Keep in mind that these are listed in order of toxicity and the top 3 (sugar, gluten and seed oils) should be avoided by everyone, not just those with Hashi’s!
- Sugar (particularly fructose): Seriously, what are the reasons for eating this? It disrupts hormones, leads to weight gain, is linked with many chronic diseases, makes boys grow boobs (I’m not even joking – high levels of fructose in the diet increase the hormone aromatase which decreases testosterone and increases estrogen)! If anyone tells you that sugar is natural and that we have to eat it, tell ‘em their dreaming!
- Gluten: Basically, our bodies aren’t meant to deal with gluten. Even if you’re not gluten intolerant or Coeliac, I challenge you to give up gluten for 30 days and see how good you feel!
- Industrial Seed Oils: Become rancid very easily causing inflammation within the body. Did you know that the added ‘healthy’ Vitamin E in that bottle of vegetable oil you have is just a preservative to stop the oil going rancid at room temperature?! Definitely avoid any oil or margarine that has the heart foundation tick or the slogan ‘Contains Vitamin E’; it’s a farce!
- Soy Products: Contain phytoestrogens which disrupt hormonal balance and induce estrogen dominance (think cellulite, weight gain around the thighs, menstrual disturbances and even an increased risk of breast cancer)! Not to mention the fact that most soy products are genetically modified but I’ll save that argument for a later date!
- Chickpeas and Legumes: Contain both phytates and lectins which make them very difficult to digest but also leach micronutrients from the gut so they can’t be properly absorbed by the body.
- White Potatoes: Contains a high concentration of lectins which damage the gut, leach valuable micronutrients from the body and issue an autoimmune response (given the body does not have the tools to deal with them). This process worsens a pre-existing autoimmune condition.
- Other Sweeteners (regardless of calorie content): Although a sweetener may contain negligible calories, the sweetness on our tongue still issues an insulin spike which negatively impacts blood glucose levels and leaves us with sweet, carby cravings!
- High FODMAP foods: Although this may not effect everybody with Hashi’s, consuming high FODMAP foods (such as onion and garlic) can actually promote an autoimmune flare up (ie temporary worsening of symptoms).
- Processed foods with ingredients you can’t pronounce: Chances are, if you don’t know what fructo-oligosaccharides are, your body and digestive system won’t know either, leading to ahem, flatulence and funny poos…
- High Casein Products: Most people with Hashi’s have a casein intolerance and consuming high casein foods (think cottage cheese and ricotta) can lead to digestive problems and a very sore tum!
So what do I eat..?
I follow a mostly paleo diet; lots of good (saturated) fats, organic grass fed meat/eggs and a heap of veggies, with the exception of some occasional local, organic cheese. I have tried the autoimmune paleo protocol (an extension of the normal paleo diet that also excludes nuts, nightshades and eggs) and found that nuts do not suit me but I’m fine with capsicum, tomato and chilli.
Given I also suffer from Addison’s disease, I tend to follow a low-carb, almost ketogenic, paleo diet to keep my hypoglycaemia under control.
As far as fruit goes, I do indulge in the occasional berry, but now that I have completely quit all sugar (and sweetness from other sources), fruit tastes far too sweet for me and I much prefer sweet veggies, like a ripe, juicy red capsicum or a high cacao percentage chocolate. Although this may seem quite extreme to the naked eye, this is the best I’ve felt my whole life.
As sufferers know, maintaining your weight with Hashi’s is really difficult, but by eating this way, I find I’m satisfied between meals, have no cravings and can eat as much as I feel like without gaining weight.