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THYROID DIET QUICK START GUIDE
By: Izabella Wentz, PharmD, FASCP
GLUTEN FREE BASICS
Why go gluten free?
There is a strong connection between gluten reactions and the thyroid. Some people will be able to completely put their conditions into remission by going gluten-free, while others may need to dig a bit deeper. The majority will feel exponentially better!
Celiac disease often co-occurs with other autoimmune disorders, including lupus, Addison's disease, and Hashimoto's. Some new research suggests that everyone with an autoimmune condition has gluten sensitivity that is not always Celiac mediated. Everyone with Hashimoto's should eliminate gluten for two weeks to see if they see an improvement in symptoms. So what is Celiac disease, gluten sensitivity, and how does it relate to Hashimoto's?
Celiac disease is an autoimmune condition, where eating gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley and rye causes the body to attack the lining of the small intestine.
The attack on the intestines destroys the villi, which are delicate hair-like projections that cover the intestines and help to digest and absorb nutrients from food.
This damage of the villi causes the person with celiac/gluten intolerance to become malnourished, no matter how much food he or she eats, because the body is not able to absorb the nutrients from the food that is consumed, as the villi also contain enzymes that help us digest our food.
Celiac disease has been called the "great imitator" as people with celiac disease will often have many symptoms that mimic those of other diseases, and the symptoms may vary from person to person. Some people may have terrible diarrhea, others constipation, nausea, vomiting, acid reflux, weight loss, easy bruising, anemia, depression, hair loss, infertility. This is why Celiac disease goes undiagnosed for so long, it is often mistaken for other issues. Left undetected, people with celiac are more likely to develop intestinal cancer.
The tests for celiac disease are also not perfect. The blood-screening test is very often negative in all but the most advanced cases. Additionally, traditional tests do not pick up gluten sensitivity, a newly described condition that can also contribute to autoimmunity. This is why eliminating gluten and other wheat containing products for at least three weeks, watching for improvement , and if unsure reintroducing to check for reactions, is the best and cheapest approach for most people.
The damage to the intestinal lining also causes increased intestinal permeability. This intestinal permeability "leaky gut", allows food particles to enter into the blood stream where they are recognized as foreign substances by the immune system, and the body launches an immune attack every time those food are eaten. This can make eating extremely difficult and unpleasant, causing symptoms that may include diarrhea, heartburn, upset stomach, pain, nerve tingling... the intestinal permeability has been linked to other autoimmune conditions, and people with celiac disease are at risk of developing those as well...especially if they don't change their diet.
A gluten free diet is necessary to heal the intestines and symptom resolution can be seen within 6 months to 2 year of following a strict gluten free diet. But healing takes time....and even a small amount of gluten can be a huge set-back. Other foods may also need to be eliminated during the healing process. Avoid
All things containing wheat, barley, rye. Unfortunately harder than it sounds, as many processed foods contain some form of gluten/wheat as a stabilizing agent.
Always check labels on salad dressings, marinades, all BBQ sauces, soups, etc.
Gluten must be completely avoided for healing and relief of symptoms, there is no such thing as partially gluten free.
May be seen within a few days for celiac patients, three months to two years for full healing. In those with gluten intolerance, improvement should be seen in two to three weeks, and healing within 6-8 weeks.
There is some preliminary evidence that celiac, which is more severe, is permanent, while gluten intolerance may be reversible. Dairy
Some people may develop a secondary dairy intolerance due to the gluten induced damage to the gut.
If not experiencing full relief from the gluten free diet, dairy avoidance may be indicated for 3-6 months. Many people regain ability to tolerate dairy after 6 months, however some will need to avoid it indefinitely.
Goat dairy may be better tolerated in some cases. Camel milk is usually well tolerated. Soy
Many gluten free products, breads and cookies contain soy, which can be problematic for thyroid patients and worsen the autoimmune attack on the thyroid.
I believe that my thyroid condition became worse after eating soy containing gluten free products. My antibodies jumped! After 1 month off soy products, my anti-thyroid antibodies dropped form 800 to 380... Eating Out
Many restaurants have gluten free menus. But eating out can be hard as even GF restaurants can have contamination. Once exposed to a small amount of gluten, the person's body will react to it and person may have severe gastrointestinal symptoms. This may seem strange having had seemingly milder symptoms before, but when a body that make reactive cells to a food is no longer eating the food, the reactive cells build up and will result in a stronger reaction.
Some people with celiac may have profound damage to their intestinal villi and are not able to absorb certain nutrients. Nutrient supplementation will speed up the healing journey.
The following are especially important to thyroid health:
B12 (Methylcobalamin form works best), Folic Acid (Methylated form like Homocysteine factors), Ferritin/Iron (like Opti-Ferrin), Selenium and Vitamin D supplements are often necessary.
Supplements should be free of artificial additives, gluten and dairy. Even small amounts can be detrimental and interfere with absorption and deter healing.
Please visit Weleda Online for products.
So what can you eat?
Meat, meat, all kinds of meat, all vegetables, all fruit, nuts, seeds, eggs …
I urge you to eat a nutrient dense diet…
Don’t make the same mistake I did…
When I first when gluten free, I made the mistake of replacing my gluten filled junk food with GFJF (Gluten-Free Junk Food). While a step up from eating gluten, GFJF won’t get you very far on your healing journey.
I recommend using GF pancake mixes, cookies, cereals and breads only in the transition process if you have been eating the Standard American Diet. Most gluten free foods will spike up your blood sugar (taxing your adrenals which can weaken the thyroid) and may contain harmful ingredients like soy.
Nutrient dense diets like the Paleo, Body Ecology and Weston A Price diet are the best diets for humans.
Instead of Eat Pasta Spaghetti squash Cow -Milk Coconut milk Butter Coconut butter Bread Almond muffins
No more cereal, waffles, toast…then what do I eat for breakfast??
Day 1 Bacon (6-8 slices) Guacamole (avocado, garlic powder, tomatoes*, onions) Fermented Cabbage *avoid if nightshade sensitivity
Day 2 1 package of grass fed ground beef or turkey 2 zucchini’s carrots onions, broccoli, cauliflower or other veggies you like Stir fry until veggies and meat are cooked through for 10-15 minutes Hint: Make big batch and freeze in breakfast size packages
Day 3 Coconut milk Pea protein/hemp protein/chia seed protein as tolerated Not-goiterous veggies as tolerated (lettuce, celery, carrots) Lemon juice/lime juice Avocado for extra fat Put all ingredients in a blender and enjoy
Day 4 Put a small/med spaghetti or other squash in the slow cooker at bedtime Add diced pieces of beef, chicken or pork Add water and tablespoon of coconut oil Allow to cook on low overnight. Wake up to great smells in the morning J?
Leftovers from dinner also work as breakfast & lunch for the next day
Day 5 Butternut squash diced Ground beef/turkey/chicken Stir fry for 10 minutes in coconut oil Top with olive oil
Wishing you all the best on your journey- If you found this booklet helpful, you may also like my Hashimotos book.
Izabella Wentz, PharmD