Hashimoto’s warrior Micah Grzywnowicz from Craziness in the Kitchen discovered that thyroid medication was not enough to heal her condition. She also needed to change her lifestyle, including her eating habits.
Written by Micah Grzywnowicz, Craziness in the Kitchen
My name is Micah, I am a human rights advocate and I have Hashimoto’s. When I was diagnosed with it almost four years ago, I had no idea what it meant. It was this mysterious sounding disease that I was never supposed to get rid off. I was told to take a small pill every morning before breakfast and that I would be ok. I was also told that most probably each year I would have to raise my medication dose as my thyroid gland would deteriorate more and more. Happy news, isn’t it?
Little did I know back then that the thyroid is instrumental when it comes to your body operating properly. I had no idea that every single cell in my body needed thyroid hormones to work! Consequently, I had no idea that Hashimoto’s was actually a huge deal!
I remember that after I got back from the doctor, I cried. I cried mostly because I was not prepared to hear news like this. I was 27, I wasn’t supposed to be sick! Also, the visit to the doctor was not planned. Of course I felt horribly exhausted, stressed, I couldn’t lose weight, couldn’t digest properly, you name it! But my life at that time was very intense, full of training, activism, and studying so I just thought all of the symptoms were just a ‘normal’ part of my crazy life.
I remember it like it was yesterday…I was lying on an examination bed and as the doctor started to perform the ultrasound, I heard ‘Oh Oh’, followed by ‘Hashimoto’s’. You can just imagine what ran through my head when I heard a worried ‘oh oh’ and then a foreign sounding name of something that was apparently in my neck. The next day I was sent to do some blood work and it turned out that every possible result was up-side-down. My anti-bodies were all over the place going through the roof, they were so high. Pretty much, everything that could, was off. So the following morning I got my pills and that was it. I had to learn to live with them by my side and Hashimoto’s became my invisible f(r)iend who followed me everywhere I went.
I must admit, the pills did their job, I started to feel better right away, I started to lose weight, it did not take me 2 hours each morning to get up from my bed, and I began to be able to eat foods that I wasn’t able to digest, like beans and pepper, and red wine.
To cut the long story short, it seemed like an easy peasy success story. Hashimoto’s seemed like not-such-a-horrible-thing to have after all. My life went back to ‘normal’ and the only thing that was added to it was the pills stored in a very fancy rainbow box. It was only after three years, I realized that Hashimoto’s was not such a piece of cake after all.
I stumbled upon an article about Hashimoto’s and gluten… and my jaw dropped. The article said that eating gluten while having Hashimoto’s was like putting gasoline on a fire and even though one takes their meds, the attack on the thyroid gland does not stop. I looked up another article and another and I couldn’t stop reading. I remember how my adrenaline was rising. I became so angry that no one told me about this when I was diagnosed. No one told me that in order to even dream of making your condition better, one needed not only to take a pill but also change their life style, including eating habits! I panicked! I imagined my poor thyroid being constantly targeted even though I thought everything was under control. Then I took a deep breath and decided to take matters into my own hands and see what I could do to heal myself.
My awakening happened in the beginning of December 2013 when I had a short holiday break from my university. I started reading everything I could find online – I found amazing resources, including Hashimoto’s Healing, Hypothyroid Mom, Your Thyroid Pharmacist, and some awesome Facebook groups where people like me shared their stories. All I read was somewhat crazy because all of our experiences were so similar. We all faced incompetent doctors, we all were neglected and uninformed, we all seemed to be forced to do this alone with no support from the medical system. This is how I set off on my healing journey.
The more I read, the more angry I became. Gluten, dairy, and soy were the first things to remove when you have Hashimoto’s. Not thinking much, I cut out all three from my diet. It was quite overwhelming at the beginning but I was so determined to bring my body to balance that I did not care how much effort or adjustment it would take.
Chia Blueberry Pudding
Here comes one of the things I made for breakfast today Chia Blueberry Pudding which turned out to be delicious. The amazing thing about chia seeds is that they work with a variety of ingredients so you can play with your favorite seeds, fruit and milk when making your own version of it.
