I get a lot of requests for advice on diet and though it can be really tricky and complicated, I decided to create an infographic to give you a Hashimoto’s diet in 5 steps for reducing systemic inflammation.
As I am fond of saying, when it comes to Hashimoto’s and hypothyroidism, inflammation is the root of all evil. And diet is a big player in inflammation.
Here’s the entire 5 steps in an easy to follow infographic. Feel free to download it and share.
Hashimoto’s Diet in 5 Steps
The diet is pretty straight forward, but for some people it can be a radical departure from what you are used to.
Let’s break down some of the most important elements.
1. First of all, get a journal.
Not to eat ;), but to keep track of everything you are doing. Some of us operate under the delusion that we are good at remembering things. When it comes to your diet and reactions to what you eat, you aren’t. There are way to many variables and things going on, you can’t possibly remember it all.
And why does it matter? Your immune system lives in your digestive tract (an estimated 70-80% is found there) and when you have autoimmunity, interactions with your immune system can have consequences.
When you react to certain foods or herbs or supplements, this can cause an immune response, which can lead to more inflammation and it can promote an attack on your own tissue.
So it’s really important to identify what foods in your diet cause responses. And some of these responses are digestive and others may be emotional or neurological. That’s why we need the journal to look for patterns.
2. Simplify Your Diet
If you’re just starting out. It’s time to simplify. Too many variables means that you don’t know what’s causing what. You need to simplify things (often in more than one part of your life).
Start with your diet. And start with the foods that can have the biggest impact. These are: gluten, dairy and soy.
There are reams of research on gluten and thousands of success stories from people who have gotten off of it and feel significantly better. If you doubt that this is true, here’s a post where I looked into this topic and a metric ton of research.
Same is true of dairy, Both lactose and casein (a protein found in milk) can be problematic for Hashimoto’s folks. They can hamper conversion and absorption of thyroid hormone. Still not convinced? Read this post that also looks at tons of research.
And soy is a goitrogen and can also hamper thyroid hormone behavior in the body. Go off of all three for 30 to 60 days minimum, 100%. Note all the symptoms you have in your journal before, during and after. Then review the journal and see how many remain.
3. Remove Inflammatory Foods
The next step is to take this to the next level. The reality is that gluten, dairy and soy may just be the tip of the iceberg.
Other foods like refined sugars, alcohol, grains, nuts and seeds, and nightshades (tomatoes, eggplants, peppers and white potatoes) can also cause inflammation. This is basically the Autoimmune Paleo Diet, you can learn more about it in this post.
You can test to see whether or not you have sensitivities to these foods, but sometimes these tests are inaccurate and you may react to those foods any way.
The best way to find out is to eliminate these foods for a period of time (usually 30 to 60 days) and then reintroduce them in a systematic way, one food at a time (More on that in a moment).
Here, again, your journal is a very important tool. Note all the symptoms you had when you started this phase of your recovery and keep track before, during and after.
During this period, it’s also a great time to detoxify your liver, work on healing leaky gut, boost stomach acid, balance blood sugar and work on all the systems of your body that may be compromised.
4. Re-evaluate and Test
Once you’ve gone through this process, you need to re-evaluate. This is where your journal becomes worth it’s weight in gold. You took the time to keep track of what you did, now go back over it and analyze the data.
What improved and what didn’t? Where did you cheat? What happened when you did? How much better are you know than when you began?
If you like many of the people I work with, chances are you got some improvement from this process. But if you still aren’t satisfied with your results, the it may be time to dig a bit deeper and do some testing (this can also be done at the beginning, of course).
You might want to rule out SIBO (Small Intestine Bacterial Overgrowth), candida, H.pylori, blastocystis, parasites and more. Most of these can ordered in a single stool test.
5. Re-introduce and Double Down
The final step is to go through the re-introduction process. Again, you’ll need your journal. Introduce one food at a time as the only variable. Start small and keep track of your reactions.
This will give you invaluable information on what foods you react to and it will help you create a solid foundation for healing.
Once you go through this, you will be able to identify what works and what doesn’t. Double down on what works and tweak or experiment with variations of what didn’t.
Awesome! Great job! Now you are on your way to getting your Hashimoto’s into remission. Remember remission is a journey a destination, you are now on the right path in your journey.
P.S. Staying on a restrictive diet for too long a period of time also can have consequences. Read this post to learn what I mean.
Feeling a little overwhelmed by all this? No worries, reach out to Marc and set up a consultation to help guide you on your way.