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PaleO-MG Shut Up About It

Remember as a kid when you could eat whatever you wanted and never worry about the health ramifications? I guess if you have a peanut allergy or something, that doesn’t really apply to you…but you know what I mean. Those were the days….

After 24 years of eating and living how I wanted, I discovered in 2009 that I have an underactive thyroid condition, better known as Hypothyroidism. To my great disappointment- this malady does not give me any superpowers. It’s quite the opposite actually; unless falling asleep on command can get me a cape and a cool disguise. Being exhausted is how I found out I have Hypothyroidism; I was uncontrollably tired all of the time. I would literally be driving down the highway and fall asleep at the wheel. Doctors kept trying to tell me it was depression until finally someone tested my thyroid and saw that the numbers were very low. They immediately put me on Synthroid (a thyroid hormone replacement) and I eventually started to feel better.

I stayed on a fairly consistent dosage for almost six years until I became pregnant with my second daughter. All throughout my first pregnancy, the doctors never changed my dosage. With Leya, however, they almost tripled it during my pregnancy. After I gave birth, they didn’t bother checking my levels again for over six months. During this time, I was taking WAY too much of the supplement and it was causing me to have heart palpitations, anxiety, insomnia and serious “brain fog”. Even after they leveled out my dosage, I was still feeling some of those symptoms.

I started reading up on Hypothyroidism and other treatment options; I mean, if I was going to be an insomniac, I might as well learn something. Every bit of information I found was completely contradictory. One site said Synthroid is the only safe option while others said Synthroid is the least safe option. Take prescriptions…no, don’t take prescriptions. Take all-natural supplements…no, don’t take all-natural supplements–unless you want a tumor the size of your fist on your thyroid gland. It gets exhausting wondering if you should trust all-natural remedies that don’t offer specific dosages or if you should trust an endocrinologist who gets paid by big pharmaceutical companies to push certain medicines. Too bad it’s not exhausting enough to help me get over my insomnia, right?

Back in April of this year I decided to change my diet entirely to see if that would help. I completely eliminated gluten, soy and dairy and pushed it a little further into the “paleo” zone and took out most starches as well (aside from the occasional sweet potatoes). So, I basically eat meats, fruits, vegetables and nuts. No, it’s not easy. Yes, it does suck at times. But it’s been worth it: I’ve felt a huge difference in my overall health and workout endurance, and the “brain fog” and anxiety have also reduced significantly.

As trendy and obnoxious as the paleo diet sounds, I can honestly say that I won’t go back to a “regular” diet after feeling the changes in my strength and energy. I’m not the type of person to enter a party and be like “Hi, I’m Sara. I eat paleo”, and I, too, laugh at the vegan and Crossfit type jokes (even though I do a lot of Crossfit style workouts myself). But if I believe something can help other people, I’ll spread the word just in case someone needs to hear it.

I don’t know how bread, pasta, potatoes and sugars affect people with normally functioning thyroids, but my body just does not seem to be able to process them. On my old “eat whatever, whenever” d I felt lethargic and, despite the diet’s name, was for some reason always hungry. At almost every meal, I would have a weird and relatively alarming issue where my food would get stuck right at the base of my throat (where the thyroid gland just happens to be) and I would feel like I was choking. I would have to walk around the room to try and get gravity to do its job until I would finally feel the food leave my throat and go down my esophagus. And sometimes I would just end up vomiting. Charming, right? I bet you can’t wait to come over for our next dinner party.

On my current diet I can workout harder and longer, my joints have stopped aching, I no longer choke at every meal and I have way more energy to chase the kids around. I still have a lot of work to do with leveling out my thyroid medication, but changing my diet was a huge step in the right direction!

I definitely have moments when I miss bread (sooo much), but I don’t miss how it made me feel. I’m all about the “treat yo-self” mentality, but not at the cost of my health. If you’ve been considering a diet change, I’d be happy to share my favorite (and most cost effective!) recipes, just shoot me a message! I’ll go ahead and share my absolute favorite breakfast bar recipe:

Mix all of these ingredients together, stick them in a 13×9 baking dish and heat it for about 15-20 minutes in a 350 degree oven:

1 cup of nut butter (I use sunflower butter; it’s a little bit cheaper than almond butter and tastes great!)

1 egg

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp vanilla

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/4 cup raw honey (use some from a local farm

for added health/allergy benefits!)

1 cup of unsweetened shredded coconut

1 cup chopped up mixed nuts (I use cashews, almonds, brazil nuts, pecans)

And you can even add in some dark chocolate chips if you’d like! (make sure they’re at least 70% cocoa to keep them on the healthier side)

It’s super delicious for breakfast and as a snack; I actually prefer it to muffins or danishes (or other sweet breakfast options)…and I have a HUGE sweet tooth. Like if it was a real thing and not just an expression, it’d be the size of my face.

Keep in mind, there is no one diet that works for everyone! Sometimes you have to try a few to see what works. Feel free to comment with any tips or personal experiences!

Also feel free to comment if you’d like to hire me to do party tricks for your next event. “And now here’s Sara with the swollen thyroid gland! Will her food go down or come back up?? Watch and see!” It’s no “Four-Legged Girl from Texas”, but my rates are cheap.


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