I have recently gone Paleo and it’s a decision that I have copped a fair bit of flak for. I think a lot of people see this way of living (and it is a way of living as opossed to just a diet) as a bit of a trend or a fad and something that hipsters are inclined to do…. But here’s the thing…
I live with someone I can’t stand.
She makes me depressed.
She literally has me pulling hair out.
She hogs all the heat so my feet get so cold that they hurt.
She makes my body ache… Every. Single. Joint.
She gives me severe fatigue… Tiredness right down to my bones.
She makes me gain weight… Sometimes multiple kilo’s in one week, just for shits and giggles.
I know what you’re thinking… It’s your house… Kick her out!
I am trying, but it’s not that easy. Her name is Hashimoto’s and she is an autoimmune disease. I have an eviction plan but it takes time and really the best I can do is banish her to the basement… She will always be here, she cannot be evicted entirely…
For those playing along at home autoimmune disease basically just means that my insides weren’t being entertained enough… They got bored… And so, just for fun, my own body has decided to launch a full DEFCON 1 level attack on itself and in particular my thyroid. Slowly my immune systems’ master plan is to kill every last thyroid cell it can find and cause massive inflammation in my system while it’s doing it. I was told I would be medicated for life but no one could tell me why I have this condition or where it came from. Maybe it’s because I had glandular fever twice when I was younger, maybe it was triggered by some other stressful event in my life, or maybe I just won the genetic lottery. But one thing is for sure, years and years of eating foods loaded with sugar and highly refined carbs and even dairy did not help things.
I have attempted Paleo before, and I say attempted because I did cut out grains and sugar in the past with great success but I didn’t fully embrace the lifestyle. Instead of ramping up my diet with more veggies of a wider variety and adding in fermented veggies and bone broths to try to help heal, I just cut out the stuff I shouldn’t have and then ate as I had before. I had great success, the detox period was terrible, but it didn’t take long until I was feeling on top of the world, bouncing out of bed and smiling where just weeks before getting out of bed was a painful and exhausting event on its own, let alone facing the day. For the first time in a long time I could go hours in between meals and not feel hungry, I was finally able to lose some weight and I managed to lower my medication significantly, things were great.
Except then I became single and started making new friends and dating… I started slipping… I didn’t want to be the girl that couldn’t eat anything on the menu and had to ask waiters to change meals, I thought of it as an annoyance and figured that my new found friends and potential partners would see it as annoying enough to pass me up… This probably says a lot about my outward display self confidence vs my inward lack of self love, but that is a whole other post – or maybe a session on a couch somewhere haha. Anyways it didn’t take long for the sugar addiction to reestablish and I slowly became hooked back onto the foods that I had worked so hard to eliminate. It took some time for them to inflict damage again. Yes I noticed my thyroid medication dosage sneaking up a little and up a little and a few aches and pains sneaking in, but it took nearly a whole year before symptoms started rearing their ugly heads enough for me to take notice…and then I fell pregnant and all hell broke lose on my poor system.
Nothing screams fun like being heavily symptomatic and having a newborn baby. It is frustrating when you feel you want to leave the house to visit people but won’t for fear of falling asleep while driving, or when it’s difficult to pick up your tiny baby even though she’s light as a feather. Not to mention stacking on the weight even though you are breastfeeding and it should be falling off you.
So I am back at it, but this time I am fully embracing the Paleo lifestyle in a bid to not just eliminate my symptoms and minimise my medication but to try and get off my medication all together and put my Hashi’s into remission. It cannot be cured but there are plenty of success stories out there and I have nothing to lose. Having an active flare up of Hashi’s is like having a heavy, damp cloth put on your personality and I wnt it gone so I can feel me again.
So for those who are judging, making fun of me, or thinking that I think I’m superior for being able to stick to this lifestyle. Please don’t. I’m doing this because my body is inferior and is kicking it’s own ass. It’s wrong to say I’m not doing this because I want to, because I do want to, because I just want to feel better. But it’s more accurate to say that I am doing it because I have to, because I can’t live in a Hashi’s state, it’s a horrible way to be. And it’s a tough gig sticking to it… When everyone else is sharing around lollies and yummy treats and I have to decline it’s not only difficult because I’m a sugar addict and right there under my nose everywhere I go is my drug of choice, but also because it’s isolating, I get to be the only person not in on it. There are hours that now go into meal planning and meal prep and I have to make sure I have food available because fast food can’t be done, navigating restaurant menus can be tricky and you are now inflicted on other people should they dare to invite you over for lunch or dinner. But it’s worth it, and it gets easier as time goes on.
Week one in and I’m not feeling too much different yet. The detox stage has been horrible, the first night off sugar complete with headaches and the shakes in the middle of the night like some kind of junkie desperate for a hit. But I am nearly past the hardest bit and hopefully well on my way to sunnier days.