Saturday, July 16, 2016

Look closer, doc. Can you see my swollen thyroid...?

There are a million blogs and websites out there devoted to the health of your thyroid, so don't worry, I won't get all deep into this. You've probably read it all before, and if you haven't, just google the word: hypothyroidism. There is no shortage of information.

In a nutshell, if you are:

  • gaining weight
  • sluggish, fatigued
  • constipated
  • really sensitive to the cold or have cold hands or feet
  • losing hair (even the outer thirds of your eyebrows)
  • developing dry skin, etc.

...well, you might be a redneck. No, no, no. Wait, I got that wrong. What I meant to say is: you might be hypothyroid. That's the kind where you've got low levels of thyroid hormone. The way I remember it is hypo=low.

Sounds like all of us, doesn't it?

But most people go to the doctor thinking it's their thyroid, and doc says the levels are normal.

Some experts think doctors are measuring the wrong things anyway, and people can have thyroid issues that don't show up on standard tests.

I have friends going from doctor to doctor, determined they're going to be told it's their thyroid, desperate for a diagnosis, hoping that a few doses of thyroid medication are going to change their lives. I'm not doing that. I've just assumed my thyroid is not functioning properly. I have too many of the symptoms, and with everything else broken in my body after years of self-abuse, we can assume my thryoid is probably not working optimally. Yours either.

Besides, I don't really trust synthetic thyroid medications. If my thyroid is broken, I'm going to research the best way to heal it naturally.

Sometimes people are uncertain if they have adrenal fatigue or hypothyroidism, but adrenal fatigue can bring on hypothyroidism, so you might have both. Both adrenal fatigue and hypothyroidism also contribute to insulin problems and the development of diabetes. It's all connected to your sick liver and possibly estrogen dominance issues. And all of this, combined, ravages your immune system and sets your body up for things like cancer.

And it all can start with lack of sleep, stress (mental and physical) and ingesting the wrong things (too much alcohol, wrong foods, drugs, exposure to food plastics and environmental toxins, etc.)

All this stuff is connected that we've been talking about in the blog. Most of us are fat, sluggish and unhealthy--or getting there fast. And it's not just about "eating too much." The hormones and pesticides and antibiotics in our food are interrupting the homeostatis in our bodies. The phytoestrogens and chemicals in plastics and canned food linings leaching into our foods are disrupting our endocrine systems. Our medications are making it worse instead of healing us. The water we drink and the air we breathe might be poisoning us. Our perfume might be making us sick. Our high-sugar/bad-fat eating is catastrophic to our health. And overeating just makes it worse. And if on top of all this you smoke or take drugs, you can't possibly be feeling good.

The question for me then becomes not "Is it broken?" but instead "How do I fix it, assuming it's probably broken?"

I don't know how many of you already read my blog post Sometimes you just need a miracle..., but if you did, you understand how sometimes in my life (and your too probably if you're paying attention) God just intervenes. It never fails that God just fixes something miraculously or points the way when I'm lost and can't seem to fix it.

Thyroid issues weren't even in my line of vision until God intervened. I had a friend who kept talking about thyroid issues. Multiple friends actually. But to my mind, the thyroid thing was their issue. It never occurred to me it might be one of my issues. But in the space of about a week, everything that I encountered--whether online, in conversations, at the grocery store, on billboards, everywhere I looked--it had something to do with thyroid issues. In the same time period, everywhere I looked, I kept seeing this word: ashwaganda.

Finally, one night, I was on the phone with one of my hypothyroid friends and she was talking about her thyroid and I checked an old email account I never looked at and randomly opened a health blog email and it said in big letters "ASHWAGANDA FOR YOUR THYROID" and I thought: how weird. She's talking about her thyroid and I randomly opened that email while talking to her. So I forwarded it to her thinking maybe I'd helped her solve her thyroid issue.

But the words thyroid and ashwaganda still kept popping up everywhere. Ohhhh. That's when it began to occur to me that it might be one of my issues too. Was God trying to tell me something? So I read up on the symptoms and they fit me like a glove.

That same week I had a first-time appointment with a new electrolysis-practitioner and of course she started talking about what? You guessed it. Her thyroid. And she mentioned how the outer thirds of my eyebrows were disappearing and that I might ought to have my thyroid tested.

I wasn't about to start the harrowing process of thyroid-testing my friends were all struggling with. I don't need to convince a doctor my thyroid is probably off. It's pretty obvious to me and that's enough.

So I ordered some ashwaganda in a tincture form and started squirting some under my tongue 3 times a day. It's an adaptogen good for all kinds of things that ail us, so it can't hurt. I got it for ten bucks from a great supplier and the little bottle lasts forever.

