If you want to continue feeling sick, then continue eating the Standard American Diet (SAD). If you want to feel better and you have autoimmune Hashimoto’s, you’ll need to say a permanent goodbye to gluten. Someone emailed recently saying she had Hashimoto’s and wasn’t feeling better even though she was 90 percent gluten-free. When you have Hashimoto’s that’s like being 90 percent pregnant, you need to commit to a 100 percent gluten-free diet, which, thanks to an exploding gluten-free market, is getting easier every day.
Removing gluten is a vital first step if you have Hashimoto’s. Even if you don’t have Hashimoto’s, chances are removing this ubiquitous toxin from your diet will help you greatly. Numerous studies from several countries show a strong link between gluten intolerance and Hashimoto’s. When immune antibodies tag gluten for removal from the bloodstream, where it landed thanks to a leaky gut, this stimulates production of antibodies against the thyroid gland as well. In other words, every time you eat gluten, your immune system launches an attack not only against gluten but also against the thyroid gland. This immune response to gluten can last up to six months each time it’s ingested. It’s just not worth it. Also, as I continue my research and practice in neurology, I never cease to be amazed at how profoundly one’s brain health, a concern for all those struggling with hypothyroidism, can be impacted by removing gluten from the diet.
Making drastic dietary changes takes a re-education, negotiating meal times with your family, and a sorrowful goodbye to some old favorites. Many people balk at the idea of giving up gluten because they cannot imagine life without toast or delivered pizza. However once they take the plunge, they also realize it’s not nearly as hard as they thought it would be. More limited diets, such as the monosaccharide diet, can mean even more severe changes to your lifestyle and your pantry. So what keeps people going? The huge benefits they reap. If compliance is an issue, you may benefit from an online or in-person support group, hypnotherapy, counseling, or some other method to motivate you to stick to your diet and better your health. You’re worth it.
It can be difficult to stick to a thyroid-healthy diet when practically every television commercial, every billboard, and every person around you is tempting you with starchy, processed junk foods. But when people complain they want to eat like a normal person, I say fine, then you will be sick like a normal person.
Datis Kharrazian, PhD, DHSc, DC, MS, MMSc, FACN, is a clinical research scientist, academic professor, and a functional medicine health care provider. He specializes in developing evidence-based models to treat autoimmune, neurological, and unidentified chronic diseases using non-pharmaceutical applications such as diet, nutrition, and lifestyle medicine.