Important daily lifestyle habits to support your healing
- Get enough sleep: Aim for 8 to 10 hours per night, and more when
- Manage stress: What stressful factors can you reduce or
eliminate from your life? What daily stress-reducing activities can you engage
- Exercise: Avoid over-exerting yourself. High-intensity interval
training shows great benefits for dampening inflammation, however any sort of
regular physical activity is better than none. The exception may be severely
brain-compromised people whose symptoms are triggered by exercise; trial and
error may be warranted to find what works for you.
- Maintain social connections: Many studies show that those who
maintain healthy social connections are healthier, happier, and live longer.
Foods to Eat
When considering this diet the fist thing people ask is what can they eat. In fact you’ll be eating the way people ate for most of human history — there’s plenty of food that doesn’t come from a factory or an industrialized farm. Of course, if you have an intolerance to any of these foods, don’t eat it just because it’s on this list.
Most organic vegetables: Include as much variety as possible, making sure to include the full color spectrum; anise, arrugula, artichoke, asparagus, beets and their greens, bok choy, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, celery, chives, cucumbers, garlic, kale, kohlrabi, leeks, lettuce, mustard greens, olives, onions, parsley, radishes, rhubarb, shallots, spinach, squash, sweet potatoes and yams (not true potatoes), water chestnuts, watercress, zucchini, etc. Vegetables from the brassica family (broccoli, kale, etc.) are no longer considered bad for thyroid function; please see this article for more information.
Quality meats: beef, chicken, bison, lamb, turkey, and wild game. Select hormone-free and antibiotic-free chicken, turkey, and lamb. Chicken has high Omega 6 content; eat in moderation, and if you consume more, also eat a lot of Omega 3 oils to compensate (see bottom of this section for proper ratios). Select beef that is grass fed, hormone free, and antibiotic free. Best choice are locally-raised grass-fed and pastured meats; second best is organic. Avoid factory-farmed meats that contain antibiotics and hormones.
Organ meats: heart, liver, kidney, tongue, and bone broth. An important concentrated form of nutrients including vitamins, minerals, healthy fats, and essential amino acids.
Glycine-rich foods: Include foods containing connective tissue, organ meat, joints, skin, or bone broth.
Fish and shellfish: Seek out ocean-caught cold water, low mercury fish with high fat content. Swordfish, most tuna, and king mackerel are very high in mercury.
Quality fats: pasture-raised, grass-fed animal fats, fatty cold water fish, olive oil, avocado oil, coconut oil, low-mercury Omega 3 supplements.
Low glycemic organic fruits: apples, apricots,
avocados, berries, cherries, grapefruit, lemons, peaches, pears, plums, etc.
Edible mushrooms: Mushrooms are generally
fine for most individuals. However, some people with autoimmune conditions may
react to immune-stimulating fungi such as Maitake and mushroom-derived
beta-glucan, so monitor your response.
Probiotic and fermented foods: sauerkraut, kimchi,
pickled ginger, fermented cucumbers, coconut yogurt (guar-gum free), kombucha,
water kefir, coconut milk kefir, supplements, etc. You may need to make your
own or buy one of the few brands that are genuinely fermented and free of sugars
or additives. Also, search for information about anaerobic fermented foods in
air-tight containers; these ferments do not produce histamines that some people
react to (including rashes, digestive upset, inflammation) commonly found in
aerobic, or open, ferments typically using mason jars.
Coconut: coconut aminos, coconut
milk (guar gum free), coconut water and coconut water vinegar, coconut cream
(not concentrate), and coconut oil. Whole coconut products (coconut butter,
coconut cream concentrate, coconut flakes and chips, unsweetened coconut
yogurt, fresh coconut) have high inulin fiber and moderately high phytic acid,
which causes some individuals digestive issues — consume in moderation until
you know your tolerance level.
Noodles: Shirataki yam noodles (sold
in Asian grocery stores and some natural food stores) are fine, but avoid the
noodles that contain tofu (soy).
Herbs and spices: basil, cilantro,
cinnamon, coriander, clove, garlic, ginger, horseradish, lemongrass, mace,
mint, oregano, parsley, rosemary, sage, saffron, sea salt, thyme, turmeric
(black pepper is considered a reintroduction item). Avoid
iodized salt unless you are deficient in iodine.
Vinegars: apple cider, balsamic, champagne, coconut,
red wine, sherry, ume plum, white wine. Avoid grain-based vinegars: rice and
Teas: green white, yerba mate (avoid caffeine if you have adrenal fatigue).