But the main reason I take it is because I think it was God telling me to do so. That may sound crazy, but you know what? After I ordered the stuff, suddenly I stopped seeing the words thyroid and ashwaganda everywhere.

We all hear from God in different ways, but I think we all kinda have a knowing when it's God trying to tell us something. Now, if it's something off the wall like SHOOT UP THAT ELEMENTARY SCHOOL then do not trust your God-voice. But if it's telling you something that makes a lot of sense and sounds like something God would say, I always go with it. Just in case it's God.

Now, God didn't tell me ashwaganda is right for you, but pray about it. He might lead you to something entirely different that will work with your particular set of issues. Pay attention to your God-voice is what I'm saying, and if you believe you have thyroid issues, try ashwaganda. It can't hurt. As with all supplements, only buy ashwaganda from a supplier you trust and have had good experiences with. If you have a good source, share it with us. If you have stories about how ashwaganda has helped you (or hurt you) share those too. I'd really be interested to learn more about it.

Here's a link to the ashwagandha I bought. I chose it just because I like the supplier on other products I'd bought and it was pretty affordable. It's $11.95 for a bottle of the tincture, but if I get 4 of them at a time, I get $1 off each bottle. The first time you order, put a note in the comments section and tell them you want 10% off your first order as a new customer. They don't have a code for it but they will do it if you ask. They don't have a referral program to help you earn more products, but I really like their stuff. But there are a million sources of ashwagandha out there.

Anything else you've tried that's been good for your thyroid condition, let us know.

While you're at it, get some grass-fed liver and choke it down. I hate liver so it's one of the few things I'm allowed to deep-fry. I slice it thinly, dredge it in my gluten-free flour and fry it up in avocado oil. Then I dip it in lots of ketchup. Hey, it gets it down. And some grass-fed ORGANIC liver every now and then is worth going to all that trouble. It was one of our ancestors' most prized foods and it's supposed to be really good for hypothyroids. Get the good stuff, always organic, cause the last thing you need to eat is some toxin-filled liver from a cow raised in a polluted area or fed unhealthy pesticide-soaked grains. I order my grassfed liver from a local gal that I know raises her cows right. I can just go pick it up, but she mails it out on dry ice. It's less than ten bucks for a liver. Try it with some fava beans and a nice chianti.

You should cut it up in pieces and wrap it separately so you can defrost one section at a time and eat a bit of it here and there. Do 1/4 of the liver just four times a year. That's better than you're doing now. Here's a link to grassfed liver from Leslie's farm you can be sure is pure:

Virginia's Soul Shine Farm Grass-Fed Liver by Mail Order

What else is good for hypothyroids?

Selenium deficiency has been linked to hypothyroid so eat a raw brazil nut every day. Really. It's a good habit to get into. I keep a nut jar on my counter and I eat one or two a day. Just one ounce has 10 times the RDA, so you don't need much. Eating too many brazil nuts can actually kill you, did you know that? Never eat more than 10 a day.

Sunflower seeds and pasture-raised eggs are other good sources. Use raw nuts and eggs for optimum selenium absorption. High heat and processing can destroy selenium, which is why most of us are deficient because we live on cooked and processed foods.

If you think you might have estrogen dominance, get plastics out of your life (especially where plastics are connecting with your hot food sources).

And eat lots of carrots. Since estrogen-dominance is linked with hypothyroid and plastics increase phytoestrogens in our bodies, it's helpful to know that carrot fiber binds with estrogen in our intestines and carries it out of our bodies. That's why I freeze my carrot fiber after I juice carrots and add it back into my gluten-free breakfast muffins. Until you get as neurotic and Virgo as me and start juicing carrots and freezing and repurposing your carrot pulp, just eat a couple raw carrots every day. Keep it simple. Try them with my go-to dressing as a dip.

Also, some people think butyric acid/butyrate is crucial for thyroid hormone uptake (and revved-up metabolism and weight loss). You can take butyrate supplements, but some people think it's not effective like it would be in a food source. Raw butter is a good source, but how many people have access to raw butter. Commercial butter is not very good for you. Full of hormones, not grass fed. The best option I've found--for lots of different reasons we won't go into here--is Pecorino romano. I get my CLA and my butyric acid from this little wedge of powerful cheese-miracle.

If you think you might be iodine-deficient, you can eat some kombu or buy a kelp supplement.

Or maybe try Weston's Price's fermented cod liver oil/butter oil supplement. It's weird but I've been hearing some amazing things about it. Cod liver oil has iodine, but seems it should be fermented if you're going to take it. The butter oil has butyrate. Here's a link if you want to try this weird thing: Weston Price recommended Fermented Cod Liver Oil and Butter Oil.

Send me your tips for healing your hypothyroid condition and I'll do a future post with all your suggestions. Email your thoughts to:

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