Sunday, May 20, 2012

The Paleo Diet with a Hashimoto's Twist

It sounds like a dessert, doesn't it? Or an alcoholic beverage. Both of which I am not allowed. My anti-autoimmune diet is actually the Paleo (Caveman) Diet with a few tweaks. The basic principles are eating what cavemen and cavewomen ate back before we started processing foods beyond recognition: meats, plants and plant products in their most natural forms.

Can't Eat This

What I can eat:

organic beef, chicken, turkey, lamb and fish

most vegetables

fruits, medium to low glycemic value

most herbs and spices

raw nuts, nut butters

olive oil

coconut oil, coconut milk, coconut anything

water, herbal tea

Can't Eat This

The protocol starts with the GAPS diet which is used to heal leaky gut so you are able to digest foods efficiently after you rid yourself of gluten. It's pretty much the same as the Paleo Diet only with a few extra restrictions, for instance, no nuts or any food normally difficult to digest and no eggs as most people have allergies to eggs.

If you would like more details on guidelines and rules:

Can't Eat This
Since I had been partially gluten-free for the past year, I had some practice. Getting strict meant really paying attention to everything I ate and reading the small print on labels. Realizing gluten is in nearly anything processed or canned was an eye-opener. It is hidden in foods like like canned tuna fish (for flavoring), chili powder (it's the anti-caking agent), and some vinegars (made with wheat or as added flavoring). Anything sweetened with barley malt has gluten. Vitamin E is made with gluten so lotions, deodorants, Chapstick, make-up and soaps with Vitamin E are restricted. No matter how many chemicals are in these products, manufacturers think if they put Vitamin E on the label it makes it healthy and more marketable. We are a vitamin addicted people.

I had been trying to reduce my meat intake for a long time in attempt to be healthier and in hopes of reducing our society's dependence on factory farming so I had to re-learn how to cook and eat meat which is amazingly time consuming. Just conditioning myself to remember to take a piece of frozen meat out of the freeze so it would be ready to prepare was hard enough! One of the requirements is to eat protein every two hours so I was spending an extraordinary amount of time planning and preparing meals. I am a prime example of the "fast food generation." We like our food FAST! Sometimes I'd rather not eat than have to take the time to chop up a whole chicken.

I also realized how dependent I was on "filler" foods: pasta, rice, and bread. It's cheap to pack your meat and vegetable dishes with these items as it makes dishes more filling so they go further which also saves money. By eating meat and vegetables, I was HUNGRY most of the time! Well, not hungry, just unsatisfied. And meat is expensive!

Can't Eat This

At first I cheated with dried fruits and bananas, but only because I had to order Kharrazian's book which took a while to get and I didn't quite understand the difference between the Paleo Diet and the Paleo Diet with the Hashimoto's Twist. Giving up sweeteners was difficult and I didn't understand what was high-glycemic and what wasn't so the dried fruits and bananas stayed for too long to compensate for the missing sweets. Other than this glitch, I tackled gluten- sweetener- and dairy-free restrictions with inhuman willpower. Surprising, I know. I can only blame it on desperation.

At about the fourth month, I noticed I was crashing too much. Going without food for too long is not advised. I started experiencing lots of hypoglycemic-type symptoms that I never had before. I decided to add yogurt and rice to the diet, but limited, and I felt much better. I also greatly reduced the dried fruit and stopped eating bananas. I read in the book if you do eat high-glycemic fruits, eat them with protein. I'm learning.

I'm now on the seventh month...with NO weight loss. What!!!? It's a mystery. How can someone give up cookies, cakes, pies, pancakes, butter, jam, potatoes and sour cream and NOT lose weight? I also don't feel less fatigued or exhausted, and at this point I'm thinking the fatigue might be caused by something else. Some information I've come across claims this diet takes up to two years to see a difference. What happened to six months?!

Can't Eat This

I'm not discouraged yet. I did have blood labs redone and my cholesterol has dropped (hooray!), my thyroid levels have increased (this is good - it means the thyroid is working), the TSH has decreased (again, good), but my antibodies have slightly increased although still relatively low. I don't have a clue what is causing the antibodies to increase, but the rest of it is good news. My digestion is wonderful and no more cracked heels, so I am seeing some improvement although not the improvement I expected. I had hoped after six months I'd be bursting with energy. Running marathons, or at least able to ride my bike down the road.

I was also told by current "health care supervisor" (who is actually an acupuncturist who has trained with Kharrazian in nutrition) whatever I decide to do about the diet, DON'T go back to eating gluten. No one should eat gluten. That's fine. Yeah, I miss pie, cake and cookies, but I really don't need to eat any of that stuff and it's not like I'm craving those things. (I did, however, find a gluten-free cupcake the other day that I've been dreaming about.) Based on everything I've been reading, I'm actually afraid to eat gluten now.

Recently I found out I might have Leiden Thrombosis or Factor Five Blood or extra thick blood a condition that does run in my family.  Oddly enough, Paleo diet foods are also blood thinning foods. Coincidental? Hmmm...makes me wonder if there is a connection.


  1. Tasty pictures! Thanks for sharing your diet! I'd be interested in a "typical day" of meals for you.

    1. Hmmm...interesting idea. I will keep a bit of a log and post what I eat. :)

  2. Thanks for the post, found it while searching for hashimoto's folks who are paleo but havent lost massive amounts of weight (cuz everyone else seems to!). I've lost about 15lbs in a year of being Paleo, which seems dismal for what I need to do and what the rest of the paleo community achieves. Anyway, keep posting and thanks for sharing!

    1. I read somewhere, maybe on the Kharrazian website, that if you aren't losing weight to add more coconut oil to your diet. I think it was 1 tablespoon more - eat it plain. I tried this but it was kind of gross. I think my problem is I just eat too much. I feel unsatisfied so I'll eat A LOT of meat. I should watch my portion control more.

      But hey, losing 15 lbs in a year - that's actually really excellent. Slow, but steady, which means you have made a lifestyle change and not just some fad diet. I know if you lose weight too fast, it often comes right back if you change your diet even slightly. BUT I also understand with all the yummy foods we are sacrificing, we should be losing mega amounts!!!

      Thanks for reading!

  3. HI there, glad to have found your blog! I have celiac disease, hashimotos, and factor v leiden deficiency (also runs in my family). I have been on an autoimmune paleo diet with great success. Whenever I go back to foods not on the list I always regret! :)


    1. Hi Mickey!

      I'm not sure if I wrote this anywhere but all my brothers have been diagnosed with factor v so there's a good chance I also have the genes. A question I had for my doctor is why are the diets for Hashimoto's and factor v the same? What is the connection? He didn't know. Do you have any idea? Are they related?

      I'm doing well on the Paleo diet although I do cheat if I do the Paleo/Hashimoto's diet. Recently I've been eating potatoes. Don't seem to have any problems with them. The only things I don't cheat with is gluten and chocolate.

      It's a constant experiment!

  4. Have you seen A lot of patients have learned that autoimmune disorders can stress other systems, and sometimes there are other things that have to be treated, like adrenal fatigue or deficiencies. Check out the website! Lots of good information there, and on their Facebook page.