Other: herbal teas, carob, rooibos tea, deglycyrrhizinated licorice (DGL)
(but not whole licorice root), vanilla extract (if cooked). In moderation:
fructose (in fruit and starchy vegetables), pomegranate molasses. Very
occasionally: maple syrup and maple sugar, honey, dried fruit, dates and
date sugar, molasses, unrefined cane sugar (sucanat, evaporated cane juice,
muscovado). Each person has unique tolerance to sugars — monitor your response.
Grey areas depending on individual sensitivities:
legumes with edible pods (green beans, snow peas). Whole bean coffee in
moderation (caution: many instant coffees show gluten
contamination). Sugars: Some people have strong reactions to even small
amounts of sugars; monitor your response. Seaweeds (high in iodine): Some
people with Hashimoto’s may not do well with additional iodine
in the diet.
A note on fatty acids: Consuming a proper ratio
of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids is key for minimizing inflammation in the
body. Too much omega-6 is highly inflammatory, so it’s important to get enough
omega-3 (anti-inflammatory) to compensate. The average American ratio is close
to 25 parts omega-6 to 1 part omega-3, resulting in high levels of inflammation.
Researchers recommend a ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids that ranges
from 1:1 to 4:1 for optimal health and prevention of disease.
- Grains: barley, bulgur, corn, couscous, kamut, millet, oats, rice, rye, spelt, wheat, wheat germ.
- Pseudograins: amaranth, buckwheat, chia, quinoa. These may be added later.
- Beans and legumes: black beans, lentils, peanuts, peas, pinto beans, etc., and all soy products (edamame, miso, soy milk, soy protein, soy sauce, tempeh, tofu, soy lecithin, peanut, etc.).
- Nuts: all nuts and nut butters including peanuts (actually a legume).
- Seeds: chia, cocoa, flax, sesame, sunflower, instant coffee
- Seed-based spices: anise, annatto, celery seed, coriander, cumin, fennel, fenugreek, mustard, nutmeg, poppy seed, sesame, allspice, star anise, caraway, cardamom, juniper, peppercorns, sumac, whole vanilla bean.
- Dairy: butter, cheese, cow milk, creams, frozen desserts, goat milk, margarine, mayonnaise, sheep milk, whey, yogurt (coconut yogurt free of guar gum is acceptable).
- Eggs: During reintroduction, introduce yolks and whites separately, yolks first.
- Nightshades: eggplant, goji berries, sweet and hot peppers, hot pepper sauces, tomatillos, tomatoes, and potatoes (sweet potatoes and yams are okay — not in the same family).
- Nightshade-based spices: cayenne, chili powder, paprika, red pepper, curry, and spice blends that contain these
- Medicinal mushrooms: Some people with autoimmune conditions may react to immune-stimulating fungi such as Maitake and mushroom-derived beta-glucan, so monitor your response.
- Refined and processed oils: including vegetable oils.
- Sugars: agave, candy, chocolate, corn syrup, high fructose corn syrup, sucrose, etc.
- Stevia and non-nutritive sweeteners: acesulfame potassium, aspartame, neotame, and sucralose.
- Emulsifiers, thickeners, and other food additives: guar gum, carrageenan, zanthan gum, cellulose gum, soy lecithin.
- Alcohol: all alcohol.
- Gluten-containing compounds: barbecue sauce, binders, bouillon, brewer’s yeast, cold cuts, condiments, emulsifiers, fillers, chewing gum, hot dogs, hydrolyzed plant and vegetable protein, ketchup, soy sauce, lunch meats, malt and malt flavoring, malt vinegar, matzo, meat glue, modified food starch, monosodium glutamate, nondairy creamer, processed salad dressings, seitan, some spice mixtures, stabilizers, teriyaki sauce, textured vegetable protein. Beware of non-specific ingredients like “natural flavorings” or “spices”.
- Potential gluten cross-reactive foods: dairy, oats, yeast (brewer’s, baker’s, nutritional) instant coffee, milk chocolate, millet, soy, corn, rice, potato. NSAIDS: non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as aspirin and ibuprofen. These drugs can also cause a Leaky Gut.
- Other: canned foods, processed foods, wheat grass (contains wheat germ agglutinin), barley grass, brown rice protein, pea protein, hemp protein, licorice root (DGL is okay), aloe, slippery elm bark, commercial egg replacers, immune stimulants such as chlorella and spirulina.