As we enter the holiday season many temptations come our way. For those embarking on a new path with food as medicine and healing the gut, navigating this time can be especially challenging. This time of year is particularly acute when reflecting on my transition to a gluten and dairy-free diet in 2015. I realize old wounds and struggles are never far below the surface.
For years, my thyroid was a roller coaster and I didn’t make the gut connection. After extensive research I started leaning into the root of my issues. I took a food sensitivities test that showed I was off the chart intolerant of gluten, dairy and eggs. NO!! Another test confirmed the results. Clarity. It was time to try a different path.
It took patience but once I fully committed to a gluten-free diet my gut health started to transform. I am an “all or nothing” Type-A personality. I committed to the changes and was energized by the gradual healing. Within six weeks of going gluten and dairy-free my Thyroid Peroxidase Antibodies (TPO) dropped in half and continued to decrease as I stayed off these foods and implemented natural supports.
In the summer of 2016, about a year after my initial elimination, we traveled overseas to visit family in Croatia. My amazing cousin cooked paleo-based meals and I was sailing through the trip until we visited a beloved pizza parlor with memories of our late honeymoon trip. I decided to forgo the cheese and indulge in the pie. The result? My gut completely locked up and I was unable to eat or digest for the next two days, even after a 10-mile hike. It was a tolerable lesson aided by my aunt’s medicinal plum brandy tonic.
Now my body is in a much stronger state. I am careful to avoid gluten but have less worry if I am exposed or accidentally consume a small amount. The past six years have allowed for a tremendous amount of healing. My dedication to eating gluten-free has paid off and my body thrives when I listen to it. My recent food sensitivity tests are benign and my digestion is strong as ever.
Gluten-free can feel gimmicky and trendy. But for me the issue is settled, even further it has brought a calming sense of clarity and focus. Through experimentation with new foods I no longer feel deprived. I have found delicious substitutions for traditional starches and rarely eat a bunless burger. Most empowering, my family and friends support me. They observe how food heals my body and no longer question it. It took a few years of toying with my bio-individuality and unique needs but I am on a clear path.
An open mind, embracing change and listening to my body are key components to my health shifts. Each piece has led to a confidence that is the foundation of my thyroid healing puzzle. I embrace that my health is a work in progress and strive to be flexible. It’s not always easy but I have many tools to help along the way.
Give yourself time and space to create the changes necessary to support your health and don’t shy away from the process. Seek out resources to support and guide you. The return investment on your health is worth every effort.
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It’s a journey…