broth)