5 Things I Learned During My Battle with Hashimoto’s Disease

5 Things I Learning During My Battle with Hashimoto's Disease

When Carrie Vitt was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s disease, she was put on an elimination diet to cleanse her system that removed gluten and grains. Failing to find recipes that followed her strict diet guidelines and still were delicious, she began experimenting in her own kitchen. Through organic, unprocessed, grain-free foods Carrie has reversed Hashimoto’s, chronic migraines, IBS, and eczema.

Written by Carrie Vitt

Sometimes life takes a turn and you end up on a path you never expected or even imagined. That’s what happened to me. In 2008 I suddenly developed hives from the neck up that wouldn’t go away. My hair began falling out. I became very depressed and spent many days in bed with ice packs on my face because my skin was burning, red and peeling.

I spent nine months going from doctor to doctor without anyone really listening to me or running tests. I finally found a doctor who investigated and ran the required tests. In the spring of 2009, he diagnosed me with an autoimmune disease called Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis.

The doctor’s prognosis was unsatisfying: I could take a drug to potentially manage my symptoms, but my thyroid would eventually stop working and I’d be on medications for the rest of my life. I decided to look for another path.

I turned to a nutritionist who helped me find the root cause of my disease. She prescribed a grain-free, nutrient-dense diet, gentle detox therapies and plenty of rest. After many years of hard work and discipline, I’m happy to say my disease is in full remission!

Today, I’m sharing with you the top 5 things I learned during my battle with Hashimoto’s Disease.

1. You have to find your root cause.

Hashimoto’s is an autoimmune disease, but the reason why the immune system is attacking the thyroid may be different for each person.

My husband was the one who figured out my root cause. We were sitting at home one evening (this was just a few months after I started working with my holistic nutritionist) and he said, “Carrie, none of this makes sense. You were totally fine and then suddenly your health went downhill.” He got out a calendar and started tracing back. He backtracked to the day I had an amalgam filling (improperly) removed and said, “Look! This was the day it all started.” I took this information to my practitioner, we did some testing, and what do you know – we discovered an overabundance of heavy metals. From that point on, we focused on gentle detox to aid the natural healing process.

Other reasons why your thyroid might not be working at the optimum level:

Viral infection

Bacterial infection


Too much radiation for your body (from cellular phones, wifi, etc.)


2. It’s best to avoid gluten when struggling with thyroid disease.

If you’re gluten intolerant, you have to be 100% gluten-free to prevent immune destruction of your thyroid. The immune response from gluten can last up to six months each time you eat it!

To take that a step further, my nutritionist taught me that all grains can irritate the thyroid when you’re struggling with thyroid disease, so it’s best to completely avoid them. When grains enter the body, they cause the insulin levels in the blood to rise. When they’re eaten in excess over time, the body becomes overtaxed, and eventually the excessive grains cause inflammation in the body.

3. It’s important to reduce inflammation.

Many health issues and diseases can be caused by inflammation: allergies, arthritis (inflammation in the joints), atherosclerosis and all forms of heart disease (inflammation in the arteries or veins), autoimmunity (inflammation in any associated tissue, organ or gland being attacked by WBC), bursitis, cancer, diabetes and neurological disorders (ADD/ADHD, Alzheimer’s disease, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease; all indications of inflammation in the brain), and tendonitis (inflammation in the tendons).

Inflammation begins as the body attempts to eliminate various immune complexes (antigen-antibody complexes) and heal damaged tissue, often from chronic infection. Chronic infection can stem from an imbalance in the micro biome residing within the gut. A grain-free diet may help the body rest, heal, and reduce inflammation.

If you’re ready to reduce inflammation, where should you begin? The best place to start is by eliminating all processed foods. Yes, all. Eat traditionally prepared, real food – ideally foods free of pesticides, herbicides, and all chemicals. Foods derived from animals raised 100% on pasture or wild meats can be anti-inflammatory. I know this may sound extreme, but to give the body time to rest and heal, it needs to be nourished with the right foods. I’ve walked down this path and, yes, it can be difficult at times, but after seeing how foods can heal, I would certainly do it all over again.

5 Things I Learned During My Battle with Hashimoto's Disease

4. Vitamin A from animal foods is essential for proper detoxification.

Detox was a huge part of my recovery process. Yes, your body can naturally detox, but only when armed with the right tools. Unfortunately, in today’s world, a perfect diet isn’t enough – especially if you’re struggling with an autoimmune disease.

