My Journey So Far
Hi, I’m Anne.
A few years ago, in college, I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism due to Hashimoto’s Disease. My doctor had noticed that I had a larger thyroid than normal, and I had other symptoms of hypothyroidism as well: lethargy, fluctuating weight, mood instability, and skin rashes. When they tested my blood, they found thyroid antibodies, which indicated Hashimoto’s. This is an autoimmune disease in which my bloodstream contains antibodies that attack my thyroid, severely impacting my production of thyroid hormones. These hormones regulate metabolism, mood, immunity, and even skin dryness.
Shortly after this diagnosis, I went gluten free. I read in several articles that people with Hashimoto’s often benefit from being gluten-free; gluten looks a lot like thyroid tissue, and the consumption of gluten encourages the body to create antibodies which attack the thyroid as well.
Then I went to France. Obviously, I ate all the breads and pastries.
When I came back, I started taking my symptoms seriously. I had allergies, mood instability, and I was always tired. My eczema worsened, and I had chronic stomach aches accompanied by IBS symptoms.
In August 2016, I did my first round of Whole30. I had been contemplating an elimination diet for a few months, because I had a sneaking feeling that I was sensitive to many things, and that was what distressed my body so much. I could never see a pattern in my sensitivities, so a total elimination and reintroduction seemed the only option.
During those 30 days, my journey really started taking shape. Almost all of my symptoms went away. I had more energy, fewer symptoms of inflammation, and I felt that “tiger blood” that the Whole30 writes so much about. The one thing that stuck with me was the IBS.
I started seeing a natural medicine doctor in September. She immediately noted that all of my complaints, which others had attributed to me being a hypochondriac, were indicators that I was chronically inflamed, probably by food and stressed out adrenal glands. Among the list of problems I listed were:
IBS, chronic stomach aches, insomnia, allergies, dry skin and eczema, post-nasal drip, chronic coughing, acid reflux and heartburn, above-average sweatiness (yes, I listed everything) and a general lack of energy.
The first thing we did was a panel for food sensitivities. It came out through that that the following foods cause a medium to high level of inflammation, as shown by my IgA and IgG protein reactions:
Eggs, all dairy, buckwheat, oat, corn, yeast, cane sugar, tomatoes, lettuce, cucumber, grapes, lemon, radish, mushroom, and soy.
All I could think was: no wonder I couldn’t figure out what was affecting me!
From that moment on, I cut out eggs and dairy. I brought back gluten because it hadn’t shown up as a sensitivity, but it was exceedingly difficult to find things with gluten that didn’t also have eggs, sugar, corn, or dairy. November and December were a big experiment. Toward the end of December, I threw out all the rules and ate a ton of sweets over the holidays.
January started with another Whole30, this time without eggs and tomatoes. It was amazing. All of the above symptoms improved. I tried to continue the Whole30, and it turned into a Whole45…then I began drifting back to my old ways of eating with semi-disastrous results. Now I’m on Round 3, Day 6, and feeling better. I’m currently experimenting with thyroid medications to balance out those hormones and taking supplements for my adrenal glands.
Through all of this, I’ve been striving toward one thing: balance. I mean this in such a holistic way. I want to balance out my stress levels, to balance my eating habits, and thereby to balance my body. I have always put mental health above physical health, and now I know that I need a balance of both, because they are inextricably linked. I’m a teacher who’s starting a Masters in Epistemological-Existential Psychology in the Fall, and in both those careers balance is hard to achieve and essential to the work.
Expect, at anneisbecoming, a balanced perspective. A little about feelings, a little about food, a little about lifestyle and a little bit of adventure. I’ll post recipes that match my current list of sensitivities, so for now – gluten free, vegan, and without tomato or mushroom. I’ll post about things that are well-balanced and the imbalances that occur whenever life happens.
My motto is Anne is becoming because it was also the motto of my elementary school. I love the idea of “becoming;” to me, it represents a non-linear journey, without a perfect endpoint or an idealistic goal. It’s a process that we’re in for our whole lives, and we can become anything, at any point in time.
Become with me.