FTC Disclosure: Delicious Obsessions may receive comissions from purchases made through links in this article. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.Read our full terms and conditions here.
UPDATE Sept. 2018 – While the info I share in today’s blog post (and all of my “Let’s Get Personal” blog posts) will be helpful to those who are starting out on their healing journeys, I felt it pertinent to post a quick update as to where I am now in my healing journey. It has been quite the adventure with all sorts of ups and downs, twists and turns. I got to a point where I no longer felt drawn to share so many intimate details so I stopped writing the Let’s Get Personal series in 2016. If you would like to get the most recent update on my health and healing journey, please read this post, 3 Reasons Why I No Longer Share About My Healing Journey Online. or watch the video below. You are always more than welcome to email me with any questions as well! Cheers! ~Jessica
Featured Image Courtesy of sxc.hu and BA1969 (immune system added)
It’s been a couple weeks, but I wanted to give you an update of what’s going on in my life.
DISCLAIMER: The content shared on this site is for informational and educational purposes only. Statements/products discussed have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and are not intended to diagnose, cure, treat, or prevent any disease or illness. Please consult your own certified health care practitioner before making changes to your current diet or before beginning any herbal or vitamin supplement regimen or exercise program.
So, we are slowly getting all of the tests done that I need. We have the bulk of the lab work done and back. The last thing I need to do is get the adrenal test completed and mailed back. That’s all on me since I’m doing the saliva test (which sounds ridiculously complicated as I read and re-read the instructions). I plan on doing that test on Monday, so I can stick it in the mail on Tuesday.
As I expected, I have Hashimoto’s disease, which is an autoimmune thyroid disease. We got that blood work back and my antibodies are off the charts. I don’t know why my gut told me that’s what I should expect, but I did. Does it sound weird that I was almost excited to see that diagnosis? Finally, I can put a name to what’s wrong with me. And, I can better understand what I need to do moving forward.
According to the Stop the Thyroid Madness website, which is an amazingly awesome resource if you are suffering from any sort of thyroid disorder, Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis is:
an autoimmune thyroid disease based on a dysfunctional immune system in which your thyroid is being attacked by your immune system via antibodies, attempting to destroy your gland as if it’s some vile enemy. It may start out silently, but the attack will eventually cause an inflammation and gradual destruction of your thyroid gland and can go on for years with miserable side effects to match. It can also cause nodules or lumps. It may be the most common thyroid disease, especially with women. Gut problems can go along with Hashimotos disease, and should be addressed.
They hit the nail on the head with that last sentence. Gut problems should be addressed.
Because this is an autoimmune disease, that means that my immune system is out of whack, which also means that my gut health is out of whack. Since true health begins in the gut, that is one of the first lines of defense when it comes to treating Hashimoto’s, or any autoimmune disease, for that matter.
Working on the Gut
Thankfully, I am already off to a good start on this gut healing journey, since I started on the Blood Sugar Control Challenge with my Nutritional Therapist, Lydia from Divine Health, back on August 1st. Making the necessary changes to my diet in order to treat Hashimoto’s wasn’t any problem, because I had already done pretty much everything I needed to do! On August 1st, I eliminated:
- Gluten (gluten is directly tied to Hashimoto’s)
- Dairy (dairy is often tied directly to Hashimoto’s if there is a casein allergy)
And, I started eating a lower-carb diet.
Oh no! There’s that dreaded word again. Please, for the love of all things holy, don’t start in on an anti-low carb tirade on me, OK? Please? Thanks!
I feel better when I’m low-carb. And, this is nothing new to me. I have known this for many years, but honestly, I was not diligent enough to stick with it — I do love my baked goodies and sweets. Well now, I don’t have a choice. I am eating lots of healthy meats, fats, and vegetables. I get my carbs from my veggies, my fermented drinks (like water kefir and kombucha), this awesome coconut bread, some soaked nuts and seeds, lots of coconut milk, and the occasional bowl of berries topped with tons of coconut oil and coconut milk. That is a decadent treat in my book!
But, I’m digressing, as I have a tendency to do.
Now that we know what’s wrong with me — autoimmune disease — we can now figure out a plan to rebuild my immune system and get things under control. I am working with a team of professionals and I feel pretty damn lucky. I’ve got an MD who I can see and get lab work done and he can get most of it covered by insurance. He is mainly focused on blood sugar and weight loss. I don’t feel like I can get much thyroid and adrenal support from him, which is why I have also started working with a Naturopathic Doctor (ND) who specializes in thyroid disorders. In addition to those two doctors, I am working with my amazing Nutritional Therapist, Lydia. Between the three of them, I am feeling like I’m in good hands. Plus, I am doing SOOOOOOOO much independent research, it’s not even funny.
