Monday, May 24, 2010

Comeback: Week 1

I'm finally blowing the dust off this blog and am ready to bring forth some new information on wellness.

The topic that is near and dear to me right now is the rare type of hypothyroidism that I have been diagnosed with. This elusive condition just about brought me to my knees this Spring but I'm on my way back - I think - and am aggressively seeking some answers as to how I got here and how I'm going come back to my "old" life: the life that didn't require a daily nap, three layers of clothing and a blood pressure cuff to ensure that I wouldn't keel over at any given moment.

Under normal conditions, the thyroid produces hormones - T3 and T4 being the most important - and these hormones are critical to overall well being. T3 and T4 are your "fire" - they drive your metabolism, they regulate your body temperature, they give you the necessary fuel to move through your day. Without these hormones, you're pretty much toast. Which is what I've been - with my nearly non-existent T3 and T4 - for months.

A deficiency in T3 and T4 can be detected via lab work, and is treatable with thyroid medication. Trouble is, the medication can take weeks, sometimes months, to kick in.

I decided that I didn't have months to feel better. I'm tired of being fatigued all the time. I want to go back to Spinning class. I'm ready to give up my heating pad. I miss my friends and our fun outings. I desperately want my life back.

A friend recommended a nutritionist to me. Although I'm a clean eater, I knew that I could probably make some tweaks to my diet for more support during this critical time of waiting for the meds to kick in.

Enter Sydney of Live Bliss:

I was warned beforehand that Sydney's program is very rigid but she promised, over the phone, that she could help me and I am willing to do just about anything. So I went in with the full expectation that my diet could change. Drastically. But that I could also feel much, much better in just a short amount of time.

Sydney started by measuring my body fat percentage, lean muscle mass, and BMI. All healthy ranges. But once we started into the body's major systems - particularly the endocrine - she became more concerned. "You're way too young to be going through this," she said. Tell me about it.

Right away Sydney told me that I would have to give up all grains, including rice. And oatmeal. Two of my favorite things in life.

Apparently, gluten is an irritant to the thyroid gland and, let's face it, gluten is in everything. We agreed that the funeral for grains didn't have to happen right now; but that after a gradual re-introduction of each grain, we could decide which would stay permanently. And what would go.

Sydney also suggested that I stop drinking fluids with meals. I can have as much water as I want 15 minutes prior to eating and then I have to wait an hour after eating before drinking again. So much for my hot tea after each meal. She shuddered when I told her about my nightly tea ritual and went on to explain that if your stomach is like a bowl, and if you pour several types of foods and condiments in it, then douse it with eight or ten ounces of hot water, the end result is a stinky mess. It actually made sense then.

Also, along the lines of beverages, I'm drinking an 8-ounce cup of water - on an empty stomach - with 1/4 teaspoon baking powder stirred in. Apparently, this helps the body naturally restore its alkaline levels (she tested my Ph level and it was actually fine so the baking soda is more for maintenance).

So, it's been six days of no grains and I'm missing them, definitely. Yesterday, I stocked up on organic chicken, salmon and sole. I purged my beloved crackers and I double-sealed my organic oatmeal into Ziplock bags to save for later (because if oatmeal is ruled out for good, there will be hell to pay!).

Sydney called me today and suggested that I bump up my flax oil consumption to 8 tablespoons a day. Yes, eight tablespoons. She told me something that I didn't know about fat: apparently the body absorbs the type of fat that it gets the most of. So, in my case, that would be a lot of olive oil and coconut oil (my two favorites). However, flax has the Omega 3s which are the most beneficial, overall, to your body. "The big guy on the block wins," Sydney said. "You want that guy to be flax." Good thing Trader Joe's sells the garden variety flax oil. I splurged tonight on Whole Foods' Strawberry/Banana flax oil, with the idea that if I have to drink so much of this stuff, at least it should taste good!

Lastly, I had a really sad moment today when Sydney said that I should give up dairy. For now. Although my instincts tell me that it's probably been a problem all along and I've been justifying its spot in our household by only buying high grade, organic milk, yogurt and cheese.

At least she hasn't said anything about coffee. Or wine. Or Trader Joe's dark chocolate almonds with sea salt and turbinado sugar.

Speaking of chocolate, just this week, I asked my mother the proverbial question while struggling to get into last year's yoga pants: "Do I look fat?" "Not at all," she replied. "I think you look like Kate Winslet."

Hmmmphhh. Not the answer I had in mind.

Not to worry, though. By the end of this program, I could be looking like Kate Moss. Or better yet, Kate Hudson. And feeling like the Energizer Bunny.

I'll be seeing a lot of Sydney in the next few months and reporting back here on what I'm learning. Good nutrition advice is something that we could all use more of. I hope you find these updates helpful. Please feel free send an email with any questions or comments.

Here's to good health!


dadshouse said...

Kate Winslet is hot! :-)

I can't imagine the diet you're going through. I did a candida-yeast-free diet some years back, and that was hell. But do what you need to do to be healthy!

Single Dad Brad said...

Hey Janeen...I have a friend with a website on raw food recipes that may be helpful. It is Some of the recipes can be time consuming, but there are some smoothies and drinks that are pretty easy.

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