People always ask me “why do you eat Paleo?” – I see why, “Your diet isn’t based on the strong foundation of 7-10 daily servings of grain!?”. No, quite the opposite. But my reasoning behind going the way of the caveman was a long time coming; as it turns out, Paleo is tailor made for yours truly.
Throughout college, anytime I had blood work done, there was a note that my thyroid was on the lower end, but not underactive. I brushed that off. How could a 20-something have thyroid issues? That’s what my mom deals with, not me.
Back in 2009, I noticed I was feeling much more sluggish than before – I blamed allergies. I’ve battled severe environmental allergies for years – you name the pollen/dust/mold and I’m likely allergic to it in some degree. So, to get my allergies under control, my allergist ordered skin testing for all types of allergens – both environmental and food. Just as I thought, I was allergic to all types of things in the air.
Now, sometime in my youth I decided that I couldn’t eat animals. I didn’t want to harm them in any way. Yes, I was a card-carrying member of PETA. I ate every type of fake meat out there, lived on bread and yogurts – oh, and my staple: graham crackers with peanut butter.
The food test results for shocking for my meat-free ears.
I tested sensitive to [drum roll please] wheat, corn, yeast and most highly to SOY. I thought: “Soy? How could that be? That is my life force!” I was distraught. How could one continue to be a vegetarian and NOT eat soy, corn, wheat or yeast?
Well, I tried my best – I ate the crap out of greek yogurt, beans, nuts – trying to get protein. I just felt super weak. I never had any energy and the lethargic feeling I was already battling became more intense.
With growing concern about my lack of energy, I saw my GP and got blood work done as she suspected a problem with my thyroid. My T3/T4 was low, below the lowest end of the spectrum. I was put on a small dose of Synthroid to get it back in working order. Taking a pill first thing every morning? Who doesn’t love that…
It was about six months after my allergy testing and getting on Synthroid that I began seriously considering eating meat again. As hard as I tried, my body couldn’t survive on the minimal protein and fat I was giving it.
I was cutting out gluten, soy and reading labels like crazy. Nearly everything I had been eating contained some derivative of soy, corn or wheat – or a combination of the three.
Eating meat was the hard part…extremely hard; I had chosen not to eat animals, but my body couldn’t survive without proper nutrition. I’m part Cherokee, and feel that connection with my world around me. Upon my first meal of meat, I thanked the animal for giving me its life so I could live – I continue to do this little prayer before each meal. strive to eat humanely raised, grass-fed/pastured animal rather their than the factory farmed mass. This may sound out loopy but when I think of eating an animal, I feel I take on part of its soul, its history. I think our grocery store culture doesn’t think about where our food comes from and what the animal goes through to get to our plate.
It wasn’t until I met my boyfriend, Sean Coonce (author of the blog, The FreeRange Human) that I learned about the Paleo diet. Not only did he facilitate my first bacon in years (gasp!), but he gave me Robb Wolf’s The Paleo Solution as a present in our early courtship – what a gentleman! It made sense to me, plus, I’m already food-sensitive to half of the stuff you can’t eat! And I like how it makes me more “food aware”; aware of where my food comes from and proper, humane practices. I was most intrigued by the notions that one could reverse diseases and eliminate medications.
I’ve been wanting to get off the Synthroid for the past few months and finally asked my doctor to test my levels to see if I could attempt ditching it. In February of this year, he drew the blood for testing and my T3/T4 was in the normal range – no shock, I was on synthetic hormones! Since it was all good, he said it was fine to try going off of it.
Now, I have been eating Paleo for over a year, and I can tell that I am healthier than ever. A former vegetarian, now eating offal, every meat and meat fat source imaginable. (In my veggie years, I was also extremely afraid of fat, but that’s another story).
This past week, I went back to my doctor for a follow-up and got blood work done for the thyroid. As it turns out, my T3/T4 levels are HIGHER off of the Synthroid than on it!
There’s no doubt in my mind that Paleo has played a huge role in my success, and I cannot wait to see what else my Paleo future holds.