This is Part 6 of my Healing Hashimoto’s series which outlines my personal experience with Hashimoto’s Disease. The other posts in this series include:
Disclaimer: I am not a doctor and this is not medical advice. The information in this post cannot be used to treat or diagnose any disease.
In case you haven’t read the beginning of my antibody journey, head on over to read: How I Reduced My Hashimoto’s Thyroid Antibodies from Over 2000 to (Almost) Zero. And then come back here after! ?
I first want to preface that from the time I was diagnosed in 2010 until now, I have been continuously searching for new interventions to try (see this post to read about 24 of them).
So, really, I expect to see my thyroid antibodies trending downwards over the years. My knowledge of what works for ME continues to grow and I am healthier each year as a result.
Currently, I am following a plan that seems to be working quite well. As of my last blood test in January of 2020, I tested negative for Anti-Thyroid Peroxidase (Anti-TPO) antibodies, and only 5 for Anti-Thyroglobulin Antibodies.
My Current Management Plan
Due to the years of constant and unaddressed bombardment on my thyroid, I am dealing with some damage. I still need thyroid hormone supplementation, though it is less than I needed before.
You may be surprised to hear that my goal has never been to stop using thyroid medication (of course, it would be welcomed).
Instead, my focus is supplementing with what my body needs but can’t produce. Right now, it definitely needs extra support so that the rest of me can thrive.
Currently, I use Westhroid Pure natural dessicated thyroid and I love it. It is pure and clean, with only 2 inactive ingredients.
UPDATE January 2020: I am surprised and elated to say that I am now almost completely off thyroid medication. I only take the smallest possible dose (1/4 grain) every other day, and even this seems to be too much. I will write a post soon about how I accomplished this. It was totally unexpected.
Diet is my non-negotiable. Without a healing, nutrient-dense diet, I’d be VERY sick.
This is so important that I go to great lengths to eat the food I need to stay well… I do NOT cheat. Not even a crumb.
I don’t eat out because of cross-contamination risks (unless it is at a strict, gluten-free vegan restaurant – not because I’m vegan, but because many vegan restaurants are allergy-friendly).
My focus is on LOW SUGAR, LESS MEAT and MORE VEGGIES. I’ve noticed a major difference in how I feel ever since we doubled the vegetables in every dish and halved the meat (which saves us money too).
I eat plenty of homemade fermented foods, bone broth, and warming foods like soups and stews. My “treats” are dark chocolate, coconut milk yogurt, and fruit with nut butters.
With the help of blood testing, my own research, trial and error, and all of my doctors’ help throughout the years, I have landed on a supplement plan that works amazingly (and I am ecstatic because supplement experimentation is EXPENSIVE). It includes:
- Vitamin D/K in high doses (monitored by frequent blood tests)
- Iron (I was using Iron Bisgylcinate, but recently switched to Dessicated Liver and have had fantastic results)
- Zinc (when indicated by blood work… this one comes and goes)
- Methylfolate and B12 (due to my MTHFR gene mutation)
- Digestive Enzymes with my big meals. I also use these. Haven’t decided yet which one I like better. They both work very well.
- Liver Support
- CBD Oil
- Probiotics if I feel that I need some extra support, or if we are short on fermented foods
Sleep was always a priority back in the day because of my chronic fatigue. But now, without the need to sleep 24/7, I have to make sure I get enough. I do this in two ways:
- 7-8 hours of sleep at night.
- Strict nap/quiet time routines with my kids. This is a safety net that allows me time for a nap if I need one. There are still days I need extra rest, especially if the kids keep me up at night.
Also, NO CAFFEINE!
No coffee. No energy drinks. Not even tea. I feel better without it all. If I am in an energy slump, I’ve experimented with and found that I tolerate an adaptogenic tea blend called RASA. I blend it up with some coconut cream, a touch of maple syrup, and cinnamon. So good.
Acupuncture and Chiropractic Care
These are therapies I started out of desperation for VERY specific reasons that had nothing to do with my Hashimoto’s Disease:
- Chiropractic for wide-spread pain from carrying a backpack.
- Acupuncture for help with conceiving (and keeping) a pregnancy.
Both therapies were (and still are) so helpful in more ways than I can list, but I’ll name a few:
- Acupuncture cured my 6 months of post-partum vertigo in 1 visit.
