Chances are if you’re reading this you have Hashimoto’s or suspect you might. This article addresses how I am managing my Hashimoto’s. This is such a ‘whole body’ disease that it requires regular management and revision of that management. What works for me, might not work for you, although there are a number of common ‘approaches’ that work for many people with Hashimoto’s. What’s working for me now might be different in the finer details to what I’ll be doing in 6 months time and to what I was doing 12 months ago. I just hope that in sharing what I’m doing that I help encourage some of you.
I was first diagnosed way back in 1996 when I was 22 and busy finishing my law degree. Looking back I suspect I I’ve had at least since puberty. Initially I was told all I had to do was pop thyroid medication for the rest of my life and I’d be ‘fine’. I can’t tell you how miserable my life would be if I only took that advice and how angry I get when I hear of people still being told the same thing. It’s simply not true.
For the last 11 years or so I’ve been learning about the impact of many other factors on my Hashimoto’s – most significantly food and lifestyle factors like stress and sleep. I take what I would call a ‘holistic approach’ or you could even call it East meets West in my thyroid management.
12 years ago I started seeing a holistic GP who’s focus was on thyroid and women’s health. She was the first that told me that changing my diet would help. I didn’t believe her. I didn’t want to believe her. I do now, and the science is certainly backing this up now. I can see how important it is for me to have a healthy gut. My food approach is centred around preventing a leaky gut and reducing inflammation.
After spending the better part of 20 years I’d say dieting, I have shifted my focus onto eating for wellness rather than eating to lose weight. Whilst I’m certainly not slim or really even my ‘ideal’ weight, whatever that is, I eat fresh healthy food and I’ve been learning that really what matters is my health not the size on the label of my clothes.
If you want to know my total approach to food, why not buy my cookbook 🙂 What Annabel Cooks: Real Food that will make you Flourish
Here is my approach, I would describe it as ‘paleo-ish’. I have done periods of auto-immune paleo too and will cut back on nuts, seeds, nightshades and dairy if I’m not feeling good.
I eat mostly: protein, healthy fats, vegetables, fruit, eggs, dairy (although cheeses aren’t great for me), coconut.
I eat sparingly: nuts, seeds, natural sugars, high fat dairy, legumes, alcohol.
I eat rarely: non-glutenous grains (even rice & quinoa can make me feel bloated), refined sugars.
I never knowingly eat: glutenous grains (wheat, spelt, oats, rye, barley etc) and soy.
I’m not good at moderation and I don’t believe that moderation either works for my personality or my body. I’m not super strict all the time except about gluten and soy but when someone the ‘sparingly’ and ‘rarely’ foods start becoming ’regulars’ then I feel like crap and will cut back, usually by doing a 30 Day Challenge or quitting sugar. This works for my ‘all or nothing’ personality. I’ve actually read that that’s a common personality trait amongst those with Hashimoto’s so it might ring true for you too!
This is a more recent discovery in the last few years that lifestyle factors have a significant impact on my health. In particular stress – that day to day stress of life, running a household, kids, relationships and work. Not to mention if a significant life stress comes along. This is my approach to reducing stress and therefore calming my Central Nervous System:
- Use calming essential oils – I diffuse them, wear them as a perfume, apply them to my body and in some cases ingest some essential oils. My favourites are Frankincense, a blend called ‘Balance’ and many tree oils e.g. White Fir & Cypress
- Gentle exercise – Pilates
- I’ll occasionally take baths in magnesium flakes and essential oils.
- I’ve just started doing a monthly magnesium float at The Float Space
- Sleep – I could improve this still but do try to get at least 7 hours sleep. I will use essential oils to help wind me down e.g. Lavender Peace, Roman Chamomile and Juniper Berry. From time to time I also take a sleep supplement that doTERRA make called Serenity Softgels.
- Periodically I’ll get into adult colouring in or jigsaw puzzles as a form of active meditation (I’m not so good at more passive forms of meditation)
- Positive affirmations – using these to change my thinking.
HOLISTIC MEDICAL APPROACH
I have a ‘team’ of professionals – my holistic GP, 2 naturopaths, acupuncture, chiropractor, massage. I see my doctor every 3-4 months and naturopath every 6 weeks or so. I also do a lot of reading and follow people on the cutting edge of thyroid research and treatment online. Here is an article about my ‘Hashimoto’s Heroes’.
Over time I’ve tried many difference thyroid medications e.g. T3, Slow Release T3, Natural Desiccated Thyroid. Currently I take Oroxine (daily) + SR T3 (2/week). Over the last 6-9 months I have been able to reduce my medication (I put this down to use of essential oils as part of the picture) but it’s proving to be tricky to get the balance right!
I know those of us with auto-immune diseases take a HUGE number of supplements. Over the years I’ve taken MANY different supplements. Always under guidance from naturopath & GP.
Currently I am taking one for cellular inflammation from my GP, Vitamin D, CogniMag (magnesium for brain), a variety of doTERRA supplements – for cellular health, mitochondrial support, joint inflammation, general food & nutrients, omegas and I use a fair bit of turmeric too.
I have been using doTERRA essential oils since April 2016 and have seen and felt improvement in my health since then. The next article I will write is about this but in the meantime, here is a webinar I recorded a few months ago on How I use Essential Oils for Thyroid Health.
I initially started with frankincense, lemongrass & peppermint added to my facial oil. Over time I have done more research and tried different oils for gut support, cellular (whole body) support, to help with stress and for the occasional aches & pains. I feel like using essential oils is a ‘slow burn’ approach with long term impact rather than any kind of ‘quick fix’.
This is my current thyroid blend that I roll on my feet regularly (1-2/day when I remember!)
WHAT’S YOUR APPROACH?
You have to work out what works for you. Try new things. Get your own health ‘team’. Persist till you get answers and results.
I always love to chat about health and wellness so if you ever want to chat let me know!
*Nothing in this article or this website is designed to diagnose or treat any medical conditions, I am simply sharing my approach to my own health. 😉
Tine Varvel says
What a well thought out article & so informative – well done Annabel! xx
Do you ever roll your thyroid blend over your thyroid? That’s what I’ve been doing but I’m interested now in that you roll on your feet instead. Wondering if the benefits are better one way or the other?
Great question. I used to roll it over my thyroid but I found that I got a skin reaction on my throat so I stopped. Interestingly it’s ok if I use my facial oil but I suspect that’s because the essential oils are more diluted that way. Hope that helps and good luck! I post much more about thyroid things these days via my other website annabelbateman.com (thyroid podcast/book etc). Annabel x