One day shortly after my Hashimoto's diagnosis I was chatting with someone about it and she asked, “Do you have celiac too?” Little did she know, but that one little sentence led me down a path that I believe may be my saving grace.
Years ago I was tested for food sensitivities and gluten came back as a big no-no. So like any irresponsible idiot, I ignored the results entirely and kept on stuffing my face with bread and pancakes. I thought it was totally normal to be so bloated at the end of the day that my daughter repeatedly asked me if I had a baby in my belly. I never made the bloat-gluten connection. Until a friend said, “Do you have celiac too?”
I vowed in that moment to go off gluten. I went to Whole Foods and spent the equivalent of a small countries GDP on gluten-free this and that. Almost instantly I felt a little better. My stomach didn’t look like a basketball at 5pm every day. This mysterious rash on my leg that had plagued me for years suddenly disappeared. It was kind of amazing. I made an appointment with my naturopathic doctor to get my food sensitivities checked again. And yes, to see if I had celiac disease.
While I waited (and waited, and waited) for my appointment, I idled away the hours reading up on diet and Hashimoto’s. There was so much information, so much contradictory information, that I felt like I was going down a crazy, splintered rabbit hole. Some people said to go vegan. Some said vegetarian. But the diet that kept popping up again and again was the Paleo diet. Basically a meat/veggie diet. You know, like the cavemen supposedly used to eat.
I’d heard of the Paleo diet before. My husband brought it up once years ago and I ridiculed him and said I wouldn’t eat that way unless you had a gun to my head. Well, I guess Hashimoto’s is that gun. I decided gluten-free wasn’t enough. I went full-on Paleo. And then I kept reading.
It seemed the more I read, the more foods I had to eliminate. Shortly after going caveman, I came across PaleoMom’s awesome website. It was there I discovered the Auto Immune Protocol diet. Basically you take the Paleo diet and then strip out anything worth eating at all—that’s the AIP diet. Paleo already had me grain-free, dairy-free, refined this-and-that-free. But the AIP took it even further. No nuts, no eggs, no alcohol, no seeds, no tomatoes. BLAGH!!!! I started the diet and became incredibly depressed. It was too hard. I wanted to give up the minute I began. But the promise of good health kept me going. For a while …
Diet Day 1: Standing in the grocery store, “Now what the hell am I supposed to eat?”
Day 2: Lettuce 3 times a day is delish!
Day 3: I can do this!
Day 4: I can’t do this!
Day 5: I can totally do this! Look at me go making broccoli soup with a side of mashed cauliflour.
Day 6: Ow, my stomach.
Day 7: Er, I’m getting a little sick of lettuce.
Day 8: I’m starving.
Day 9: I’m freakin' starving.
Day 10: I’m FREAKIN' STARVING!!!!!!!!
You get the picture.
I couldn’t do the AIP diet. I wanted to do. I tried to do it. But I just couldn’t do it. After 3 months, I went back to my naturopath. She suggested maybe I was going a little psycho on the diet front (yes, I believe she used the word “psycho”). I got the results back from my food sensitivity test and turns out dairy, gluten and eggs were my big ones. Tomatoes, eggplant and bell peppers were also on the list. My celiac test was inconclusive because I’d been off gluten for too long. But I didn’t need to know the results. My body knew. So I cut out the foods I don’t handle well, added back in gluten-free grains like quinoa and rice (thank you, Lord!) and that’s the diet I’ve been on for about a year. And I’m happy to say, I feel great. I’m not bloated. I don’t have strange rashes and I’m not starving!
So here's what I DO eat. This is just ME based on my food sensitivities. But hope it helps.
- Meat- pretty much all meat, poultry and fish. I try to avoid overly processed cold cuts and stuff like that.
- Veggies- all except eggplant, tomato (Which is really a fruit, but no one thinks of it as a fruit so I'm going to label it a vegetable here. My apologies to the fruit purists out there!), bell pepper. I limit my cruciferous vegetables (kale, broccoli, cauliflower etc.) because they apparently are goitrogens which can make a bad thyroid issue worse.
- Beans- I go light on these because they do a number on my stomach.
- Nuts- I avoid almond because it came back on my sensitivity test and limit peanut because it's also a goitrogen.
- Fruit- All fruit except bananas for me. I go heavy on the berries when they're in season.
- Bone broth– this is a gut healing broth made from chicken bones. Apparently it is really healing to the gut. Read how to make it here!
- For milk I use sugar-free coconut milk. So Delicious is a brand that is readily available. You can get the box kind but I prefer the fresh stuff from the cold case at the grocery store. They also make awesome ice cream and yummy yogurt.
- Gluten-free grains- like quinoa, rice (brown mainly for nutritional value), buckwheat, cornmeal and millet. I try to avoid a lot of the gluten-free packaged goods like cookies etc. because they're really just junk food. Just because the package says, “gluten-free” doesn't mean it's healthy. That said, a girl needs her carbs. It's really easy to go gluten-free once you make the plunge. And it's getting so mainstream you can find these things at most markets.
Here are some gluten free products I like:
- Udi's makes yummy gluten free bread.
- Maninis pasta is amazing!
- Pamela's makes amazing gluten free pancake mix. It's seriously better than any gluten stuff I've had and you can bake with it too!
- Bob's Red Mill makes good, quick-cooking gluten free oat meal. We live on this stuff at my house.
Again, I avoid gluten, dairy and eggs. I limit my refined sugar and alcohol and try to eat whole foods as much as a busy working mom can. Going gluten-free is super important if you have Hashimoto's or other auto immune disorders.
Hope that helps! Good luck everyone!!