Taking my TSH level into my own hands….Day 1

Well, my busy weekend is over, and now that it’s Monday, I’m back to thinking about my health. In about two weeks, I’m due for my next blood test to see how my TSH level is doing. Last checked, it was an 8.41. My doctor has advised not TTC until the number is between 1-2. Over the last two weeks, since the last blood test, I’ve been thinking about how I want to try controlling my diet in order to do whatever I possibly can in order to bring down the level. Now, over the next two weeks, I want to try and implement that plan.

As I’ve said before – I started this blog a few days before finding out I could no longer TTC until my thyroid levels were in check. I never thought I would be focusing so much on diet and being healthy. Nevertheless, with the goal of conceiving, I’m willing to do whatever it takes. I originally was hoping for followers wanting to learn more about conceiving in the healthiest way. I ended up with some doing that, but others wanting to know more about my thyroid diet (which is, in summary, eating really healthy – something anyone could certainly do).

Therefore, I’ve decided to make a new category for my posts, over towards the right side of the blog. When I’m only writing about my thyroid and this diet, I’ll put them in the “Thyroid Diet” category. When I’m only writing about TTC (in general), the posts will go in that respective spot. They will all show up as the main part of the page, but if you’re looking for something specific, feel free to head towards the categories. Of course, sometimes, they may overlap.

Okay, on to today’s focus – my new diet. When I say diet, I don’t mean eating less. I mean the other sense of the word – what I eat.

When I was in kindergarten, I recall my teacher asking us to draw a picture of our favorite foods/meal. It was hung up in the hallway and my parents saw it at Open House. It was a huge pile of spaghetti with tomato sauce and an ice cream sundae. Since then, nothing has changed. I’m in love with carbs – pasta is my favorite, but any will do: cereal is a weakness, and fresh bread? Forget it, I can’t stop eating it. It’s become somewhat of a “personality trait”, but my close friends view me as being mildly obsessed with dessert. Once, at work, we had fresh cannolis brought in for some special reason. I have no excuse, but I recall eating as many of them as I could in a 20 minute period. I literally could eat ice cream until I’m sick. There have been many occasions in my life where I have eaten so much I have felt sick (which is disturbing, really).

I’ve always known how all of this really isn’t good for me, and I must have heard 50 million times how lucky I am that I’m not severely overweight. I “must have good metabolism”, I’ve been told. The truth is, I am lucky, but I have gained weight over the years. If you didn’t know me and saw me on the street, you would think I look pretty average. But knowing I have this thyroid condition, and the kinds of foods I love to eat, I can only wonder what my true weight is (and should be) if I stuck to eating foods that were good for me. Every Monday morning, I’ve said to myself, “Okay, I’m starting fresh today, eating healthy, etc.” Everyone laughs because that motivation is gone by Wednesday. But this time it’s different.

This time, I can’t TTC. I have a limitation on my daily life (ha) because of my health. I haven’t been told by a doctor to change the way I eat, but then again, I’ve never told my doctors how I eat. I mentioned last week that I met a girl who has hypothyroidism. She changed her whole diet around, and started seeing a holistic doctor (I’m not there yet…one step at a time), and she got down to her body’s healthy weight and her TSH level came down. She was the reason I decided to begin this plan right away. I borrowed some books and materials from her today and started reading.

At the same time, my husband and I have been talking for a long time about wanting to eat more organically and making sure the animals we eat were humanely treated. We haven’t really known how to start the process, but now with my motivation to eat well, and his Ironman training plan he just started, we’re on board, together, to tackle all of these goals. Over the weekend, I was getting my hair done for a wedding I was in, and I had a lengthy conversation with my hair stylist. She eats completely organically, and she introduced me to the concept of farm shares.

So, with all of this new information in mind, here is what I’ve learned in the past few days:

My new diet is basically a diabetic diet, with the goal of keeping my blood sugar stable throughout the course of a day. How do I know I have low blood sugar? Well, every single day around 4:00 pm, I become so tired and draggy that I basically can’t do anything. As a child, I recall laying on the couch, falling asleep until dinner was ready. Now, if I must be awake, I drag myself through that horrible time period, and immediately after eating dinner, I’m like a brand-new person. Why am I choosing to eat less carbs and sugar? Well, for the past 2 years, my TSH level has spiked around May/June. When I think about it, May and June for the past 2 years were really stressful, for various reasons. It’s also the end of the school year. I’ve found around those months that I don’t have time to exercise much at all, and the treats brought in to my elementary school are numerous…and they’re hard to resist when stressed. All of that bad eating, with little exercise, and both years, my TSH level was up. I don’t think it’s a coincidence, I think it’s a sign. My body is not meant to eat all the junk it loves. It’s just not good for me.