Foods, especially grass-fed animal foods, play a critical role in our ability to detox. Vitamin A is found only in animal foods.

“Your richest sources are liver (beef, lamb, duck, chicken), cod liver oil, butter, egg yolks, raw cream and cultured raw sour cream. It protects against the myriad of environmental toxins. It protects the body from damage caused by free radicals. Vitamin A is the only source of essential fatty acids that can make the claim of lowering levels of free-radical lipid peroxides. Other essential fatty acids actually increase levels of lipid peroxides. Lipid peroxidation is the process by which free radicals steal electrons from the lipids in cell membranes. This results in damage to the cells. We see this process in polyunsaturated fatty acids (those fatty acids derived from vegetable oils).

There is a HUGE misconception out there that vegetables, especially carrots and squashes, are excellent sources of vitamin A. This is absolutely false. Vegetables are wonderful sources of beta-carotene. But beta-carotene is only useful to humans as it is broken down and converted in the body to vitamin A by the body’s vitamin A stores. This presents a tremendous challenge and serious health problem for vegans. This also explains why most long-term vegans eventually present with disorders linked to liver congestion and why it is not uncommon to see jaundice in vegans. While most vegans have good intentions, they may not have been properly educated as to the significant role vitamin A plays in detoxification as well as in skeletal formation and thyroid function”. Kim Schuette, CN

5. Exercise, but not too much.

My body couldn’t handle intense workouts when I was healing from the disease (I would be in bed for days if I overexerted myself). So I took long walks as a gentle way to exercise and allow my lymphatic system to flush out.

This was difficult for me, but I had to realize that I was working to heal my body, not fit into my skinny jeans.

5 Things I Learned During My Battle with Hashimoto's Disease

Recovery doesn’t happen overnight. I wish it did! It takes the body time to slow down, reverse inflammation, reduce antibodies, and come to a place of health. So many times I felt like I took two steps forward and one step back, but in the end, it was all worth it.

If you’re struggling with chronic health issues, I encourage you to seek out a nutritionist, osteopath, naturopath, functional or integrative medicine doctor or nutritional therapy practitioner who can help guide you to better health. Even if everyone around you says it can’t be done, keep searching for answers. Follow your instincts – if you think it’s possible, you may be right. After my experience, I truly believe many diseases can be avoided or reversed with the right foods, detox and support.


READ NEXT: The Thyroid Is Connected To So Many Parts Of The Body

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I appreciate every share! Thank you.

About Dana Trentini

Dana Trentini founded Hypothyroid Mom October 2012 in memory of the unborn baby she lost to hypothyroidism. This is for informational purposes only and should not be considered a substitute for consulting your physician regarding medical advice pertaining to your health. Hypothyroid Mom includes affiliate links including the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program.


  1. I love two books on thyroid health. One is Dr. Gundry’s “Plant Paradox” which explains, you need to eliminate more than just gluten which is one type of lectin, there are many plant sources of lectins. Many people complain that their crones or Hashimoto Thyroiditis does not improve but simply eliminating gluten is one step in the right direction.

    The other book is “Iodine, Why You Need it and Cant Live Without It” By David Brownstein. He explains how we are hugely undernourished with iodine. The recommended FDA daily dose is like 250 mcg but apparently we need more like 50mg plus. Hyperthyroid and hypothyroid can be caused be low iodine and a deficiency of zinc and selenium. Great reads for us as diving boards to our continued quest for good health.

  2. I have an underactive thyroid.
    How do I know if I have Hashimotos?
    My doctor doesn’t know.

  3. I have an underactive thyroid.
    How do I know if I have Hashimotos?

  4. I found your article helpful. I was recently diagnosed with hashimoto’ disease. What do you eat for breakfast?

  5. I’m 19 and my thyroid levels are elevated and it’s been slowly getting worse and my hairs falling and I’m always tired and my eyebrows are thinning and like I really don’t know what to do because it’s really affecting my social life and self esteem and also my school performance 😭 I got referred to an endo so I’m hoping a solution is found.

