How I CURED my Hypothyroidism with a Plant Based diet.
Six years ago my husband, kids and I decided to go “cold turkey” vegan. This decision was not made over night. After 36 years of “eating like everyone else” I started to feel very ill. My symptoms were constant bloating, headaches, allergy symptoms (runny nose and watery eyes) loss of energy and my weight was fluctuating without cause. I didn’t understand what was happening and thought at first it could be my Hypothyroidism acting up. After the birth of our first daughter, 17 years ago, I noticed my body was not functioning right. After several tests, which included ruling out multiple sclerosis, which I was thankfully told I didn’t have, I was then put through more testing to rule out all thyroid disorders. They tested me for Thyroid Cancer, Hyperthyroidism and finally concluded it was indeed Hypothyroidism. My doctor informed me that my pregnancy literally killed the function of my thyroid gland which stopped producing the thyroid hormone. The two main thyroid hormones are T3 (triiodothyronine) and T4 (thyroxine). T3 and T4 regulate your body’s temperature, metabolism and heart rate. Not being able to produce these hormones naturally, I now needed to take medication daily to supplement what my body could no longer create. Taking a drug made full of chemicals for the rest of my life didn’t sit well with me, but I was a young mother with a six month old to think about. I was determined to be the best and healthiest mother I could. So with a heavy heart, I took my doctors’ advice and started my prescription hoping one day I could CURE myself. Summer 2010, my symptoms were becoming worse. After I requested a blood test to check on my T3 and T4 hormones, it was confirmed nothing had changed. I still didn’t have a reason why I was not feeling well. Frustrated, I kept researching online but to no avail. A week later, my I made the decision to eat soups and salads that were only plant-based for the remainder of our trip.
Within 24 hours of eating soups and salads, I noticed an immediate change. My body finally felt “at ease”. S husband though it would be a great idea to take us all on one of his business trips. I was excited to get away for an entire week with our three kids and not worry about cooking, cleaning and thought a change of scenery and climate might help me feel better. While on the trip, I made sure to indulge in meals I considered a treat; happily devoured filet mignon, roasted chicken, lamb, and pork chops. Three days into our trip, I fell ill with food poisoning. By day four, I locked myself in the hotel bathroom; it was an excruciating day of being sick. That night lying there in bed, I made the decision to eat soups and salads that were only plant-based for the remainder of our trip. Within 24 hours of eating soups and salads, I noticed an immediate change. My body finally felt “at ease”. I also noticed by the end of the trip my headaches, bloating and allergy symptoms had disappeared. That is when I had my “ah-ha” moment and realized all my “health problems” were coming from consuming meat. I vowed to myself that a serious change in my diet needed to happen ASAP. The same day we returned from our trip, I drove to the library and asked the customer service desk to recommend several vegan and vegetarian books. One of them was “The Kind Diet” by Alicia Silverstone. After reading it, I knew a vegan diet was the way to go and the great bonus was that it helped our planet too. My husband was scheduled for another business trip a week later and I asked him to read “The Kind Diet” and to seriously think of changing his diet to a vegan one with me. I wasn’t sure if he’d really consider changing his diet as well as our kids. Regardless of what his decision was I needed to know he supported my decision no matter what. When my husband got back from his trip he agreed to try a vegan diet and wanted the kids on the same diet too.
That was it, within a week of that decision we bought vegan cooking books and started to clean out our pantry and bring in vegan ingredients from our local Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s. It was a great surprise while shopping at BJ’s Wholesale club that they carried vegan products too. Buying in bulk and paying wholesale prices helped with the transition into veganism. When I am at parties and decline certain foods, it typically prompts the question, “Are you allergic?” I always reply “No, I am a vegan”. This answer typically opens the door to more questions. One of the repetitive questions I receive is “Was it an easy transition from ‘meat eater to only a plant-based diet?’ I reply “No, but it’s not impossible either.” We are happier and healthier due to our diet change. An additional bonus is after four years of being a vegan and my constant research on how plant-based diets can heal diabetes, MS and other “diseases”, I was convinced I could heal myself of my Hyperthyroidism disease. I had been taking medication for fifteen years and I was fed-up. I didn’t want to take this drug for the rest of my life. During the first four years of being a vegan, I also juiced and started to use Shakeology, which is made of 80 wholefood ingredients. Eating well balanced vegan meals, snacks, juicing periodically as well as enjoying Shakeology shakes for breakfast, I never felt healthier in my life. I knew in my heart I was already healed from my Hypothyroidism, but in order to prove it with my doctor another blood test would be required before I’d be able to stop the medication. In the winter of 2014, I weaned myself off of my 90 day prescription (in my mind it was my last prescription) by cutting my pill in half. After six months of halving my dosage and finishing my prescription I knew I’d need at least 30 days without the medication in my system before I could go for a full blood work to confirm I had healed my Hypothyroidism. It was a very happy day in our house when I received a letter in the mail confirming my thyroid was in fact “working again” and I no longer needed medication.
I am happy to report that that was over two years ago now and I still feel amazing eating and making our own yummy creative vegan recipes. One of our favorite dishes is ‘Vegan Crockpot Meatless Chili’ and I am happy to share this recipe with you here. Kerri Gardner is a wife, mother, author, motivational speaker, blogger, suicide survivor and vegan. She lives with her husband, Trevor, and their three children in Raleigh, North Carolina. After receiving devastating news about her daughter’s school friend, Kerri realized she could use her personal story, Out Of The Darkness Into The Light; A Memoir Of Suicide Survival, Strength and Love to help others dealing with depression, bullying, and suicidal thoughts. Click on the book image for more information.
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