- Chiropractic care helped me decrease my thyroid medication dosage within the first few months of starting regular visits.
- Both are helpful for PAIN and STRESS – two things that go hand in hand when dealing with autoimmune disease.
- Chiropractic care is literally a lifesaver during pregnancy for hip and back pain.
I have tried to drop them due to cost, but always find myself going back. After a couple years of doing this, I decided to just add them on to my treatment plan and budget for the costs.
If there is ever a time that I start experiencing chronic symptoms, I increase the frequency of my visits.
I have always been sensitive to artificial ingredients in foods and cosmetic products: dyes, flavorings, preservatives, but especially artificial scents.
Once I removed all the artificially scented products: laundry products, air fresheners, hand soap, dish soap, body wash, shampoo, all hair products, etc… basically everything, I noticed a huge shift in my health.
The best way to explain the feeling after I use artificially scented products is: “heavy.” It’s like my body is run-down when I am exposed to the scents. I also develop a sore throat and headache within minutes.
And when I don’t use them, I feel totally refreshed – clearer, healthier.
So… I don’t use them. Simple.
I discovered Homeopathy in 2016. After having a good laugh about it, I realized we were actually using it for our daughter’s teething pain with great success.
You can read more about it (including why I laughed), in this post – Homeopathy for Beginners: What the Heck is Homeopathy?
Homeopathy has removed the need to use OTC and prescription drugs, many of which carry side effects and can’t even be used if you have thyroid disease (like decongestants, which I learned the hard way…).
Once you find the right remedy, homeopathy WORKS. And it is incredibly impressive.
Just within the last year, homeopathy has:
- Stopped a throat-swelling dairy reaction in its tracks.
- Alleviated my morning sickness during pregnancy.
- Completely resolved my hormone-related migraine headaches.
- Relieved my debilitating leg cramps (the ones that make you hop out of bed in the middle of the night because they are so painful).
You can read more about the ways I use homeopathy in this post – 4 Ways I Use Homeopathy to Manage Autoimmune Disease.
Homeopathy *could* be a reason why my thyroid antibodies have stayed close to zero, but that would be hard to prove, so I can’t be sure. If you’re interested in learning more about how you can use homeopathy to manage your Hashimoto’s or autoimmune disease, be sure to check out Joette Calabrese.
Chewing My Food COMPLETELY / Using Digestive Enzymes
I mentioned before that diet is my non-negotiable. But what’s the point if my body can’t absorb the nutrients?
Eating slower, taking smaller bites, chewing my food completely, and supplementing with digestive enzymes helps tremendously!
After years of the food-coma type feeling, I finally realized it was possible to have a boost of energy after eating. It is very exciting!
It also helps with the stools… I’ll leave it at that.
Stress Management and Self-Care
SO important. Yet so hard to do. In fact, at my last appointment with my functional medicine doctor, he rattled off a bunch of tests that were high and his reasoning was always…
“This is high because of stress, but since you’re a mom… it’s hard not to be stressed, so…”
There are two things that really help to keep my stress down:
- Daily prayer and time with God – absolutely crucial.
- Walking OUTSIDE in the fresh air. I also make sure I breathe, like not just enough to live, but slow deep breaths to completely fill my lungs with fresh air.
Plus, with acupuncture and chiropractic care, I have two very effective handles on my stress, being a mom and all.
So, to recap:
- Thyroid medication
- Chiropractic Care
- Non-toxic Products
- Chewing food/using digestive enzymes
- Stress management and self-care (daily prayer and walking)
It’s a long list, and it took me many years to get here.
It’s important to note that there are so many options… SO MANY! And it’s overwhelming at first, but keep searching and trying new things.
You will land on the things that work so well for YOU too!
Every doctor, every treatment, every intervention gets you one step closer to finding the pieces to your puzzle. I hope my journey has inspired you to continue searching for the answers you need.
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Hi! I’m Anna, co-founder of Healthy Habits Reset. After managing my own autoimmune diseases using lifestyle, habit, and mindset changes, I now work to teach others how to navigate the treacherous and confusing journey of chronic illness living. I firmly believe YOU hold the power to question, think critically, and become your own rock-solid advocate in a world full of unhealthy habits. Consider me, and my husband, Frank, your autoimmune disease health coaches. Are you ready?!