My new diet entails:

A ridiculous amount of vegetables. Not all are created equal, but I’ll save that for a future post. Potatoes, corn, carrots….those aren’t the best for what I’m trying to do here.

Protein is key. This particular plan focuses on animal protein (chicken, pork, fish, beef), but beans are good, too. The problem with beans is that they are also a starch, and too many starches aren’t good. So much for trying out vegetarianism! Nuts are a wonder food in this plan.

Dairy – but only good dairy. Organic, whole, and raw when possible. If the dairy involves lots of sugar, that’s not good dairy.

That’s about it!! Now, grains can be added in (and with my habits, they will be). However, I’m sticking to whole grain stuff. Again, another post, but buying wheat bread from the grocery store is probably not whole grain. Rice, potatoes, pasta – even if it’s whole wheat, it has to be very small amounts. Starting this diet out at first, I really can’t have much of that at all. After a few months, I can add in a little bit. And I will. Fruits – well, if you’re going to have sugar, it’s better in a fruit, but it’s still sugar. With my focus on equalizing my blood sugar, fruit needs to be a very once in a while occurrence.  Berries are rated high, apparently, which is good because they’re my favorite in the summer.

There are so many more little details about this, like what types of nut butters are good (not peanut butter) and what oil should be used. But for now, especially if you’re looking to give this a try, just remember protein, vegetables, and dairy. If you wonder where you’re going to get your starch….they are in many vegetables.

So, because I’ve not had time to get to Whole Foods and stock up as of yet, tonight’s dinner is simply going to be: chicken breast (marinated, grilled?), some kind of cooked vegetable (perhaps spinach), and a side salad. That’s it.

For dessert…I will enjoy my sugar-coated calcium gummy supplements….pathetic.

Believe me, this isn’t easy for me. Literally all of my favorite foods are banned. And I LOVE fruit.  It’s not Atkins – it’s not “eat bacon all you want”. But it’s healthy for those with blood sugar and thyroid problems.

Now, my brain is thinking a lot about organic food and meat from animals that were treated humanely. This is all a lot of information, and it’s overwhelming, but if I’m going to do it, I want to do it right.

With regards to organic food – when I say “organic”, I mean without harmful chemicals. Many people don’t really know what “organic” means ( I didn’t) and when they see the word on a package, they assume someone out there designated that food totally healthy for your body. It doesn’t work that way. To be absolutely sure you’re eating “pure” foods, you need to know what’s in it, and where it comes from. Last night, I looked at the back of my husband’s light Miracle Whip. There’s got to be at least 15 ingredients, and half of them aren’t food. If there’s that much junk in there, it can’t be good for you. The same goes for most of what is currently in my cupboards.

My husband says he and I will be eating the “17th century diet”. That is, only what was available back then (no neon-yellow cheetos) and without as many chemicals as we have now.

At the same time, we are really disturbed by what we hear about the way cows and chickens are treated at some major corporations. I’ve not watched “Food, Inc.” yet, but I’ve heard it’s disturbing. Did you know that many chickens are given steroids and chemicals so they give bigger cuts of meat? They are so ill-proportioned that their wings are too heavy to fly, so they can’t move. All of what I’ve heard is so ridiculously disturbing, and it’s why I wanted to try being a vegetarian. However, it seems like meat is what my body and thyroid need, so instead, I just want to make sure I have grass-fed beef, free-range chickens, etc. Now, I know some will say, “What’s the difference? You’re still killing an animal.” I get that, really. And in some ways, it’s true. But if you are going to eat meat, wouldn’t you rather it be at a place where the animals were fed decent food, lived a humane life, and died in a humane way? I would. And really – don’t you want to know where your food comes from? These are all the questions I’ve been asking myself.

Now, my hair stylist told me she eats all organic food, including meat (she says Harvest Land, at BJ’s, is a good company), and she invests in a farm share. After finding out what this is, I’m all about it, and I can’t wait to join.

A farm share is where you pay a given amount of money for a whole year, or a specific season, to a farm near you. Every week, you can go to the farm and pick up whatever they have just harvested. This means 4 things: You get fresh food weekly, you know where you food is coming from, you know what chemicals are on it (if any), and you’re supporting your local farmers, who are in desperate need of your support with all these huge corporations dominating the industry. I never knew about this, and my closest Farmer’s Market is open on Saturday mornings, when I’m typically exercising. This is awesome, and I wish I knew about it sooner, as it’s probably too late in the season to join.

So, with my new foods in place, I now want to look into owning a farm share, so I know where my healthy foods are coming from.

This post was long (sorry!) but now that I’ve given out my new information, I can focus on specific parts of it in the future. Now, to the grocery store…

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