As I was in the process of changing my diet, I got myself a book that every person with Hashimoto’s should read – Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis: Lifestyle Interventions for Finding and Treating the Root Cause by Izabella Wentz, the Thyroid Pharmacist. Izabella describes her healing journey as a Hashimoto’s Warrior (I’m not a big fan of a word ‘patient’, it is somehow passive and being left to the mercy of a medical establishment which we with Hashimoto’s refuse to do). It includes tips about food, supplements, stress, etc. It helped me tremendously in my journey. I finally got answers to what was happening inside my body and what could help. I tried a lot of things suggested in the book, including diet changes and specific supplements like selenium, vitamin D3, B12, fish oil, and fermented foods. I also switched from my regular body lotion to coconut oil, and stopped using toothpaste with fluoride, or drinking tap water full of chloride. I also started to use coconut oil for cooking and baking as well as a lot of turmeric and cinnamon.
Et voilà Smoothie time! I think that was the best one I made so far! It was perfect after my work-out session!
Even if it is hard to believe, after less than two months, my body went all crazy! Crazy in a good way, it felt like my thyroid meds were too much and I was getting hyper. My heart was super fast, I lost a lot of weight very rapidly, I was very stressed and nervous. So I had my blood checked for TSH, T3, T4, TPO, and antiTG – I had to argue with my doctor to actually get all of them checked and that TSH was not enough! Sounds familiar, huh? But being a very stubborn and well-trained advocate I did not let my doctor dismiss my request, and I got all five hormones checked. I could not believe when I saw the results and compared them to my last ones! TSH was super low, my TPO dropped and my antiTG was in the range! It was working!
I got my thyroid meds lowered from 100mgr to 75mgr and I continued with my diet and supplements. When I told my doctor that I introduced all those changes, I heard in return that ‘no no, diet had nothing to do with it!’ Obviously!
After three months, I checked my blood again and my TPO went a bit down again! Everything else looked fine as well. I was so happy because I could see results and (!) I did it myself!
Red Lentils Breakfast Porridge
I came up with this dish when I realized that I had nothing for breakfast in my fridge! You may be familiar with a saying that ‘the need is a mother of all inventions’ and so this Red Lentils Breakfast Porridge really feels like it embodies it perfectly. it’s gluten free, dairy free, soy free, vegan (if we don’t count honey but one can add any other sweetener of choice), and yum!
As you know by now, food played a huge role in my healing journey. I’ve always loved cooking and being creative in the kitchen is the best thing ever! I was so inspired both by my healing and cooking that I decided to share my craziness in the kitchen with others and I opened a blog called just that “Craziness in the Kitchen”. This is where I write about my recipes, post pictures of my food and write about why specific food combinations are good for Hashimoto’s. I haven’t chosen any specific diet to follow but instead I pick and choose what works best for my body. Of course everything is gluten-, dairy-, and soy-free! I have been a human rights activist for the last seven years and so being able to share my healing journey and food ideas to inspire others feels amazing! If you follow this link: http://crazinessinthekitchen.tumblr.com you will be able to check out all my recipes and ideas. They are easy, fast and Hashimoto’s friendly!
I love everything coconut…coconut milk, coconut oil, shredded coconut, coconut cream, you name it! So I decided to make shrimp and broccoli sauce with rice noodles that I call Coconut heaven!
On top of this, I started to work out! This was quite a big deal for me as I never could make any muscle. I would work out and sweat and see no results. I guess my Hashimoto’s didn’t let any work-out actually work for me. But now, I can see results! First time in my entire life I can see muscles on my stomach and arms, which is incredible! I do a session of about 20min twice a week in my living room, so nothing crazy but it feels so good 🙂
As my healing journey continues I hope to be able to inspire others to take their health into their own hands and make real change in their bodies. We can do it!
About Micah Grzywnowicz
Hashimoto’s warrior Micah decided to open her blog Craziness in the Kitchen to let her inner crazy chef loose! She grew up in Poland watching her great-grandma cook for years. She cooks WITHOUT gluten, dairy, and soy. She also tries to keep carbs to a minimum. Micah decided not to focus on one specific diet type but pick and choose from a variety of styles in order to cater to what her body needs. Micah is also on Twitter @M_icah.