You aren’t just what you eat.
You are what your body can do with what you eat.
Written by Andrea Nakayama
You may think you know the answer.
Yet I can guarantee you that it’s different for you than it is for me.
Last year I got a good taste of why babies scream inconsolably. (At least the babies who have ear infections.)
While on vacation with my son in Hawaii, I contracted an ear infection that made the sides of my head hot, swollen and pierced with excruciating pain; pain that reverberated from deep within my inner ear canal to my dangling lobe and kept me up through the night, wanting to wail at the top of my lungs like a crying baby.
My ears were crying tears of their own, (but I’ll spare you those details). By the time the Kauai roosters crowed with the early morning sun, my jaw was clenched tight. I’d barely slept a wink.
(Yes) Hello Hashimoto’s.
There’s no need to feel sorry for me.
I was, after all, in Hawaii with my boy Gilbert. We make the trek to the island yearly to reconvene with the sand, sun, sometimes storms, and mostly to honor one of my late husband’s favorite places on earth.
And the good news is that through years of learning to tame my Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis I’ve also become accustomed to navigating and mitigating myriad symptoms, even when new to me. I can now add ear infection to the growing list (though itching ears is something I’m quite familiar with).
Hashimoto’s is not merely a thyroid disorder.
Instead it’s a summons to engage in a delicate dance, one that ultimately comes down to how we claim knowledge, awareness and care to manage our symptoms, sometimes varied and perplexing.
Hashimoto’s is a condition I’ve personally been wrestling with for years. In fact, I was attempting to untangle seemingly unrelated manifestations before I even knew I had it ~ held hostage in the confusion of the symptoms that seemed to plague me without rhyme or reason.
And I’m not alone.
Many people with Hashimoto’s are either diagnosed as hypothyroid or suspect they have a thyroid imbalance and yet their doctor tells them otherwise. It’s a crime, really. A loophole in our medical system in both the realms of diagnostics and treatment.
It took me years of probing, digging through books, literature and lectures, trialing different diets, nutrient protocols and medical theories, testing one “tried-and-true” method after another, seeing a number of doctors and naturopaths, to even determine the diagnosis that would explain what was happening to and with my body. And I’m a health practitioner myself!
It was like my body was a defiant child, acting of its own accord, disregarding all my efforts and intentions.
My next step was and is a continual journey to learn to regulate some level of healthy balance, one that can be made unstable with poor (for me) food choices, air travel or too much stress, (or apparently crowded bodies of water teaming with teenagers on the heels of a big canoe race after the tiniest exposure to a food sensitivity).
Hashimoto’s is not merely a thyroid disorder. Instead it’s a condition where the immune system is out of control, attacking itself instead of a foreigner.
Hashimoto’s is just the expression of the condition, not the root cause. The roots of Hashimoto’s can be linked back to your digestive function, your adrenal reserves, your genetic propensity and more.
The truth is that you can learn to manage your symptoms just as I have, waltzing with the seeming lack of logic as it arises, with a greater wealth of knowledge, awareness and care held right in your back pocket.
While the answers to your woes may not come from your doctor or your thyroid hormone, you can still liberate yourself from the confines of standard prescriptions and regain influence on your Hashimoto’s health care just as I have.
As a functional nutritionist, I’m not only committed to addressing unique root causes through diet, lifestyle and nutrition, but also, and perhaps most critically, committed to giving you back the keys to the ignition, so that the quest for health is not a perpetual pursuit for the right pill, protocol, or practitioner.
Hashimoto’s is not merely a thyroid disorder. It’s your health. Your care.
Though the ear infection made me cry like a baby, it did not consume my travels or my memories. I returned from that trip savoring the enchantment of our mother-son bond and the allure of the tropical islands.
I’d like to invite you to learn to manage your Hashimoto’s (or health woes) so they do not consume you. It’s an art, really. And I trust that you have the creativity and passion to take that step forward for yourself.
Andrea is a functional nutritionist and the founder of Replenish PDX and Holistic Nutrition Lab. Based on her personal experience with Hashimoto’s, she helps women manage the ill effects of Hashimoto’s through a deeper understanding of their physiology and a strong commitment to self-care. Andrea is the co-author of Living Candida-Free with chef and blogger Ricki Heller. Andrea is the co-author of Living Candida-Free with chef and blogger Ricki Heller.