I have to do this little shout-out here. I have this amazing, amazing, AMAZING local friend, Lori, who is consistently helping me. She is such a wealth of knowledge. Do you ever feel like people are brought into your life at a specific time for a specific reason? Well, that is how I feel about Lori. She is probably one of the main reasons that I am finally getting the confidence to deal with all of this. In reality, I haven’t know Lori very long — only since late Spring of this year. But, in all honesty, I feel like I’ve known her for years. I seriously would not be in the place I am right now without her inspiring me. And I hope she reads this so that she can see just how much I appreciate, and rely on, our friendship. 🙂 ?
And, there I go again … digressing.
In regards to how we’re treating my recent diagnosis, these are the things we’re working on now. These are our first steps, so to speak:
- We’ve eliminated the most common allergens (gluten, dairy, legumes, grains).
- We’re working on aiding digestion, by adding regular bone broth and gelatin, fermented vegetables and beverages, as well as some hydochloric acid. Read this great post on hydrochloric acid from Divine Health.
- We’ve upped my coconut oil intake from 4-6 tbsp. per day to a whopping 8-12 tbsp. per day! Whew! That’s a lot of coconut oil! Coconut oil is great for thyroid health, metabolism, and a host of other things.
- I’m working on getting enough quality sleep — in bed by 10pm at the latest. I’m striving for 9pm to 9:30pm most nights.
- I’m making sure to get regular exercise in, which in my case is walking, yoga, and body weight strength training. Nothing crazy and strenuous, considering that could burn my adrenals out even more.
- I’ll be starting on a new high-quality multi-vitamin, recommended by Lydia in this post, for some overall wellness support.
- Managing my blood sugar. Remember how I spoke about blood sugar a couple weeks ago? Remember how I told you that according to that glucose tolerance test that the MD made me do, I was Type II diabetic? Well, I have a blood glucose monitor that I have been using for the last week at home. I’ve been taking my readings when I wake up (fasting), 15 minutes before breakfast, 2 hours after breakfast, 15 minutes before lunch, 2 hours after lunch, 15 minutes before dinner, and 2 hours after dinner. My readings are all in the normal range. So, I just need to keep doing what I’m doing. And, it proves that the glucose tolerance tests are not a good gauge of someone’s blood sugar health. Lydia told me that from the very start of all of this, long before I had the test done.
The one thing I still need to work on is setting aside more time for me. I really need to assess all the things I need to do each week and stay focused so that I can reduce stress, as well as reduce the amount of time I am in front of the computer. Focus is often hard for me, because I suffer from brain fog. That is one symptom that I really notice about the thyroid issue. I need to find more time for me to disconnect, relax, meditate, and all those other wonderful things that happen when we’re not tied to our computers! If someone wants to book me a trip here, that would be rad. —>
Also, once we get the results back from my adrenal test, we can better figure out how we need to best support my adrenals and thyroid. I’ll discuss that stuff in a separate post.
There is SO much more that I want to write, but this post is already way longer than I expected and I’m tired! I’m going to wrap things up here, but I want to hear from you. Do you have Hashimoto’s? How are you treating it? I love hearing your stories and experiences and there is always something new for me to learn from you, so please share below (if you’re comfortable of course).
Want to read about my journey so far? Check out these posts:
Let’s Get Personal: Simplyfying Life, Facing Adrenal Fatigue, and Taking a Stand for My Thyroid
Let’s Get Personal: Why Start Now?
Let’s Get Personal: Getting My Ducks in a Row
Health Journey Update – 8/18/15
Here are a few videos of my current progress. To see even more up-to-date info on my personal health journey, check out my YouTube channel here.
Support Your Stress Response, Adrenals, Thyroid, and Whole Body Through Herbs
When it comes to supporting overall wellness, herbs are a great tool to have in your toolkit, especially those who may be dealing with chronic illness of some type. Since 2009, when I started this site, I have met thousands upon thousands of people through my work and by far, the #1 health complaints are:
- adrenal fatigue (or adrenal dysfunction of some sort) (click here to read all of my adrenal health articles)
- thyroid disorders (hypo-, hyper-, or autoimmune) (click here to read all of my thyroid health articles)
Because of this, I wanted to add in a section into this post about the benefit of using herbs with chronic illness. Adaptogens are by far one of the most used herbs when it comes to working with people who have low energy, fatigue, and overall imbalance in the endocrine system (thyroid, adrenals, and blood sugar).
