An autoimmune disease diagnosis can feel overwhelming, but it also marks the start of a healing journey. With the right guidance, identifying the roots of imbalance and eliminating trigger issues will hopefully leave you feeling better than ever before.
Drawing from deep research and personal experience, author and holistic nutritionist, Elissa Goodman, has mapped out a few great places to start once you are first diagnosed with the increasingly common thyroid condition, Hashimoto’s. We love Elissa’s powerful yet approachable advice on everything from daily detox to vitamin deficiency. Over the next few weeks check back for our full series with Elissa.
When I received my Hashimoto’s diagnosis it was extremely overwhelming. On one hand, I was scared and confused, not knowing what to expect when it came to treating and managing the disease. But on the other hand, I was somewhat relieved. I had been dealing with a mix of symptoms ranging from depression and anxiety, to infertility. Most of the doctors I had been seeing treated each symptom individually, but I had a feeling they were all part of something bigger. That’s why when my doctor diagnosed me with Hashimoto’s and hypothyroidism, it was a relief to hear that my symptoms were all interconnected, and I wasn’t –– as some people had suggested –– crazy.
If you’ve been diagnosed with Hashimoto’s I want to help you sort through the emotions, and find the next steps. I spent nearly 21 years on medication and never felt like I was on a true path to healing until just a few years ago when I got serious about healing holistically. Now that I’ve got a handle on my healing, I want to share some tips with those who have been recently diagnosed, so you can skip the waiting period and start feeling better as soon as possible.
Here are the first five things you can do to start your journey to acceptance and healing:
The First 5 Steps
One: Know that you’re not alone | There’s a chance that you may never have even heard of Hashimoto’s at the time of your diagnosis –– it’s an epidemic that people are finally talking about. Hashimoto’s is the most common and fastest growing autoimmune disease, affecting mostly women between the ages of 40-60. It’s a disease in which the immune system attacks cells in the thyroid gland. Hashimoto’s can be triggered, in part, by high amounts of stress driven and fast-paced lifestyles, infections, toxins that enter our body through the food we eat and the air we breathe. And though the disease affects your thyroid, it is largely tied to your gut health.
Hashimoto’s can cause a range of symptoms, from weight gain and brain fog to mood disorders and hair loss, to name a few.
While a Hashimoto’s diagnosis can feel pretty isolating, know that you’re not alone in your struggle, and there are other people out there who understand and sympathize with what you’re going through.
Two: Accept that you may have to take medication… initially| While I’m so proud of the fact that I healed myself, it took time for that to happen! Medication can be important in the beginning to help you reset your thyroid and hormones, so you can start your healing journey on the right foot. Doctors usually prescribe Synthroid, a synthetic drug that only contains the thyroid hormone T4. T4 must be converted into T3 in order to be used by the body, and in some people this conversion process does not work properly. That’s why I recommend a medication that has a T3/T4 combination, such as Armour, WP Thryoid or Nature-Thyroid. You might be reluctant to take medication, I know I was. Don’t beat yourself up about it. This is just the first step to healing, and even though the doctor might say so, you don’t need to be on these meds forever.
Remember that lifestyle and diet changes, as well as supplements, can help you wean your way off of medication eventually and support your body in healing itself.
Three: Remember that this is not your destiny | Getting your Hashimoto’s diagnosis can feel almost like a life sentence. At the time of my own diagnosis, doctors told me that I would never live without medication –– and it was crushing to hear. But many of the medications they were giving me were only treating the symptoms and not getting to the root cause. So I decided there needed to be a change.
And here I am 21 years later, having cured myself naturally of this autoimmune disease. It’s important to keep in mind that Hashimoto’s is not your destiny. Don’t let the doctors scare you or tell you this is something that you’ll have to live with forever. Find a team of people, not only friends and family, but doctors too –– I recommend searching for a functional MD who is well-versed in autoimmune diseases. They take a more holistic, full-body approach to helping you heal. I found a great team in experts like Dr. Isabella Wentz, Dr. Aviva Romm and the Medical Medium, Anthony Willam . It might take you a little while to find yours, but don’t stop until you do.
Four: Get in touch with your gut | Autoimmune diseases can cause “leaky gut,” or damage to the lining of your small intestine, which may allow undigested food, bacteria and other toxins to slip through the walls of the intestine and make their way into your bloodstream. This contributes to inflammation and a host of other problems that can make Hashimoto’s symptoms worse.
In order to heal your gut and give it a fresh start, you must rid of the bad bacteria and rebuild the good ones. For killing the unhealthy bacteria and lowering viral loads in the gut, I recommend supplementing with a high-quality bioactive silver in the morning. Then, at night, to rebuild the good bacteria, supplement with probiotics (50 billion and up), l-glutamine (3 grams) and aloe vera.
Cut out processed foods, sugar, gluten and dairy, and add more of the foods that are going to benefit your gut like kefir, kimchi, tempeh, saurkraut and kombucha. Also, add more food that will improve your overall health, like leafy greens, wild-caught salmon and foods high in healthy fats (avocado, olive oil, ghee, nuts etc.).
Five: Make lifestyle changes | Add supplements, remove stress & emotional trauma. Changes to your lifestyle can make a world of difference when it comes to healing from Hashimoto’s. I always put a strong emphasis on the importance of lowering stress levels, since stress plays a role in the development of autoimmune diseases. I found an intense sense of calm in energy healing, but yours could be anything –– meditation, reiki and yoga are great for making you feel calmer, and they can also contribute to improved immunity and lowered blood pressure. Recovering from emotional trauma is also crucial for the ability to heal completely. Talking out your issues with a therapist, healer or a friend is great for this purpose and can can really help you get in touch with yourself. Make sure you’re adding this essential “me time” to your schedule, even if it’s just for 20 minutes to take an epsom salt bath or do some breathing exercises.
As far as supplements go, I recommend adding:
+ Zinc Sulfate | Zinc can help to control T4 to T3 conversion, decrease inflammation and improve immune function.
+ Selenium | Selenium is extremely important in regulating normal thyroid functions and can help stimulate thyroid hormone production. CHECK OUT
+ Ashwagandha | This adaptogen can provide adrenal support and help your body create a better response to stress. CHECK OUT
+ Vitamin B12 | (B12 with methylcobalamin and adenosylcobalmin.) People with Hashimoto’s are more likely to be deficient in B12, so this is an important supplement to take — especially if you are on a vegan or vegetarian diet. CHECK OUT
+ Ester-C | Most people know that vitamin C plays an important role in immunity, but it can also be extremely helpful when it comes to lowering your viral loads. CHECK OUT
The bottom line is: You shouldn’t let Hashimoto’s control your life. These are just a few of the first steps that can help you on your way to healing and feeling like your best self again. In this series, we’ll address the root causes and lifestyle interventions –– like dealing with past traumas or emotional baggage that is getting in the way of your healing. Also, learning to lower your viral, heavy metal and toxin loads — as well as detoxing your organs — will not only help to alleviate the symptoms, but also reverse the disease, like I was able to, and help you on your way to living your healthiest and happiest life!
Do you have Hashimoto’s or have you healed from it? Share with us in the comments.
Check out our full series on ‘The First Five Steps‘ for a variety of conditions here.
The Chalkboard Mag and its materials are not intended to treat, diagnose, cure or prevent any disease. All material on The Chalkboard Mag is provided for educational purposes only. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified healthcare provider for any questions you have regarding a medical condition, and before undertaking any diet, exercise or other health related program.