I have recently had a change in medical status that ended up being a HUGE ah-ha moment for me. Because of this change I have been meeting with a lot of medical professionals and what’s the first thing medical professionals always do upon meeting a new patient? They take a thorough medical history. Reviewing my health history and dates, when medical conditions arose and subsided, helped me connect the dots in a big way. But instead of just telling you my realization, let me give you the full story.
I have an autoimmune thyroid disease called Graves Disease. Basically, my body thinks my thyroid is a foreign body and tries to get rid of it. The thyriod fights back by overproducing hormones which wreaks havoc on the other systems of the body. Symptoms can range from severe weight loss, eye problems, tremors,heart palpitations, sleep problems, anxiety, and even death. The treatment for this is thyroid suppression drugs and if those don’t work then the thyroid is killed off with radiation. The normal course of therapy is to take thyroid suppression pills for a time and then come off of them to see if the disease has gone into remission (aka… the thyroid has stopped overproducing hormones).
I was diagnosed with Graves Disease in 2005 and was immediately put on medication. It was in my endocrinologist’s office (the doctor that treats thyroid disorders) that I stepped on the scale and realized that I had a weight problem. I was one of the unlucky ones that didn’t lose any weight with my Graves Disease, instead I was gaining! That was sometime in 2008 and I immediately began my health and fitness journey.
I began my journey in the same way that most people do… concentrating on calories in versus calories out. I began exercising and cut down on my food portions. I didn’t really change what I was eating, just how much of it I was eating. My diet at the time consisted of take out foods (not fast food, but still not home cooked) and a lot of packaged foods from the grocery store that I “cooked” at home. I lost weight, and I was happy with my progress on the scale. Sometime in there my doctor decided to try taking me off my thyroid medication to see if I would go into remission. I did not. In fact, I almost immediately started showing signs of Graves Disease. So I went back on my medication.
A few years later, my doctor tried one more time to take me off my thyroid medication, and again it failed. Shortly after that I made another change in my healthy lifestyle. I had been reading a lot of books and blogs about the real food movement and ancestral nutrition, and it all made sense to me. A lot of sense. So I cut out processed foods, stopped buying “food” in boxes and started buying food found in nature. My grocery trips transformed from stocking my pantry to stocking my fridge.
I was on this new diet for a while and also ended up moving and so needing a new doctor. This new doctor wanted to try one more time to take me off my medication to see if I would go into remission and if not he was going to kill my thyroid with radiation. It turns out the medication for treating Graves Disease had recently been given a strong black box warning and wasn’t safe to be on long term. After having tried a few times before I thought for sure this time would fail as well and I had resigned myself to losing my thyroid and having to take synthetic thyroid hormone for the rest of my life as a result.
But that’s not what happened. I went in week after week for blood draws expecting to get a phone call the next day telling me my Graves disease was back. But the phone call never came. After a while my doctor only wanted to see me every couple of months, and then every 6 months. He officially declared me in remission. So, in case you haven’t picked up on it yet, the only change between when I didn’t go into remission and when I did was that I was now eating real food. Foods that were alive and filled with nutrients and enzymes. Foods that were and are healing my body.
Now, if that isn’t enough proof for you, I did also have a couple of other chronic health problems (which I won’t share here) that were considered chronic and that there was nothing the doctors could do about them other than give me medications to hide the symptoms. Those are now also in remission. So, real food healed me of not just one chronic illness, but several.
So, back to how I only recently realized what it was that had healed me of these illnesses. My change in medical status is that my husband and I are expecting our very own little Gym Free Fitter very soon, and of course when you’re pregnant they ask about not just illnesses, but diet and exercise too. Reviewing the dates of when my illnesses went into remission versus when I made big changes in my diet and lifestyle helped me to connect the dots.
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Do you have any chronic health issues that have gone away? Was it after you started eating real food? Tell me your story in the comments!
Photo by Patrick Feller is licensed under CC BY 2.0
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