Sunday, August 30, 2015

sharing my experiences

I'm not perfect and maybe I share too much. I'm that way in person too. Part of is that I'm excited when I discover something new in the same way as a child is. Let's face it--life is a work in progress and learning is part of it. Learning keeps us fresh and works the gray matter in our heads. I love learning new things and trying to apply them.

In that light, I share what I learn. I love to bounce ideas off of other people. I may think I know something. I may even get a little tart when someone contradicts me, but I do soak up those alternate views and filter them through my experiences, perhaps even give them enough credit to test the statements. What's exciting is discovering when something works. What's disappointing is when those results can't be repeated.

So, I keep seeking answers and share my information in the hopes that others can verify the same results or provide other potential avenues to explore.

This is why I report on my health issues. I've learned a great deal, taken some wrong leads, but ultimately found an answer and a course of action to feeling better. I have Hashimoto's, but it's not progressed to where I must be on medication. In fact, I'm discovering ways to keep my immune and endocrine systems balanced, monitoring my health to be sure I'm not on a wrong path (by keeping a food/supplement/symptoms diary) or to correct something, and looking for patterns, good or bad. A diary like this is a MUST if you want to figure out what works and what doesn't. As I've learned, there are standard triggers for everyone with an autoimmune disease, and then there are individual nuances.

For me with Hashimoto's (and who knows what other AID may be overlapping, but getting that diagnosis required pulling teeth and a sacrificial lamb on the twelfth day after the new moon of the summer solstice when it came to my doctors doing anything), I've learned these factors that consistently work for now (being able to adapt and change with the disease is part of why keeping a diary is so very helpful):
These have only come to work since healing my gut, which required more supplements since I was clearly not absorbing adequate nutrients from my food; it didn't help that I was reacting to so many foods that I had a limited choice for a while.
  1. Minimum of 3000 IU of D3 daily, preferably 4000 IU--split into two doses (food sources are not sufficient) between first thing in the morning and after lunch--but really don't need any more since I feel optimal at that range.
  2. Animal protein with the three main meals, usually eggs in the morning and other meats later.
  3. Greens at least by midday (food sources of folate, Vit. K and sometimes A).
  4. Absolutely NO gluten, soy, or dairy. Just thinking of the consequences of gluten and soy makes me shudder. Also, I can tolerate a small amount of butter occasionally. It's milk products like milk that give me the most trouble in that category.
  5. Limited iodine.
  6. Daily probiotics, particular strains that aid T4 to T3 conversion, aid in serotonin production, and break down histamines. Sometimes twice a day.
  7. An extra source of selenium, aside from eggs and normal food sources; usually in the form of 1-2 Brazil nuts a day as needed and spread over the course of the day in nibbles/bites (I prefer food sources wherever I can get my nutrients).
  8. Extra B vitamins only when necessary. When hands/feet get tingly, I know I need these and possibly an iron source--get me some beef (farmer/rancher's daughter).
  9. Calcium & magnesium supplements. When I go hyper, I find that these are most needed to calm my body and mind.
  10. Avoiding all grains but occasionally tolerant of a small amount of non-GMO popcorn (not sure why, but at least I can enjoy that much).
  11. Food source of Vitamin C first thing with breakfast. C helps with a lot of functions/enzyme formations in the body. First thing with breakfast seems to work best for me, along with something later in the afternoon/evening.
  12. Food source of Vitamin A by midday (not sure why, but this particular vitamin helps a lot). Farmers Market carrots are a great snack ;)
  13. TEA! I can't live without at least white tea, but the green and white loose leaf teas that I like are so yummy when steeped together. I can live without the half-n-half or cream that I used to enjoy, but I need at least some honey or pomegranate or blueberry juice concentrate to sweeten it. This is the only sugar I allow myself, except when eating fruit, which I limit. And I do love my tea, to the tune of several cups a day. It's great that tea is good for the body, so an even better reason to drink up!
  14. Digestive enzymes. I'm not sure how long I'll need to use them, but they do make a difference.
  15. Betaine HCL with Pepsin. Not sure how long I'll need this either. A couple of weeks ago, I was needing about 4000 mg/meal. Now, I'm down to 1/3-1/2 of that...small victories :) The hope is that once I get my body back in balance, my stomach will begin functioning normally and producing more acid on cue to digest my meals. At this point, I'm actually glad to feel any sort of stomach burn, because it means my body is healing and beginning to function as it should.
  16. Avoid nightshade fruits/veggies. For several years, tomatoes have been causing problems, but I never realized why. Now that I can't tolerate even one grape tomato, I understand that I am intolerant of these delicious fruits, sadly, and likely have been for years. It's come to my attention that many people with AID have problems with this group of foods. Potatoes on occasion, sans skins (another sad realization), are okay.
  17. Limited fruits. I haven't been so good about following this, but I eat veggies first and reserve fruits for snacks. This ties in to grains (aka starches aka high glycemic index) and sugars in general. As I've learned, hypothyroid symptoms can result from imbalances/deficiencies of other hormones. Insulin resistence and/or hypoglycemia (which I've experienced sporadically for more than a decade) is one of those problems linked into that vicious cycle. This is typical with Hashimoto's. When I do eat fruit, I try to eat it close to when I eat protein. Fruits have their place in the diet--full of nutrients!--and their sugar digestion is slowed by the fiber content, but they are still high in sugar.
  18. EXERCISE! I make sure to get on the treadmill or outside for at least a 1.5 mile walk 5-6 days a week, and usually 2 miles or more (45 minutes on the treadmill, or long enough to watch a favorite TV show while walking). I'm small, so I don't cover much distance with my short legs, although I typically walk at least 3 mph, more outside or, on really good days, up to 4 mph. Any faster and I have to jog. (You taller people quit laughing.) This is good when you consider that when I was at my worst 4-6 months ago, some nights I could barely walk 2 mph (even having been in great shape before this all erupted on me); I was THAT sore and fatigued.
  19. Histamine tolerance. At last, I've been able to reintroduce some fermented foods, but only in limited quantities. Raw Apple Cider Vinegar is one of them in very tiny amounts to add flavor to foods. However white is out, as that is often diluted in a way that contaminates it with gluten. Too much vinegar (ACV being the only one I'll use anymore) and I get chest pains that are not resolved with antacids. Heart problems are one of the complications of Thyroid diseases and histamine problems. Although I've had it tested when the pain was terrible this summer, I don't feel like pushing my luck. (For a while earlier this past summer, I had terrible problems with food intolerances linked to histamines. Since healing my gut, I've noticed that I can now more readily break them down so I don't have such terrible symptoms and have safely reintroduced foods considered high histamine, like my beloved mushrooms.)
I've developed this as most of my current course of action. As I heal or have flare-ups, I make adjustments. Sometimes they work, sometimes not. It's great to be able to go back through my little diary (a 5.5" x 3.5", 200-sheet Five Star notepad, nothing fancy) and see not only the last week or two but also how far I've come in recovering to feel like a normal person again. Except I am no longer a "normal" person. I have a new lifestyle to follow, and after what I experienced in the "storm" six months ago, I have every incentive to keep this lifestyle.

Be glad this isn't you, but if you'd like to share your personal experience, feel free to. As I said, I share this because I hope others will open up. I don't feel so alone in this when I connect with others in a similar situation.

This might have slowed down my writing, but it hasn't stopped me.

I wish you all good health!

ps--I still have histamine issues, just not as severe. I just need to learn to rebalance them now that I can consume higher levels.

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