Over the past months I’ve been doing lots of research into Hashimoto’s Autoimmune condition which I was diagnosed with in the early summer. In simple terms an autoimmune condition is when your own antibodies turn on your body, the good parts, not just any nasties that have been hanging around. In the case of Hashimoto’s or ‘Hashi’ as the cool kids like to call it, the body is attacking the Thyroid gland. The Thyroid gland controls hormones that ensure our organs and various other things perform optimally. With the Thyroid being attacked is starts to underperform. This can result in poor circulation, poor memory, hair loss, brain fog and issues with focus alongside chronic fatigue amongst other things. The question is what can I do to make it better?
My doctor says nothing can be done. I refused to accept this and have since being doing realms of research, finding many examples of people putting the condition at least into remission through their own lifestyle choices. Through this I’ve been introduced to two amazing ladies who set off amazing careers on the back of getting themselves healthy again, who I’ll speak more of later. The major key at the heart of putting Hashi into remission, which ironically can also be one of the key elements in allowing it to start, is diet. When you start looking into why so much of what we eat is bad it’s quite logical yet alarming how things go wrong. This is not me on my high horse, mostly because sadly I don’t have a horse not even a short one, about to advise you all to change your lifestyle and diet, because rest assured I wouldn’t be embarking on such a strict diet without a push. I am, however, sharing my story for anyone to ponder, since perhaps had I paid more attention to myself and my symptoms, and then been easier on my sensitive self earlier I could have avoided this. Ultimately though not everyone will come down with an autoimmune disorder, it’s not guaranteed who will or won’t but those of us who are more sensitive are more susceptible. One of my yoga ladies noted that the sensitive people are the people of our future as the world changes into a new phase. Excellent!
Fear not though, somethings never change and despite currently being on a super strict diet, it is my insatiable quest for cake that is a key part of what I write today. However before cake I shall now seek to sum up and over simplify my current challenge and it really is a challenge, so as you can see why all of the above rests so heavily on my mind.
Many foods we eat in the modern day do not actually sit well with us, gluten for example can over time seep out of our digestive system and into the blood stream, where it shouldn’t be. The body can then get confused by this foreign body called Gluten floating around. If it can’t begin to make sense of the situation it freaks out and starts attacking other things too, the good things, such as the Thyroid in my case, which of course had most definitely purchased a bona fide ticket to the party and should be left alone. As well as the foreign body issue food intolerances put the internal system under stress, intolerances can be mild and for years you don’t know, yet they keep building up and your body can end up in a state of chronic inflammation/ stress trying to deal with it. Once you have chronic inflammation in the body the immune system starts to weaken. So to try and put my internal railway track back in-line I’m seeking to remove all foods that are known to cause inflammation or have the ability to break out into my bloodstream. It is called the Autoimmune Paleo (AIP) diet and it’s strict. No sugar including fruit, no grain, no dairy, no egg, no nightshade (peppers, tomatoes, aubergine etc or derivatives of these). NO CAKE. No chocolate. Admittedly you only go super strict for 4-6 weeks then you can start re- introducing elements one at a time to see which is okay for you. Likely once a year I’ll probably have to do the full elimination to stay in peak health! Scary boggle eyes face of fear! Despite this I have to say I’ve cooked more in the last week than I have in years, in fact I think i’ve cooked better than I have in years – see pictures of the day!
For a long time natural or traditional medicine has been shot down since we started getting a bit ‘clever’ as a species and decided anything old was outdated and useless. I disagree so strongly. Anyone having unexplained health issues I urge you to work with modern medicine AND natural medicine. The results can be surprising. I’ve seen countless examples of where natural therapies have healed what modern medicine has not been able to.
So where does the cake come in you wonder? Well I had found a wonderful acupuncturist who I knew had Hashimoto herself and had used acupuncture to ease symptoms and I went to see her. About a week before this and before I had discovered the AIP diet I found a fabulous cake shop called Sweet Laurel in the Pacific Palisades. At the time I was merely amazed it was dairy and gluten free as I tucked into a yummy chocolate caramel cake. Meeting Juliana (the acupuncturist) and talking of my sad loss of cake she said ‘oh there’s an amazing bakery in Pacific Palisades called…’.
‘I KNOW IT!’ I blared out with little control. ‘I had some cake there the other weekend’.
‘Well, Laurel was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s too and like me she ended up having to take a year off work she got so ill.’ said Juliana ‘During that time she taught herself how to bake cakes that we can all eat’. At which time my mind exploded!
I’ve since googled Sweet Laurel. It is a genius place and a wonderful story. Laurel like me has always been a big cake fan, except she was a bona fide baker too; I mostly ate cake. In any event she was so saddened to lose the baking that she loved or to continue baking what she couldn’t eat that she discovered how to make amazing autoimmune friendly cakes! Yipppeee. What’s better is she does classes and I’m going to take one! She also has her own recipe book which I shall be duly purchasing! These two ladies are HUGE inspirations to me. Showing that all challenges are opportunities and that you’re never in it alone.
A theme that runs throughout this post is that there is always a choice. The choice to take control of and discover your own route to health, choice to ignore or respond to signs and symptoms and importantly, most importantly always a choice for cake! I may have to wait 4 weeks before I can eat the cake again but eat them I shall. I merely choose that in future I shall maintain greater moderation to allow more consistency of devouring the delights of Sweet Laurel cakes and beyond.