Monday, September 3, 2012

Paleo, Is it All That?

Yep, I am going to think out loud right now. I have been tossing this post around in my head for awhile knowing that I won't agree with everyone on this.

Here's a little back story:

As many of you know, I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism over 12 years ago. Looking back I think my doctor put me on thyroid meds because I wanted an "easy" way out of my struggles with maintaining my weight. I think if I hadn't pushed it I would not have started down the path that I am on. Fast forward 5 years later and my hypothyroidism had developed into Hashimoto's, an autoimmune disease in which your immune system attacks your thyroid. In short, my body thinks my thyroid is a disease. This is not a convenient situation as my body desperately needs my thyroid to regulate my mood, weight, body temperature, my digestion, memory, hair growth and blood sugar, to name a few. As you can imagine it has been very frustrating to have it functioning so poorly for the last 12 years.

Over this course of time I have tried so many different ways to take the stress off my thyroid with dreams of one day curing my disease. I became a Raw vegan because I had heard of several people that cured their Hashimoto's with this lifestyle. After 2 years I had lost about 30 lbs. but my weight started to go up again so I decided to add cooked grains and vegetables to my diet hoping the change would shock my system. I usually find that changing things up a bit helps my weight go back down but this time it didn't. I was desperate so I went to an Ayurvedic endocrinologist to get his opinion. He did an expanded blood panel on me and said everything looked fantastic and that I "should" be feeling great. Yeah, I'm glad the tests said that, now if I could just feel that way!

Well, a few months ago I decided to get the opinion of yet another health professional. This time I went to a Naturopath that my sister had her son going to. The only problem is that he was in Kansas. I had an hour consultation with him over the phone and we decided that it was best for me to add fish into my diet. He is a firm believer in healthy fats and he felt that I was not getting enough in my current diet. He also wanted me to avoid all grains and corn. My sister and her family were on a Paleo diet so I knew the basic parameters and it sounded like the diet he wanted me to do was a loose version of Paleo. "No problem", I said. I figured I've been strictly following these other eating plans, I can do this. And it wasn't a problem, still isn't. This is because I follow it loosely! Oh this doesn't mean I'm not completely rigid with what I eat, I am (It's called OCD!). I just don't subscribe to every detail of the Paleo mindset, and here's my top 10 reasons why:

1. I don't think eating excessive amounts of bacon will ever be healthy.
2. I don't think a lot of society has the money to eat the high quality meats that would be a "healthier"  option so they just eat the commercially available, grain-fed, junk meat.
3. I don't think being Paleo should be an excuse to eat way too much meat.
4. Just because they call it Paleo doesn't mean it's not just another low-carb diet.
5. This diet/ lifestyle, like others, can be abused and contorted to an unhealthy one.
6. I don't think alcohol should be encouraged on any healthy eating plan.
7. I have a problem with beans not being allowed. (my vegan tendencies:)
8. I don't think cavemen should be an example of healthy living.
9. I like peanut butter too much. (organic, of course)
10. I can't afford Cross Fit so I feel like less of a person....

I know, I know, I just really annoyed some of my readers!! This is not intentional and as I said in most of my reasons, these are just my personal thoughts about the whole Paleo idea. I encourage you to respond to my thoughts. Go for it!

BTW, my thoughts on the whole meat issue do not stem from my being vegan, that was a choice I made NOT for animal rights reasons but for my personal quest to heal my body. Guess what? It didn't work for me. There is not a diet/ lifestyle out there that works for every single person. There never will be.

In August I went to Kansas and met with my Naturopath in person. What a helpful meeting this was! After a biofeedback test as well as several other tests, he concluded that my thyroid was functioning wonderfully. Halleluiah! Wait. If it's functioning fabulously, why am I still feeling crappy? Oh, that's what I found the answer to. Turns out my hypothalamus and pituitary gland are not functioning so fabulously. Here are some of the symptoms: hair loss, weight gain, moodiness, bad digestion, depression, fatigue. Hey, wait a minute. That sounds like the same symptoms as a malfunctioning thyroid! Heavens to Betsy, it is!! Maybe there is a light at the end of this really long tunnel! I was put on a natural medication to combat the hypothalamus/ pituitary gland problem. Here goes nothing!

What is my current food plan? Here it is:

Eggs (limited)
Beans (limited)
Vegetables (kale, spinach, zucchini, tomatoes, sweet potatoes, etc.)
Fruit (berries, melons)
Smoothies(coconut milk, Sun Warrior Warrior Blend protein powder, fruit)
Coconut Milk
Coconut Oil
Goat's milk yogurt
Goat's milk cheese
Kombucha (yum!)
Nuts & Seeds(limited)
Honey Mints(from Trader Joe's) Yep, it's a food group!
Chocolate(for a special treat)

It sounds limited and at times it can be, but I am so used to it that I don't mind at all.

Okay, go ahead, I want to hear what you have to say : )



Cotter Crunch said...

woman, you sound exactly LIKE ME!, except mine was another weight problem and digestion. We eat the same. I am feel the same about paleo. I like the concept. It think it's great to focus on nuts, fish, lean meats, vegetables, etc. But still, moderation. Your current eats are what we eat. I love it. I thinkin life's too short to stress about certain foods too, especially if they are from the earth or God gave them to us. I think Peanut Butter and Beans count as those. Love you!

Cotter Crunch said...

how amazing is goats milk cheese? YUM!

TheFitnessFreak said...

Yippee, I have a partner in crime!! I just need to make more Healthy Bites and I'd be golden : )

Yes, goat cheese is yummy, yummy :)~


Lindsay said...

I completely agree with your thoughts on Paleo. You put it into words perfectly!

Beks said...

Whoa whoa whoa. How can you not like a diet of bacon and alcohol?!?! That sounds like a diet I can really get behind!

Fitness Food And Style said...

This seems doable.....may try it some day! XxDani

scrapwordsmom said...

Hey, Nicole!! It's Leslie from Missouri, remember me?? I have been thinking about you and thought I would see if you had written anything...I know you took some time off. Here you are writing about ME??!

I was diagnosed with Hashimoto's disease last year. I had NO idea it was this bad!! My doc said it's just like thyroid disease...but I KNEW better. I have gained weight and can't take it off. I feel tired and blah!!!!! Now granted life has been stressful but it's more than that. No I am thinking I need to follow your plan!!!

I think I was supposed to stop by here today....I will add you to my blog list again now that I know you are blogging again!!!!


TheFitnessFreak said...

I'm so glad you stopped by Leslie! Yes, Hashimoto's is a whole other animal and I'm shocked your doctor said otherwise! I will try to keep this updated more often because I know it strikes a chord with so many women. Hope life is going wonderfully outside of the Hashimoto's diagnosis!


Eugene Madondo said...

Wow, its terrible that you have to deal with this thyroid, hypothalamus/pituitary gland, Hashimoto's problem. The good thing is you are proactive and taking it on. I also agree with most of your points on paleo. I would try out a caveman style diet (not that they knew anything) if I lived by myself. I see you do not post a lot but i will drop by once every month to see what else you have been thinking about out loud.


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