    • This article is a great place to start. However, if possible, find a Functional Medicine Doctor in your area to support you on your healing journey. Here is a link to a national directory: http://www.functionalmedicinedoctors.com/index.php?action=search . Search for people with MD or DO credentials as they can prescribe medicine, orders tests and bill insurance. Many times a conventional endo will just prescribe you thyroid medicine and tell you there is nothing else you can do. THIS IS NOT TRUE. Go see another doctor if that’s what your new endo says to you because they are out of touch with current research and treatment. Dr. Izabella Wentz has also put out a ton of information out on the web and created some good material to help people heal from Hashimotos. I was like you and lost a bunch of hair, gained weight and was so tired it was hard to concentrate. It’s been four years and I’m now in remission. My antibodies are in the normal range and my thyroid is optimal. For me, the root cause was leaky gut and I had high levels of lead and mercury. Once I changed my diet and detoxified from the heavy metals, everything regulated. REMISSION IS POSSIBLE and don’t let any ignorant doctor tell you otherwise.

  6. Anyone tried Arbonne thirty day challenge?

  7. Hi Carrie,
    Thank you for sharing your story! Thank goodness for the internet so we can band together, find hope and answers. Can you tell us how long it took you to feel significantly better? I know its different for everyone, so I’m not looking to hold myself to the same recovery standards. Just curious.

    Thanks !

  8. Thankyou for posting your journey of healing. I needed to read this. I am very sick and have been for many years. Autoimmune, diabetes, obese, pain. I don’t know what to do.

    • I have discovered hashimoto’s to be caused by the wireless radiation. Stop using cellphones, get a landline with cord and not cordless, use ethernet and not wifi, tell people who live with you they need to put phone on airplane mode around you and try to get diasability because you will only get worse out there,

      • I imagine that is true for some. I got Hashimotos before cellphones or wifi or internet was invented. We used only landlines and answering machines. Not sure I even had a cordless phone then, in the 70’s. I got Hashimotos and had to have my thyroid removed in the 1970’s. Maybe today things are even worse for thryoid patients if they have to contend with wireless stuff.

  9. What kind of cod liver oil do use and how do you use it? When eliminating all processed foods to reduce inflammation, does that include EVOO and Avocado Oil? I use California Olive Ranch EVOO (in part bc tests have shown it is actually olive oil) and Chosen Foods avocado oil. Thank you!

    • Hi Amanda,
      I have Hashimoto’s thyroiditis and have been taking cod liver oil for 2 years now. I get Rosita cod liver oil (from beeyoutiful web but you can get it on other websites). I have been taking it (1/2 teaspoon a day at dinner) with 1/2 teaspoon of butter (grass-fed). A bottle lasts me about 2 months-2 months 1/2 (I forget some days!). You should not use the oil after 2-3 months depending on how you stored it (mine is always stored in the coldest part of my fridge). It is extra virgin cod liver oil and the company has done metal testing so you know it’s pure (results on their website). After doing a lot of research, I would personally not buy any other oil. You absolutely do not want to buy a CLO with fortified (i.e. synthetic) vitamins added.
      I highly recommend that you start with the following article (and the various updates on the article) to form an opinion: https://www.westonaprice.org/health-topics/cod-liver-oil/cod-liver-oil-basics-and-recommendations/
      For coconut oil, I buy Trader Joe’s virgin organic cold-pressed or Nutiva (cold-pressed, organic too). I take one teaspoon a day in the morning with breakfast. I use it for cooking too.
      For olive oil, I buy organic cold-pressed from Italian olives only. I use it for my lunch salad (two teaspoons) and for cooking.
      Chosen foods for avocado oil. for my lunch salad.
      Hope it helps!

  10. Hello, miss Carrie,
    I’m so glad I read this. I’ve been read so much garage in the net about hypothyroidism. Diets; but diets in the way of “eating”, not dieting to lost tons of weight. Although, yes I need to lose weight. But want to do it safely n gently. This article you wrote on the issue you have been dealing with and the research you do seem very sensible n smart. I true care about my doctors n the way they treat me. My pcp however is not keen on surgical weight removal. And everything I try doesn’t work. Diet wise, meds., walking. And so on. I do need to walk even more!!! But, I just wanted you to know, how much I appreciate you putting this on the net. I’m going to try it . You look wonderful after all you discovered, research n reworked your life. Thank so much! Sincerely, robin m. In Texas.

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