While the benefits of adaptogenic herbs extend far beyond just supporting that one system, this tends to be one of the main reasons people turn to adaptogenic herbs in the first place. That said there are a lot of other herbs out there that offer amazing support for the body, especially those dealing with chronic illness which is why I wanted to share this section today.
If you are dealing with any type of chronic illness, I’m sorry to break it to you, but caffeine may not be your best friend. 🙁 While you can find lots of info online in both the pro- and the anti-coffee camps, the fact of the matter comes down to the fact that are a lot of people dealing with chronic illness, especially thyroid and adrenal problems, that simply cannot tolerate coffee and caffeine.
While those with sluggish adrenal glands tend to feel run down and in need of a regular pick-me-up (like coffee and other caffeinated beverages), in the long run, caffeine can do more harm than good while you are healing. I go into the “whys” around caffeine and your adrenals in this detailed post here. In addition to the caffeine, there are other constituents, molds, and mycotoxins that can show up in coffee that some people find they react to and can further exacerbate the toxic load on the body.
When I was diagnosed with autoimmune disease and adrenal fatigue, one of the first things that had to go was coffee. In addition to dealing with these issues, we suspected that I was having some detox pathway sluggishness so we wanted to also focus on supporting the liver and lymph systems. Most people who are dealing with chronic illness are also going to have issues with detoxification of the body, which is why herbs can play such an important role.
To be honest, I never drank coffee because of the caffeine. I drank coffee for the taste and aroma, as well as the emotional experience I felt to my morning cup of joe. For me, it was a ritual that I looked forward to every day (and sometimes multiple times a day). Whether I was brewing it at home or going to my local coffee shops, the experience was one that I clung to tightly.
But, when I was faced with new health struggles, I knew I had to do whatever I could to support my body and give it the tools it needed to heal. Giving up coffee and caffeine was one step in this direction.
And it sucked.
I turned to the coffee substitutes on the market in a desperate attempt to recreate the ritual I had grown so fond of, but nothing ever tasted the way I wanted it to. Nothing ever gave me that same experience that my cup of “real” coffee did. I knew there had to be something better, but I simply could not find it on my health food store’s shelves.
Necessity is the mother of invention so that is why I created my own coffee substitutes. They were made with organic, sustainably harvested herbs with zero grains, zero gluten, and zero caffeine. Just herbs.
Herbs that not only tasted delicious but supported my body’s function, like liver detox, bile production, digestion, etc. All of the herbs used in my “coffee” blends have been used for thousands of years to support the body’s normal functions and help everything work a little better — something we all need in today’s toxic world! (psst, dandelion is one of the herbs!)
When it came to creating these blends, if I could get something to not only tasted amazing (and helped me recreate my dearly loved ritual), but also did amazingly supportive things for my body, then it’s a no brainer!
I sold these pre-made blends on Etsy for awhile and the demand was more than I could keep up with. People literally LOVED these blends and were stunned at how much like coffee they actually tasted. Customers who had been dealing with a variety of chronic illnesses had given up coffee to heal their bodies, but like me were deeply missing their morning cup of joe ritual.
After careful consideration and work with some highly experienced advisors, I decided to stop selling the pre-made blends and instead share my proprietary recipes in the form of an eBook. That way I could arm people with the knowledge and recipes they needed to make their own caffeine-free, gluten-free, grain-free blends in the comfort of their own home.
That is why I created the best-selling DIY Herbal Coffees eBook: A Complete Guide To Making Delicious Herbal Coffees to Support Healing & Stress Relief.
Now in its second edition, this ebook features:
- All of my proprietary herbal blend recipes to you can craft a homemade herbal cup of “coffee” at home.
- A ton of researched information about coffee’s impact on the health of those dealing with issues like adrenal fatigue, blood sugar dysregulation, autoimmune disease, thyroid disease, and any other chronic illness.
- Information about all of the herbs used, why I selected them, how to source them, how to prepare and store you “coffees”, and much more.
- Access to your own personal coffee shop where I show you how to recreate your favorite coffee shop drinks and pastries with wholesome, nourishing real food ingredients. No junk here. Only real food.
This book truly is a comprehensive guide to supporting your health, reducing your stress, and bringing a little something special back into your healing journey. You can learn more and download your own copy of this revolutionary wellness guide here, or simply click on the image below.